Find a Travel Buddy in Vietnam

You and your Vietnam travel buddy can explore the beautiful beaches, indulge in rich cuisine and take in everything Vietnam has to offer. From ancient ruins to bustling cities, Vietnam is the perfect contrast of past, present and future.

Plan Your Next Trip to Vietnam

Located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is on the border of Cambodia, Laos, and China, so it is a great starting point if you are planning to explore Asia.  If you’re looking for travel tips to Vietnam then keep reading to find all the answers to your questions. 

This travel guide has everything you need to know about traveling in Vietnam!

Discover the best activities to do on your trip! Find out how to get to Vietnam and the best ways to get around. Get your taste buds tingling with an introduction to Vietnamese food and get a few helpful tips!

Top Things to do in Vietnam

Visit the Chi Chu Tunnels 

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Go kayaking in Halong Bay

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Go trekking in Sa Pa 

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Take a boat tour on the Mekong Delta 

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Join a food tour in Hoi An city

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Watch a traditional water puppet show

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The Best Instagram Spots in Vietnam

Bãi Đá Vườn Hoa Sông Hồng 

A photographer's paradise in Hanoi, this riverside garden features flower blooms and a windmill. The best time to visit and take stunning photographs amongst the flowers is in September to November.

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The Golden Bridge 

The Golden Bridge offers an incredible scenic view of the landscape and is a great spot for taking a few fun and creative snaps. The bridge is 150m long and features a unique design of stone hands supporting the walkway. 

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Train Street 

Found in Hanoi, this narrow street is where a train used to run just a few inches from the walls of residential houses. Here you can get the iconic picture of yourself walking down the train tracks. 

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Mua Caves Viewpoint 

Not far from Ninh Binh, you can take the mountain path to the Mua Caves which offers incredible views over the valley below. Nearby you can also take some beautiful photos at the Bich Dong Pagoda beside the lake where lily pads bloom in the spring and summer.

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The Best Travel Itinerary for Vietnam

Discover Vietnam from the north to south on this perfect 2 week trip itinerary! 

Day 1 - 2: Hanoi 

The capital city of Hanoi is buzzing with energy! Here you can immerse yourself into the fast-paced city life and enjoy some of the best Vietnamese food and nightlife! Take a wander through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter and indulge in a local food tour! 

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Day 3 - 4: Sa Pa

Head to Sa Pa, a town in the mountains northwest of Hanoi. The town is famous for its towering peaks, forest trails, picturesque rice terraces and cute villages nestled between breathtaking views. It is one of Vietnam's most beautiful destinations and great for a trekking adventure!

Day 5 - 6: Halong Bay 

Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site where many scenes from Hollywood movies were filmed due to its surrealistic scenery. Here you can discover various islands, beaches, villages, and limestone caves on an overnight cruise tour. You can also enjoy a few fun activities like kayaking, and taking a cooking class. 

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Day 7: Ninh Binh 

A less touristy destination to visit is Ninh Binh which has similar scenery as Ha long Bay except that it is situated further inland. Hire a motorcycle so you can go sightseeing easily in Ninh Binh for a fair price. There are a few religious sites to visit such as the Bich Dong and Bai Dinh Pagodas as well as the Phát Diệm Cathedral which is a catholic church with Vietnamese style architecture.  

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Day 8 - 9: Da Nang

Da Nang is several hours south from Hanoi so you could either take a flight there or go with a sleeper bus and save yourself one night stay in a hotel. 

Da Nang is a popular city for tourists because it has so many unique and aesthetic attractions. On your visit, you can chill out at the beach and see the largest pagoda in Vietnam - a 67m high statue of Linh Ung pagoda / the Lady Buddha statue. 

For a day you won’t forget, head to the Ba Na hills amusement park, where you can pick and choose from a variety of places to visit like a wax figure museum and a French village or cross the Golden Bridge and wander through the beautiful gardens. It’s a wonderful location to watch the sunset against an impressive backdrop of lush mountains.

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Day 10: Hue  

Hue is well known for its Imperial Citadel (UNESCO), royal mausoleums, and iconic pagodas such as the Thien Mu Pagoda. There are a number of architectural treasures situated close to the river bank, so you can rent a private boat for the day and just stop along the way to visit them whenever you want to.

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Day 11 - 12: Hoi An

Located in central Vietnam lies Hoi An, a well-preserved ancient town that is famous for its tailors. Here you can find a tailor to make you a custom Vietnamese dress, called an ao dai, and pick it up the next day. Explore the city streets as the sun sets and the town is illuminated by thousands of colorful lanterns that add a romantic and nostalgic charm to this historical town.

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Day 13 - 14: Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh city is the business hub of Vietnam with a prominent history that dates back hundreds of years. You’ll get the chance to witness the stark contrast between old and new in Vietnam as Ho Chi Minh City features museums, ornate temples, pagodas and historical buildings amidst towering modern skyscrapers. 

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TIP! 

If you have a few more days to explore, we highly recommend visiting the sand dunes of Mui Ne, be captivated by the floating markets and temples in Can Tho and immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty of the island of Con Dao.

Best Time to Visit Vietnam

The best months of the year to visit Vietnam are from September to December and in March and April. If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, keep in mind that it is a large country with different weather patterns across the regions. Vietnam has a tropical climate in the south and a monsoon climate in the north. Remember to pack appropriate clothes for the hot and rainy season from May to September and the warm and dry season from October to March.

For more info on the Best Time to Visit Vietnam.

Hidden Gems of Vietnam

Are you curious about the secret spots to visit in Vietnam? Here are a few hidden treasures you can find on your trip! 

Hang Son Doong Cave

This is the largest natural cave in the world featuring the tallest stalagmite ever found, standing 80 meters (262 feet) tall.

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Dong Van Karst Plateau

See geological and archaeological wonders at the Dong Van Karst Plateau, one of 77 UNESCO Global Geoparks in the world located in the north of Vietnam. 

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Am Phu Cave 

Inside the Am Phu Cave is a re-creation of Buddhist heaven and hell that will surely be a fun and mystical experience to learn about Vietnamese folklore.

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Thien Mu Pagoda

This seven-story pagoda is a historic temple dedicated to the Celestial Lady found in the city of Huế. 

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Po Nagar Cham Towers

Hidden in the forest are the Po Nagar Cham Towers, it is one of the best places to visit in Nha Trang City thanks to the breathtaking view below and to see centuries old architecture.

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What does it cost to travel to Vietnam?

Here's a breakdown of the average costs for a trip to Vietnam:

Accommodation

Budget-Friendly: €6,50 (hostel) per person per night

Mid-Range Budget: €12 to €50 per person per night

High Budget: €80+

Food

Local meal: €2

Beer: €0,50 to €4

Coffee: €1,50 

Transportation

Motorbike rental: €9,27

Public bus ticket: €0,12

Getting Around Vietnam

By Plane - Flights to Vietnam can be pricey but they are cheaper when you book tickets several months in advance, so it is best to set up flight price alerts. For domestic flight, the airlines you can travel with are Vietnam Airline, Bamboo Airline, Vietjet, and Jet Star. 

International flights to Vietnam arrive in three major airports: 

  • Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) in Hanoi
  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Da Nang International Airport (DAD) in Da Nang

Train - Is the best option if you want to travel slowly through the countryside. The trains in Vietnam are comfortable and fairly priced. For long-distance travel, consider taking an air-conditioned carriage or sleeping compartment for overnight journeys. 

Bus - The cheapest travel option in Vietnam. The bus service on main highways is reliable, although the buses are in moderate condition. If you’re traveling with bags then put a rain cover on them before putting it in the bus storage area to save it from getting wet or dirty. 

Car - Renting a car is the best way to travel at your own pace, but typically tourists should not hire a self-driving car. Instead rental cars come with a local driver who can handle tricky situations on the road and drive you to your destinations safely. 

Ridesharing - While taxis are an option in Vietnam, a cheaper and faster alternative is to download a ridesharing app like Grab, Gojek or Be to find a car or motorcycle driver to travel with. Set aside some Vietnamese Dong since trips are paid in cash.

Must-Try Foods in Vietnam

Pho - a soup with rice noodles, meat and vegetables that has its own unique taste and aroma.

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls are filled with  pork, prawn, vegetables, noodles and wrapped in rice paper.

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Banh Xeo - is a kind of a pancake filled with either prawns, pork or beans and served with herbs and a dipping sauce.

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Banh Mi - is a French-Vietnamese sandwich, consisting of an airy baguette, smeared with pate and mayo and then topped with vegetables like carrots and cucumbers, cilantro and several layers of cold cuts.

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Vietnamese Beer - Bia Hoi is the draft beer and a must-try beverage. There are usually small plastic chairs along the pavement where people sit with friends and family to drink together.

Vietnamese Coffee - is widely known for its unique strong taste and the way the coffee is “dripped” is almost like a ritual. Coffee holds a special place in Vietnamese culture, so be sure to try it!

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10 Travel Tips for Vietnam

  1. Passport
    Before your trip, double check that your passport is valid for 6 months after your arrival in Vietnam and there should be at least one blank page for your visa entry stamp.
  2. Visa requirements
    For 30 days of travel, you can apply for a tourist E-visa easily online, it costs 25 USD and is processed in 3 days. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days then you should apply for a visa on arrival.
  3. Get a local sim card
    To minimize stress on your trip, simply buy a sim card at the airport when you arrive in Vietnam - Viettel is a good option. If you plan to travel through multiple Asian countries, you can also find a single card that covers them all so you won't have to buy different cards in each.
  4. Money
    Local ATMs charge high fees, so it certainly helps to have some cash on hand. Either exchange your currency for Vietnamese Dong before your trip or bring along powerful currencies like USD, GBP or EUR that can be easily exchanged while in Vietnam. 
    PRO TIP: Another way to save is to bargain for a good price at markets! 
  5. Download offline maps
    In case you don’t have data or connection, it helps a lot to have a map downloaded. Additionally, you can save the directions to your hotel or download local bus schedules.
  6. Clothing
    Pack clothes for any kind of weather when traveling to Vietnam. The weather varies between regions and can change suddenly. Make sure you pack a waterproof jacket, lightweight clothes, activewear for hiking and pants that go below the knee.
  7. Local etiquette
    Be mindful of the local culture whenever you travel to a new country. Vietnamese people are friendly and may invite you to their homes, make sure to remove your shoes before you step inside. Remember to be respectful when visiting sacred places like temples and wear appropriate clothes or a shawl that covers your shoulders and legs.
  8. Safety
    You may be surprised by how busy and lively Vietnam is. For example, many tourists struggle with crossing busy roads - but don’t be nervous! All you have to do is walk confidently and steadily across the road with your hand out to your side - don’t stop suddenly! In bigger cities, be careful of pickpocketing and bag snatching.
  9. Water
    The tap water may not be safe so it is best to buy bottled water from the grocery store and remember to take enough water when you go out hiking.
  10. Vaccinations
    Some vaccinations are mandatory for travelers from countries that are at risk of certain diseases like hepatitis, yellow fever, malaria and typhoid. As covid rules change regularly, it is best to check what the current conditions are on the government and embassy websites, or look on iVisa.

BONUS TIP! Learn a few Vietnamese phrases :) 

Hello: Xin chào (Sin chow)

Thank you: Cám ơn (Cam on)

I’m sorry: Xin lỗi (Xin loy)

How much?: Bao nhieu? (Bao new)

Yes/No: Dạ/Không (Dza/Kong)

Goodbye: Tạm biệt (Tam biet)

Have an amazing trip!

This travel guide was written by Kim, an adventurous nomad from South Africa who loves to help digital nomads and travelers find inspiration for their next big adventure!

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Find out more about her and see her trips here.

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