Vietnam is an amazing holiday destination due to its stunning natural landscapes, ranging from the terraced fields of mountainous Sa Pa to the beautiful beaches of Da Nang and Phu Quoc. The country’s rich history and culture, evidenced by its ancient temples and bustling street markets, offer travelers endless exploration and a diverse terrain suitable for any season.

Things to See and Do in Vietnam

Visit Halong Bay, renowned for its emerald waters and towering limestone formations.
Explore the ancient town of Hoi An, known for its well-preserved architecture and vibrant night market.
Explore Vietnam's history at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
Savor the street food in Hanoi, particularly the famous Phở noodle soup.
Wander around the Imperial City in Hue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trek through the terraced rice fields of Sa Pa and experience the local hill-tribe culture.

”Hanoi is a beautiful junction of old and new”

“Old Quarter Hanoi is bustling with bars and restaurants”

What to know

Resorts: Luxury resorts are plentiful across the country and offer genuine hospitality, beautiful facilities and a large focus on wellness and spa. Resorts are typically found in the beach areas, like Da Nang and Phu Quoc and offer travelers a luxurious retreat from the major cities.

Hotels: There are thousands of hotels around Vietnam primarily in the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Da Nang also offers a variety of high rise hotels at very low prices.

Self-catering apartments and villas: If you prefer to have more independence and privacy, there are many self-catering apartments in Vietnam via Airbnb and VRBO. Do note any restrictions such as limited towels or paid wifi before booking.

Transportation in Vietnam is incredible easy and fairly affordable. The easiest way to get between major tourist areas is via domestic flight. We booked most of our travel on Vietnam Airlines as most tickets were between 50-100 USD.

Trains are also available depending on the area. Be sure to try the overnight train from Hanoi to Sa Pa.

Private cars and shuttles are also plentiful. Private transfers from cities like Hanoi to Ninh Binh are available for reasonable prices and are more comfortable than buses.

Vietnamese cuisine is a unique culinary experience that reflects the country’s rich history, diverse geography, and vibrant culture. From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, Vietnam offers travelers a endless options across the country.

1. Fresh ingredients play a big role

One of the defining features of Vietnamese cuisine is its emphasis on fresh and wholesome ingredients. The Vietnamese people take pride in using locally sourced, seasonal produce and herbs to create dishes bursting with flavor. Whether it’s a bowl of pho (noodle soup) or a plate of spring rolls, you can expect vibrant herbs like cilantro, mint, and basil to play a central role in enhancing the taste of your meal.

2. Balance of Flavors:

Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its harmonious balance of flavors. Every dish is a careful interplay of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy elements. For example, the iconic dipping sauce, nuoc cham, combines fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chilies, creating a symphony of tastes that accompany many Vietnamese dishes.

3. Street Food Heaven:

Vietnam is a street food paradise. As you explore the bustling streets of cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll find an array of street vendors and food stalls offering a wide variety of dishes. Be sure to try banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich), bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), and banh xeo (crispy rice pancakes) for an authentic street food experience.

4. Noodles are a staple:

Noodles are a staple in Vietnamese cuisine. Whether they’re used in soups, stir-fries, or cold salads, you’ll find an abundance of noodle dishes to satisfy your cravings. Pho, a flavorful beef or chicken noodle soup, is a must-try, as is bun thit nuong (grilled pork with vermicelli noodles) and mi quang (turmeric-infused noodle dish).

5. Seafood wins:

With its extensive coastline, Vietnam boasts a bounty of fresh seafood. Coastal regions like Da Nang and Nha Trang are renowned for their seafood specialties. Don’t miss out on dishes like ca kho to (caramelized fish in clay pot) and goi cuon (fresh spring rolls with shrimp and herbs).

6. Unique Desserts:

Vietnamese desserts offer a delightful end to your culinary journey. Try che, a sweet and refreshing dessert soup made from a variety of ingredients such as beans, fruits, and jellies. Another popular treat is the crispy and sweet banh cam (sesame balls), perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

7. Coffee Culture:

Vietnam takes its coffee seriously, and the coffee culture here is a must-experience. Sip on ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk) or try the uniquely Vietnamese egg coffee for a sweet and creamy caffeine fix.

Night markets and shopping areas are very common in the major cities and keep in mind that bargaining is part of the culture and very fun to try out.

  1. Street Markets: Vietnam is famous for its bustling street markets, where you can find a variety of goods at affordable prices. Some of the popular markets include:
    • Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City
    • Hanoi Old Quarter’s Night Market
    • Hoi An Night Market
    • Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi
  2. Traditional Crafts: Vietnam is known for its traditional crafts and artisanal products. You can shop for items such as silk clothing, lacquerware, pottery, conical hats (nón lá), and intricate woodwork.
  3. Clothing and Textiles: Vietnamese clothing and textiles are diverse and often reflect the local culture. Ao dai, the traditional Vietnamese dress, is a popular choice among tourists. You can also find affordable tailor shops in cities like Hoi An, where you can have custom-made clothing.
  4. Street Food and Snacks: Vietnam is famous for its street food culture, and you can find a variety of local snacks and delicacies in markets and on street corners. Popular snacks include banh mi sandwiches, pho, spring rolls, and fresh fruit.

Vietnamese culture is rich and diverse, with a long history influenced by various factors including Chinese, French, and indigenous traditions. When visiting Vietnam, it’s important to respect and appreciate the local culture. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

  • Greet people with a friendly “Xin chào” (pronounced “sin chow”) or “Chào anh/chị/em” (for Mr./Mrs./Miss).
  • A slight bow or a nod of the head is a sign of respect.
  • When receiving something from someone, use both hands to show gratitude.
  • Remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple.

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Typical costs

When it comes to food, Vietnam is overall very affordable. Street food is a major part of Vietnamese culture, and you can find delicious meals such as Phở or Bánh mì for as little as 20,000 to 30,000 VND (around $1-2 USD). For sit-down restaurants, expect to pay around 100,000 to 200,000 VND (around $5-10 USD) per meal, though prices can be higher in touristy areas or for specialty dishes.

Accommodations in Vietnam offer a wide range of options for different budgets. For backpackers, hostels can be as cheap as 100,000 to 200,000 VND ($5-10 USD) per night. Mid-range hotels offer rooms for around 500,000 to 1,000,000 VND ($20-50 USD) per night, and luxury accommodations can go from 2,000,000 VND ($90 USD) and above. It’s worth noting that many hotels and hostels include breakfast in their rates.

As for activities, prices vary depending on the type of experience you’re seeking. Museum entrance fees typically range from 30,000 to 40,000 VND ($1-2 USD). A guided tour to popular sites like the Halong Bay can cost around 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 VND ($45-90 USD), including transportation and often meals. Adventure activities such as trekking tours in Sa Pa can vary significantly in cost, depending on the length of the trek and the level of service provided.

Suggested daily budget – Luxury travelers should anticipate a daily budget of around 7,000,000 to 10,000,000 VND ($300-430 USD). This estimate includes luxury accommodation, fine dining experiences, private tours, and high-end shopping.

When to Travel
Vietnam Seasons

The best time to visit Vietnam varies depending on the region due to its geographical stretch. Generally, the dry season from November to April is considered ideal. Northern Vietnam, including Hanoi and Halong Bay, is cooler and can be visited from October to December. For central regions like Hoi An and Hue, the period between February and May is typically warm and dry. Southern parts like Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta are best visited from December to April when humidity is low and temperatures are moderate.

Travel Tips

Ha Long Bay Cruise Be sure to spend 1-2 nights on Ha Long Bay on one of the famous cruises. Capella and similar companies offer incredible experiences boating around the landscape with gourmet cuisine, pools and activities.
Stay in 5 star resorts Take advantage of the country's world-class resorts, especially along the coastal areas like Da Nang and Nha Trang. These properties offer top-notch accommodations with stunning ocean views, private pools, and spa services at reasonable prices.
Hire private guides Hire a private guide for personalized tours of cultural and historical sites. This will allow you to fully appreciate the richness of Vietnam's history and culture without the crowds
Head to Sa Pa Take the train to Sa Pa to have a unique experience traveling from Hanoi to the mountainous terrain of the north. The overnight train arrives in Sa Pa early morning, allowing you an extra day to explore.

Luxury Hotel Reviews

Check out some of our recent hotel reviews.

How to plan your trip

The first step in planning your trip to Vietnam should be to determine the length of the trip and dates you want to go. This will allow you to see how many different areas of Vietnam you can hit in one go. If you want to explore Hanoi + Sa Pa, you can do that in 5-7 days. To extend beyond that to Da Nang or some of the southern regions, tack on a minimum of an extra week.

Consider your transport options within Vietnam. The country has an extensive train network, and domestic flights are relatively inexpensive. If you’re feeling adventurous, motorcycle rental is a popular option and provides a great deal of freedom to explore. However, be aware that traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic and driving is not for the faint-hearted. Alternatively, taxis and rideshare apps are plentiful in the cities, and many tour operators offer bus services to key tourist sites.

If you are looking for some help planning the perfect Vietnam trip, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on instagram over over email! We can help you put together the perfect itinerary.

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