Mother Nature favors Vietnam with a long and narrow land shape that is filled with various beautiful landscapes. The Vietnamese make it even more special with their fascinating history, cultural diversity and rich cuisine. You might have seen it in some movies, but you will still be surprised by the epic beauty of traveling Vietnam. Our Vietnam travel guides can help you plan your trip and fall in love with the country’s beauty, people, and food.
1. A brief introduction to Vietnam
Vietnam is a beautiful country situated in Southeast Asia, known for its stunning landscape and vibrant culture. The people of Vietnam are friendly, welcoming, and hospitable. So, it is a destination you do not want to miss!
The country boasts a diverse range of tourist destinations such as Ha Long Bay which features magnificent limestone rock formations towering above crystal clear waters; Hoi An, with its old town architecture and amazing food; Ho Chi Minh City or simply Saigon, where one can take a glimpse at fast-paced city life while exploring historical landmarks; etc.
Vietnam offers visitors an unforgettable retreat – be it history buffs, nature enthusiasts, or gastronomy lovers – this country has something for everyone!
2. Vietnam travel guide: The best time to visit Vietnam
The weather in Vietnam varies considerably as you go from north to south, so the exact best time to travel to Vietnam depends on where you will go and what type of vacation you want to enjoy.
Here are some Vietnam weather highlights you should beware of to prepare for your Vietnam travel trip:
- The north of Vietnam: The north of Vietnam has 4 seasons, which are Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. The weather in northern provinces like Hanoi is hot and humid with high rainfall from May to October, and gets cooler and drier from November to April. You may go hiking and see mountains and caves in all seasons, visit beaches in the summer, or wander around cities/provinces in the winter.
- Central Vietnam: The typical climate of central Vietnam is tropical wet climate. This region has dry, hot weather with temperatures of up to mid 30°C from January to August, while September, October, and November often see the highest rainfall. To have a wonderful trip, you should check the weather forecast before packing.
- The south of Vietnam: There are only two seasons here: dry and rainy seasons. It is normally dry and hot from November to April, gets wet and warm from May to October. The highest rainfall happens from June to August. You can go to beaches at any time of the year, visit floating markets in the dry season, or visit fruit orchards in the rainy season.
3. Things to see and do in your Vietnam travel
3.1. Vietnam travel: Catch the sunset at Phu Quoc beaches
Known as one of the best places to visit in Vietnam, Phu Quoc charms visitors embarking on a Vietnam travel trip with scenic landscapes and beautiful beaches. It is also the ideal place to enjoy nature’s beauty when the sun sets in red, slowly sinks into the sea and makes the horizon lit up.
That is why beautiful beaches like Bai Khem, Long Beach,… are home to many nature lovers when afternoon comes. The beach strips in these places are backed by cool cafes and bars that often host music shows with DJs or live bands. Listening to the music, walking around the coast, feeling the wind blowing and watching the glowing water surface at twilight can make you forget about all the hustle and bustle.
To get the most out of your trip to Phu Quoc, do not forget to book a convenient hotel that provides you with a pleasant stay, delicious dishes, and stunning views. Among many accommodation options for you to choose from, Vinpearl Phu Quoc is highly recommended.
Perched at the Long Beach area, Vinpearl Phu Quoc offers visitors captivating views of the sunset at every turn. In addition, Vinpearl Phu Quoc features a system of seven luxurious hotels and resorts coupled with modern amenities, ensuring that you will have an ultimate relaxation experience to recharge your energy for further adventures.
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3.2. Soak up Hoi An’s old-world atmosphere
Having been listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1999, and an Asia's Leading Cultural City Destination at the Global Travel Awards in 2021, Hoi An is unsurprisingly the top-rated Vietnam destination. Here, you will be enchanted by its ancient architecture, cobblestone streets, and unique yellow shop fronts festooned with colorful lanterns.
One of the greatest ways to take in the atmosphere of the Ancient Town is through a leisurely walk around the town. Strolling along the streets of Hoi An is like moving through a living museum, as 844 of the 1107 buildings that make up the townscape are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
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3.3. Vietnam travel: Immerse in Nha Trang turquoise beaches
Nha Trang beaches are known all over the world for their pure beauty. Here you can find some beaches that are gentle and calm, while others have loud and rough waves; each has a unique charm that captures the hearts of all visitors.
The following are some of the most popular beaches in Nha Trang:
- Bai Dai Beach: Due to its isolated location, Bai Dai Beach embraces the tranquility of a pristine land. The magnificence of the turquoise waters meeting the white-sandy beach captivates every tourist that comes here.
- Doc Let Beach: With its proximity to several offshore tiny islands, Doc Let Beach has incredibly calm water and soft sand. The weather here is also pleasant all year round, making this place an ideal destination for a family vacation.
- Bai Tru Beach: The romantic Bai Tru beach is located on Hon Tre Island which looks like a big crocodile when viewed from the mainland. The water here is very calm and peaceful, drawing a larger number of people who come for relaxation each year.
Though each Nha Trang beach has its own charm, they all share one thing in common: clear water kissing the powdery sand. Coming here, you should not miss out on soaking yourself in the water while listening to the whispering sea. This way, your physical and mental health will both be improved.
Other activities you can try at Nha Trang beaches include scuba diving, surfing, canoeing, and do not forget to enjoy the tasty seafood prepared by the locals.
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3.4. Vietnam travel: Tour the Mekong Delta
The mighty Mekong River is one of the best Vietnam places to visit. It flows down from its lofty source in the Tibetan Himalayas through China's Yunnan region, squeezes between Thailand and Laos, and then bends over Cambodia before reaching Vietnam. You will find some of Vietnam's most famous pictures in and around the delta's myriad waterways: shimmering emerald paddy fields, endless horizons punctuated by coconut trees, cone-hatted farmers harvesting fruits from their orchards, and markets running on colorfully painted boats. Those makes the Mekong Delta one of Vietnam's ten most beautiful destinations for your Vietnam trip according to the Rough Guide.
To explore the Mekong Delta to the fullest when you visit Vietnam, you should take a cruise on the main channel between Cai Be and Can Tho, or pay a local fisherman to take you on a tour of the backwaters. The highlight of this land is floating markets, where sellers and buyers gather to buy/sell fresh vegetables and fruits, handicrafts, and daily essential household goods in the early morning. Therefore, you should get up at dawn to catch the sight and sound of this special type of market, when boats of all sizes, shapes, and colors flood the waterway and create a bustling and joyful atmosphere.
The six most popular floating markets of the Mekong include Cho Gao, Phong Dien, Cai Be, Phung Hiep, Nga Nam, and Cai Rang.
3.5. Explore Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon) is the largest commercial hub in Vietnam and one of the most vibrant cities in South East Asia. Saigon is known for its fast-paced lifestyle, lively nightlife, and amazing food culture. Follow the Vietnam travel guide below to enjoy Sai Gon to the fullest:
➟ Top places to see
- Independence Palace: If you are into Vietnamese War history, the Independence Palace will be a not-to-be-missed destination. The site offers visitors a stark glimpse into the realities of the Vietnam War, which are both fascinating and eye-opening.
- Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral: The cathedral was erected with materials imported from France in the late 19th century. It offers a beautiful glimpse of a bygone era in this historic city.
- Nguyen Hue Walking Street: Here, there is a scene to behold at night when thousands of people come to mingle and enjoy a cool, downtown evening with a good view of the impressive surrounding architectural works: the looming Bitexco Tower, the wall of cafes at 42 Nguyen Hue, the monument of Ho Chi Minh, and even the old colonial city hall.
- Rooftop bars: Rooftop bars are becoming increasingly popular in Saigon, and when night falls, the city's light show comes alive. Glow Bar (at the corner of Nguyen Du and Pasteur streets), Chill Sky Bar (at 76 Le Lai), Broma (at 41 Nguyen Hue), etc. are some local favorites. The best time of the day to enter these rooftop bars is at around 6 P.M., when you can watch the sunset and look down to the bustling streets below.
➟ Top foods to try during your Vietnam travel trip to Sai Gon
- Banh Mi (A tasty local sandwich): This is the most popular street food in Ho Chi Minh City. It is made of roasted pork, rice pate, chili, pickle, and fragrant coriander wrapped in a French baguette.
- Com Tam (A filling meal): A dish of Com Tam consists of sticky rice served with either pork, fried eggs, chicken, or prawns, depending on your preference. This complete meal can keep you full for several hours.
- Pho (An utterly delicious soup): This steaming hot soup tempts locals and visitors alike. It is served with raw beef, blanched vegetables, and brisket, and sprinkled with herbs, pepper, chili, lime, and fish sauce.
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3.6. Visit the caves in Phong Nha Ke Bang
Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Quang Binh, Vietnam. This natural gem is home to some of the world's most stunning caves, such as Son Doong Cave. Besides, this region has the most spectacular cave systems in the world, and it will take ages to explore all of them.
Here are some famous caves that you can visit during your trip:
- Phong Nha Cave: It is regarded as one of the most magnificent caves on the planet. Of all the approximate 300 caves in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Phong Nha Cave might be the most appealing due to its various light and temperature features. It is also the longest river cave in the world with an underground river inside.
- Son Doong Cave: The cave was discovered in 2010 and opened to tourists in 2013. It is supposed to be between 2 and 5 million years old. It is the largest cave in the world, measuring 9 kilometers long, 200 meters high, and 150 meters wide, and enormous enough for a plane to fly around inside. Right inside the cave, there are rivers, streams, and even mountains.
- Paradise Cave: With a length of 31 kilometers, this cave is the longest cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and the longest dry cave in Asia. Standing in the midst of the cave, you will be overwhelmed and amazed by the magnificence of the cave, which is why it is known as the Paradise Cave.
3.7. Vietnam travel guide: Wander around Hanoi
According to a report of Booking.com, Hanoi is among the top three most recommended places for an "awe walk" by travelers in Vietnam.
Some ideal destinations for your walking tour around Hanoi include:
- Ba Dinh Square: This is where President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence on September 2, 1945. The Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and Uncle Ho's Stilt House, where the former president lived and worked, are also located in this area.
- Temple of Literature: As Vietnam’s first national university, the temple was built in 1070. It is also one of several temples in Vietnam that are dedicated to Confucius, sages, and scholars.
- Hoan Kiem Lake: Located in the heart of Vietnam's capital, Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi is known for its peaceful beauty, cultural and historical values.
Hanoi also has one of the most unique cuisines in the world due to the colorful flavors. Therefore, while walking around the city, you should fill up your stomach with Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup), Bun cha (Vermicelli Noodle with Grilled Pork), Bun Rieu Cua (Crab Vermicelli Noodle), Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette), Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls), etc.
3.8. Explore Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is among the top Vietnam places to visit. It is famed for its limestone karsts and approximately two thousand islands and islets dotting the turquoise-green waters.
If you are considering a trip to this area, here are some of the top things to do:
- Take a cruise: There is no better way to enjoy the charm of Ha Long Bay than zigzagging amid the bay's tiny islands and limestone cliffs on a cruise. You can take a traditional junk-boat cruise with sails or a more modern yacht-style boat.
- Visit Cat Ba Island: Here you can enjoy a varied landscape that is made up of mangroves, limestone karsts, lush green forests, white sand beaches, and coral reefs.
- Sunbathe at Ti Top Beach: This crescent-shaped beach might not be the largest in Halong Bay, but it is undoubtedly one of the most stunning with white powdery sands and calm turquoise waters.
- Explore caves during your Vietnam travel trip: With cliffs and mountains everywhere, it is no wonder that Halong Bay has an abundance of caves. Thien Cung Cave and Dau Go Grotto, both over two million years old, are two of the most favorite destinations for travelers.
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3.9. Vietnam travel guide: Get adventurous in Sapa
Sapa is famous for its hill tribes, lush vegetation, beautiful hiking trains, and breathtaking mountains. Whether you visit Sapa in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, you can find endless Sapa vacation ideas for any season.
- Go trekking/hiking to villages in Sapa: Sapa features a variety of trekking spots with difficulty levels ranging from easy to hard. Travelers may spend a few hours walking to Ham Rong (Dragon Jaw) Mountain, wandering through the tribal villages along the mountain sides such as Cat Cat or Lao Chai, or trekking to Ta Phin Village, Bac (Silver) Waterfall. You may choose the most suitable route depending on your skills and abilities.
- Climb to Fansipan Mountain in Sapa: Many adventurous tourists to Vietnam dream of conquering Mount Fansipan which is known as “the Roof of Indochina” with 3143 meters in height. It is definitely not an easy trek, but it will reward you with the spectacular vistas of the Hoang Lien mountain range and the pristine natural beauty.
- Bike to villages in Sapa: If long hikes and climbing are not your favorite, you can try cycling to the markets and villages in Sapa. However, as the roads and paths here are pretty steep, you should travel with an experienced tour guide and always follow mountain biking safety tips to enjoy your adventurous biking Vietnam tour.
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3.10. Get relaxed in Da Nang City
Has long been recognized by locals as the most worth-living Vietnam destination, Da Nang has been recently voted by the prestigious travel magazine “Live and Invest Overseas” as one of the top 10 foreign most worth-living places, which further cements Da Nang’s position in the global tourism market.
Here are top Vietnam tourism attractions in Da Nang where you can reconnect with nature and get away from the bustle life:
- Visit the amazing My Khe Beach: The beach was ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Vietnam tourism and also on the planet. It offers tourists an excellent view of a 20-mile white sandy area, the vast blue sky and poetic coconut tree ranges.
- See Son Tra Peninsula during your Vietnam travel trip: The peninsula is a primeval forest with breathtaking scenery and the greatest diverse ecosystems. Standing on top of Son Tra Peninsula, visitors can see the breathtaking panoramic Da Nang city view. You can also enjoy the fresh cool breezes from the sea and the vast space of lush flora.
- Explore Marble Mountains: Known as a natural icon of Da Nang City, Marble Mountains have long been a Buddhist worship site, with a complex of peaks, limestone caves, and temples all waiting to be discovered.
Da Nang is also a paradise for foodies, with hundreds of seafront eateries and street food stalls. Therefore, in your trip to this lively city, do not forget to taste Mi Quang (Vietnamese Turmeric Noodle), Banh Trang Cuon Thit Heo (Sliced pork in rice paper rolls), Bun Mam Nem (Vermicelli salad with pork and anchovy sauce), etc.
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4. Vietnam travel tips: How to get around Vietnam?
You have a variety of choices for getting around Vietnam at low costs:
- Motorbike: Motorbikes are the most common choice of transportation in all cities and rural areas in Vietnam. Vietnamese people use motorbikes to go to work, or travel within a short distance. For travelers, you can rent a motorbike to freely explore your destination during your Vietnam travel journey.
- Taxi: Taxis are the second most popular vehicle in Vietnam, especially on sunny days. The most popular taxi brand at present in Vietnam is Grab, which is similar to Uber but a bit cheaper. To use the app, simply download it from the Appstore and register with your phone number.
- Train/Railway: As the quality of railway transportation in Vietnam meets international standards, it is regarded as a safe means of transportation in Vietnam. Furthermore, the railway covers the whole country from North to South, especially the central coastline, so you can admire the beauty of Vietnam through the train windows.
- Bus: Local buses are popular among backpackers in Vietnam since they are inexpensive and convenient. You may break up the whole Vietnam travel trip into different itineraries and use sleeping buses for each of them.
5. How to enter Vietnam? Vietnam visa requirement
If you are planning on traveling to Vietnam, then you will need to make sure you have the appropriate visa beforehand. Depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit, visa requirements can vary.
For example, US citizens are required to obtain a visa before entering Vietnam for any reason, but citizens from several other countries may be able to enter without a visa for short stays.
Additionally, if you plan on staying longer than 30 days or engaging in certain types of work or activities while in Vietnam, you may need a separate special permit or endorsement added to your basic tourist visa.
To avoid any issues at immigration checkpoints upon arrival, it is best to research the specific requirements for your particular situation well in advance of your trip. Usually though, you will need a valid passport with six months validity and a blank page for the entry stamp.
Whether it is a desire to explore spectacular natural mountains and caves, or soak in the water on sunny-kissed beaches, Vietnam tourism has plenty for you to see and do all year round. Besides the stunning natural landscapes, Vietnam, with its great cuisine and warm-hearted people, will bring you memorable experiences. Hopefully, you will find our Vietnam travel guide useful for your upcoming trip to our land.