Vietnam is a very popular travel destination in Southeast Asia playing host to millions of travelers from across the world annually. Its insanely bustling cities, mouth-watering food, distinct culture, low cost, and epic locales have continued to draw tourists for decades.
From experience, however, it seems visitors' impressions about the country depend largely on where they visited and who their tour companies were. To be candid, there are a few tourist traps to be avoided in Vietnam if you wish to have a fulfilling travel experience.
In this guide, we will share useful tips to help make your trip hitch-free and fun-filled.
Top Places and Best Routes
Vietnam has a lot of interesting places to visit by travelers, especially new visitors who haven't explored the country's biodiversity and great tourist sites. From Halong Bay to the Mekong Delta region, the country sure holds enough attractions for fun-seekers.
By the way, Vietnam's narrow shape is quite deceiving and it tends to make people see it as a small country to be explored in few hours. In reality, its geographical length is similar to that of the West Coast of America and the country is way bigger than you may have realized!
Driving from the southernmost tip to the northernmost tip alone would take about 42 hours combined. So keep these great distance in mind when planning your tour. Apart from driving, trains and night buses are other means to cover more ground efficiently.
Despite its great size, however, many tourists often try to cover the entire country in a trip - which is virtually impossible to achieve. Such an itinerary would ideally take at least 3 to 4 weeks.
And such a grand tour could take you to popular places like the capital Hanoi, Hue (the imperial city), the karst region of Ha Long Bay, the beautiful town of Hoi An, and the historical Ho Chi Minh City in the south.
In case you have just a week or two to spend in Vietnam, then we'll suggest you focus on either the northern and central parts or on the central and southern parts.
You don't need to cover the entire country at once for you to enjoy trip.
The most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam are:
• Mekong Delta region - home of the floating markets.
• Hoi An - Known for its ancient town and other attractions nearby.
• Halong Bay - Known for its huge limestone islands
• Sapa - Known for its mountain trekking and rice terraces.
Besides these places, you may also want to visit:
• Hue - with its ancient imperial city and pagodas.
• Ninh Binh - a national park comprising beautiful karst mountains.
• Phong Nha - the country's capital of "adventure travel".
• Nha Trang - breathtaking beach resort.
• Ha Giang Province - with its captivating mountains.
Best Beaches to Visit in Vietnam
If you're looking to spend some time relaxing on a beautiful Vietnamese beach, then you may consider such places as Phu Quoc Island, Mui Me, Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, and Con Dao.
And many other unforgettable places.
Choose Your Travel Direction
On your travel across Vietnam, you'll most likely meet backpackers asking where you're going. Due to it's elongated shape, it's just wiser to travel from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Hanoi or in the other way round. Both are major cities with star attractions for those who love city life. To explore the countryside, many travelers start their tours in the north before moving to the south. This is partly because the north is such a cool place to start an holiday. But the weather also gets more appealing as you move south and you could indulge yourself with a quality time at the beach before ending your trip. Similarly, it's easy to make friends along the way as you move north or south.
Avoid The Tourist Traps
Frankly speaking, Vietnam has numerous conveyor-belt trips that can make the place feel like a cheap tour factory.
Some popular tours in Vietnam are packaged to lure as many travelers as possible, with quantity rather than quality on mind. In many cases, these local tours are quite disappointing with poor tour arrangements and services, as you get mixed with different travelers, shuffled around like ordinary cattle, and also being led around by humorless guides.
Such tourist traps include:
• Mekong Delta Tours
Very many travel tours in Vietnam are organized for people going to the popular Mekong Delta region in the south. These trips usually involve too much driving in packed buses and can feel impersonal.
Best Option: You can make your way to Can Tho city and stay the night in an hotel. From there, you can arrange a morning boat tour to explore the floating markets nearby.
• Tam Coc Boat Ride
One place you can't afford to miss on your trip to Vietnam is the karst landscapes of Ninh Binh. That said, the boat ride on Tam Coc can be a nightmarish tourist trap which many backpackers complain about.
Best Option: Ignore the boat ride trap and opt instead for better-organized cruise ship companies that offer amazing trips.
• Halong Bay Cruise
The truth is that every visitor want to see the Halong Bay on their first visit to Vietnam. The location is definitely magnificent and worth a visit. As a matter of fact, there are many companies providing tour services to tourists visiting Halong Bay. But know that your tour experience will be 'touristy' if not carefully planned.
Ask about the various tour options and routes available. You may also need to choose tours that include Lan Ha Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay which are neighbouring bays that are less-crowded. In addition, you can also stay in Cat Ba Island and visit the Bay in the morning to beat the tourists coming from places further away. If you want to receive more tips concerning your trip to Vietnam, feel free to contact any of our travel agents at vivutravel today to get more information. We'll be happy to hear from you!