I - Best things to do in north Vietnam
1 - Discovering Hanoi
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a historical witness of Thang Long - Hanoi citadel, starting from the pre-Thang Long period (An Nam country in the seventh century) through Dinh - Tien Le period, thriving under under the Ly, Tran, Le dynasties and renamed Hanoi under the Nguyen Dynasty. This is a huge architectural work, built by the kings in many historical periods and became the most important one in Vietnamese monuments.
On August 1, 2010, the relic center of Thang Long Imperial Citadel of Vietnam was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Along with the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and One Pillar Pagoda, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long becomes one of the oldest surviving places in Hanoi, associated with countless dynasties and ups and downs of history.
2 - Trekking in Sapa - One of the top things to do in Vietnam
The best places to visit in Sapa Vietnam are the local villages (Cat Cat, Ta Van, Lao Chai,...), Fansipan peak, Bac Ha market,...
From the center of Sapa town, follow the road towards Fansipan Mountain about 3km, visitors will come to Cat Cat village. Located at the foot of Hoang Lien Son mountain range, Cat Cat village is hidden and nestled under the cover of mother nature. The green color of fields and mountains covered the whole village, interspersed with small houses of people living. All intertwined, creating a picture of nature full of colors that is fairly poetic.
Besides rice cultivation, the Hmong in Cat Cat also develop traditional crafts such as planting flax, weaving cloth, weaving living tools and forging agricultural tools. In addition, in Cat Cat village, there is also a craft of crafting silver and copper jewelry for a long time and creating sophisticated products such as necklaces, bracelets, relics, rings,...Going to Cat Cat, visitors also have the opportunity to experience and explore the customs, beauty in the religious beliefs of the people, and mingle with the gentle dances of the beautiful Mongolia girl, or the sound of Dan Moi, a kind of musical instrument played by the H’Mong boys and enjoyed specialties such as: corn wine, braids, tortillas, etc.
Visiting Sapa love market - Romantic thing to do in Vietnam
Sapa Love Market is a market and not a market at the same time. Because this is simply the dating place for the village boys and girls of the Dao and the Mong groups. Similar to the love market in Khau Vai (Ha Giang) and the Moc Chau love market (Son La), the old Sapa love market took place only once a year after Tet, as told by elder people in the village.
The Sapa love market has changed a lot today. Tourists do not often see ethnic boys and girls come to flirt at the market. This can be understood because nowadays, people do not need the dances or flute to express feelings as before. Just a phone call and everything can be done.
However, Love Market is still there and has become a unique tourist destination for visitors to Sapa. People go to the love market just to relive the past when every Saturday night there will be a few groups of young people to perform the trumpet and dance to serve tourists. Tourists come to Sapa love market to satisfy the curiosity about a strange market of ethnic minorities.
Muong Hoa Valley
Muong Hoa valley is located in Hau Thao commune, about 10km to the southeast of the center of Sapa town. This is the habitat of the H'Mong, Red Dao, Giay ethnic people. If you've ever been fascinated with pictures of terraced fields full of ripened rice, or clear streams flowing between the villages, this is the ‘paradise resort’ for you. Not only that, going there you can also experience the village life or enjoy the specialties that are 'only delicious when eaten in Sapa’.
Muong Hoa valley with many simple houses, appears right in the middle of the terraced fields like mountainous girls, simple, but extremely attractive. Visitors will immerse themselves into a 15km Hoa stream. The water source is always green, flowing through the territory of Ta Van, Lao Chai and Hau Thao communes, the ending point of the stream in Ho village. Hoa Stream is downstream of the famous Silver Waterfall.
Fansipan is the highest mountain of the Indochina peninsula (3,143 m), located in the center of Hoang Lien Son mountain range, 9 km to the southwest of Sapa town. To conquer the peak of Fansipan previously, it took 5 to 6 days, but now that time is shortened to about 2 to 3 days.
Conquering Mount Fansipan has become a burning desire for all those who love adventure. At the height of 2,400m, it feels like the wind and clouds mingle with the forest trees, you could spread your hands as if to touch clouds. From a height of 2,800m, the clouds suddenly disappear, the sky becomes clear. Only the wind makes the vegetation stick to the rocks. Climbing forward, you will see a huge block of stone backed by small stones like a table. That’s Fansipan peak! People call it "Hua Si pan" which means big rock. Seeing it means you've completed the adventure successfully.
Today to conquer Fansipan peak visitors have two options: One is to take part in hiking tours, which is preferred by young people to show their desire, bravery and to challenge themselves. It usually takes visitors 2 days and 1 night to complete the tour, with the support of indigenous people as well as having good preparation for mental and physical health. The second option is to go by Fansipan cable car system – operated by Sun World Fansipan Legend, which opened in February 2016, has made many people's dreams of conquering the "Roof of Indochina” come true. This option can be for all ages from the elderly to children, in less than an hour visitors can conquer Fansipan peak thanks to the 2-Guinness certified cable car system.
3 - Experience HaLong Bay cruise - Must do things in Vietnam
Ha Long Bay is a place for development of closed forest, tropical rain and coastal and marine ecosystems with many sub-ecosystems, including 14 species of plants and about 60 species of endemic animals discovered among thousands of fauna and flora populations living in the bay.
Today, the cruise tour on Halong Bay is one of the most popular tours in Vietnam. Ha Long cruise tours will bring visitors an exciting feeling when the night falls in the midst of dim space, participating in activities such as kayaking, swimming on the bay, admiring the beautiful HaLong at sunset or sunrise, practice tai chi, then go to karaoke, squid fishing at night fall ... Ha Long cruise tours have different itineraries to take tourists to visit famous routes on Ha Long Bay such as Sung Sot cave, Luon cave, Trong Mai, Dinh Huong, Ti Top islands, Bai Tu Long bay, Lan Ha bay, fishing villages or pearl farming areas ... etc. This is one of the most amazing things to do in Vietnam you must try.
4 - Hike through Cat Ba Island
From the center of Cat Ba National Park you can choose one of 5 routes to explore the park. At the end of the journey, you take the train back to rest at the hotel in Cat Ba, to prepare for the next trip. You can try the Kayak rowing in Lan Ha Bay. These activities in Cat Ba are favored by many young people as well as foreign visitors.
5 - Tam Coc – Bich Dong – Ninh Binh
Tam Coc is the first boat line to be exploited in Tam Coc - Bich Dong tourist area. If you want to visit Tam Coc, you can get on the boat from the central wharf. Bich Dong is located 2 km from Tam Coc wharf, meaning "green cave".
6 - Have fun at Ban Gioc Waterfall - Cool thing in Vietnam
Ban Gioc Waterfall in Vietnam is divided into two branches. The main waterfall is about 100m wide, 70m high and 60m deep. With a panoramic view from a distance, the waterfall pours down to create a white bubble area, which is extremely magnificent. The middle of the waterfall is covered by dry branches that split the water into three streams like three white silk strips across the mountains. On sunny days, the rays of that light shone on the waterfall resonating with the dusty water to create rainbow colors, shimmering and fanciful.
II - Things to do in the central Vietnam
1 - Explore Son Doong Cave
Son Doong Cave attracts visitors by the diversity of geology in the special terrain of the underground rivers and vast caves. Visiting Son Doong cave, you will admire the system of limestone, stalactites, giant “pearls” and stalagmites columns of up to 70m created millions of years ago.
If you are a passionate adventure traveller, Son Doong expedition will be a chance to challenge yourself and conquer a majestic natural masterpiece on this planet.
2 - Visit Hoi An ancient town - what you must do in Vietnam
Hoi An is encapsulated in Minh An ward with an area of only about 2 km2 with full of intersections like a chess board, causing people to meet each other in whichever way they turn.
According to statistics, there are 1360 relics including 1068 ancient houses, 11 ancient wells, 38 ethnic churches, 19 temples, 43 temples, 23 communal houses, 44 special ancient tombs and a bridge in Hoi An. Despite the change of time, Hoi An ancient town retains its ancient beauty. Its relic complex has been preserved almost intact, making Hoi An a unique place in the modern time.
Going to Hoi An today, we are able to leave all the temptations to fully live every moment of life.
3 - My Son Sanctuary
My Son sanctuary dated to the fourth century - the earliest in My Son, King Bhadresvara built a temple to worship King Bhadravarman - the first king that founded the Amaravati region in the late IV century, to be assimilated with Siva god, became a god - king and royal ancestors worship. This is a complex of many temples of the kingdom of Champa, located in a small valley about 2 km in diameter, surrounded by hills and mountains.
This complex consists of more than 70 temple towers with many architectural styles typical of sculpture for each historical period of the Kingdom of Champa. Most of the architectural works and sculptures in My Son were influenced by Hinduism.
The monument has been seriously damaged by time and wars, but its remains are beautiful enough to attract the curiosity of domestic and foreign tourists going there to visit and explore. Children under 15 years old are free of charge for entrance fee (including tram fee to the monument and the performance of the musical show). The local guides are very friendly, enthusiastic and hospitable here.
4 - Sightseeing Imperial City of Hue - Thing to do in Vietnam with family
Hue citadel was surveyed by King Gia Long in 1803, started construction in 1805 and completed in 1832 under the reign of King Minh Mang. Currently, the Imperial City of Hue is located as the following: the south is on Tran Hung Dao and Le Duan streets; the West is on Le Duan street; the north is on Tang Bat Ho street; the East is on Phan Dang Luu street.
The ancient capital of Hue is located 100km from the center of Da Nang city to the North, this is the Kinh Do of the Nguyen Dynasty, the dynasty unified the North - Central - South and formed Dai Viet nation with the S shape like Vietnam today. It takes you about 2 hours 15 minutes to travel from Danang to Hue.
Hue Citadel is located on the north bank of the Huong River, facing to the South, with an area of 520 ha. The Imperial City and all its buildings face to the south, which is according to the book Yi Jing: the king turns to the south to rule the world.
Inside the Imperial City, there were residences, mandarins and the most important part was the Imperial Citadel - the residence and working place of the king and the royal family. It is divided into the Imperial City (outside round), the Citadel (the second round) and The Purple Forbidden City (the first round).
Traveling to Hue, you must definitely visit Hue Imperial City not only to visit or admire the building imprinted with ancient architecture but also to find back memories of an authoritative feudal era of Vietnam, contemplating the timeless beauty of the surviving buildings that still exist today.
5 - Diving in Nha Trang - One of the most fun things to do in vietnam
But more importantly, you also need to have 5 essential items when diving including: diving suits that fit the body, specialized diving goggles, face masks, snorkel to ensure breathing when diving and you should never forget the presser that fits your foot. Preparing the above items has partly assured you of a fantastic diving trip.
Scuba diving always has a guide from the preparation until the dive. But it should be noted that it is not advisable to dive alone but to dive with a group of people. For first-time divers, keep in mind that you should swim slowly and do not dive too deep to regulate the water pressure below.
Nha Trang scuba diving ticket price ranges from 450,000 VND - 700,000 VND/time including shuttle boat and full diving preparation equipment as well as professional guidance of the diving guide. If going to Nha Trang beach, do not miss this interesting experience.
6 - Ba Na Hills and Golden Bridge: One of the best outdoor activities in Vietnam
On top of Ba Na Hills lies a bridge that you must have heard of before: Golden Bridge. It is a bridge dotted with mossy gray hands, which creates a wave of positive reaction from the public.
The Golden Bridge was built at an altitude of 1400 m above sea level, the total length is 148.6m, divided into 8 spans, of which the longest span is about 21.2 m. As a pedestrian bridge, Danang Golden Bridge possesses a width of 3 m with a 5cm thick wooden bridge material so you can freely play and dance on.
7 - Riding a motorbike through Hai Van Pass - one of the most cool things to do in Vietnam
Hai Van pass passes through the mountains connecting the coastal town of Lang Co with the city of Da Nang. The pass is 21km long with two sides of mountains and deserted beaches, and the winding road makes it very comfortable to ride. Since the tunnel through the mountain was open, the mountain pass has been much safer.
The most popular route for visitors to travel from Hue to Hoi An is through Hai Van Pass. You can rent a motorbike at the starting point (Hue or Hoi An) and return the bike at your destination. Your luggage can be deposited at the car rental company and will be shipped to the destination when you drop off your vehicle.
Before going to Hai Van Pass, you can stop at Elephant stream to check in and take photos in the cool water. The next great stop will be at Lang Co beach, this beach is very large and beautiful. If you have time, you can stay here for a day of camping and relaxing. Staying 1 night at Lang Co beach and having dinner at a local seafood restaurant will definitely be very relaxing moments.
Check the weather before starting to avoid sudden rain
It's a little colder at the top of the pass, so please bring your windbreaker
Pass roads are very safe but you must focus and be careful; Small mistakes can cause unpredictable consequences.
III - Where to visit in the Central Highland region of Vietnam
1 - Travelling Da Lat - Thing to do in Vietnam for honeymoon
From February to April, you can see cherry blossoms blooming around Xuan Huong Lake.
In August, the torrential rains will increase the attractiveness of the waterfalls such as Prenn waterfall, Pongour waterfall, Dambri waterfall as they will have the strongest flow in this season.
At the end of the year, from October to December, there will be clouds floating in the blue sky. From October to December, Mexican sunflowers begin to catch the beautiful sunshine shimmering with the new wind.
And there are many other colorful flowers such as white cabbage field, sunflower garden, velvet rose garden, mead field,... In every season, Dalat always has a kind of flower that attracts visitors.
Besides flowers, you can see interesting architecture such as Lam Vien square, Rooster Church, Train station, etc.
2 - Unique thing to do in Vietnam - Discovering Buon Me Thuot Coffee processing center
Therefore, there are many centers of processing coffee in Buon Me Thuot. If you happen to go to Buon Me Thuot, don’t forget to visit any of these centers to understand about the coffee here.
IV - Things to do in the South of Vietnam
1 - In Phu Quoc Island
This is a tropical island with warm weather all around the year, the temperature is about 28 degree celsius. The most crowded time to visit Phu Quoc is from April to September. However, the dry season (October to March next year) is the best time for Phu Quoc.
Vinpearl Phu Quoc amusement park
Built on a total area of up to 170,000m², Vinpearl Phu Quoc amusement park includes many interesting places such as: Water Park, Aquarium, Outdoor play area, Movie theater, etc. It also has a dolphin performance area, which has 1,152 seats and a water music stage with a capacity of up to 2,337 seats where international cultural events can be held.
Dinh Cau Night market
Dinh Cau night market is a busy market on Vo Thi Sau street, starting from Bach Dang street to Tran Hung Dao crossroad. The market is near the beach, in the center of Duong Dong town, about 100m from Dinh Cau. The market starts from 17:00 to 22:00. The most famous commodity is the food court specializing in serving unique dishes made from fresh seafood for dinner, such as seafood porridge, seafood rice, fish cake soup.
Visiting Vinpearl Safari - Thing to do in Vietnam for kids
Vinpearl Safari is the largest open zoo model in Vietnam with an area of about 500 hectares, gathering about 130 species with more than 2,200 individuals of rare animals.
Scuba diving to see the coral
Phu Quoc island is an ideal place for travelers to diving and explore the ocean, especially the coral reefs that are on the top list in Vietnam in terms of abundance with 17 different types of hard, soft and different corals.
Coral snorkeling tours are offered by hotels and resorts of Phu Quoc and offered to tourists for between 350,000 and 500,000VND (15-21.5$)/person.
2 - Cruise on the Mekong river
- Victoria Mekong Cruise: 4 stars, From Can Tho to Phnompenh, the trip last for 3-4 days
- Mekong Princess Cruise: suitable for short tours, capacity up to 20 persons
- RV Mekong Pandaw Cruise: 20 cabins
3 - Visit Ho Chi Minh city and Cu Chi tunnel - Things not to miss in Vietnam
4 - Con Dao islands
What can you experience on the island?
- Scuba diving to see the coral
- Fishing - an interesting activity when traveling to Con Dao
- Exploring the deserted island
- See turtles laying eggs
- Visit Con Dao prison
V - Enjoy Vietnamese cuisine - Things you have to do in Vietnam
1 - Banh Xeo
2 - Cao Lau
3- Trying Banh Mi - One of the best thing to do in Vietnam
From trolleys on the streets or shops, banh mi has increasingly asserted its position thanks to chains with serious investment in brands such as "Banh Mi Pho", "Banh Mi Minh Nhat", "Banh Mi Hana"," Bami King "," BMQ Sticky Banh Mi " etc.
The price of a banh mi ranges from 15.000VND – 50.000VND (~0,64-2,1USD)
4 - Squid rolls
Not only famous in Vietnam, Ha Long squid rolls are also honored to be one of "the only dishes in Vietnam to be compared with dishes of other countries in the whole Asia region”.
5 - Eating Pho and various types of noodle and vermicelli - Popular things in Vietnam
There are many other kinds of noodles in Vietnam that you should definitely try once, such as Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef noodle), Bun Rieu (crab noodle), Bun Thit Nuong (Grilled pork noodle), etc.
6 - Grilled chopped fish
Some famous Grilled chopped fish in Hanoi:
La Vong Grilled Chopped Fish
Address: 14 Cha Ca Street, Hanoi
Or 107 Nguyen Truong To, Hanoi
Price: 175,000 VND/person (~7.5USD)
Opening hours: 9:00 - 23:00
Thang Long grilled chopped fish
Address: No. 21 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price: 125,000 VND/person (~5.4USD)
Opening hours: 8:00 - 23:00
7 - Banh Beo
The banh beo consists of three main parts: the cake made from rice flour, the filling to sprinkle on the cake made with pureed shrimp, and the sauce, a mixture where fish sauce is the main ingredient and often poured directly into the cake without dipping. The auxiliary ingredients of the banh beo are usually onion fat, crushed roasted peanuts.
VI - Activities to do in Vietnam to understand about local culture
1 - Going to a pagoda in Vietnam
Some famous pagodas to visit in Vietnam:
Yen Tu Pagoda
Address: Thuong Yen Cong commune, Uong Bi district, Quang Ninh province
Bai Dinh pagoda
Address: Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province
Address: Huong Son commune, My Duc district, Hanoi
Linh Ung pagoda
Address: Hoang Sa street, Tho Quang ward, Son Tra district, Da Nang city
Black Virgin pagoda
Address: Ninh Trung village, Ninh Son commune, Tay Ninh district, Tay Ninh province
Giac Lam pagoda
Address: No.565 Lac Long Quan street, Ward 10, Tan Binh district, Ho Chi Minh city
2 - Join in Hoi Lim Festivals to enjoy Quan Ho singing in Bac Ninh Province
The ancient tradition leaves behind a special charm and special passion that only Bac Ninh has. That is Quan Ho folk singing cultural activities - the type of folk music that has become a common cultural property of Vietnamese people. Quan Ho folk singing takes place from the 12th of the First Month of a lunar year in Lim village and many other pagodas and communal houses. The Quan Ho festival takes place anywhere: indoors, on communal grounds, in front of the pagoda's door or on boats in the middle of a pond or lake.
3 - Listen to Hue Royal Court Music - Interesting thing to do in Vietnam
Hue is increasingly developing and put into operation Hue Palace art performances to attract domestic and international tourists, leaving an unforgettable memory on visitors from the first day in the ancient capital. Hue. So if you have a chance to visit Hue, you should visit Duyet Thi Duong ancient theater. This is a performance place for visitors to visit, enjoy unique art performances held twice a day: Morning from 10:00 - 10:40, afternoon from 15:00 – 15:40. The performances will certainly not let you down.
VII - Unique experiences in Vietnam
1 - Traveling around the streets by cyclo
Cyclo in Hanoi
Location: Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
Price: 200.000VND/hour (~8USD)
Cyclo in Da Nang
Price: 100.000VND/hour (~4USD)
Cyclo in Hue
Price: 40.000-100.000VND/route (~1.7-4USD)
(The price is for reference)
2 - Watch water puppet shows
Thang Long water puppet theater in Hanoi
Address: No.57b Dinh Tien Hoang street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi, Vietnam
Price: 100.000 – 200.000VND/person (~4.3-8.6USD)
Golden Dragon Water Puppet theater in Ho Chi Minh city
Address: No.55B, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city
Price: 250.000VND/person (~10.7USD)
3 - Enjoying street food - One of top Vietnam must do experiences
Open from 8:00PM to 12AM
Price: 50.000 – 110.000 VND/person (~2.1-4.7USD)
Address: 177 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hanoi
Price: 15,000 - 40,000 VND (0.6 – 1.7USD)
Open: 9:00 - 23:00
4 - Wear like a local in a mountainous ethnic minority
As for me, I personally recommend renting clothes of Hmong people or Dzao people in Sapa, where there are many ethnic groups, poetic beauty and beautiful terraced fields. The most popular place to rent an ethnic clothes and take pictures is in Cat Cat village.
The price of clothes renting here is around 50.000VND/person (2.1USD)
So it’s not a bad idea to experience the traffic in Vietnam to see how it has changed so far.
5 - Wear an ao dai and a conical hat
Referring to the Ao Dai, we cannot help but mention the Vietnamese conical hat, which is also one of the familiar images associated with the life of every traditional Vietnamese. The image of a gentle and elegant Vietnamese woman in Ao Dai and a hat tilting shyly as if trying to hide one eye, a smile is the most beautiful and charming image of a Vietnamese woman.
Therefore, coming to Vietnam, why don’t you try wearing those things for a great experience and a better understanding of Vietnamese culture.
6 - Experience the traffic in Vietnam - One of unusual things to do in Vietnam
During the peak hours on weekends and holidays, the number of motorbikes in traffic is unbelievable. Traffic jams on days are also common in the city, before or after working hours. Loud sirens will make you feel tired on the road. Not to mention when the traffic is congested, then it starts to rain so continuously that it becomes a small flood on the street, you might not want to join the traffic anymore.
But recently people have been investing a lot on infrastructure, which has improved the traffic a lot. There are more highways, more bridges, the streets are bigger etc.