Vietnam is an Asian country rich in cultures, food, beaches and spiritual destinations. Vietnam travel spoils you for choice amidst it’s amazing variety of the destinations to see and the activities to do. Let me try to tell you the top things and destinations you just should not miss!!
Ha Long Bay
This amazing seascape has tall limestone monument and tiny islands surrounded by lush forests with deep caves which are accessible only by boat cruises. Halong Bay was bestowed the title of a world heritage site in the year 1994, this is a place where you should stay overnight and try to see as many sights it has to offer. This is the king of the Vietnam which is most visited by travellers in the Northern part of the country. The lovely boat cruises offer accommodation on board with yummy Vietnamese cuisine, English speaking guides and inclusive of entrance fees to the islands and caves. Floating villages are also found here where locals stay and do fishing which is the main economy here. Overnight cruise is an experience not to be missed.
Consistently ranked in the top 25 places to visit list by Trip advisor, this capital city has a lot to offer to its travellers from lakes, to shopping to fantastic food tours. Hanoi city situated on the banks of the red river is also called the city of lakes due to the huge number of lakes in its city area. Hanoi food tasting tour is a unique event which is a highlight in which you get to experience the culture through its gastronomic delights. Thang Long water puppet theatre is another highlight which should not be missed which has live musicians narrating Vietnamese folk tales which is a visual and musical delight.
An Bang Beach
Wow ! This experience is not to be missed!! This is a day biking tour from Hoi An where you can take your fill of the lovely landscape and local houses on your way to the hidden beach. On the way, you will pass by the Cam Kim traditional village of wooden handicrafts and sleeping mats, picturesque rice fields and local markets. Yes, you can ride a water buffalo as well here ! You can also do fishing here along with rowing a basket boat finally finishing with a relaxing swim at the beach.
A world heritage site, Hoi An is an integral part of Vietnam itierary which stands out with its blend of local and foreign influences. Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, this old trading port city has very well preserved heritage timber frame buildings, ferry quay, architectural monuments and religious pagodas.
This is a beautiful city with colour, character and charm which will stay in your memories long after you may have returned home. It has 4 museums highlighting the history and the artifacts of the area and its people which are not to be missed. Food and Fashion are two more items on the plate here not to be missed. Hoi An is a mecca of Vietnamese street food and fashion boutiques abound in which you can get designer stuff at cheap prices. Any Vietnam family tour needs to be in Hoi An for at least 4 days and 3 nights.
War Remnants Museum
This is a war museum is located in Ho Chi Minh City which is housed in a former US Information Agency building which exhibits the war weapons, photography and artefacts displaying the evience and impacts of the war. The museum displays vehicles, artillery, bombs, bomb pieces, photography and documented articles and films depicting the ravages and impacts inflicted by France, United States of America in various times of war.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Vietnam Travel would not be complete without a visit to this place!
Cu Chi tunnels are a network of underground tunnels which are more than 121 kilometres long and have been preserved as a war memorial and tourist destination by the Vietnamese government.
They are part of a larger network of tunnels that underlie the country which was extensively used during the Vietnam War used as hiding spots and also for supplying food and weapons by the soldiers. This is a pilgrimage site now which had many kitchens, living areas, arms storage and hiding places inside the tunnels at the time of war which allowed it to be a prime weapon against the US forces. It has to be seen to be believed and still stands today highlighted by lights which allows the travellers to access the tunnels.
Con Dao Islands
The islands with striking natural beauty are still a quiet and yet to be discovered place for a dream vacation. They are situated away from the mainland and comprise of a chain of more than 15 islets and islands with coral reefs and pretty beaches with amazing wildlife. The things to do here would be hiking, diving and wildlife watching and lazing on the beaches. The Con Dao national park is also situated here which is an important place for sea turtle conservation activities.
This famous and pretty beach has a lot to offer to all its tourists. Do not miss the boat trip, it is hilariously enjoyable with karaoke, songs, dance, yummy seafood and drinks rolled into one big party! Thap Ba hotsprings is an experience which should not be missed. It has many relaxing services like mineral water bath, hot water pool and mudbaths along with the classic massages. Diving and Snorkelling are two activities not to be missed in the Nha Trang trip. This is easily accessible by a day trip and is great value for your buck. If certification courses are what you are looking for then look no further as there are courses at rate of less than 300$ with equipment rental included. Just remember to avoid the October-December months as the season can be very windy, limiting the boat rides and the activities.
Cat Tien National Park
Amazing flora and fauna characterise this natural seasonal tropical forest which is a mixture of wetlands, bamboo and grasslands rolled into one. Cat Tien National Park is spread across 3 provinces with an area of about 72000 hectares located 150 kilometres north east of Ho Chi Minh City. The park has only limited number of visitors allowed, so do book your travel and permits to visit well in advance. You can expect to see gibbons, langurs, monkeys and speciality birds like germain’s peacock pheasant, orange necked partridge, green peacock and siamese fireback which are rare.
Sapa Valley is a beautiful town nestled in Vietname’s remote mountains which is blessed with rich cultural diversity and numerous varieties of flora and fauna. It also has Vietnam’s highest peak situated here- the Fansipan.
This border town located on Vietnam’s northern border with China has been inhabited by descendants from many hill tribes like Kinh, H'mong, Tay, Giay and Xa pho. Trekking is a must do activity here coupled with scenic and comfortable homestay in one of the many pretty villages. They have herbal baths and hot water showers as well and astounding views of the valley are guaranteed. Handmade embroidery items like bags, clothes, scarfs are famous here which you can take back with you as souvenirs. Don't miss this one for sure!!
Vietnam travel is an amazing journey in which you can discover all that Vietnam has to offer in destinations, beaches, museums, wildlife and cuisine. It offers fantastic cultural diversity coupled with charming cities, wonderful and warm people to make it an experience of a lifetime. As they say in Vietnamese, Tro Lai , come again ! Well you will certainly want to do that soon!!
Vietnam Travel tips
Travel plan is the first thing to do and Vivutravel advises tourists to contact local tour operators in Vietnam as they can offer best tour itinerary and price.
Booking international flight to Vietnam is the second step, Vivutravel recommends that you book your flight to Vietnam from your end via a flight center or on your own which is cheaper. Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city should be where you start or end your trip.
Vietnam visa is the third thing to do, but it is not complicated because you can obtain Vietnam visa online via many Vietnam tour operators. Vietnamvisaprovider.com is highly recommended as they offer cheapest Vietnam visa fee and quickest visa processing time.
Traveling in Vietnam is safe, the only thing to care about is the traffic. With millions of motorbikes in big cities, crossing the streets can be an adventure, but it is not dangerous as it looks. Tourists will have to learn about that with a Vietnamese tour guide.
Shopping is a must in Vietnam. A lot of nice and cheap souvenir like lacquerware, emboidery, shoes, clothes, etc. However, it is essential to bargain. Don't not feel shy, bargaining is like Vietnamese culture and it is normal.
During your Vietnam packages, remember to spend as much time as possible walking around the old quarter of Hanoi, streets of Hue, Hoi An ancient town and bustling Ho Chi Minh city to taste delicious street food which will be the highlight of your holiday.
Tipping is not common in Vietnam, but your tour guides and drivers expect tips when the tour is finished. 10$ per day for tour guide and 5$ per day for driver are ok, but it depends on how big is your group, how you satisfy with the service. Tipping more or less or nothing are up to you.
Vietnamese people are friendly and happy to communicate with you, but at public places, Vietnamese can be a bit noisy and disordered. So, if you would like a quiet places, ask your tour operator to book right hotels, restaurants or try to visit the less-visited places.
The world is too big and you may travel to Vietnam once in your lifetime so if you have the plan to visit Vietnam, manage to spend 2 -3 weeks to see all the highlights of this beautiful country. An extension trip to visit Angkor temples in Cambodia is highly recommended.