Vietnam is a fascinating country with a rich culture, a turbulent history, and a diverse landscape. Whether you are looking for natural wonders, historical sites, or culinary delights, Vietnam has something for everyone. Here are some of the best things to do in Vietnam that you should not miss.
- Cruise Halong Bay
Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most recognizable sites. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features thousands of limestone islands and karsts rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. You can take a cruise on a traditional junk boat or a luxury vessel and enjoy the scenic views, the caves, the floating villages, and the sunset. Halong Bay is also a popular destination for kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking.
- Explore the Phong Nha Caves
In central Vietnam, there is a collection of caves to explore. The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is home to the largest cave in the world, Son Doong Cave, which can fit a Boeing 747 inside. You can also visit other impressive caves such as Paradise Cave, Dark Cave, and Phong Nha Cave. The caves are filled with stalactites, stalagmites, underground rivers, and natural skylights. You can join a guided tour or an adventure expedition to explore these natural wonders.
- Wander the Old Quarter of Hanoi
Located in northern Vietnam, Hanoi is such a joy to wander. The Old Quarter is the heart of the city, where you can find narrow streets lined with shops, cafes, temples, and colonial buildings. You can also visit the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the One Pillar Pagoda. Hanoi is also a great place to sample some of the best street food in Vietnam, such as pho, banh mi, bun cha, and egg coffee.
- Dine on Vietnamese Cuisine
Vietnamese cuisine is one of the most delicious and healthy in the world. It is characterized by fresh ingredients, herbs, spices, and sauces. You can find a variety of dishes from different regions of Vietnam, such as spring rolls, rice noodles, rice paper wraps, hot pots, and grilled meats. Some of the most famous dishes are pho (noodle soup), banh mi (sandwich), bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup), cao lau (noodles with pork and herbs), and banh xeo (crispy pancake).
- Cruise the Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam, where the Mekong River splits into nine branches before flowing into the sea. It is a fertile area that produces most of Vietnam’s rice, fruits, and vegetables. You can take a cruise on a sampan (a wooden boat) and explore the canals, islands, villages, and markets of the delta. You can also visit some of the attractions such as the Cai Rang Floating Market, the Vinh Trang Pagoda, and the Tra Su Bird Sanctuary.
- Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island is a tropical paradise in the Gulf of Thailand. It is known for its white sand beaches, clear water, coral reefs, and lush forests. You can relax on the beach or enjoy some water activities such as snorkeling, diving, fishing, and kayaking. You can also visit some of the attractions such as the Phu Quoc National Park, the Suoi Tranh Waterfall, the Dinh Cau Temple, and the Phu Quoc Prison Museum.
- Trekking in Sapa
Sapa is a mountainous town in northern Vietnam that offers stunning views of rice terraces and ethnic minority villages. You can trek through the hills and valleys and interact with the local people who belong to different groups such as Hmong, Dao, Tay, and Giay. You can also visit some of the attractions such as the Fansipan Mountain (the highest peak in Indochina), the Cat Cat Village (a traditional Hmong village), and the Bac Ha Market (a colorful weekly market).
- Tour the Imperial City of Hue
Hue was once the capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves many historical monuments and cultural relics. You can tour the Imperial City (a walled citadel that contains palaces, temples,
and tombs), the Thien Mu Pagoda (a seven-story tower that overlooks the Perfume River), and the Tomb of Tu Duc (a lavish mausoleum that reflects the emperor’s life).
- Visit Hoi An
Hoi An is another UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases Vietnam’s ancient charm. It is an old port town that features well-preserved buildings from different periods and cultures such as Chinese, Japanese, and French. You can stroll along the lantern-lit streets and admire the architecture, the bridges, and the river. You can also shop for souvenirs, tailor-made clothes, and handicrafts. Hoi An is also famous for its cuisine, such as cao lau, white rose dumplings, and chicken rice.
- See Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the largest and most dynamic city in Vietnam. It is a blend of modern skyscrapers, French colonial buildings, and traditional markets. You can see some of the landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, the Reunification Palace, and the War Remnants Museum. You can also experience the nightlife, the shopping, and the street food of Ho Chi Minh City.
These are just some of the amazing things to do in Vietnam. There are many more to discover and enjoy. Vietnam is a country that will surprise you with its beauty, diversity, and hospitality.