Vietnam is a vibrant mix of colourful culture, buildings and cuisine. This exotic destination has emerged as a popular travel spot for people from all over the world in recent years, and with good reason!
See the busy city streets of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, experience history in Hoi An and Hue, and embrace the natural splendour of incredible places like Halong Bay. Vietnam is home to a unique and unrivalled blend of activities and places to see!
Here are 15 of the best things to do in this amazing country:
Striking limestone islands, cavernous caves, sparkling emerald waters and stunning scenery – Halong Bay is simply beautiful. Every visitor to Vietnam should cruise around Halong Bay and see the UNESCO World Heritage Site up close. Spend the night on the water and see the best of the islands on an overnight cruise.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are a sprawling network of tunnels found under Ho Chi Minh City. The 120km network was used as a refuge by Vietnamese guerilla soldiers during the Vietnamese War. Take a tour and see the tunnels first-hand – this is definitely an experience for travellers who don’t mind small spaces!
Just south of Da Nang are five impressive marble and limestone hills, referred to as the Marble Mountains. Known as Ngu Hanh Son in Vietnamese, each mountain is named after an element it is said to represent – Ho Son (Earth), Thuy Son (Water), Moc Son (Wood), Kim Son (Metal or Gold) and Hoa Son (Fire). Take a trip to the mountains and admire the breathtaking views.
Ho Chi Minh City is a whirlwind mix of sights, sounds, smells and heat! This buzzing city, also known as Saigon, has a complex history stretching back centuries. It has been settled by the Khmers and the French over the years. Take a tour of the city and see the distinct french architecture side by side with skyscrapers, bustling markets and streets crammed full of motorbikes. See the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, the Presidential Palace, Ben Thanh Market and so much more.
See the sights of the historic city of Hue (pronounced “hway”) on a dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River that winds through the city. The charmingly named river is said to have been given the name thanks to carrying the scent of all of the flowers which tumble into the water. Jump in a colourful dragon boat and take in historic sights perched on the riverbanks as you cruise.
Hoi An is a captivating ancient riverside town that is popular for its history, food, landscapes and coast. Wander the streets of the incredibly well-preserved ancient town and see sights including the Japanese Covered Bridge Pagoda. Hoi An is also home to the Sa Huynh Culture Museum, the Tran Family Chapel, and the Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall – a huge pagoda built in 1690.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s vibrant capital city. Here you’ll find the Temple of Literature – a picturesque example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. It was built in 1070, dedicated to Confucius and was the site of Vietnam’s first university. Tour the five courtyards and see the beautiful grounds.
Travel to tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake for a break from the buzz of Hanoi. The lake surrounds Ngoc Son Temple, which is nestled in the centre of the island. “Hoan Kiem” translates to “Lake of the Restored Sword”. The legend surrounding the lake says that an emperor was once given a magical sword. He used it to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty and once he was done, a giant golden turtle grabbed the sword and dived into the depths of the lake.
Located on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue was once the capital of Vietnam. The city was the centre of politics, culture and religion of unified Vietnam for over 100 years. Take a tour of the city and see highlights including the Thien Mu Pagoda, the ancient Imperial Citadel, the Royal Mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc and Dong Ba Market.
Ho Chi Minh is known as the father of modern-day Vietnam. Explore what was once the home of Vietnam’s first president. This is an important place of pilgrimage for many Vietnamese people. In the complex, you’ll find Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda.
When visiting Vietnam, trying out the cuisine is a huge must! Vietnamese food is full of flavour and features five distinct tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and hot. Well-known dishes include pho, spring rolls, seafood and Banh mi. Don’t forget to try the coffee – Vietnam is famous for it!
During a visit to Hoi An’s ancient town, learn the art of lantern-making. Lanterns are traditionally shared as gifts. Watch as locals craft delicate lanterns from bamboo and silk – a skill that takes years of practice to master!
See an iconic landmark in the Mekong Delta region! Binh Thuy Ancient House is a French colonial-style house that was built in 1870. Visit the now-famous landmark and see the beautiful building that has served as a backdrop for many movies filmed in Vietnam!
Similar to quite a few countries in South East Asia, Vietnam is well-known for its floating markets. Visit the Cai Rang Floating Market which is the biggest market in the Mekong Delta region! Shop for fresh produce and local goods. Are you a budding photographer? The market is also an incredible spot to snap some fantastic photos!
Wander along the Rau Ram canals. Here you will get a chance to both sightsee and gain some insight into everyday Vietnamese life. During your time in Rau Ram, visit a rice noodle workshop and learn about how this staple of Vietnamese cuisine is produced.
A trip to Vietnam is sure to be unforgettable. If the beautiful scenery and exciting activities above sound right up your alley then it sounds like it’s time for a trip! Experience the unique culture, architecture, cuisine and complex history on a tour to Vietnam.