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Vietnam Travel Guide

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Vietnam is one of the countries that evokes mental images as its name is mentioned. It is the country that dazzles the senses with a profusion of world-class beaches, superb cuisine, magical natural wonders, rich history, and colorful and multicultural ethnic groups.

Its capital Hanoi has managed to modernize while retaining just enough of the old-style feeling, and the bustling Old Quarter that is full of delectable food stalls and original local life. Ho Chi Minh City, its largest city, offers a glimpse into the Vietnamese modern edge. Hoi An still retains its timeless charm of the 15th century despite the steady stream of tourists. Halong Bay, the coastal city of Da Nang, Mekong Delta show tourists the iconic natural beauty of Vietnam. Sapa countryside is where to explore Vietnamese rural scenery and diverse ethnic life. Hue will bring you back to imperial Vietnam hundreds of years ago. An alluring coastline with fabulous beaches will offer a great combination of relaxation and fun activities.

Mekong River Kayak
Mekong River Kayak

Vietnam at a Glance

  • Capital: Hanoi
  • Other tourist cities/destinations: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, Halong Bay
  • Official language: Vietnamese
  • Official currency: Vietnamese Dong
  • Population: 95 million(with around two-thirds live in the countryside)
  • Visa: Except for the Vietnam visa-free countries, travelers from most countries need to hold a visa to enter. Evisa and visa on arrival are available, get more specific Vietnam visa requirements.
  • Electricity: 220 V / 50 Hz. Plugs: Type A, Type C, Type F(prepare a global adapter in case)
  • Credit Cards and ATMs: It’s easy to find ATMs in Vietnam’s big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Most ATMs accept Visa cards.
  • Dialing code: +84

Best Time to Visit Vietnam

Vietnam is good to visit all year round. For less rainfall and mild temperature, the best time to visit Vietnam is from March to April, and September to early December.

 

May to October is the monsoon season in Vietnam, during which time both south and north Vietnam will encounter heavy rainfall, while central Vietnam usually sees little rain thanks to being protected by mountains. 

See more specific information on the Best Time to Visit Vietnam.

Cai Rang Floating Market
Cai Rang Floating Market

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam is fascinating and diverse and boasts a bulk of natural, cultural, and historical attractions. From ethnic groups, soaring mountains, rice paddies, world-class beaches, to ancient buildings, bustling streets, modern cities, etc., Vietnam boasts plenty of places to visit.

Halong Bay – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay is known for its photogenic landscape with almost 2,000 limestone peaks and jungle-clad islets towering over the sea.

Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City – An immense underground tunnel network used as a hiding spot for Viet Cong guerrillas during the Vietnam War.

Phu Quoc Island – One of the best places to admire the imposing sunset in Vietnam, Phu Quoc Island is famous for its crystal-clear water, unspoiled beaches, breathtaking landscape, stunning natural spectacle, and many excellent beachside coffee shops, bars, and restaurants.

Hanois Old Quarter – A charming region to meet crooked streets, traditional Vietnamese architecture, bustling markets, ancient shops, some cool bars, and various street food.

Hoi An Ancient Town – A beautiful ancient trade port, Hoi An still retains its timeless charm of the 15th century despite the steady stream of worldwide travelers.

See more Top Tourist Attractions in Vietnam,  Top 10 Cities in Vietnam

Halong Bay
Halong Bay

Top Travel Experiences in Vietnam

Vietnam is a treasure trove offering great cultural delights, distinctive natural sights, and amazing history discoveries. Below are our pick of must-have Vietnam travel experiences.

Embark on a Local Street-Food Adventure

Street food is very popular in Vietnam. Most bustling streets are lined up with various street food stands and vendors offering baguette sandwiches, spring rolls, fresh fruit, sugar cane juice, grilled meats, rice cakes and many more food options.

Hoi An Town Street Food
Vietnamese Street Food

Visit the World-renowned Golden Bridge in Danang City

The Danang Golden Bridge is a suspended bridge that is designed like being lifted by two giant hands. Its unique design, amazing scene and opening space in the background offer great opportunities for epic photos and sightseeing.

Golden Bridge Da Nang
Da Nang Golden Bridge

Relax and Enjoy Thrilling Activities at Amazing Beaches in Danang, Cat Ba & Phu Quoc Island

With over 3000 km of coastlines, Vietnam is endowed with plenty of beaches that are favored by international travelers. Danang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Cat Ba and Phu Quoc Island are all the ideal destinations in Vietnam for a cosy retreat, sun-sand-sea delights and amazing beach holiday.

Trace the Grand Imperial Past of Hue

Enjoy a journey back to ancient imperial times in Hue, where you will be introduced to many UNESCO-protected imperial citadels, ancient palaces, temples, tombs and pagodas. You may like Top 9 Vietnam Temples

Enjoy Amazing Hiking through Beautiful Terraces of Sapa

Sapa will offer some of the best trekking experiences in Vietnam while you hike through the beautiful rice terraces, and breathtaking rural vistas, enjoying astounding natural wonders and authentic culture homestay.

See more Top Things to Do in Vietnam for inspiration.

Sapa Rice Terraces
Sapa Rice Terraced Fields

Best Vietnam Tours

Entry requirements and restrictions

International travelers to Vietnam are required to:

  • A valid Vietnam Visa. Most travelers, except those from Vietnam Visa-free countries, need to apply a visa to enter.
  • Have a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours or a rapid Antigen test within 24 hours before departure.
  • Have medical or travel insurance covering COVID-19 treatment. (Cover a minimum liability of  US$10,000)
  • Complete a health declaration before entry and install the PC-COVID app on your mobile during your stay.

Get to Vietnam Travel Restrictions and Updates for detailed and updated information.

Vietnam Transportation: Getting to and around Vietnam

Getting to Vietnam

By Air

The easiest and most popular way to get to Vietnam. Currently, there are three main international airports in Vietnam offering many different airlines to/from all over the world: Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Danang International Airport, and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. If your country has limited direct flights to Vietnam, it’s a good idea to book a flight with a stopover in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, or Singapore.

By Bus

For visitors from Cambodia, Laos, and China, it is possible to ride a bus across the borders to enter Vietnam.

By Railway

Only travelers from China can ride a train from Beijing to Hanoi in Vietnam.

See How to Travel to Vietnam from US, China.

Traveling around Vietnam

Among the many ways to travel between different cities and attractions in Vietnam include airplane, train, bus, ferry, boat, taxi and motorbike, which are mostly very cheap.

Motorbike is the easiest and most popular transportation used among Vietnamese. For travelers who are good at motorbike driving, riding a motorbike is convenient and flexible.

By taxi: If you are traveling with families or friends, Grab Taxi should be a good choice. Grab (the most popular taxi brand in Vietnam) is a similar app to Uber, you can use this app to book a ride and know how long and how much will it cost to get to your destination.

The local bus is also a popular and budget transportation for traveling long distance between different provinces. Backpackers like this method because it’s cheap and flexible.

By air: The most convenient and time-saving way to get around the country. There are many domestic airports offering flights to major cities in Vietnam.

See more details on How to Travel Around Vietnam.

Useful Apps in Vietnam

  • PC-COVID app – required to be installed while entering Vietnam (can be downloaded at App Store or Google Play)
  • Grab – An app used to book a ride from any downtown area in Vietnam.
  • Express VPN – an app to guard the safety of your online information and sensitive information.
  • Google Translate/ iTranslate – help you communicate with locals, translate traffic info or menu.

Vietnam Food - Top Vietnamese Dishes You Need to Try

Sampling local food is a can’t-miss part while exploring the culture and life of a new country, and Vietnam is no exception. Below are a few of the best traditional food in Vietnam you need to try.

Pho

The national staple food in Vietnam, Pho is a kind of flat rice noodle soup, usually with chicken or beef broth, and can be seasoned with sauces, herbs, or spices (up to your taste.)

Bun cha

An addictive Hanoi specialty, Bun Cha is a mix of grilled fatty pork, white rice noodles, fish sauce, sliced papaya, carrot, and herbs which were usually served separately and need customers to dip all the ingredients into a bowl of broth.

Bánh mì

A delicious Franco-Vietnamese food, Bánh mì is a baguette sandwich that is filled with meat (usually roasted pork belly, grilled pork loin, boiled chicken or omelet), fresh vegetables, pickled vegetables, and soy sauce.

Gỏi cuốn

Gỏi cuốn or summer roll is a kind of spring roll with fresh veggies, herbs, salad, prawns, and slices of pork all wrapped in very thin rice paper. It is usually served with a hoisin dip topped with peanuts.

Chè

Vietnamese chè is any traditional sweet soup, beverage, pudding, or custard-like dessert. It contains ingredients from kidney beans, grass jelly, fruits, pulses, rice, and grains, to coconut cream, and many other ingredients that are rarely seen put in a dessert.

Accommodation in Vietnam

Vietnam has diverse accommodation options to cater to different interests and budgets, from local featured homestays, hostels, and high-end and international chain hotels to luxury beach resorts and retreats. See the several popular types of accommodation in Vietnam.

Hotels in Vietnam

Hotels are the most picked type of accommodation among tourists. You can easily find either cheap or luxury hotels in all tourist cities in Vietnam.

  • star or high-end luxury hotels: are more common to see in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc Island.
  • Cheap hotels: you can also expect to spend around $10 to $20 per night in cheap hotels which are popular among solo travelers.

Resorts in Vietnam

Resorts in Vietnam are generally equipped with private beaches, local cultural experiences, spas and massages, and other high-end services, an ideal choice for people who are keen on relaxing and enjoyable holidays.

Places for high-end resorts: Phu Quoc island, Da Nang, Con Dao Island, Phan Thiet, Nha Trang.

Homestays in Vietnam

Local featured homestays are the good choice for in-depth and authentic local cultural and life experiences. They are usually very reasonably priced, and with basic facilities like bathroom, shower, hair-dryer, kettle, air-conditioner or fan, towel.

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