Vietnam in your mind may be wars, poverty and a long dark history of colonialism. Forget about that part, Vietnam has a lot more to offer. The breathtaking natural beauty, delicious food and unique cultural experience are what you can expect when you travel to Vietnam. In Fact, Vietnam is an emerging destination in Asia with affordable price and easy visa policy.
If you are planning a trip to this beautiful country, take our list of things to do in Vietnam. You will find loads of fun and unforgettable moments on your next trip.
Cruising Halong bay
Halong Bay is a worldwide famous destination due to its tons of world title and recognition. Halong signature image is emerald green water dotted with thousands of limestone towers where is home to many endemic species of flora and fauna and even prehistoric human.
The best way to go through this legendary bay is on an overnight cruise. There are plenty types of cruise for you to choose. From budget cruise with all night party and jumping-from-the-top game to luxurious cruise with an exclusive itinerary. Whatever your budget and preference are, they have something for you. A cruise is a package Halong Bay tours which includes both accommodation and sightseeing excursion. Sail gently through stunning seascape and stop for kayaking, swimming or cycling on an island in the middle of the bay. The best time to cruise is from September until March; especially Halong Bay weather in December with low chance of storm and lower humidity will allow you to see the bay at its finest.
Taking a Food Tour in Hanoi
Hanoi is an ideal place to begin your Vietnam discovery. Spending time to wander freely around Hanoi old quarter where remains of a 1000-year-old city are still thriving in the heart of modernization. Travellers who love photography will be interested in railway line run through the narrow street.
Hanoi is also a paradise for foodie travellers. Hanoi is listed as one of Asia’s 10 greatest street food cities by CNN. You can find many delicious dishes at incredible price. Hanoi street food is sold at any sidewalk and served in plastic plates. If you don’t mind that, you will love the street food tour.
Trekking in the North
Besides Halong Bay or delicious street food, Vietnam aslo offers awesome trekking routes with a variety of choice and difficult levels. Generally, the most beautiful destination for trekking is in the north. You will find the scenery is breathtaking. Dramatic mountains, spectacularly terraced rice fields, authentic minority villages, pristine jungles all add up to unrivalled experience. Some of the most favorite places for trekking are Sapa, Cat Ba National Park, Pu Luong Nature Preserve (actually belongs to Thanh Hoa province – the starting point of central region), Mai Chau Valley, Cao Bang province.
Relaxing at the beach
Beaches – Another thing from Vietnam that makes it to the world top list. There are two beaches of Vietnam are on the list of 100 best beaches in the world by CNN. They also take over the top 3 in The world’s 20 cheapest beaches list by Telegraph.
Beautiful and inexpensive, there are more than enough reasons to pay a visit to these Vietnamese beaches. The most well-known and recommended locations by international tourists are Long Beach, Phu Quoc; An Bang Beach, Hoi An; Nha Trang beaches.
Crawling Cu Chi tunnel
Cu Chi is an immense network of underground tunnels, used during Vietnam War as an operation base and supply routes of Viet Cong.
Situated 70 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, the total length of Cu Chi Tunnel is 250 km with three levels deep (3m, 5m and 10m). Nowadays, only 120 km of the tunnel remains and turns into a tourist attraction. Cu Chi tunnels were not just a hiding spots but grew into a house with kitchen, working space, hospital and even room for showing movies and art performing. American army did notice the tunnels and ran massive campaigns in order to detect and destroy Cu Chi tunnels. They used different approaches like dropping bombs, pump water, spray gas, using sniffing dogs but most of the campaigns did not succeed.
Cu Chi tunnel is a journey back to the war which is a dark period in Vietnam history but also one of most fascinating adventure.
Note: Those with claustrophobia will find it hard to go into the tunnels.
Visiting Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An Ancient Town is a 500-year-old World Heritage Site. It was the busiest and oldest international trading port from 15th to 19 century. The port was often mentioned with the Silk Road – a famous and mysterious trading route. With a complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, Hoi An reflects “an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time” (UNESCO). It is really impressive that all of these buildings and monuments have been well-preserved over centuries.
Staying in traditional homestay
Vietnam is a small, developing country but very rich in culture and history. With 54 distinct ethnic groups, Vietnam is a multiethnic country. Each group has their own custom, way of living and language. It would be a big mistake if you missed unique Vietnamese cultural experience.
What’s better way to understand the local culture than staying with the local people? Sleep in their house, eat their food, talk to them will give you something you never experience before.
And don’t worry about the language barriers. If you go to the north of Vietnam (Sapa is the most famous place), you will be surprised by their linguistic talent. They can speak more than one foreign language, not mention to Vietnamese which is considered as the second language to them.
Visiting Hue Imperial Citadel
The imperial citadel was capital for 140 years under the reign of Nguyen Lords. In the past, this was where kings and royal family stay and ordinary people were forbidden to enter.
Hue Imperial Citadel is a complex of gorgeous palace, magnificent temples, and majestic royal tomb with tranquil surroundings.
Along with unique architecture, a typical cultural feature developed within the citadel – Hue royal court music. This royal pleasure has been recognized as the masterpiece of the “intangible and oral heritage of mankind” by UNESCO.
Watching water puppet show
Water puppet show is a traditional art form of Vietnam. Master puppeteers stand behind a screen to control the wooden puppet through a stick. It requires precision and skills.
On two sides of the stage, musicians play the background music as well as tell the storyline, using traditional instruments. Normally, the show will be in Vietnamese so you might find it hard to understand at first. However, the plot is usually simple, so just by watching the movements and actions of the puppets; you can easily guess what that is about.
Colorful puppets singing, dancing and talking to convey a particular story is a fun and exciting way to spend your 40 to 50 minutes in Hanoi.
Adventuring Son Doong Cave
This is the largest cave in the world.
Son Doong is over 8.85m long, 100 m high which can fit a 40-story skyscraper. The cave has its own ecosystem with river, jungle and climate which make it like another world, an Eden right on earth. Son Doong Cave promises you breath-taking scenery which is well preserved and very primitive.
So why such a fantastic cave is placed the last on this list? Because accessing to the cave is not easily as other destinations. The number of visitors to Son Doong is limited due to its dangerous terrain and of course conservation reason. There is only one company that organizes tours to Son Doong and with a long waiting list. So you won’t get a visit anytime soon. Once you get the chance, a training course is required months before the adventure. However, when you make it, it does worth your wait.