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As a captivating melting pot of awe-inspiring natural features, historical riches, and lively cultural scenes, Vietnam offers a memorable adventure for journeyers.
From the UNESCO-recognized caves and turquoise waters of Halong Bay to the lively marketplaces of Ho Chi Minh City, this country is filled with remarkable sights and unforgettable memories. In this guide, you’ll find the best things to do in Vietnam.
- Best Things to Do in Vietnam
- 1. Cu Chi Tunnels
- 2. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
- 3. The World Cultural Heritage My Son
- 4. War Remnants Museum
- 5. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
- 6. Cau Temple
- 7. Thien Hau Pagoda
- 8. Ban Gioc Waterfalls
- 9. Hue Historic Citadel
- 10. Long Son Pagoda
- Where to Stay in Vietnam
- How to Get Around in Vietnam
- Travel Tips for Visiting Vietnam
- Master the art of bargaining
- Sample the street food
- Embrace the coffee culture
- Venture off the beaten path
- Learn basic Vietnamese phrases
Best Things to Do in Vietnam
1. Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi Tunnels illustrate a fascinating part of Vietnam’s wartime history. As a sprawling network of pathways, rooms, and meeting points, these tunnels served as a base of operations for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Visitors can explore preserved sections and listen to experienced guides recount soldiers’ trials and tribulations in these confined spaces.
2. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is home to stunning natural landscapes that showcases spectacular limestone formations, pristine lakes, and ancient caves. You can delight in trekking, caving, and wildlife spotting within this UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss the impressive Phong Nha Cave, one of the park’s top attractions.
3. The World Cultural Heritage My Son
To immerse in the rich history of Vietnam, visit My Son, a renowned archaeological site housing the centuries-old ruins of the Champa Kingdom. Explore these amazing temples and learn about the intricate architectural details and cultural significance behind each structure.
4. War Remnants Museum
Powerful and thought-provoking, the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City portrays the Vietnam War’s various aspects and impacts. The exhibits and artifacts, including photographs, military equipment, and testimonials, resonate deeply with visitors and reflect on the conflict’s effects on Vietnamese society.
5. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi symbolizes Vietnam’s cultural and historical heritage. Established in the 11th century, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers an enlightening experience that transports visitors back in time, revealing the country’s rich past through excavated relics and ancient architecture.
6. Cau Temple
Situated in Hoi An’s enchanting Old Town, Cau Temple is a vital experience destination for anyone interested in the culture and history of Vietnam. The structure boasts spectacular architectural details and a serene ambiance, making it a perfect stop amidst the bustling streets and markets.
7. Thien Hau Pagoda
Nestled among Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, the Thien Hau Pagoda welcomes travelers with its intricate sculptures and carvings, showcasing the blending of Chinese and Vietnamese culture. This historic religious site pays homage to the sea goddess, Thien Hau, and offers a captivating experience amidst the incense-filled hallways and striking altar.
8. Ban Gioc Waterfalls
Ban Gioc Waterfalls should be one of Vietnam’s most beautiful natural sites on every traveler’s itinerary. Located near the border with China, these majestic falls present a stunning vista that highlights the country’s lush, untouched landscapes. Marvel at the cascading water as it rushes over the multi-tiered rock formations, producing mesmerizing turquoise pools below.
9. Hue Historic Citadel
Immerse yourself in a bygone era by visiting the Hue Historic Citadel, an iconic landmark in the imperial city of Hue. With its ornate palaces, mausoleums, and enigmatic temples, this UNESCO World Heritage site transports visitors back in time, offering a glimpse into the lives of the Nguyen dynasty emperors.
10. Long Son Pagoda
Perched on a hill in Nha Trang, Long Son Pagoda showcases the region’s spiritual heritage and offers panoramic city views. The main attraction is the colossal white Buddha statue. Still, the temple’s detailed interiors and surrounding gardens make it a peaceful oasis to unwind and absorb the tranquility of the site.
Where to Stay in Vietnam
In Vietnam, you’ll find various accommodations catering to various budgets and preferences. Below are the top places that guarantee a delightful stay when you visit Vietnam:
- Hanoi La Siesta Diamond Hotel
- InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort
- Christina’s Saigon
- Vy Da Backpackers Hostel
- Mercure Danang French Village Bana Hills
- Sun World Fansipan Legend Hotel
- Villa H’Mong Moc Chau
- Dalat Heritage Hotel
- Danang Golden Bay Hotel
How to Get Around in Vietnam
When getting around Vietnam, tourists can choose from various transportation options. Renting a car allows you to explore the country at your own pace and visit remote places that may not be accessible by public transport. For those interested in renting a car, RentalCars.com offers a wide selection of options to suit your needs.
Travel Tips for Visiting Vietnam
When visiting Vietnam, be aware of its diverse terrain and dynamic culture for an unforgettable travel experience. Investing in travel insurance to ensure your safety and well-being is always a good idea. Visit VisitorsCoverage.com for the best insurance options.
Master the art of bargaining
Bargaining is integral to Vietnamese culture, particularly in busy bazaars and street stalls. Familiarizing yourself with the local currency and establishing a friendly rapport with vendors will help you secure the best deals. Remember that it’s a game of negotiation; be reasonable with your counteroffers and maintain a respectful demeanor throughout the process.
Sample the street food
Vietnam’s street food is an unparalleled gastronomic experience that should not be missed. From piping hot bowls of pho to delicious banh mi sandwiches, Vietnamese cuisine is a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds. The food is typically prepared fresh daily, and the venues are often family-run businesses where you can experience authentic local flavors.
Embrace the coffee culture
Boasting a rich coffee culture, Vietnam is known for its aromatic coffee beans and unique brewing techniques. Checking out Vietnam would not be complete without indulging in its caffeinated delights, such as the renowned Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk. Many cafes also offer ungodly views of the surrounding landscapes, elevating the coffee-drinking experience.
Venture off the beaten path
While Vietnam’s major cities have their allure, venturing off the beaten path allows you to explore hidden gems often overlooked by conventional tourist itineraries. The picturesque countryside, idyllic beaches, and rural ethnic communities offer genuine flavors of Vietnamese culture and a chance to appreciate the nation’s natural beauty.
Learn basic Vietnamese phrases
Learning basic Vietnamese phrases when traveling in Vietnam is beneficial, as not all locals are fluent in English. Acquiring a few conversational words will help you interact with locals, ask for directions, and show respect for the country’s culture. Additionally, knowing crucial words may come in handy when bargaining or navigating the local transportation system.
- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.