You looking for tourist attractions and things to do in Vietnam? Here are our top things to do in vietnam help you explore this wonderful country.
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL TO VIETNAM
Obtaining a visa for Vietnam was a bit tricky, but lucky for you we have a guide detailing the all the steps you need to get a tourist visa for Vietnam.
1.Take a cyclo ride around the old quarter in Ha Noi
When visiting Hanoi you must make time to wander around the old quarter. Although Hanoi’s old quarter can be negotiated on foot, it’s more fun to ride through the narrow streets on a three-wheeled bicycle-powered rickshaw.
Elderly riders pedal many of these rickshaws and are experts at pointing out the best Hanoi attractions. Most riders may not speak a great deal of English but hiring them as your defacto Hanoi tour guide is a fun way to explore the city.
The old quarter is a chaotic maze of ancient merchant shophouses dating back nearly five hundred years.
Some of the tall skinny buildings have evolved from small market stalls that grew upwards and backwards.
Most date back to the 15th century and – as a result of strict street-frontage and inheritance taxes – are very narrow, only two meters wide.
Street names reflect a time when the area was divided up amongst the thirty-six artisan guilds and even today, many streets are still dedicated to those original crafts or their modern equivalents.
2. Cruise Ha Long Bay on a junk boat
Ha Long Bay, one of the new seven wonders of the world, is best viewed from the deck of a traditional junk boat. Set sail into one of the most beautiful bays in the world, and admire the scenery that looks like it’s from another world.
You can do day trips amor overnight trips, where you get to sleep on the boat and wake up to the sun rising above the bay. Things To Do In Vietnam
Legend has it that the bay of dragons (or descending dragon of you directly translate) was formed when dragons were called in to defend the vietnamese from invaders.
These dragons dropped giant emeralds into the bay to form an invincible war to stop the invaders. After thousands of years these emeralds grew into the islands that you see today. Or so they say. 😉
3. Explore the world’s largest caves in Phong Nha
Phong Nha, a National Park in Vietnam and a UNESCO World Site, situated in Central Vietnam is home to some of the world’s biggest caves.
A cave explorers paradise, the area is also home to the oldest karst mountain in Asia which are said to have formed over 400 million years ago.
One such cave, Son Doong, is said to be the largest cave in the world and was only re-discovered 7 years ago by a team of explorers. Once you are done exploring the caves, the area is also a great place to go mountain biking, bird watching and hiking. Things To Do In Vietnam
There are lots of great hostels and homestay in the area to rest you weary head after a day exploring, such as the Easy Tiger Hostel, by far the most popular spot with adventurous backpackers.
4. Tour Hue’s Imperial City in a carriage
Hue is often overlooked by many, in a rush to get to beautiful Hoi An. Hue’s Imperial City is a great reason to stick around for a few days, as it each step further inside the complex transports you back in time.
If you have the budget, paying to tour the city inside a traditional (and elaborately decorated) horse and carriage is a real bucket list treat. Not so long ago this city was the Imperial Capital of Vietnam. Constructed in 1804, the large fortress and palace complex is surrounded by 2.5 kilometre amor and perimeter wall. It’s a wonderful place to explore and photograph, brimming with colour and history.
Top Tips: Bring lot’s of water as you will be wrecked walking here.
5.Ride the Hai Van Pass on a motorbike
Made famous in an episode of Top Gear, the Hai Van Pass and coastal road between Hue and Hoi An is one of the most fun rides in Vietnam. Things To Do In Vietnam
Whether you have your own bike or choose to sit on the back of someone else’s (you can hire motorbike drivers called Easy Riders to take you along the route), this 200km stretch of spectacular coastline is a thrilling ride full of hair pin bends, narrow roads and even a change in climate as you pass from North to South.
Top tip: Give yourself a full day, and leave as early as possible in the morning.
6.Hike up the Marble Mountain in Danang
Marble mountain just outside Danang city is one of the main stops on the Hue to Hoi An bike ride.
You can opt to either hike up to the top (it literally only takes about 15 to 20 minutes) or you can pay to take this great big glass elevator up to the top which I must say is one of the most random things I’ve come across in Vietnam!
At the top there is a beautiful Pagoda and a temple, with incredible views of the surrounding area, When standing there you can see the My khe beach. It is one of the best beaches in Vietnam.
You can then spend another hour exploring the cave and hiking back down the mountain. A great place to stop for an hour or two, and there’s also some beautiful marble souvenirs to be bought.
7.Light a lantern in Hoi An
The prettiest town in Vietnam, Hoi An is so full of colour that it can be difficult to believe it’s all for real.
Walking through the pedestrianised streets, which smell of incense and fresh flowers (that grow up the side of the ancient buildings), you get the immediate feeling you are in a very special place. Things To See In Vietnam
You can buy paper lanterns on the main bridge or anywhere along the river, light them and set them to sail down the river.
There are also lots of fun bars and clubs along the riverfront which really come alive after 10pm each evening.
Top tip: Don’t buy from kids, it encourages child labour
8.Visit My Son Sanctuary
The My Son Hindu Sanctuary is a great example of the ancient Champa civilisation, and is the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina.
While it’s not as large or as impressive as Angkor Wat, it’s still pretty damn epic, and should be added to your itinerary of places to visit in Vietnam.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located near the town of Hoi An. Unfortunately, it once was a lot larger than it stands today but during the American/Vietnam War some of the site was destroyed.
It is still definitely worth visiting and learning about this era. Visiting the Hindu-themed ruins you will be impressed by the beautiful stone sculptures, temples and towers ruins.
9.Visit the Ho Chi Minh War Remnants Museum
There aren’t too many museums in the world where I have found myself wandering around for hours, silently shedding tears and feeling like an emotional wreck.
The Ho Chi Minh War Museum is a haunting place, full of photographs and detailed stories from the Vietnam War.
There is so much to learn from a visit here, and I believe it’s one of the most important things to do in Vietnam no matter how little time you may have.
It is such a beautiful country today, but we must understand what the country has been through in the past and how their entire country was almost destroyed. Try to give yourself at least a few hours to spend here. Things To Do In Vietnam
Top tip: Bring some tissues, you will cry. And some water, it’s quite hot in there.
10. Crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels
You will never fully understand the extent the Viet Cong went to stage secret attacks and remain hidden until you spend a day at the Cu Chi tunnels near Ho Chi Minh city.
Additionally, you will never fully understand the meaning of claustrophobia until you lower yourself into these tiny tunnels under the ground, and spend a few minutes in the pitch dark drawing through them.
A fascinating complex of tunnels used during the war,a visit here will also educate you on other methods of capture used during the war and will even give yo the chance to shoot weapons such as AK47’s. A pretty eye opening experience.
11.Explore the Mekong Delta
Known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is one of the Vietnam must see. This region is crossed by an incredible number of waterways. Life floats here, quite literally: houses, restaurants and even markets float on the rivers, canals and streams that flow like arteries.
Cai Rang, about 6 km from Can Tho, towards Soc Trang, is one of the biggest floating markets in the region. Visiting a floating market if what to do in Vietnam to experience some local culture.
What makes the Mekong Delta one of Vietnam must see is the intricate contradictions that are visible here. Traffic and noise characterize its main centers such as Can Tho and Chau Doc. Yet, the back sides are incredibly quiet and rural, and a whole world apart.
A typical tour of the Mekong Delta includes a stop at a typical Vietnamese bakery (yes, the cakes are delicious!), at a coconut candy factory, at a rice paper factory (these are all family run businesses), a boat ride along the small channels to admire the landscape and the wildlife, a bike ride around the smallest villages, and a visit of the Muslim minority that lives in the region. So diverse is the area that I recommend visiting the Mekong Delta as one of the top things to do in Vietnam.
12.Learn To Cook Vietnamese Food
Taking part in a cooking class is not only a fun activity but also offers great insight into local culinary culture and luckily Vietnamese food is some of the best in the world!
There are cooking classes all over Vietnam, and each class will offer different dishes and experiences. There is such diversity in the food from North to South, so you can literally do one in each major town and you’ll probably learn a new dish each time.
Learn few simple cooking skills of steaming, stewing, frying and rolling… with few great Vietnamese recipes that are fully transferable to your own kitchen. Coming home from your holiday and knowing how to cook some different dishes is a win, and will ensure you’re forever popular with your friends and family!
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