Unbelievably exciting and incredibly exotic, Vietnam is a country with a fascinating history and historic delights that never seem to stop amazing the travellers.
From the lush-green mountains and hill tribes in the North to Ha long Bay with its karst landscapes to the peaceful colonial towns in the central regions to the Mekong Delta in the south, this country has an awful lot to entertain with something for all sorts of tourists.
In between two lively, world-class cities (the capital city of Hanoi in the North to Ho Chi Minh City in the South), you get to experience a variety of delights such as dreamy villages, ancient cultures, natural wonders, historical ruins, floating markets and deserted beaches.
The top 14 things to do in Vietnam are very impressive, and include:
1. Venture deep inside Paradise Cave
Paradise Cave is a truly amazing cave system within the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and surrounded by thick forests and karst peaks. Even though this cave system extends a total of 31 km, most tourists only get to explore the first kilometre. However, this still gives breathtaking views of the cathedral like space with its glimmering stalactites and colossal stalagmites to make exploring Paradise Cave among the top things to do in Vietnam.
For the more adventurous traveller it is possible to book a more extensive Paradise Cave tour that extends deep into the cave system (about 7 km in) and gives the opportunity to lunch under a light shaft and swim in the underground river.
The best time to visit Paradise Cave is early in the day to avoid much of the crowd. This stunning national Park is about 14 km south-west of Son Trach.
2. Hanging out in Ha Long Bay
A stunning natural wonder in the North of Vietnam is Ha Long Bay, which covers an area of over 1500 km² and rich in limestone islands and islets. Ha long Bay was officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1994. The surrealistic scenery and wide range of biodiversity is best appreciated when able to cruise on the emerald waters on a converted traditional junk boat. Many of the private Vietnam tours can include spending the night in one of the luxurious junk boats to make it possible to soak up the beauty and the atmosphere of the region.
Ha Long city is an easy journey (about 170 km) from the capital city of Hanoi and is easily reached by bus, minibus or car.
3. Trekking around Sapa
Why not head to the far north-western mountains of Vietnam to experience the little town of Sapa with its outstanding trekking trails and colourful hill tribes. The multi-day treks can start in the town of Sapa to give the perfect opportunity to experience an incredible journey rich in scenery and including the rice terraces of the Muong Hoa Valley. It is also possible to organise the homestays and get to fully emerge yourself in the day-to-day life of the locals.
Alternatively, you can book a ride to the Topas Ecolodge, which is about 20 km from town to experience the fresh mountain air and be completely free of crowds.
4. Cruise up the Mekong River
Drift along the waters of the magnificent Mekong Delta (approx 40,000 km²) to cruise among local barges and witness the traditional way of life for the locals. It is situated west of Ho Chi Minh City and an area rich in fertile, tropical and lush-green lands. Fishing, exotic fruits (rambutan, mangoes and coconuts) and vegetables are featured prominently in this region
Much of the life in this part of Vietnam is based around the Mekong River with many cottage industries and communities able to benefit from the river, while there is also the thriving floating markets in the area that can be visited.
For the more Vietnam travel packages with adventure a key factor, it is possible to continue drifting on the Mekong River up to Cambodia to explore the magnificent sight of Ankor Wat. This gives a very luxurious way to get a glimpse of local village life and also the iconic temples on reaching a neighbouring country..
5. Crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels
One of the top things to do in Vietnam is to crawl through the dark and dingy Chi Chi Tunnels, which are near Ho Chi Minh City. They are an extensive network of underground tunnels used by the Vietcong as a command centre and supply route throughout the Vietnam War. The tunnel network in this region extends for almost 200 km and built large enough to function as living quarters, weapon factories, storage areas and field hospitals. You can get a first-hand experience of what the tunnels were like with the option to explore a certain section that has been opened up to tourists.
6. Visit the Cat Tien National Park
Visit a biodiverse region of the tropical rainforests at the Cat Tien National Park that spans nearly 72,000 hectares and one of the countries finest sites of natural beauty. This National Park is perfect for hiking adventures and mountain biking, while there are also plenty of opportunities to get involved in bird watching. Additionally, this park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including the rhinos and tigers, but many of the larger mammals that reside in the park are rarely seen by tourists. If you do want to explore the Cat Tien National Park make sure to book early as tours limited number wise and based on a first-come first-served system.
7. Escape to Ha Giang (Dong Van, Meo Vac)
Located between the Lo and Mein rivers, Ha Giang is a perfect place to visit for those travellers interested in a bit of adventure in the North of Vietnam. This region is easily accessed by overnight train or car and on arrival the walks can be very slow and relaxed with paths that follow the paddy fields to the longer trekking experience that goes deep into the mountains. This also gives the opportunity to visit local families and stay at homestays.
The local Ha Giang area has plenty of indigenous cultures with each having their own local costume and traditions. Plus, this area is a lot less developed compared to Sapa to give a perfect opportunity to admire the glorious natural scenery on the one or two day or week long trekking experience.
8. Experience homestay in Mai Chau
Escape the vibrant city life of Hanoi for the adventures that await you just three hours from the capital city. The mountain village of Mai Chau gives the chance to really experience the hill tribe cultures and to stay in the local stilt houses overnight, while also getting to experience the delicious home-made meals.
Other great attractions to the homestay in Mai Chau include trekking through the area to get first-hand view of the local customs and lifestyle, cycling past the beautiful scenery and sampling the local rice wine.
9. Learn local dishes at the Red Bridge Cooking School
Cooking classes are popular on the Vietnam vacation packages in many of the major cities with Hoi An offering the Red Bridge Cooking School. This gives a perfect opportunity to learn about the Vietnamese cuisine and start with a trip to the central market with your teacher and chef who gives guidance on the best ingredients and herbs. A simple half day class includes a two-hour lesson to prepare and cook a variety of local dishes like clay pot fish with dill and beef pho. You also get to learn the art of Vietnamese plate decoration before getting to enjoy the dish you have just prepared.
For those with little extra time it is possible to sign up for a full day or deluxe cooking lesson that makes it possible to prepare a complete four course menu. Additionally, there is an evening course at Hai Cafe, which is within Hoi An’s old town and makes it possible to enjoy a small cooking class of up to 10 students. This is great to learn about preparing a beef salad, grilled fish in banana leaves, or fresh spring rolls.
10. Enjoy scenery at Tam Coc
Tam Coc is located in Northern Vietnam along the Ngo Dong River and creates an amazing scenic site with some of the countries most dramatic landscapes. Tam Coc is quite similar to Ha Long Bay in that the landscape is dominated by the limestone karsts but entirely surrounded by rice paddies.
The nature lover on the Vietnam family tours is certain to get the very best view of the spectacular scenery on a boat ride down the Ngo Dong River. The river cruises are slow and relaxing and can take the region of three hours to complete, but gives a perfect opportunity to admire the natural grottoes (Hang Cuoi, Hang Giua and Hang Ca) that help to give Tam Coc its name,
The best time to drift along the Ngo Dong River is late morning when the early morning mist has been given time to clear and no longer obscures the view. Additionally, for those that are quite sensitive to the sun, make sure to take along an umbrella and wear sunscreen as the open rowboats to not provide any form of shade.
11. Explore things in Hoi An
Hoi An has plenty of must see attractions that comprise of the quaint museums, colonial shophouses and centuries-old Buddhist temples and pagodas. Many of the popular sites to explore are within the Ancient Town and Riverside areas. The ancient town of Hoi An city has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the well preserved architecture that has had a French, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese influence. This city has a variety of tourist opportunities that would be found in other parts of Vietnam and because they are congested in a relatively compact area they are easy to explore on foot or by taking a cyclo ride.
12. Hit the beaches
The best beach side locations in Vietnam include Mui Ne, Con Dao, Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc.
One of the top beaches in Vietnam to visit is Phu Quoc, which is the largest island in Vietnam and rich in dense tropical jungles and pristine white beaches to make a perfect tropical paradise for romance and peace. This area has seen significant growth in tourism, which has seen the sleepy island transformed into a coveted beach escape with a variety of resorts and wonderful underwater activities available for visitors. This island is great part of the Vietnam tour packages and makes it possible to experience feasting on exotic seafood, sun worshipping on the beach, diving to explore the untouched coral reefs, and kayaking.
Even though Phu Quoc has attracted the attention of tourists there are significant areas that are still undeveloped, with nearly 70% of the island belonging to the Phu Quoc National Park to give a great opportunity for adventure and exploration.
13. Street food in Hanoi old quarter
Hanoi's old quarter is a foodie's dream and fun to explore with some of the finest street food in the world. There is literally food eateries everywhere throughout Hanoi with the fragrant aroma of pho noticed on many corners. In addition to the favourites that go beyond bun cha and pho, there is also a wide range of less famous dishes to try. Additionally, a lot of this incredible Vietnamese Street food is available for the low-cost prices.
14. A must see visit to the War Remnants Museum
Visiting the War Remnants Museum is among the top things to do in Vietnam. The Museum opened in 1975, which is within a short period of the liberation and has gone on to become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. The museum is divided into eight themed rooms that display different parts of the war related to such things as military might, chemical warfare and imprisonment
A visit to the War Remnants Museum may not be appropriate for the younger visitors because some of the exhibits are quite gruesome with photos that are quite explicit and depict the brutality of war. Other artefacts consist of the guillotine and tiger cages that were used to hold the Vietcong prisoner.
The outer grounds of the museum have a wide range of military equipment on display including tanks, helicopters, fighter planes, weaponry, and other military supplies.
To apply Vietnam visa, you can obtain it online at vietnamvisaprovider.com. This is service website of Vivutravel.