Getting a glimpse at all-over Vietnam. This is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries. What did you expect whenever you visited somewhere? The bustling cities, high mountains with interesting structure or long golden sand beaches with blue water?
Lots of things to do in the following provinces and places in Vietnam you are recommended because they are the assorted cultures and landscapes that define one of the best values of this country. Hopefully, you’ll have an amazing trip filled with full of pleasant surprises, memorable exploration, new discoveries and see Vietnam through the prism of all its diverse angles.
There are numerous ancient landmarks and colonial structures, symbolising time-honoured traditions that remain unimpaired throughout the bumps and scrapes of history still surviving amongst the locals. The towering skyscrapers grow through the sky symbolise the rapid modernisation of Vietnam’s urban centres of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh showing the high development of the economy and the mixture of different cultures. You might be found an Indian Bistro nearly a Vietnamese Cuisine Street. It seems back home inside a strange country.
The number of luxurious resorts and high rated hotel situated close to the long, sandy beaches with almost the most stunning sea view each room, so you needn’t concern about “How to choose a room with the best sea view?”
Delicious craft beer, trendy cafes and hidden old streets selling special dishes. Without spending too much money, you will be paid back with guaranteed valuable experiences. Vietnam is indexed as safer than 140 countries for terrorism. The stability of the political situation and the low of crime makes you less worry and more believe in your choice for the holiday. Vietnam is the perfect Asian weekend away.
The currency is the Vietnamese Dong, and the exchange rate is $1USD = VND 22,000. It’s pretty inflated. When you go to the ATM machine, you will be pulling out a ton of Dong and it will boggle your mind. You are a millionaire!!
BEST TIME TO GO
North: The best time to visit the northern is from April to Dec. The weather is usually hottest from June to Oct, in the winter the degree is from 10- 20°C in Hanoi and it can get down to 0°C in Sapa (Lao Cai province) even appearing snow
Central: This region is influenced by typhoon which causes rain and food from July to even December (if the winter comes late). To visit the central you should watch the weather forecast carefully
South: The best time to visit is from Nov to Feb to avoid rainy season (from May to October) and hot time during March and April.
Most of tourists visit the following famous cities and sites in 3 regions of Vietnam!
Editor's Note: Take a look at our Travel Guides:
Hanoi is the capital of the socialist republic of Viet Nam. There is an abundance of enchanting things to do in Hanoi that you shouldn’t miss on your holiday. There is a ton of things to explore just around Hanoi centre. If you have time, take a tour to move out of the city and try to do something different at the suburb.
The heart of Vietnam is decorated by French buildings, luxury commercial centre, old streets with the crowd, motorbike, cyclo. The observation is overwhelmed by well-preserved colonial buildings built for over 100 years standing next to the towering skyscrapers and the old pagoda. Hoan Kiem lake is the most meaningful thing to Hanoi people, famous delicious and super-cheap street food everywhere… Why Hanoi give you more things to do like this? Whatever the reasons, discovering all of them and you will find out. They are all listed on the top things to do in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. Check the below!
Spending 1-2 days to explore Hanoi is our suggestion then you should go out to see other famous attractions in northern Vietnam.
Originated in the 11th century, Vietnam water puppet show is the most unique art form in the world. The shows often perform the living in the villages in northern Vietnam, they are something referring to buffalo, fish-catching, festival, husband and wife...which combines with traditional music. In front of audiences, main actors are the puppets made of wood which is controlled by a string apparatus concealed under the pond water. It said that this uniqueness of Vietnamese culture is demonstrated strongly through special water puppet shows and proudly bring to foreigners valuable cultural experiences.
Dragon puppet shooting fire
Ho Chi Minh - the great father of Vietnamese people, the world cultural celebrity.
Ba Dinh square is the first site if you visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum because we must queue up to see his embalmed body inside an architectural project built simply but very solemnly. Morning time is a good idea to visit the well-ventilated and spacious places
What to see in Ho Chi Minh complex:
>>> Looking for Hanoi Tours? Find out in Hanoi Tours from AZ Local Trip
The Temple of Literature was named after the construction of Van Mieu built in 1070 and Quoc Tu Giam- the first National University of Vietnam founded in 1076. They are near each other, both of them are historical and cultural relics.
Hanoi definitely counts as captivating …but also chaotic, bustling, and boisterous, so if you desire for yourself needing a break from the fast-paced city streets, highly recommend you spend a few hours at one of Hanoi’s most charming and tranquil spots – the Temple of Literature.
What to see in Temple of Literature?
Another best things to do in Vietnam in Hanoi is visiting the ancient Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Thang Long imperial citadel is famous for its grandiose works of architecture which were constructed through many dynasties. Now it has become an important relic not only for Hanoi capital but also for Vietnam country as a whole.
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells.
Situated in Ba Dinh District, entrance fee to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is at VND30,000 and opening time is from 08:00 to 17:00 every day except Monday. This prominent site is also within a 15-minute walk from attractions such as Quan Thanh Temple, Vietnam Military History Museum and Cua Bac Church.
Tết is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, this is considered as the most important occasion in Vietnam. Traditionally everyone expects to welcome Tet holiday at the end of a year because it’s an opportunity for members of each family to reunite after a year of hard working.
Before Tet a few days, people have to prepare for their home with Bánh Chưng (boiled sticky rice rolled with pork and green bean), peach blossom, kumquat tree, abundance of things for ancestors’ spirit...
A Vietnamese meal during Tet Holiday usually in 10-14 days
Vietnam’s military history extends two millenniums, and this museum covers it on four buildings with interesting pieces. Item descriptions on museum exhibits are in Vietnamese, French and English.
Address: 28A Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh district
You can also come here to visit the iconic Hanoi Flag Tower
In the centre of the Old Quarter lies Hoan Kiem Lake, a wonderful and charming lake with amazing views. Go here to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, especially on weekends, when they block off the streets for cars and it’s pedestrians only. Hoan Kiem lake is famous for its legendary in history. The legend tells about Le Loi King received a sword, suddenly it came from heaven. Thanks for lending the sword which helps him beat the enemy during the war. At the beginning of 1428, when the country was undisturbed, on his trip to the Thuy Quan (now Hoan Kiem) Lake, there was a tortoise approaching and shouting: “Please return the sword to the Dragon King”. The King threw the sword to the lake and the tortoise took it then dove down the water. From then on, Thuy Quan became Hoan Kiem lake.
Highlights in Hoan Kiem lake - best things to do in Vietnam
Today the Cathedral is one of the most important churches in Hanoi. It is either a religious site or a long history architecture which attracts tourists.
This is the first and the biggest Catholic church built in Hanoi. St Joseph Cathedral following the neo-Gothic must be considered the Mother of all Catholic Churches in Vietnam. It was inaugurated in 1886 and is a wonder to behold. You definitely get the feeling of medieval Europe.
Address: 40 Nha Chung street
Long Bien bridge was said to be a witness of Vietnamese history because of ups and downs it saw in the war. The bridge was built by French from 1898 to 1902.
Hanoi centre proximity nearby Long Bien Bridge_a historic cantilever bridge across the Red River built in 1899-1902 that connects two districts, Hoan Kiem and Long Bien of the city of Hanoi, Vietnam; so you can walk the bridge observing the structure of the ancient French bridge nearly the age of 120 and take a large view a part of the Red River and the riverside town. An interesting fact that the bridge forced driving on the left-hand side while Vietnam is a right-hand side traffic country.
The country river under is named “ Red River” this is a symbol of Vietnam offering immense space, peaceful feeling, gentle beauty. From Hanoi centre, you can walk to Long Bien bridge.
The 36 old streets in the old quarter of Hanoi mostly start with the name “ Hàng” which means shop and the next word after Hàng would be the name of some products for sale. For examples, “Hàng Đường” - sugar products, “ Hàng bông” - Cotton products, “Hàng Cá” - fish, “ Hàng Trống” - drums…
The first thing on your agenda after dropping your bags at your hotel should be to explore the historic Old Quarter, preferably on foot. Granted, this is easier said than done since the sidewalks in Hanoi are nothing more than parking lots for motorbikes, but it’s essential if you want to get comfortable with the chaos sooner rather than later. Most hotels in Hanoi are located in the Old Quarter and many of the city’s sights are, too, so this is likely where you’ll be spending a good portion of your trip. Best to get your bearings early on.
Nowadays many hotels and tourist offices are growing rapidly within their location in Hanoi old quarter, it is a place where people come and purchase for food, souvenirs, tour services,.. in a bustle.
In general this area still retains the urban spatial structure of Hanoi’s old quarter with its functions such as a commercial center, traditional trades, works of relics, architecture value, elegant lifestyle of Hanoians.
>>> Book Hanoi Free Walking Tours through Hanoi Old Quarter and many other places
Tran Quoc Pagoda is regarded as the most ancient pagoda with more than 1500 years. This sacred sanctuary of Buddhism has stunning landscape becoming a famous attraction in Hanoi. It's a fair walk from the city centre but is also a stop on the hop-on-hop-off tour bus. It is very scenic with the situation on the lake. But the place is quite crowded outside with people trying to sell food, water, birds and even terrapins taken from the lake.
Hanoi street food paradise invites you with a warmth to try:
Ta Hien, street for drinking fresh beer inspires you
While you're here in Hanoi, try grabbing some famous fresh beer, this is among the best things to do in Vietnam. In Hanoi, there is a famous "Bia Hơi corner" at the crossing of Tạ Hiền and Lương Ngọc Quyến streets. For the western backpackers, it is an ideal place to entertain at night. Sitting on a tiny plastic chair in a narrow pavement watching the people going by and enjoy loudish music coming from bars, pubs are all exciting activities there.
Coffee in Hanoi
Try to order yourself a cup of warm or ice coffee in Hanoi is a fresh activity if you want to experience various spaces of each coffee shop. This is also a habit of Vietnamese people, most of them like drinking coffee everyday.
Don't forget to try egg coffee, the ultimate delicious creamy drink in Hanoi
Everyday the image of a bustling railway becomes familiar with Hanoi people. However, it is extremely strange to most of the foreigners especially if you want find a perfect check-in point you shouldn’t miss it.
Sa Pa, a pristine place with villages of ethnic minorities such as H'Mong, Dao, Tay, ...and Thac Bac, Heaven-gate, May bridge, Wind cave, Ham Rong mountain are the most attractive destinations. Sapa is suited for those who love nature, want to learn the customs and habits of mountainous people.
What to see:
Sapa is a place for you to explore the minority ethnic daily life
"Chung cake" in black - a signature cake of "Black Thai" ethnic in Sapa, with sticky rice, mung bean and fat pork combine make you just can stop eating
Halong bay located in Halong city, Quang Ninh province was recognized as one of the most magnificent places in the world. The sceneries are spectacular with amazing rock formations rising from the emerald waters, truly beautiful limestones, unspoilt nature,...Coming to Halong, it’s a great time for kayaking or exploring the bay within a tour.
What attracts you in Halong Bay: Sung Sot cave, Trong cave, Titop island, Dau Go cave, Cong Dam area, Vung Vieng fishing village, Trong Mai islets,...
From Hanoi you can book a cruise with some companies easily supplies you with full services. If you don’t want to see many tourist boats around now take a tour in Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay is Halong bay’s neighbour which are off-the-beaten tracks in Vietnam
If you miss Halong Bay in your itinerary, it's will be a regrets
Of course, you have to taste the fresh seafood here
Cat Ba island is located in Hai Phong province, away from the Hai Phongcentrer 30 km and Halong 25 km by sea way. The beautiful island has a town with people living there. Tourists can book a tour including 2 days 1 night in Halong and 1 night in Cat Ba because besides the most popular Halong bay Cat Ba island is also a wonderful gift from nature
Highlights in Cat Ba:
Come to Cat Ba island to find the island of the friendly monkeys
If the paradise “ Halong bay” is mysterious origination from our majestic nature, here Ninh Binh land will inspire you with either enchanting landscapes or historically cultural journeys of discovering such as learning about Vietnamese old architecture, ancient capital, the first festival, the biggest pagoda, the unique national park…Ninh Binh is also the setting for the Hollywood blockbuster “Kong:Skull island”.
It’s near Hanoi and the weather is not so different so your planned-trip is hardly be canceled in case of bad weather. Otherwise, taking a short motorbike trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binh doesn’t make difficulties for you because of easy route and short distance. Moreover you can go head to Ninh Binh from Halong bay or Cat Ba island, it takes about 4- 5 hours.
Mesmerising view from the top of Mua Cave in Ninh Binh province
Best things to do in Ninh Binh province
Trang An is known as a world heritage listed site also a well-known place for a diverse ecosystem. It consists of Hoa Lu, Bai Dinh, Tam Coc...are the best places to visit in Northern Viet Nam.
Highlights: Trang An boat tour is a must-do thing for any tourists. A big number of Vietnamese tourists visit Trang An and take the Trang An boat trip in the beginning of a year after Tet holiday ( in Feb ). Foreigners are recommended to come here during this time if they are interested in festivals however it seems to be not suitable for those who don’t like crowded places.
Tam Coc boat ride and cycling tour are almost deemed as the best things to experience here. Starting from Van Lam pier, you can buy a ticket to take part in a boat tour with local people on the Ngô Đồng river. The tour lasts about 1,5-hour offering you a visit of 3 grottos Hang Ca ( the first cave), Hang Hai ( the second cave) and Hang Ba (the third cave). There are also small floating shops which sell food like snacks and drinks. Especially, you will see the most attractive scenery of golden rice fields if travelling in harvest season from June to July each year.
If you are interested in the history of Ninh Binh lowlands where hid the many interesting stories I recommend you a visit to Hoa Lu ancient capital to discover the mystery of the mountains and pagodas, to understand more about old architecture of King’s temples, to relive the ancient atmosphere there.
In Hoa Lu, there are festivals on 6th, 7th, 8th March lunar year it is an opportunity to commemorate the King and national hero Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh.
Located far from Ninh Binh centre just 5 km and about 2 km from Tam Coc, Mua cave is easily visited by bicycle or motorbike. Mua cave is understood as “Dancing cave” since King Tran often stopped at the cave to enjoy dancing and singing performances.
There were 4 places of interests in Ninh Binh Vietnam for you to visit. You can easily find them in tour itineraries organized by various travel agencies. Many other attractions are recommended as below:
Of course, you will want to take Ninh Binh taste, fresh roll of Goat meat and pineapple will give you the tropical feeling
Away from Hanoi about 150 km, it takes about 3,5 hours from Hanoi to Mai Chau by bus or tourist bus. Mai Chau idyllic valley has attracted many tourists because of its poetic beauty, cool fresh air, diverse culture, rich and typical cuisine.
Ban Gioc waterfall is about 400 km in the north of Hanoi, the most beautiful waterfall in Vietnam which lies on border with China. The beauty of Ban Gioc is majestic with amazing streamline which looks like a fairyland.
Now what to do in Vietnam in the central region? The central region is mainly known for its beautiful beaches, long coastline and ancient towns and citadels. Figure out what are the Vietnam activities you can enjoy here.
Designated a Unesco World Heritage site in 2003, the remarkable Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia.
Highlights: Forest trekking, exploring caves, passing through rural mountain areas, boat trips
Other magnificent caves in Quang Binh
Son Doong - the largest cave in the world
From Hanoi to Quang Binh, it can be accessed by bus, train or plane
Hue consists of rich cultures and histories through ancient architecture structures or beautiful and poetic landscapes.
Although you can miss a long story about Vietnamese dynasties, this is still being loved by most of tourist due to its charming beauty.
Hue is a humble gem, a peaceful and charming city
What to see in Hue? Visit royal Tu Duc tomb, Minh Mang tomb, Thien Mu pagoda, Perfume pagoda, Hue imperial city, Hue festival, Bach Ma national park
Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Nowadays Hoi An was voted as one of the best 20 "Nightlife" places on the planet, the second most attractive destination in Asia and one of 50 destinations must visit at least once in your life.
The appeal: Old-fashioned lanterns lighten, lovely beaches 5 km away from the town centre, picturesque town with great food, fun shopping, skilled tailors, friendly people and cosy atmosphere.
The ancient town sparkle in the night with thousand of lanterns
Things to do:
My Son is a holy land with old bricks temple of the Champa kingdom. It comprises of more than 70 architectural works. They include temples and towers that connect to each other with complicated red brick designs. Book a tour in Hoi An or hire a taxi or driver from Da Nang or Hoi An to visit the site, it opens from 06:30 to 17:30 everyday.
Highlights in My Son sanctuary
Nha Trang is a seaside town, the capital city of Khanh Hoa Province – on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. Nha Trang is becoming more popular due to its pristine beaches, best scuba diving centre of Vietnam, as well as lots of interesting places and delicious food to enjoy. To reach Nha Trang you can book a flight from Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh city to land at Cam Ranh airport.
Highlights in Nha Trang
No words can describe how beautiful the Mui Ne is, “blue sea, white sandy, bright sunshine” make it wonderful in everyone’s eyes. This place must be on top of sea lovers. Its nature diverse from stone reefs, yellow sand dunes like a real desert, Suoi Tien stream, fishing village
Mui Ne is a proof for the endless beauty of Vietnam. To visit Mui Ne you can take a flight to the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, from the city catch a bus or train to get to Phan Thiet
The sandhill in Mui Ne
If you have 2- 3 weeks in Vietnam, you should take an impressive short trip to Da Lat to enjoy many picturesque sceneries covered by green tree, full of colourful flowers, friendly people, cool weather, pretty French villas, cosy homestays...
You will enjoy Valley of love, Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Bao Dai summer palace, flower gardens, Pongour falls, Xuan Huong lake, Da Lat railway station…
The people here are so lovely, gentle, elegant and hospitable.
While Hanoi city is known as the capital of thousand-year-civilization with peaceful and serene beauties. Dubbed as the "Pearl of the Far East", Ho Chi Minh City is the city of faster movement, exciting and bustling atmosphere but a bit of ancient. Ho Chi Minh has long been a cultural, economic and political centre of Vietnam. Travelling to Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City which is more than 300 years old now, you can meet the high-rise buildings located close to the sanctuary, amusement park, crowded shopping centre and also ancient villas, traditional markets that have existed for hundreds of years.
This unique floating market in Mekong Delta is absolutely worth your time
Entering Cu Chi tunnels to see the elaborate network of tunnels created by Viet Cong guerrilla fighters during the Vietnam War. Stretching all the way to the
Cambodian border, the Cu Chi Tunnels includes living quarters, meeting rooms, kitchens, weapons and supplies. Here you will Learn about the poor conditions underground, see handmade booby traps and consider the tunnel's place in Vietnam’s history. A tour for visiting Cu Chi includes round-trip transport from Ho Chi Minh City.
You can try firing with the price around VND 50.000 (USD 2) for a bullet
Phu Quoc island boasts idyllic beaches, romantic sunsets, evergreen forests, and a serene atmosphere, making it an ideal holiday destination for travellers looking to escape bustling city life.
Aside from beachside activities, visitors can also explore traditional villages, expansive nature parks and Buddhist pagodas, all of which are easily accessible via motorcycle, taxi, bus or even day trips by reputable companies.
Above is the complete list of Best things to do in Vietnam from the Northern region to the Southern region. For more information and planning your trip to Vietnam, please contact AZ Local trip to know more.
Brad Cooper Jan 17, 2019
I'm afraid it was that intangible mix of the group which happened by luck which made holiday, It could have been good without the right people, everything was perfectly timetabled, but the enjoyment was from the singing on the overnight train, the complete bonding we had as a group. Oh and the food was fab, the countryside was fab, the towns... fab... actually all was fab