Vietnam is completely unlike anywhere else you will ever travel to. The natural beauty of the country paired with endless adventure and the unique culture makes it truly one of a kind. From the dramatic limestone islands of Ha Long Bay to the HISTORY-RICH cities there is something for everyone in this stunning Southeast Asian country. Keep reading for 9 unforgettable things to do in Vietnam.
Go Hiking in Sapa
Trekking through the Muong Hoa Valley is a MUST when in Northern Vietnam. The views are breath taking and the rich local culture is unbelievable. Sapa is located approximately 3150 m above sea level so the climate is cool and wet for most of the year. Many tour operators based out of Hanoi and Sapa will book excursions to see this valley.
Another hike well worth doing is Mount Fansipan. The highest mountain in Indochina can be summited in 2 days with a local tour company or guide for around $125 USD. You will hike a total distance of 20 km and gain about 1140 meters of elevation; but the views are absolutely worth the climb!
Take a Street Food Tour in Hanoi
Especially if you are starting your trip in Northern Vietnam; a street food tour is an excellent way to learn about the best local food and where to find it. Trust me.. these skills will come in handy for the rest of your trip. They are relatively inexpensive (around $20 USD per person) and sure to broaden your food horizon.
Marvel at Ha Long Bay
Famous for gorgeous emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands; Ha Long Bay is a place you will dream about for years after your visit. There are numerous activities including scuba diving, free solo climbing and tons of different water sports. You can choose to take a cruise through the islands or even stay overnight on a select few.
Go Shopping in Hoi An
Also known as the city of lanterns; this wonderfully unique place is famed for its night markets, custom tailors and well preserved Ancient Town. Some of our favourite things to do included creating custom clothing, exploring the markets and walking the picturesque lantern-lit streets.
Explore Caves in Phong Nha National Park
Phong Nha National Park is located in the north-central coastal region of Vietnam. Picture over 2,000 square kilometers of mountains, limestone forests, lakes, turquoise rivers and caves with the famous karst formations. These unique formations are what this park was put into place to protect and what makes caving in Vietnam so special. Three hundred caves have been discovered throughout the area including the largest in the world, Son Doong Cave.
Caving tours range from 2-5 days and include all your food, water and tenting gear. The trails that make up the National Park are somewhat maintained, but since the forest grows so fast it is always overgrown to some degree. Some of the trails have bridges and ladders to help you scale mountain ledges or climb up cave walls. You will literally be wading through rivers, swimming through caves, and sliding through mud holes; so get ready for the adventure of a lifetime! For more info on our caving trip and which company we recommend; check out the link below.
Take a Day Trip To Ba Na Hills
Ba Na Hills is a relatively new mountaintop resort complex about 90 minutes drive from Hoi An. To get there; rent a motorbike, take a private car or visit Ba Na Hills as part of a tour. Top attractions include riding the longest cable car in the world, The Alpine Roller Coaster, strolling through the french village and of course visiting the iconic Golden Bridge. TIP: The crowds can get a bit insane; so plan to go first thing on a weekday.
Soak up the History in Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a bustling city in southern Vietnam. From here you can take tours to many different temples and historic museums. I would highly recommend taking a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels to learn about the American War and see how the Vietnamese lived and fought during that time.
Get Adventurous in Mui Ne
Mui Ne is a small beach town known across the country for kite-surfing, sailing and spectacular sand dunes. The white sand dunes are larger and more impressive than the red; but they are both worth the visit if you can swing it! Morning and evening half-day jeep tours are available from a variety of vendors for a super reasonable rate (around $10 USD per person).
Relax on Phu Quoc Island
If you have time to travel down to Phu Quoc I would highly recommend it. This island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and a laid-back vibe you can’t beat. Rent a scooter and spend your days exploring white sand beaches while stopping in small towns along the way. They also have a great night market featuring tons of local dishes and seafood.