best vietnam travel guide Vietnam is a fascinating and diverse country that offers a wealth of experiences and attractions for travelers. From the vibrant cities to the serene countryside, from the ancient temples to the modern skyscrapers, from the delicious cuisine to the friendly people, Vietnam has something for everyone.
But how do you plan your perfect trip to Vietnam? With so many options and factors to consider, it can be overwhelming and confusing to figure out where to go, what to do, when to go, and how to go. That’s why we have created this best Vietnam travel guide that covers everything you need to know and do before and during your trip. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will help you make the most of your Vietnam adventure.
Where to Go best vietnam travel guide
Vietnam is a long and narrow country that stretches from north to south along the eastern coast of Indochina. It has a total area of about 331,000 square kilometers and a population of about 97 million people. It is divided into three main regions: the north, the central, and the south. Each region has its own distinctive features, culture, climate, and attractions. best vietnam travel guide
The north of Vietnam is the most mountainous and rugged part of the country. It is home to some of the most spectacular natural scenery and ethnic diversity in Vietnam. Some of the highlights of the north are:
- Hanoi: The capital and the second-largest city of Vietnam. Hanoi is a charming and chaotic city that blends the old and the new, the east and the west. It is famous for its historical and cultural landmarks, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, the Old Quarter, etc. It is also a great base for exploring other attractions in the north, such as Halong Bay or Sapa. best vietnam travel guide
- Halong Bay: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam. Halong Bay is a stunning natural wonder that consists of thousands of limestone islands and islets rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. It is a paradise for cruising, kayaking, swimming, or simply admiring the scenery. best vietnam travel guide
- Sapa: A picturesque town in the northwest of Vietnam, near the border with China. Sapa is a popular destination for trekking, hiking, or cycling through the lush green valleys and hills, where you can encounter various ethnic minority groups and their colorful cultures and traditions. It is also a place to enjoy the cool and fresh air and the breathtaking views of the mountains and rice terraces. best vietnam travel guide
- Ninh Binh: A province in the south of the north, about 100 kilometers from Hanoi. Ninh Binh is often referred to as “Halong Bay on land” because of its similar landscape of limestone karsts and caves. It is also a place of historical and religious significance, as it was the ancient capital of Vietnam and the birthplace of Buddhism in Vietnam. Some of the attractions in Ninh Binh are Tam Coc, Trang An, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, etc. best vietnam travel guide
The central of Vietnam is the most diverse and dynamic part of the country. It is where you can find some of the most beautiful beaches, islands, and national parks, as well as some of the most cultural and historical sites in Vietnam. Some of the highlights of the central are:
- Hue: The former imperial capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hue is a city of history and culture, where you can visit the majestic Citadel, the royal tombs, the pagodas, and the temples that reflect the glory and legacy of the Nguyen Dynasty. It is also a city of cuisine, where you can taste some of the most refined and distinctive dishes in Vietnam. best vietnam travel guide
- Da Nang: The third-largest city and the most modern and developed city in Vietnam. Da Nang is a city of contrasts, where you can find skyscrapers and bridges alongside mountains and beaches. It is a city of entertainment and leisure, where you can enjoy various activities such as surfing, golfing, shopping, or nightlife. It is also a city of art and culture, where you can admire some of the most impressive sculptures and museums in Vietnam. best vietnam travel guide
- Hoi An: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most charming and romantic towns in Vietnam. Hoi An is a town of preservation and transformation, where you can see the well-preserved ancient houses, shops, temples, and bridges that reflect the influence of different cultures and eras. It is also a town of creativity and innovation, where you can see the modern and trendy cafes, bars, restaurants, and boutiques that cater to the diverse and sophisticated tastes of visitors. It is also a town of crafts and skills, where you can learn or buy some of the most exquisite and unique products in Vietnam, such as lanterns, silk, pottery, etc. best vietnam travel guide
- Nha Trang: A coastal city and a popular beach resort in Vietnam. Nha Trang is a city of sun and sea, where you can enjoy some of the best beaches, islands, and coral reefs in Vietnam. It is a city of fun and adventure, where you can try some of the most exciting and thrilling water sports and activities in Vietnam, such as diving, snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing, etc. It is also a city of relaxation and wellness, where you can pamper yourself with some of the most luxurious and soothing spas and hot springs in Vietnam. best vietnam travel guide
The south of Vietnam is the most populous and prosperous part of the country. It is where you can find some of the most vibrant and dynamic cities, as well as some of the most fertile and diverse landscapes in Vietnam. Some of the highlights of the south are:
- Ho Chi Minh City: The largest and the most cosmopolitan city in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is a city of energy and movement, where you can see the hustle and bustle of life in every corner. It is a city of contrasts and diversity, where you can see the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, the local and the foreign. It is a city of attractions and activities, where you can visit some of the most iconic and historical landmarks, such as the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, etc. It is also a city of cuisine and nightlife, where you can taste some of the most delicious and varied dishes in Vietnam, as well as enjoy some of the most lively and vibrant bars, clubs, and shows in Vietnam. best vietnam travel guide
- Mekong Delta: A region in the southwest of Vietnam, where the Mekong River splits into nine branches before flowing into the sea. The Mekong Delta is a region of abundance and diversity, where you can see some of the most fertile and productive lands in Vietnam. It is a region of culture and tradition, where you can experience some of the most authentic and distinctive aspects of Vietnamese life, such as floating markets, fruit orchards, rice fields, etc. It is also a region of nature and adventure, where you can explore some of the most exotic and fascinating places in Vietnam, such as the Tra Su Cajuput Forest, the Cai Rang Floating Market, the Phu Quoc Island, etc. best vietnam travel guide
- Da Lat: A city in the central highlands of Vietnam, about 300 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. Da Lat is a city of romance and beauty, where you can enjoy the cool and fresh climate and the stunning natural scenery. It is a city of flowers and gardens, where you can see some of the most colorful and diverse flowers in Vietnam, such as roses, orchids, hydrangeas, etc. It is also a city of art and architecture, where you can see some of the most unique and creative buildings in Vietnam, such as the Crazy House, the Clay Tunnel, the Domaine de Marie Church, etc. best vietnam travel guide
What to Do
Vietnam has a lot of things to do and see that can suit any type of traveler and interest. Whether you are looking for culture, nature, adventure, or relaxation, you will find plenty of options and activities in Vietnam. Here are some of the best things to do in Vietnam:
- Cruise on Halong Bay: One of the most iconic and memorable experiences in Vietnam is cruising on Halong Bay. You can choose from different types of cruises, such as luxury cruises, budget cruises, day cruises, overnight cruises, etc. You can also choose from different activities and itineraries, such as kayaking, swimming, fishing, visiting caves, islands, villages, etc. You can also enjoy the spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset over the bay and the starry sky at night. best vietnam travel guide
- Trek in Sapa: One of the most adventurous and rewarding experiences in Vietnam is trekking in Sapa. You can choose from different levels of difficulty and duration, from easy to challenging, from half-day to multi-day. You can also choose from different routes and destinations, such as Cat Cat Village, Ta Van Village, Fansipan Mountain, etc. You can also interact with the local people and learn about their culture and lifestyle. best vietnam travel guide
- Explore Hoi An: One of the most charming and romantic experiences in Vietnam is exploring Hoi An. You can walk or bike around the ancient town and admire the well-preserved architecture and atmosphere. You can also visit some of the cultural and historical sites, such as the Japanese Bridge, the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, the Tan Ky House, etc. best vietnam travel guide
- Shop for some of the most exquisite and unique products in Vietnam, such as lanterns, silk, pottery, etc. You can also learn some of the crafts and skills from the local artisans and workshops. You can also enjoy the nightlife and entertainment options, such as bars, cafes, restaurants, shows, etc. best vietnam travel guide
- Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels: One of the most historical and educational experiences in Vietnam is visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels. You can learn about the history and the significance of the tunnels during the Vietnam War. You can also see some of the traps, weapons, and equipment that were used by the Viet Cong soldiers. You can also crawl through some of the tunnels and experience what life was like underground. best vietnam travel guide
- Relax on Phu Quoc Island: One of the most relaxing and enjoyable experiences in Vietnam is relaxing on Phu Quoc Island. You can enjoy some of the best beaches and islands in Vietnam, such as Long Beach, Sao Beach, Hon Thom Island, etc. You can also try some of the water sports and activities, such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, fishing, etc. You can also visit some of the attractions and landmarks, such as the Phu Quoc National Park, the Phu Quoc Prison Museum, the Dinh Cau Temple, etc. best vietnam travel guide
When to Go
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, which means that it has two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season lasts from November to April and the rainy season lasts from May to October. However, there are variations in temperature and rainfall across the country depending on the region and the altitude. best vietnam travel guide
The best time to visit Vietnam depends on your preferences and your destinations. Generally speaking, the best time to visit Vietnam is during the spring (February to April) or the autumn (August to October), when the weather is mild and pleasant and there are fewer tourists and lower prices. However, you should also consider some of the festivals and events that take place in Vietnam throughout the year, such as:
- Tet: The Vietnamese New Year and the most important and festive occasion in Vietnam. Tet usually falls in late January or early February and lasts for about a week. It is a time of celebration, reunion, and tradition, where people visit their families and friends, exchange gifts and wishes, decorate their homes and streets, and enjoy various activities and performances. However, it is also a time of high demand and low supply, where transportation, accommodation, and services are more expensive and crowded. best vietnam travel guide
- Hoi An Lantern Festival: A monthly event that takes place on the 14th day of the lunar month in Hoi An. It is a time of illumination and enchantment, where the ancient town is lit up by thousands of colorful lanterns that float on the river or hang on the buildings. It is a time of culture and spirituality, where people make wishes, pray, and participate in various rituals and ceremonies. best vietnam travel guide
- Hue Festival: A biennial event that takes place in April or May in Hue. It is a time of history and culture, where the former imperial capital showcases its heritage and legacy through various events and activities, such as art exhibitions, music concerts, dance performances, royal ceremonies, etc. It is also a time of diversity and exchange, where different countries and regions present their culture and talent through various shows and programs. best vietnam travel guide
- Da Lat Flower Festival: A biennial event that takes place in December or January in Da Lat. It is a time of beauty and romance, where the city of flowers displays its abundance and diversity of flowers through various events and activities, such as flower parades, flower markets, flower exhibitions, flower contests, etc. It is also a time of creativity and innovation, where different artists and designers showcase their works and products related to flowers. best vietnam travel guide
How to Go
Vietnam has many options and modes of transport that can help you get to the country and travel around the country. Depending on your budget, time, comfort level, and preferences, you can choose from various ways to go to Vietnam such as:
- Plane: Flying is the most common and convenient way to get to Vietnam from abroad. There are many international airports in Vietnam that serve flights from different countries and regions, such as Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang International Airport in Da Nang, etc. You can book your flights online or through a travel agent. You should check the baggage allowance and fees before you fly. You should also arrive at the airport at least two hours before your departure time.
- Train: Taking the train is an alternative and scenic way to get to Vietnam from neighboring countries, such as China, Laos, or Cambodia. There are several train routes that connect Vietnam with these countries, such as the Hanoi-Nanning Train, the Hanoi-Lao Cai Train, the Ho Chi Minh City-Phnom Penh Train, etc. You can book your tickets online or at the train station. You should choose your seat class and type according to your comfort and budget. You should also bring some snacks, drinks, and entertainment for the long journey.
- Bus: Taking the bus is a cheap and convenient way to get to Vietnam from neighboring countries, such as China, Laos, or Cambodia. There are many bus companies that offer different types of buses, such as local buses, intercity buses, sleeper buses, etc. You can buy your tickets online, at the bus station, or from your hotel or hostel. You should check the schedule and route before you board. You should also keep an eye on your belongings and be prepared for some delays or traffic jams. best vietnam travel guide
- Car: Renting a car is a flexible and comfortable way to get to Vietnam from neighboring countries, such as China, Laos, or Cambodia. You can rent a car with or without a driver from various rental agencies or online platforms. You should have a valid driver’s license and an international driving permit to drive in Vietnam. You should also have insurance and a contract that covers the rental terms and conditions. You should also be aware of the traffic rules and road conditions in Vietnam, as they can be chaotic and challenging.
- Motorbike: Riding a motorbike is a popular and adventurous way to get to Vietnam from neighboring countries, such as China, Laos, or Cambodia. You can rent a motorbike from various rental shops or online platforms. You should have a valid driver’s license and an international driving permit to ride a motorbike in Vietnam. You should also wear a helmet and protective gear and follow the traffic rules and signs. You should also be careful of the weather, road hazards, and other drivers. best vietnam travel guide
Vietnam is a wonderful country to visit, but it requires some preparation and planning to make the most of your trip. By following this best Vietnam travel guide, you can ensure that you know where to go, what to do, when to go, and how to go in Vietnam. We hope that this guide will help you have a smooth and enjoyable Vietnam adventure. Happy travels! 🛫