To choose your next destination in Vietnam for your Vietnam Itinerary, you will need to think about what interests you. Do you want to spend your holiday on the beautiful beaches? Or in some authentic Viet rural areas? Ancient ruins? Vietnam War locations? The stifling Mekong Delta? Or do you just want to experience the bustling and hustling capital? Find what fancies you can be difficult so read on as each region of Vietnam will be revealed in this post.
Do you interest in ancient temple and paddy fields? Ninh Binh at North Vietnam might the best (insta: gingerspierings)
Each of the 3 regions of Vietnam has its distinct differences in culture and climate. The north tends to experience cool, damp winters and hot dry summers, whereas the south has more of a consistent tropical climate that is broken by a rainy season between May and November.
North or South Vietnam better for travel
Both North and South Vietnam have unique attractions and experiences to offer, so it really depends on what you’re looking for as a traveler.
North Vietnam is known for its rich history, cultural sites, and stunning natural scenery. In Hanoi, you can visit historical landmarks like the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature, explore the charming Old Quarter, and experience traditional water puppet shows. You can also take a day trip to Ninh Binh to see the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex and the Bai Dinh Pagoda. Meanwhile, Halong Bay is one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam, known for its beautiful limestone islands and emerald waters.
In contrast, South Vietnam is more modern and cosmopolitan, with bustling cities like Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and dynamic cultural attractions. In Ho Chi Minh City, you can visit the War Remnants Museum, the Cu Chi Tunnels, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Mekong Delta is also a popular destination in the south, known for its scenic waterways, floating markets, and rural villages.
Ultimately, both regions have their own unique charms and attractions, and it really depends on your personal preferences as a traveler. You can also consider combining both North and South Vietnam to experience the best of both worlds.
1. Northern Vietnam
An ideal time to visit North Vietnam is between August to December when it isn’t too humid and not yet cold. Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam tends to be really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter.
For the foodie lovers, Northern Vietnam is the birthplace of some of the signature dishes of the country such as pho, banh cuon, bun rieu, and bun cha. The most famous dish is properly pho – the world-wide famous dish of Vietnam. Locals enjoy Pho at any time of the day and you can find delicious Pho everywhere in Hanoi.
As the cosmopolitan capital of Vietnam, many visitors fly into Hanoi and use it as the starting point to explore the country’s northern regions. With its rich history of more than a thousand year, Hanoi is home to ancient Buddhist temples, national museums, and long and varied traditions.
Planning your itinerary for Hanoi for the first time
Don’t skip the ancient Hanoi – capital city of Vietnam!
Hanoi Old Quarter – the busiest hub of this capital is well worth a visit. Remained the old value, all the streets are named after the various trades and retail goods once sold on them. This is also where most festivals in the city are held.
For the eager backpacker, the Vietnamese capital does offer some amazing sights, as well as some amazing food! Most travelers to Northern Vietnam choose Hanoi as the home base and then go to Sapa, a mountainous rural area that can be reached by train, and Halong Bay, the ever-touristy UNESCO World Heritage Site, which can be reached from Hanoi by car in a few hours.
Halong Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its outstanding natural beauty and unique biological importance. Cruising along Halong Bay, you will encounter formations of limestone islands rising from the emerald sea water. It’s a dramatic sight you cannot miss.
Many of the rocks are hollow, with huge caves clustered inside them. Some sea activities are popular here such as kayaking, swimming, and rock climbing. Kayaking is a fun thing to do to explore this area.
Halong Bay will be a good choice if you love water activities
If small traditional towns with mountain views and majestic scenery of rice terraces are what draw you to Vietnam, then head to Sapa. From Hanoi, you can go to Sapa by bus or night train but remind that this is a long hours journey.
However, it’s worth it though, as Sapa feels like a step back in time to a more traditional Vietnam. Here you can find the ethnic minorities of Vietnam with their unique traditions, culture, foods and customs. The locals are friendly and visitors can trek by verdant rice paddies, dense forests, and spectacular waterfalls.
Planning your itinerary for Hanoi for the first time
2. Central Vietnam
Different from North Vietnam, Central Vietnam is most well-known to have amazing beaches and plenty of luxury hotel resorts. But don’t worry if you’re budget travelers, there are enough attractions here in the central parts of the country to keep you occupied.
Central Vietnamese cuisine is noted for being bold while retaining some of the flavor and techniques you commonly find in the south. Central Vietnamese cuisine the spiciest, flavorful and complex in the country. Some of Vietnam’s signature dishes produced in the region include bun bo hue (soup containing rice vermicelli and beef), mi quang (part noodle, part salad with an assortment of vegetables), cao lau (another noodle dish with pork and local greens) and banh khoai (cake made from cassava, sugar, salt and coconut milk).
Da Nang – the fourth largest city in Vietnam – marks the halfway point between the capital in the north, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Da Nang’s coastline stretches 30 kilometers, renowned for calm, cool waters and also popular for fishing, water-skiing, diving, and yachting. Some of the main destinations that keep travelers coming here are the well-known My Khe Beach, Lang Co Beach, My Son.
Dragon Bridge across Han River is a wonderful attraction for tourists
The beautiful Lang Co Beach is lined with palm trees, crystal-clear ocean water lapping onto white sand. It is a peninsula with a sparkling lagoon on one side, and the beach on the other. Lang Co Beach is fairly under-developed, and you can see the pure beautiful nature untouched by human here.
Another beach in Da Nang, My Khe Beach is more developed than Lang Co Beach. This beach used to be a popular spot for American soldiers seeking entertainment during the Vietnam War. Lots of water activities take happen here so that the beach can get very crowded over weekends and holidays.
Used to be the capital of Vietnam in the old days, this deeply evocative city still resonates with the glories of imperial Vietnam, even though many of its finest buildings were destroyed during wars. In Hue, we have the old Imperial City, with its regal relics on display for all to see. Also the splendid royal tombs, where Emperors of old are buried and remembered.
The charming old capital will make you fall in love at the sight
Hue owes its charm partly to its location on the Perfume River – picturesque on a clear day, atmospheric even in less flattering weather. Hue remains a tranquil, conservative city with just the right concentration of nightlife.
Hue definitely has a different vibe from any other cities in the country. Hence, it comes as no surprise, then, to discover that Hue is a firm favorite among backpackers.
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Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. As an ancient town, Hoi An has its rich value of history and culture. Its buildings and streets reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
There is no train or flight that go directly to Hoi An. You can only hire a taxi or hire a motorbike from Da Nang and then go to Hoi An Ancient Town. We have a wide selection of hotels for you to choose from in both Cua Dai Beach and Hoi An City, whatever suits your pocket and style.
>>> See more: Top Things to Do in Hoi An | Best attractions in Hoi An
Visit Hoi An in the lantern festival held every month to immerse in this amazing scenery
3. South Vietnam
South Vietnam has temperate weather all year round so you can visit it at any time without worrying. However, the rainy season from May to November can be a little bit annoying for the trip but it tends to be short-lived.
For the food, things definitely get sweeter to the south. It’s said that the food in this area is influenced by Cambodia and Thailand. Also, the south of Vietnam is more open and energetic than the north and the central. People here are more friendly, generous and open-minded.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City as the largest city in the country is a bustling and at times chaotic place! You can catch a scene of scooters wheezing in and out everywhere in the city, even more, chaotic than Hanoi.
Ho Chi Minh City is a wild and wonderful place, with huge shopping malls, a huge variety of dining options and fantastic nightlife. It’s lively and loud living amidst this energetic city.
Cu Chi Tunnels is a must-go place if you are already in Ho Chi Minh City
You know what, Da Lat is the city of love. Many Vietnamese people refer to it as the most romantic and beautiful of the whole country. The temperature of Da Lat is cool all year round. It can be hot in the day time and gets a little cold at night.
Da Lat is also called ‘the city of eternal spring’. It’s not just the pleasant climate that draws in the crowds either; Dalat is surrounded by rolling countryside, huge waterfalls, and forests and was once the playground for the elite of French colonial society. With countless nature sites, beautiful landscape, evergreen forests and minority villages, Da Lat gives off a very tranquil and romantic vibe.
Nha Trang is perhaps the most renowned beach resort town in the south of Vietnam. Popular with expats and international tourists alike, it’s more urban than other beach resorts in Vietnam, and for that reason is a sensible place to head for those who enjoy their creature comforts. You can also head here if you’d like to try a bit of scuba diving too!
Turquoise water, white sand and exciting water activities right in the bustling city
Covering the southwestern portion of Vietnam, the expansive Mekong Delta is simply mind-blowing. Mekong Delta is like a comma-shaped flatland stretching from Ho Chi Minh’s city limits southwest to the Gulf of Thailand. To the Vietnamese, Mekong Delta is known as Cuu Long, “Nine Dragons”, a reference to the nine tributaries of the Mekong River.
Boat trips down the Mekong River propel you straight into old-world Vietnam, and homestays in the area are becoming a popular option for those who want to really feel like they’re getting away from it all. Completely focused around the water, the Mekong Delta shows you a way of life that has continued unchanged for hundreds of years. You’ll see fruit orchards, rice paddies, and floating markets – every inch is filled with life.
Amaze by how nature makes its own paths
when is the best time to visit the north, central and south of vietnam?
The best time to visit North, Central, and South Vietnam depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to do during your trip. Here’s a general guideline:
- North Vietnam: The best time to visit North Vietnam is from September to November or from March to May, during the transitional seasons when the weather is mild and dry. The temperature is pleasant for outdoor activities, and you can enjoy the beautiful autumn colors or blooming flowers in spring. However, if you want to experience the snowy landscapes of Sapa, December to February is the best time to visit.
- Central Vietnam: The best time to visit Central Vietnam is from February to May, during the dry season when the weather is sunny and warm. This is the best time to visit the beach resorts in Da Nang, Hoi An, and Nha Trang. However, if you are interested in cultural events and festivals, you can also visit during the Lunar New Year in January or February.
- South Vietnam: The best time to visit South Vietnam is from December to April, during the dry season when the weather is sunny and warm. This is the best time to explore the Mekong Delta, enjoy the beaches in Phu Quoc, and visit Ho Chi Minh City. However, if you want to experience the local culture and festivities, you can also visit during the Lunar New Year or the Mid-Autumn Festival in September.
Keep in mind that Vietnam’s climate can vary from year to year, and there can be unexpected weather patterns, such as typhoons or floods. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and plan your trip accordingly.
Planning your itinerary for Hanoi for the first time