Why you should travel to Vietnam soon? Where should one even begin? With its vibrant energy, fascinating landscapes, history, and tasty cuisine, Vietnam will pull you in from all angles - millions of scooters, green rice terraces, Vietnamese hats and coffee, the teeming helpful locals, and enjoying a bowl of Pho somewhere on chaotic Train Street - Close to the place where Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama sat on plastic stools to eat noodles and drink beer together. Honestly! Vietnam feels like a trip you've never taken before!
Our blog will give you an insight, not only into the places to visit in Vietnam but highlight the best places to visit in Vietnam along with the top things to do in Vietnam.
7 Days Trip To Vietnam
Want an inexpensive vacation but can't decide between a lively metropolis with entertainment and a peaceful destination with picture-perfect beaches? Why not go from North to South Vietnam in a week and experience the best of both worlds? You are sure to be happy with BOTH the retail therapy and beach escape that await you with an extensive itinerary spanning three main cities in Vietnam!
Day 1: Hanoi
Once you land in Hanoi, you can start by visiting the Hanoi Old Quarter, which is considered the city’s business hub and main tourist destination. In the evening, you can enjoy a water puppet show, a representation of a traditional Vietnamese theater show that dates back centuries.
Day2: Hanoi - Halong Bay
Enjoy an overnight cruise and witness more than 3,000 limestone islands rising majestically out of the turquoise bay. Enjoy lunch and dinner on board, while enjoying the beautiful sights of Sail Island, Fighting Cocks Island, Dog Stone Island, and Thien Cung Cave - the biggest and most beautiful cave on the bay.
Day3: Halong Bay - Hanoi
Explore the glorious and magnificent caves such as Sung Sot, Thien Cung, Dau Go, and Trinh Nu to admire mother nature. Later in the evening, hop on the same cruise to go back to Hanoi.
Day4: Hanoi City Tour
Explore Hanoi by visiting the Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts, One Pillar Pagoda, The Temple of Literature, and The Ethnology Museum which gives an excellent overview of the country's ethnic groups, their customs, and ways of life. Later, take an evening flight to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon.
Day 5: Full-day tour in Ho Chi Minh City
Today you can explore the Cu Chi Tunnels - an elaborate underground network of 250 km of tunnels/chambers below the city and explore the maze of tunnels to see how the Vietnamese survived in this underground network during the twenty years long Vietnam War. Thereafter visit, the Reunification Palace of the President of South Vietnam, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and The Saigon Central Post Office, a classic French colonial structure that is still a functioning post office today followed by visiting War Remnant Museum. You may end your day, by visiting Ben Thanh Market, an icon of the city, from tourist kitsch to true bargains, it is a definite must-see.
Day 6: A day around Mekong Delta
Head south to My Tho, Tien Giang Province. Take a boat trip along the Mekong River, also referred to as ‘the rice bowl of Vietnam’, and explore the fishing village and 4 islands of Dragon, Unicorn, Turtle, and Phoenix for sightseeing. You may also visit Quoi - a bee farm, and handicraft workshops and listen to traditional music by local inhabitants. You may enjoy the nightlife in the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City which is famous for its clubs.
Day 7: Departure
Take an evening flight out of Vietnam, and utilize the first half for shopping in Ho Chi Minh City which has all the popular luxury brands available.
Want to know how we spent our 7 Days in Vietnam? Click the link below to get our detailed itinerary :
Popular destinations in Vietnam
- Why Halong Bay is famous?
There are a lot of caves that can be entered including the Hang Sung Sot, with three mammoth sinkholes, and the Hang Dao Go. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions.
A few of the highlights include:
-Day, overnight, and multi-day cruises
-Nearly 1,700 mostly deserted islands
-Scenic seaplane fights
-Kayaking, swimming, cycling
Ho Chi Minh City
- Is Ho Chi Minh City good for tourists?
There are plenty of museums showcasing the country's dark wartime history and classic colonial architecture built by former French rulers. Also known as Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam, named after Vietnam’s beloved revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh City is its beating heart, where modern skyscrapers overlook tree-lined boulevards, the winding Saigon River, and lovely colonial-era heritage buildings.
Here are a few of the highlights of the city:
-Ben Thanh Market
-Central Post Office
-Bui Vien Backpacker Street
-Cu Chi Tunnels
-Bui Vien Walking Street
There's increasingly present-day history to be found in its French pilgrim period legacy structures, including the ravishing Hanoi Opera House. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a grave landmark to Vietnam's most darling pioneer whose very much saved body can be seen inside.
A few highlights of the city are:
-Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
-Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
-Hoan Kiem Lake
-Hanoi Opera House
-Temple of Literature
- Is Hue worth visiting in Vietnam?
Hue is worth visiting if only for its sprawling imperial palaces and for its culinary delights, namely Bun Bo Hue beef soup. Hue also occupies a sweet spot in Vietnam.
Pronounced as 'hway', this profoundly reminiscent capital of the Nguyen's heads comes under central Vietnam. A nature lover will appreciate exploring the mountains, sea shores, and tidal ponds while history buffs can take their pick from supreme tombs and sanctuaries to Vietnam War-time battlegrounds.
A few highlights of the city are:
-Boat Trip on the Perfume River
-Thien Mu Pagoda
- Why is Hoi An famous?
Graceful, historic Hoi An is Vietnam’s most atmospheric and delightful town. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. Once a major port, it boasts the grand architecture and beguiling riverside setting that befits its heritage. It’s also blessed with quiet beaches, idyllic countryside, and literally hundreds of talented tailors and leather craftsmen, all within a compact area.
A few highlights of Hoi An are as followed:
-Cua Dai and An Bang Beaches
-Historic Ancient Town
-Japanese Covered Bridge
-Hoi An Night Market
-My Son Temple Complex
Unique experiences in Vietnam
Don’t leave Vietnam without trying these five authentic experiences:
- Watch a cultural show: Don’t miss Hanoi’s famous water puppets or the bamboo contemporary circus by Lune Productions.
- Nightlife in Saigon: Ho Chi Minh/Saigon is a city that never sleeps. You may think the city is amazing and bustling during the day, but the night takes it to a whole new level. Downtown in District 1, rooftop bars, high-rolling casinos, and smooth jazz bands are the choice forms of nightlife entertainment in Saigon. But move a few kilometers west into District 3 and the backpacker street of Pham Ngu Lao, with its boisterous street bars, cheap eats, and good time vibe, is certainly the place to be when night falls.
WOW Pro Tip: Ho Chi Minh is not considered very safe at night. Hence, it's recommended that you do not carry a lot of money or passport during your visiting the clubs in the night, and carry a cross shoulder sling bag.
- Take a motorcycle ride: This is a must-do all over Vietnam but especially in Ho Chi Minh City, with its endless energy and beautiful city lights.
- Vietnamese coffee: As the second biggest producer of coffee in the world, Vietnamese coffee comes with sweetened condensed milk. It’s also an integral part of the culture, served in cafes and drum-roll..on the street, of course.
- Visit a pagoda: Vietnam has a fascinating spiritual history told through a vast range of temples, pagodas, churches, and spiritual places.
Best places to Visit in Vietnam
- Reunification Palace: This Palace was the base of Vietnamese General Ngo Dinh Diem until his death in 1963. It made its name in global history in 1975. A tank belonging to the North Vietnamese Army crashed through its main gate, ending the Vietnam War. Today, it's a must-visit for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral: Built in the late 1880s by French colonists, is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in largely Buddhist Vietnam, located in Paris Square, the name Notre Dame was given after the installation of the statue ‘Peaceful Notre Dame’ in 1959.
- The Central Post Office: This Post office in Ho Chi Minh is a beautifully preserved remnant of French colonial times and perhaps the grandest post office in all of Southeast Asia. The building was designed by Alfred Foulhoux and features arched windows and wooden shutters, just as it would have in its heyday in the late 19th Century.
- Cu Chi Tunnels: These tunnels are now an iconic attraction of the city and are an elaborate underground network of over 120km of underground tunnels, with trapdoors, living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, armory, hospitals, and command centers.
WOW Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes/ sneakers as one has to walk a lot through the muddy jungle. Carry a hand sanitizer for maintaining hygiene after exploring those tunnels and a travel size face-wash & hand towel too to quickly refresh yourself in the humid weather even in the winter months.
- Mekong Delta: Also known as the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam, carpeted in a dizzying variety of greens. It's a water world that moves to the rhythms of the mighty Mekong, where boats, houses, and markets float upon the innumerable rivers, canals, and streams that crisscross the landscape like arteries.
WOW Pro Tip: Be very careful while sitting on the long boats through the Mekong Delta and do not dip your hand in water which has snakes & other reptiles. Wear comfortable clothing to be able to enjoy the ride completely.
- Da Nang (Golden Bridge): Stroll along the Han riverfront and you'll find spectacular bridges now span the river, and in the north of the city, the landmark new D-City is rising from the flatland. The city itself still has conventional sightseeing spots for travelers, a few days enjoying the city’s beaches, restaurants, and amazing nightlife. The city's street-food scene also deserves close investigation.
- Danang beach: It is renowned for its clean, warm water year-round, pure white sand, mild slope, and stunning spots surrounded by coconut trees. Because of the tranquility, beauty, and relaxation all around you, Forbes Magazine it as "one of the most appealing beaches on the earth."
The highlight of Da Nang is the Golden Bridge
This beautiful golden bridge with two hands hewn out of rock overlooking the mountains seemed to capture everyone’s imagination. The bridge is everything you’d expect and more. As you make your entry by cable car, you’ll just about see the bridge in the distance as you approach the mountain. More than likely if you have come early morning it will be shrouded in fog. As soon as you walk out the doors you’ll realize that they couldn’t have picked a better spot. You’ll enjoy the longest cable car in the world (over 5km) and is also the highest elevation by cable car from start to end.
- Ben Thanh Market: This is the city's biggest, most authentic market. You can find almost anything you need here, from basic supplies to souvenirs. The outstanding food and the people-watching are great even if you don't buy anything. At 06:00 PM, the doors close to this universe but then another one opens, the Ben Thanh Night Market. Nearby is the famous Street-food Market – with a wider array of local and fusion dishes. There are clubs and bars or cafes and parks – You may enjoy it all at the best of your mood and taste.
What is traditional Vietnamese food?
- Travel around Vietnam, and you'll find that tastes and dishes vary from North to South.
- In the capital, locals may lunch on bún chả with slices of pork belly, while the Saigonese wolf down bánh xèo (crispy pancakes) rolled with greens and dipped in sweet-and-sour fish sauce.
- In the former Imperial City, meaty bún bò Huế is a breakfast favorite, while in Hội An, you can’t beat a bowl of toothsome Cao lầu noodles for a quick snack.
WOW Pro Tip: Do NOT miss the most popular dish in all of Vietnam, Pho. Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles, a few herbs, and meat. It is a popular street dish in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Pho is primarily served with either beef or chicken.
Travel Tips for Vietnam
- What are the best months to visit Vietnam?
Vietnam is home to several distinct climate patterns from north to south. The best weather to visit Vietnam is from November to February when the temperatures are cooler than the rest of the year. Hanoi is cooler than Ho Chi Minh, where you might require a light jacket during early mornings & late nights, in the winter months.
WOW Pro Tip: Carry a light jacket for Hanoi & around and breathable cottons for Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta & Cu Chi tunnels.
- What is Vietnam's main currency?
- The Vietnamese currency is the Vietnamese Dong which should be used for local markets, coffee shops, sim cards, local food purchases, etc which will help you bargain in the best possible way.
- USD is the most widely and easily exchanged currency in Vietnam, as it is in the majority of Asia, with the Euro as a distant second.
- British pounds, Canadian dollars, or Australian dollars are not widely accepted in either banks or hotels, and where they are the exchange rate is unfavorable.
- Is a visa required for Vietnam from India?
- Indian passport holders need a visa in order to travel to Vietnam. Vietnam has recently allowed e-Visa and visa-on-arrival facilities for all Indian passport holders, this special and swift facility is intended to boost tourism by making procedures hassle-free and simple, and lucid to understand and follow.
- The visa-on-arrival facility, however, is available only upon entry into Vietnam by air, all other modes of entry currently do not permit a visa-on-arrival facility, hence, in case of arrival by sea/road/rail, you need to apply for an e-visa.
- An e-visa of Vietnam is valid for 30 days with a single entry, and "visa on arrival" is the option you should choose for multiple entries or a stay in excess of 30 days.
- In order to get a visa on arrival at the international airport of Vietnam, you must get a visa approval letter from Vietnam Immigration via a travel company or your partner in Vietnam.
- Where to stay in Vietnam first time?
- Flower Garden Hotel Hanoi
- Mulberry Collection Silk Village Hotel Hoi
- An Eden Saigon Hotel Ho chi minh
- Tara Angkor Hotel Siem Riep
- Recommended restaurants and the best dishes they serve in Vietnam
- Veg/Non-Veg Pho at local Vietnamese restaurants
- Tandoor, Ho Chi Minh
- Neary Khmer Siem Riep
Main spots to visit for good pictures or views in Vietnam:
Golden bridge & Hoi An at night
Facts about Vietnam
- Vietnam War continued for as long as 20 years. If you are a history buff, you can read books on the Vietnam War or catch a movie. Top movies: We were Soldiers, Platoon, Born of the Fourth of July. Top Books: A Rumor of War, The things they carried, The sorrow of war, The Fields of Fire.
- The world’s second largest caves are situated in Vietnam: The Son Doong caves are so big that a Boeing 747 could fly through its largest cavern.
- Vietnam has a literacy level of 97.3%: Even though Vietnam is a very poor country, they proudly boast a literacy rate of 97.3% for adults aged 15 - 50 years of age.
- Vietnamese flag with a meaning: Consisting of a golden star with five points, the different points represent farmers, workers, intellectuals, youth, and soldiers. The red background pays tribute to the bloodshed during the wars.
- Vietnam is the best place for coffee lovers: They are the second-largest producer of coffee in the world and own approximately 20% of the coffee market share.
Shopping in Vietnam
Some folks love Vietnam shopping for clothing while others love trinkets. Here is a taste of what to buy in Vietnam so you can get an idea of what to spend on.
- Silk Clothing, Embroidery, and Fabric: One thing foreigners love about Vietnam markets is the wide variety of vibrant silk fabrics everywhere. Look for scarves, pants, shirts, and dresses.
- Paintings and Artwork: Vietnam has no shortage of amazing artists selling lacquer or sand paintings.
- War Relics: History lovers will love browsing the combat boots, uniforms, helmets, Zippos, and other war surplus gear.
- Lacquer-ware and Ceramics: Between dishes, vases, and tea sets, you’ll have trouble closing your suitcase with all these ceramic or lacquer things to buy in Vietnam.
- Conical Hats: These traditional hats date back 3,000 years so you’ll probably want to snag one on your Vietnam shopping adventure.
- Unique Paper Products: Postcards, pop-up pictures, and bamboo notebooks. These interesting things to buy in Vietnam are definitely worth the small amount of money.
- Wooden Clogs: You don’t see Vietnamese people wearing these too often outside of ceremonies, but they make a pretty cool souvenir.
Add on Destination
While you're visiting Vietnam, it is a fabulous idea to team it up and visit its very interesting neighbor, Cambodia! Cambodia is well known around the world, for its ancient temples and rocking nightlife. There are frequent flights to Cambodia from both Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh city. Read more about Cambodia on our blog, The Wonders of Ancient Cambodia.
Vietnam, it's a country strong, alive, proud, and cheerful. Vietnam is an anomaly from every perspective. One who has been there will never forget it!
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