Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country known for its beautiful natural landscapes, rich history, and diverse culture. The country is home to many popular tourist destinations, including Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Vietnam has a long and complicated history, including French colonization in the 19th century, the Vietnam War in the mid-20th century, and subsequent communist rule. Despite its tumultuous past, Vietnam has emerged as a rapidly growing economy and a popular destination for tourists. The Vietnamese people are known for their hospitality and their delicious cuisine, which features a unique blend of indigenous, French, and Chinese influences.
Vietnam is more than its conventional picture of rice paddies and conical hats. This is a country brimming with energy and forward drive. The hum and activity on the streets will tell you. You’ll notice it in the way Vietnamese welcome you into their homes, encourage you to sample their cuisine, and proudly demonstrate their rich culture. You’ll notice it in the choices and opportunities all around you.
If there is one thing that all Vietnamese food has in common, it is its freshness. Any Vietnamese market will astound you with the wealth of sea and soil: fluffy herbs, juicy veggies, and flapping-fresh proteins. The enjoyment starts when you’re young. For optimum satisfaction, Vietnamese chefs complement stunning ingredients with aromatic herbs and contrasting textures. Simply said, it is one of the healthiest and most delectable cuisines on the planet.
With its forested hills, thunderous waterfalls, and breezy beaches, it’s no surprise that Vietnam is attracting an increasing number of outdoor enthusiasts. With so many alternatives available, you may need to return for a second (or third) visit to take it all in. While there are lots of adrenaline-pumping activities available, Vietnam also offers more peaceful opportunities to explore its immense natural wonders.
In a country like Vietnam, the word “culture” might have a thousand different connotations. It may be the Hue Citadel’s red and gold gilded doors, or the tin-filter drip coffee served on every street corner. It may be the sensitive watercolours in a modern gallery, or the throaty yell of Ca Trù sung poetry. It might even include the embroidered Flower Hmong outfits or the subtle lines of the áo dài. Vietnamese culture is characterized by the intertwining of past and present.
Spend a few days in its cities and you’ll see why so many visitors are drawn to Vietnam’s compelling vitality. You’ll find chaotic markets and colonial-era cafes on the streets, as well as glittering malls, fashionable rooftop lounges, and clean boutiques. Do as the locals do and enjoy an evening of BBQ and beer on the sidewalk, or converse over a cup of tea in the shade of a city park at least once during your stay.
Vietnam has a long, curved coastline. There are dozens of magnificent islets scattered offshore, rich with aquatic life and endowed with clean shoreline. Coastal towns are jam-packed with activities and water-based adventures, but its fishing villages retain their modest, seaside charms. Chilled coconuts, basket boats, and seafood meals are assured everywhere you go.
Vietnam - Info
Vietnam, formally the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the Indochina Peninsula’s easternmost country in Southeast Asia. It is the 14th most populous country in the world, with an estimated 90.5 million people in 2014, and the eighth most populous Asian country, bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and Malaysia to the southeast across the South China Sea. Hanoi has served as the country’s capital since the reunification of North and South in 1975.
Vietnam was a province of Imperial China for nearly a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939. An independent Vietnamese state was created following the Vietnamese victory in the Battle of Bch ng River in 939. Until the French captured the Indochina Peninsula in the mid-nineteenth century, successive royal dynasties thrived as the kingdom grew geographically and politically throughout Southeast Asia. Following a Japanese occupation in the 1940s, the Vietnamese fought the French in the First Indochina War, eventually pushing the French out in 1954. As a result, the country was divided into two hostile nations, North and South. Throughout the Vietnam War, the struggle between the two sides got more intense. The war ended in 1975 with a North Vietnamese victory.
The country was united at the time under communist administration, but it remained impoverished and politically isolated. The government initiated a series of economic and political changes in 1986 that cleared the path for Vietnam’s integration into the global economy. It had diplomatic ties with every country by the year 2000. Since 2000, the country’s economic development rate has been among the highest in the world, and in 2011, it had the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major countries. It was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2007 as a result of its successful economic reforms. Since its founding, it has also been a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Vietnam is one of just four one-party communist countries that openly advocate communism.
Vietnam has grown into an important tourism destination since the 1990s, thanks to major public and private investment, particularly in the coastal districts. Around 3.77 million international tourists visited the country in 2009.
The historic imperial capital Hué, the UNESCO World Heritage sites Phong Nha-K Bàng National Park, Hoi An, and M Sn, as well as coastal locations such as Nha Trang, featuring the caverns of Ha Long Bay and the Marble Mountains, are among most popular tourist destinations.
Numerous tourist projects are being built, including the tourist complex Bnh Dng, which will have the largest artificial sea in South East Asia.
Weather & Climate
The country is divided into three climatic zones: the northern, central and southern regions. The weather in Vietnam varies depending on the season and region. In the northern region, the weather can be divided into two distinct seasons: the dry season (from October to March) and the wet season (from April to September).
During the dry season, the weather is relatively cool and dry, with temperatures averaging around 15-20°C. The wet season is characterized by heavy rainfall, high humidity and occasional typhoons, with temperatures ranging from 25-30°C. In central region, the weather is also split into two distinct seasons: the dry season (from January to August) and the wet season (from September to December).
During the dry season, temperatures range from 22-27°C and rainfall is minimal. However, during the wet season, the region is prone to floods and typhoons, with temperatures ranging from 24-30°C. In the southern region, the weather is split into two seasons: the dry season (from November to April) and the wet season (from May to October).
The dry season is characterized by high temperatures and low humidity, with temperatures ranging from 25-35°C. The wet season is characterized by heavy rainfall and high humidity, with temperatures ranging from 22-28°C. Overall, Vietnam has a tropical climate with high temperatures and high humidity year-round, but the weather patterns vary depending on the region and season.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Vietnam is generally from December to April. During this period, the weather is cooler and drier, which makes it ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The temperature in the northern region is usually around 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) during the day, and can drop to around 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) at night. On the other hand, from May to October, the weather becomes hotter and more humid due to the monsoon season. This is also the rainy season, which means there may be occasional heavy downpours, making outdoor activities less desirable. However, this time of year can be a good option for those looking to avoid crowds and for budget travelers. Overall, the best time to visit Vietnam depends on the traveler’s preferences and interests. It is recommended to check the weather conditions and plan accordingly to make the most of your trip.
Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country with a land area of approximately 331,212 square kilometers (127,881 square miles). It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east and south.
The country is divided into five main regions: the Red River Delta in the north, the Central Highlands, the northern and central coastal regions, the Mekong River Delta in the south, and the western uplands. Each region has its own unique geography, climate, and culture.
The Red River Delta is the most densely populated and agriculturally productive region, with flat, fertile land ideal for growing rice.
The Central Highlands are a mountainous region with a cooler climate, characterized by peaks, valleys, and plateaus. The coastal regions are narrow strips of land that run the length of the country, with long stretches of sandy beaches and lagoons.
The Mekong River Delta is an agricultural region, with rice paddies, fruit orchards, and other crops grown in the fertile, flat lands along the Mekong River.
The western uplands are a remote and mountainous region that is home to many ethnic minorities, with rugged terrain and wild forests.
Vietnam is also home to several bodies of water, including the Red River, Mekong River, and Tonle Sap Lake, as well as numerous islands and archipelagos in the East Sea (also known as the South China Sea). The country’s geography plays a key role in its economy, cultural traditions, and natural resources.
With a population of approximately 97 million people, Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world. The country is made up of 54 different ethnic groups, with the largest being the Kinh, who make up around 85% of the population. Other minority groups include the Tay, Thai, Muong, Khmer, and Hmong. There are also smaller communities of Chinese, Cham, and Hoa people. The population is predominantly rural, with only about 35% of people living in urban areas.
The largest cities are Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi, the capital, have a relatively young population, with around 33% of people aged 25 years or under. The life expectancy at birth is around 73 years for males and 80 years for females. Vietnam has experienced significant population growth over the past few decades. However, this growth has slowed in recent years, and the population is expected to stabilize in the coming decades.
Religion has played a significant role in the history and culture of Vietnam. It is estimated that around 70% of the population follows a form of Buddhism, while around 12% follows Catholicism and 6% follow other religions such as Cao Dai and Hoa Hao.
Buddhism arrived during the 2nd century AD and has had a profound influence on Vietnamese culture ever since. Many of the country’s most famous landmarks, such as the Perfume Pagoda and the Imperial City of Hue, are associated with Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Catholicism was introduced by French missionaries during the colonial era and has a strong presence in many areas of the country, particularly in the south, where French influence was strongest. The Vietnamese Catholic Church played a significant role in the country’s independence movement in the mid-20th century.
Other religions such as Cao Dai and Hoa Hao were founded during the early 20th century and are unique to the country. They combine elements of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity and have attracted many followers.
Despite the diversity of religious beliefs in Vietnam, the country’s communist government officially recognizes only five religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Hoa Hao. While religious freedom is guaranteed by the Vietnamese constitution, the government closely monitors religious activity and has been criticized by human rights organizations for its treatment of religious minorities.
Nevertheless, religion continues to be an important aspect of Vietnamese culture and spirituality.
Vietnam has a rich linguistic tradition with a diverse range of languages spoken throughout the country. The official language is Vietnamese, which is spoken by the majority of the population.
Vietnamese is part of the Austroasiatic language family and is closely related to Cambodian and Mon-Khmer languages. Apart from Vietnamese, there are over 50 ethnic minority languages, including Chinese, Khmer, and Thai.
The most widely spoken minority language is Chinese, which is spoken by the Hoa people, an ethnic Chinese minority living in Vietnam. In addition, there are also regional dialects of Vietnamese spoken throughout the country, which can vary in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.
The most prominent of these dialects are Northern Vietnamese, Central Vietnamese, and Southern Vietnamese. Overall, language plays a vital role in shaping Vietnamese culture and identity, and the country’s linguistic diversity reflects its long history of colonization, migration, and cultural exchange.
Internet & Communication
The use of internet and communication has grown rapidly over the past decade. The country has witnessed a spurt in telecommunication infrastructure developments, and the government has been putting in significant efforts towards the promotion of digitalization.
As of January 2021, Vietnam has an estimated 68 million internet users, which is equivalent to approximately 69% of the population. The country is witnessing an influx of mobile phone subscriptions, with around 50 million users accessing the internet via smartphones.
There are around 130 million mobile phone subscriptions, which is much higher than the total population, indicating it’s higher penetration. Major telecommunication companies operating in the country include Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphone.
Social media platforms are immensely popular. Facebook is the most used social media platform, with almost 60 million active users in January 2021. Vietnam is also one of the fastest-growing countries on Tiktok, with nearly 10 million users. WhatsApp, Viber, Zalo, and Skype are other popular communication applications used by the Vietnamese.
Vietnam has been making continuous efforts to improve its internet infrastructure. The government has laid fiber-optic cables to ensure high-speed internet connectivity throughout the country. The increased penetration of the internet has opened up new opportunities for businesses to reach out to customers and expand their operations.
Internet and communication usage in Vietnam have grown significantly, with the country recording impressive growth in mobile phone subscriptions and online services. The government’s efforts to promote digitalization have led to the expansion of the telecommunication infrastructure, thereby creating opportunities for businesses and individuals to access high-quality internet and communication services.
Mobile phone numbers must always have 9 or 10 digits (including a “0” which precedes the “1nn” or “9nn” ), regardless of where they are called from. The 1nn or 9nn is a mobile prefix, not an “area code” in the strict sense, and the second and sometimes third digits (the nn part) indicate the mobile network originally assigned. Like most mobile numbers, they can also be called in international format inside or outside the country.
The economy of Vietnam has undergone significant growth over the past few decades. Following the introduction of economic reforms in 1986, known as “Đổi Mới”, the country has transitioned from a centrally planned economy to a market-based economy.
Vietnam’s economy is largely driven by manufacturing, agriculture, and service sectors. The manufacturing sector has been a significant contributor to economic growth, with the country becoming a hub for manufacturing industries such as electronics, textiles, footwear, and furniture.
The agricultural sector, which employs a significant portion of the population, primarily produces rice, coffee, and seafood for export. In recent years, Vietnam has also seen growth in the service sector, including tourism, finance, and telecommunications.
The country has become a popular destination for tourism, attracting millions of visitors each year with its stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Vietnam has also benefited from trade liberalization policies, with the country joining the World Trade Organization in 2007 and signing numerous free trade agreements.
These agreements have helped to increase foreign investment, promote exports, and create new jobs for Vietnamese workers. Despite these successes, Vietnam still faces challenges in terms of income inequality, corruption, and environmental degradation. However, the government has made efforts to address these issues, implementing policies to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Overall, the economy of Vietnam has made great strides in recent decades and is expected to continue growing, providing opportunities for both domestic and international businesses.
Vietnam has a rich history dating back more than 4,000 years. The country, also known as Nam Viet, was originally inhabited by various ethnic groups, including the Dong Son, Sa Huynh, and Dong Nai people. In the 2nd century BCE, the Chinese conquered Vietnam and ruled for more than 1,000 years. During this time, nation adopted Confucianism and Buddhism, while resisting assimilation and maintaining its own unique culture. In the 10th century, a Vietnamese leader named Ngo Quyen defeated the Chinese and established the first independent Vietnamese state. Over the course of the next few centuries, Vietnam would go through periods of unity and division, with various dynasties coming to power and being overthrown. In the 19th century, the country came under French colonial rule, leading to a period of cultural and political oppression. However, the Vietnamese people never gave up their fight for independence, and in 1945, Ho Chi Minh led a successful revolution against the French. During the Cold War, the country became a battleground between the communist North and the anti-communist South, leading to a brutal war that lasted from 1955 to 1975. In 1976, nation was finally reunified as a communist country under the rule of the Communist Party. Since that time, Vietnam has undergone significant economic and social development, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia.
Sights and Places In Vietnam
Vietnam is a beautiful country located in Southeast Asia, known for its bustling cities, stunning natural scenery, rich history and culture, tasty cuisine and friendly people. Vietnam tourism has grown rapidly in recent years, attracting millions of visitors from around the world. One of the most popular destinations in Vietnam is the city of Hanoi, which is the capital of the country. Hanoi is known for its ancient temples, bustling streets, and delicious street food. Another popular destination is Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, which is the largest city. It is a vibrant and bustling city with modern skyscrapers, historical sites, and vibrant nightlife.
One of the major attractions in Vietnam is its natural beauty, from the lush rice paddies in the north to the stunning Halong Bay and its limestone cliffs that rise out of the sea, to the pristine beaches in the central and southern regions of the country. Other popular natural attractions include the Mekong Delta and the mountains in the north. The country is also known for its rich history and culture, which is reflected in its fascinating museums, ancient temples and pagodas, and historic sites from different periods of time.
Vietnam is also famous for its colorful festivals, including Tet Nguyen Dan, the Vietnamese New Year, and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Vietnamese cuisine is also a big attraction for tourists, known for its exotic flavors and fresh ingredients, including dishes such as pho, banh mi, and spring rolls. Vietnamese coffee is another must-try for coffee enthusiasts, with its strong and flavorful taste. Overall, Vietnam is a great destination for tourists seeking adventure, culture, history, and delicious food.
But with so many options available, planning a trip to Vietnam can be overwhelming. That’s where a comprehensive Vietnam travel guide comes in handy. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the must-see attractions, best places to eat and stay, and helpful tips to make your trip as memorable as possible. Whether you’re looking to explore the vibrant city life or relax on a pristine beach, Vietnam has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey through this incredible country.
Entry Requirements & Visa For Vietnam
The Vietnamese government has eliminated visa requirements for Phu Quoc Island in order to increase tourism. Visitors may stay for 15 days and can apply for a legitimate Vietnamese visa at the neighborhood immigration office. Upon arriving in Phu Quoc, all passports must be valid for at least 45 days. The majority of Vietnamese embassies and consulates accept online applications for visas. Applying at the Vietnamese embassy in Bangkok is a popular choice if your nation does not have a Vietnamese embassy or consulate.
For as long as their passport is valid, foreigners of Vietnamese descent can apply for a visa waiver, which permits multiple entry for periods of three months at a time. A visa on arrival is becoming a more and more popular substitute because it is significantly less expensive and eliminates the requirement to ship passports to the Vietnamese embassy in the place of origin. The phrase “Visa on Arrival” (VOA) is a deceptive form of visa that requires a letter of approval to be received before departure. This form of visa is processed by an increasing number of online businesses, with fees ranging from USD 14 to 21 (2016) depending on the agency and the number of applicants. Upon arrival, the official in Vietnam obtains an acceptance letter with the visitor’s name, date of birth, date of arrival, nationality, and passport number, and sends it to the visitor by email or fax.
The e-visa is valid for just one entry, a 30-day maximum stay, and the most frequent entry and exit locations, which must be selected on the application ahead of time. The e-visa is the least expensive, fastest, and safest choice if travel plans comply with its requirements. Passports must contain at least 2 blank pages and be valid for at least 1 month after the date of arrival in order to receive entry stamps. For people who intend to leave country before the 30-day validity period expires and subsequently reenter the country, a new application for an e-visa is necessary. Beware of airport extortion by Vietnamese immigration agents.
How To Travel To Vietnam
Vietnam has a wide range of transportation options, including motorcycle journeys, flying from point to point, or taking the overland routes of trains and buses. Planes are the fastest way to cross the country, with flights connecting the two largest cities, Hanoi and HCMC, with major cities such as Da Nang, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Hue, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc. Trains are the most convenient means to travel by land in Vietnam, with the 1,723 km trunk line connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, on which the Reunification Express operates. The trip from HCMC to Hanoi takes more than 30 hours, and it is usually possible to stay overnight between the key locations.
The Reunification Express is a railway line that connects Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and was constructed by the French in 1936. It lasts 36 hours and includes stops in Hue, Danang, Nha Trang, and Phan Thiet. Five Reunification Express services operate daily from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There are four types of seats to choose from: hard seats, soft seats, hard sleepers, and soft sleepers. Long-distance buses connect most cities in Vietnam, leaving early in the morning or travelling at night.
The 110cc motorbike is the favored means of transportation for the Vietnamese population, and foreigners are not permitted to ride motorcycles unless they have a temporary Vietnamese motorbike licence or an international licence valid in their home country. Cyclo-pedicabs are still popular, especially in picturesque and less crowded towns like Hue. However, they are often more expensive than motorbikes for the same distance. Cyclo drivers are notoriously greedy for money and will always demand a high starting charge.
How To Travel Around Vietnam
Vietnam, like its scenery, has a wide range of transportation options. You may like windy motorcycle journeys, flying from point to point, or taking the overland routes of trains and buses, taking in the views along the way.
You can typically go where you want to go effortlessly and comfortably with a little planning (and an adventurous attitude).
There are lots of taxis, buses, and cyclos in towns, and cycling is sometimes an enticing choice in the countryside.
Flights are the fastest way to cross this long country. The flight from Hanoi to HCMC takes only about 2 hours.
Numerous flights connect the two largest cities, Hanoi and HCMC, with major cities such as Da Nang, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Hue, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc.
Long-distance buses connect most cities in Vietnam. Most leave early in the morning to cope with traffic and rain in the late afternoon, or travel at night. It is important to note that average speeds on the roads are generally quite low, even when travelling between cities. For example, a 276 km trip from the Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City by bus probably takes about 8 hours.
The train, while more expensive than the bus, is perhaps the most convenient means to travel by land in Vietnam.
Destinations in Vietnam
Vietnam offers a wonderful range of destinations that cater to travelers of all kinds, from nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, history enthusiasts, and foodies. Here are some of the top destinations in Vietnam that you might want to visit:
- Ha Long Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning limestone formations and scenic boat tours.
- Hanoi – the capital city of Vietnam that showcases a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, with its streets filled with food, temples, museums, and parks.
- Hoi An – a charming city south of Da Nang known for its well-preserved Old Town, delicious food, and beautiful beaches.
- Sa Pa – a mountain town in Northern Vietnam where you can explore rice terraced fields, hike to scenic viewpoints, and immerse in the local culture of ethnic tribes.
- Hue – the former imperial capital of Vietnam that boasts of its well-preserved citadel, ancient royal tombs, and delicious cuisine.
- Ho Chi Minh City – the largest city in Vietnam that offers a vibrant nightlife, bustling markets, historic landmarks, and delicious street food.
- Phu Quoc Island – a tropical paradise in the Gulf of Thailand, with white sandy beaches, clear waters, and stunning sunsets.
- Ninh Binh – an area in Northern region that offers a scenic riverboat tour through towering limestone cliffs, rice paddies, and ancient temples.
- Da Nang – a coastal city that offers stunning beaches, delicious food, and world-class resorts.
- Mekong Delta – a lush area in Southern Vietnam known for its river system, floating markets, and unique ecosystems.
Accommodation & Hotels in Vietnam
Vietnam has a wide range of accommodation options for visitors, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts.
Accommodation in Vietnam ranges from squalid US$6-per-night dorm rooms in backpacking hostels to world-class resorts in both large cities and attractive coastal and rural areas. Even cheap hotels charging US$8-10 for a double room are often very clean and equipped with towels, clean white sheets, soap, disposable toothbrushes, and so on.
In some hotels, adequate plumbing can be a concern, but the level is continually increasing. All hotels are required by law to record the names and addresses of foreign visitors with the local police. If a location appears sketchy, request that they register you while you wait and take your passport with you afterward.
Carry photocopies of your passport and visa, which you can then present out to the hotel. Most hotels now offer high-speed Internet connectivity, and the use of computers is usually free. The more upscale hotels provide a plethora of facilities, such as lavish buffets with local cuisine, spa treatments, local sightseeing packages, and so on.
Hanoi now boasts some family-friendly hostels known as Hanoi Family Hostels. The number of responsible hotels, green hotels, or hotels claiming to be so is growing.
Attractions & Things To See in Vietnam
Vietnam is a popular tourist destination due to its limestone landscapes, beaches, islands, mountain ranges, rice paddies, and lakes.
- Ha Long Bay – This stunning natural wonder is a collection of over 1,600 limestone islands and islets rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Take a cruise through the bay and explore some of the caves and floating villages.
- Hội An Ancient Town – This charming town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is filled with old world architecture, colorful lanterns, and endless shopping opportunities. Don’t forget to try some of the delicious local food!
- Ho Chi Minh City – Also known as Saigon, this bustling city is the economic center of Vietnam. Visit the War Remnants Museum to learn about the country’s past and take a stroll through the markets to experience the local culture.
- Hue Imperial City – This former capital city of Vietnam is home to the Imperial City, a vast complex of palaces, temples, and pavilions. The city is also known for its delicious cuisine, particularly the Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup).
- Sapa – Located in the mountains of northwest region, Sapa is a popular destination for trekking and exploring the indigenous hill tribe villages. The lush green valleys and towering peaks offer breathtaking views and a peaceful escape from the bustling cities.
These are just a few of the many amazing attractions. With its rich history, friendly people, and stunning landscapes, Vietnam is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Activities & Things To Do in Vietnam
Vietnam is a beautiful and diverse country, offering a wide range of activities and things to do for visitors. Here are some of the must-do activities:
- Explore the bustling cities – Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are two largest and most exciting cities, offering a plethora of attractions and things to do, including museums, markets, and temples.
- Cruise around Ha Long Bay – This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see destination. Visitors can enjoy cruising along the pristine waters while taking in the stunning limestone cliffs and lush islands.
- Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels – Located just outside of Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi Tunnels are a fascinating network of underground passageways that were used by Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War.
- Try street food – Vietnam is famous for its delicious cuisine, and one of the best ways to experience it is by trying street food. From banh mi sandwiches to pho noodle soup, there’s something for everyone.
- Learn about Vietnam’s history – Vietnam has a rich history that is well worth exploring. Visitors can visit museums and memorials to learn about the country’s struggles and triumphs.
- Experience local culture – Vietnam has a strong cultural identity, and visitors can experience it through traditional music, dance, and festivals. From the Lunar New Year to the Mid-Autumn Festival, there’s always something to celebrate.
- Shop at local markets – Vietnam is known for its tailors, and visitors can have custom clothing made for them at incredibly affordable prices. In addition, the local markets offer a wide range of handicrafts, souvenirs, and other goods.
- Relax on the beaches – Vietnam has some of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia, and visitors can relax on the sandy shores or go swimming, snorkeling, or diving.
Beaches In Vietnam
Vietnam is known for its beautiful coastline and stunning beaches. Here are some of the best beaches:
- Nha Trang Beach – Located in the south region, Nha Trang is famous for its long stretches of white sand beach and crystal clear waters. This popular beach destination attracts visitors with its relaxing atmosphere and range of activities.
- Phu Quoc Island – Known for its pristine beaches and clear blue water, Phu Quoc Island is a top destination for beach enthusiasts. The island is home to various beaches, each with its own unique charm.
- Da Nang Beach – Da Nang is a coastal city located in central region and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. The beach is known for its long stretches of golden sand and is perfect for swimming and water sports.
- Mui Ne Beach – Mui Ne is a small coastal town located in the south region that is known for its picturesque beaches and turquoise waters. This beach destination is also popular for windsurfing and kite surfing.
- Bai Dai Beach – Bai Dai is a hidden gem located on the Ninh Thuan Coast in Central region. With its clean and unspoiled beach, it is the perfect destination for those who want to escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet.
These are just a few of the beautiful beaches that Vietnam has to offer. With its stunning coastline and warm climate, it is the perfect destination for a beach holiday.
Food & Drinks In Vietnam
Vietnamese cuisine is flavorful, fragrant, and diverse, reflecting the country’s geography, history, and culture. Vietnam is famous for its street food, which is available on every corner and at every market. Here are some of the best food and drinks to try:
- Pho: Pho is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup made with rice noodles, any choice of meat or tofu, fragrant herbs, and a savory broth made from beef bones, fish bones or vegetable stock. It is usually served with fresh bean sprouts, lime wedges, and a variety of herbs.
- Banh Mi: Banh mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich made with a crispy French bread roll, pate, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and an assortment of meats such as pork, chicken, or fish.
- Bun Cha: Bun Cha is a Hanoi specialty that consists of grilled pork patties served with rice noodles and a dipping sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, lime, and chili pepper.
- Pho Cuon: Pho Cuon is a type of Vietnamese spring roll that consists of steamed rice noodle sheets rolled around minced meat, herbs, and lettuce.
- Bia Hoi: Bia Hoi is a type of Vietnamese draft beer that is brewed fresh and sold on the streets. It is cheap, refreshing and a perfect beverage to accompany the street food.
- Ca Phe Da: Ca Phe Da is a Vietnamese iced coffee made from finely ground coffee beans mixed with sweetened condensed milk and poured over ice cubes. It is a popular beverage to kick-start your day or to cool down in the hot afternoon.
- Tra Da: Tra Da is a refreshing-iced tea that is served throughout the country. It is often sweetened with sugar and flavored with jasmine or green tea leaves.
Money & Shopping In Vietnam
Shopping is an important part of everyday life in Vietnam. The official currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND), and it’s important to note that US dollars are also widely accepted in larger tourist areas. Here are some tips for shopping and handling money in Vietnam:
- Currency exchange: It’s a good idea to exchange some currency in advance of your trip, or withdraw money from ATMs once you arrive. ATMs are readily available in most cities, and major credit cards are accepted in larger establishments.
- Bargaining: Bargaining is a common practice in markets and shops, especially if you are buying something from street vendors or in smaller shops. Don’t be afraid to negotiate!
- Local markets: The best places to shop for souvenirs and local goods are in local markets, such as Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi. Be sure to come early in the day for the freshest produce and to avoid crowds in the afternoon.
- Western-style shopping: If you prefer to shop in Western-style shopping malls, Vietnam has plenty to choose from in urban areas like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
- Payment options: Cash is the most common way to payment option, but credit cards are also widely accepted in larger establishments. Mobile payment apps, such as Momo and ZaloPay, are becoming increasingly popular as well.
Overall, shopping in Vietnam can be a fun and exciting experience. Just make sure to stay aware of currency exchange rates, be prepared to bargain, and have some cash on hand for smaller transactions.
Nightlife in Vietnam
Vietnam has a vibrant and varied nightlife scene that’s sure to impress any traveler. From bustling metropolises to serene beach towns, each city in Vietnam offers a unique nightlife experience. Here are some of the best places for nightlife:
- Ho Chi Minh City: Ho Chi Minh City is the heart of Vietnam’s nightlife scene. It has everything from nightclubs, bars, live music venues, and even rooftop bars. Popular nightlife areas include Pham Ngu Lao Street, Bui Vien Street, and Dong Khoi Street.
- Hanoi: Hanoi’s nightlife is more traditional and laid back than Ho Chi Minh City’s. Visitors can enjoy sipping on local beers, listening to live music and watching traditional water puppet shows in bars and cafes. The most popular areas for nightlife in Hanoi are Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake.
- Da Nang: Da Nang is known for its beautiful beaches, but the city has recently become a popular hotspot for nightlife. This city has a mix of rooftop bars, beachfront nightclubs, and cozy cafes where visitors can enjoy a few drinks with a view of the sea.
- Hoi An: Hoi An is a charming, peaceful city located on the coast of central Vietnam. Its nightlife scene is more low-key, with lantern-lit streets and riverside bars. Visitors can enjoy a quiet night out while taking in the beautiful scenery.
- Nha Trang: Nha Trang is a lively coastal city that’s known for its beach parties and nightclubs. There’s also a bustling night market where visitors can shop, eat and drink until the early hours of the morning.
Festivals & Holidays in Vietnam
Vietnam is a culturally rich country that celebrates a number of festivals throughout the year. From traditional festivals that date back centuries to more contemporary festivals that showcase the country’s modern music and art, there is never a shortage of events to experience in Vietnam. Here are some of the most popular festivals:
- Tet Nguyen Dan: Also known as Vietnamese New Year, Tet Nguyen Dan is the most important and widely celebrated holiday. Occurring in late January or early February, Tet is a time for families to gather, feast, and honor their ancestors.
- Hue Festival: This biennial festival in the former imperial city of Hue celebrates the city’s cultural heritage through music, dance, food, and art. The festival attracts performers from around the world and is a must-see for culture lovers.
- Mid-Autumn Festival: Known as Tet Trung Thu in Vietnamese, this festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month (usually in September). Children carry brightly colored lanterns and enjoy mooncakes with their families.
- Hoi An Lantern Festival: Every month on the 14th day of the lunar calendar, the ancient town of Hoi An hosts a colorful lantern festival. The town’s streets are illuminated by floating lanterns and traditional music fills the air.
- Da Lat Flower Festival: Held every two years in the central highlands city of Da Lat, this festival celebrates the city’s famous flowers and agricultural products. Visitors can enjoy flower exhibitions, flower-inspired fashion shows, and culinary events.
- Hue Nam Festival: This festival takes place in the ancient village of Nam Giao, near Hue, and celebrates the history and culture of the Nguyen Dynasty. Highlights include a traditional royal ceremony and a horse race.
- Vietnamese Women’s Day: On October 20th, Vietnamese Women’s Day is celebrated throughout the country. This day honors and celebrates the contributions of women to Vietnamese society.
These are just a few of the many festivals celebrated in Vietnam. Regardless of which festival you attend, you’re sure to experience Vietnam’s rich culture, traditions, and hospitality.
Traditions & Customs in Vietnam
Vietnam is a culturally rich country with a long and diverse history, which has resulted in a range of fascinating traditions and customs unique to the country. Here are some of the most notable:
- Lunar New Year (Tet): Tet is the most important holiday in Vietnam, The holiday usually lasts around seven days, and is a time for families to gather together, offer incense to their ancestors, and enjoy traditional Tet dishes such as “banh chung” (sticky rice cake).
- Ancestor Worship: Ancestor worship is a significant part of Vietnamese culture, and many people believe that the spirits of their ancestors live on and offer protection and guidance.
- Respect for Elders: Respect for elders is an important tradition in Vietnam, and young people are taught to always show respect to their elders.
- Buddhist Beliefs: Buddhism is the largest religion in Vietnam, and many Vietnamese follow Buddhist practices such as meditation and giving offerings at temples.
- Food Culture: Vietnamese cuisine is beloved all around the world, and traditional dishes such as pho, banh mi, and spring rolls have all become popular globally. Vietnamese food is known for its combination of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors.
- Festivals: Vietnam has a rich and diverse range of festivals and celebrations, including the Mid-Autumn Festival, which celebrates harvest time in the fall; the Hung Kings Festival, which honors the country’s founders; and the Hue Festival, which celebrates Vietnamese culture and history.
- Wedding customs: weddings are an important milestone in Vietnamese culture, and they involve a range of customs such as the bride’s family presenting gifts to the groom’s family and significant public displays of affection between the bride and groom.
Culture Of Vietnam
Vietnamese culture is a fascinating blend of diverse influences, indigenous legends, and foreign influences, resulting in a unique and vibrant way of life. The culture of Vietnam has been shaped over centuries of Chinese, Khmer, and French colonization, as well as its own rich history and heritage. Here are some key aspects:
- History and mythology: Vietnam’s rich history and mythology are infused into its art, music, and literature. Ancient legends, such as the story of the dragon and the fairy, continue to be passed down through the generations.
- Religion and spirituality: The two main religions are Buddhism and Taoism, but there are also some Catholics and Protestants. Many Vietnamese people also practice ancestor worship, which involves making offerings to deceased family members.
- Cuisine: Vietnamese cuisine is known for its flavorful and healthy dishes. Rice, noodles, and seafood are common staples, and herbs such as coriander and mint are often used in dishes.
- Music and dance: Traditional Vietnamese music encompasses a wide range of instruments, including the dan bau (a single-stringed instrument), the dan tranh (a plucked instrument), and the bamboo flute. Traditional Vietnamese dance is also important, and often tells stories through intricate movements.
- Festivals: Vietnam has many traditional festivals throughout the year, including Tet (Lunar New Year), Mid-Autumn Festival, and Hung Kings’ Temple Festival. These festivals often involve feasting, dancing, and fireworks.
The culture of Vietnam is a rich and fascinating blend of traditions, legends, and modern influences, and continues to evolve as the country develops and changes.
Stay Safe & Healthy In Vietnam
Vietnam is a relatively safe country, especially when traveling in groups. However, pickpocketing and motorcycle thefts are common in major towns. When riding a motorcycle, never carry your luggage over your shoulder and do not place it in the motorbike’s basket. There have been isolated incidents of thefts from hotel rooms, even in upscale hotels.
Petty thievery is a valid concern, particularly in the larger cities. Avoid extending cameras and cellphones on busy streets and corners and keep your camera close to your body when photographing on sidewalks. Place your valuables in the safe or secure them in your baggage before leaving your hotel or guesthouse room. In general, it is a good idea to be aware of your possessions, keep a tight eye on your baggage, and avoid flaunting big quantities of cash or fancy electronics in remote regions.
Prostitution is banned in Vietnam, and the sexual exploitation of women or children is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Additionally, taking a Vietnamese national inside a hotel room is unlawful under Vietnamese law, and persons who engage in this behavior face two additional risks: HIV/AIDS is widespread in Vietnam, and when an unfamiliar woman is brought to a hotel or guesthouse, there is a chance of theft.
The streets are congested and some junctions in major cities have police patrolled traffic signals, but the majority of them are either non-functional or disregarded. To cross a road, the easiest option is to follow a local and stand next to him in the opposite direction of traffic.