Vietnam is perhaps the most fascinating destination in Southeast Asia. Located on the Indochina Peninsula, it covers a total area of approximately 331,210km2, mostly hilly and forested. Mountains account for 40% of the country’s land area while the forests cover other 42%. Vietnam also boasts a coastline of 3,260km and a maze of rivers and canals. With its diverse terrain, this country allure visitors by a variety of sights and unique cultures across Buddhist temples, exotic beaches, and bustling cities. Prepare yourself for a new adventure through our exclusive guide to Vietnam Vacation now!
Currently, there are 11 international airports offering direct and indirect flights from and to various destinations around the world. Noi Bai, Danang, Tan Son Nhat are the three busiest ones to access the most visited places in three regions.
Korean Air, Cathay Pacific, and American Airlines have flights daily to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco of United States with a connection in Seoul and Hong Kong respectively. Air Canada and Cathay Pacific offer flights from Toronto and Vancouver to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with transit in Hong Kong. Korean Air and Japan Airlines also connect Vietnam with major cities in Canada but the transit time can be longer.
The climate of Vietnam varies considerably from region to region due to its stretching of over 1,650 km (1,025 miles) in length. Adding to that point, this country has an approximately 3,260km (2,026 miles) long coastline, making it a year-round destination to travel. Its climate is divided into 3 regions with different weather.
Hue is a charming city in the center of Vietnam, this was the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945, and as the home to 13 emperors. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers insights into the world of royalty. The most famous site on the Perfume River is the Imperial Citadel, once the emperors’ forbidden city where visitors can now view a complex of temples, pavilions, moats, gates, shops, museums and galleries featuring art and costumes. The city has been undergoing renovation for 20 years but still has a way to go. Among the other notable monuments are the tombs of several emperors and the Thien Mu Pagoda. Hue is also famous for its exquisite, intricate royal cuisine and delicate traditional cakes. Hue city offers a unique sense of serenity and leisure.
Vietnam’s 1,000-year-old capital, Hanoi, with a population of over 6.5 million, is one of the country’s main cultural centers and considered a rising star in Southeast Asia. New and old, East and West meet here, in what is now the country’s educational center. The Old Quarter provides a fascinating look at the Hanoi of the early 20th century, when each of the streets contained merchants and households that specialized in a trade, such as sugar, silver, bamboo and silk. Though few of the well-preserved, narrow streets are still devoted to one exclusive trade, the area is renowned for its artisan stores. Vietnam’s first university, the 1,000-year-old temple of literature, provides a look at another period of history, as does the traditional stilt house and the One-Pillar Pagoda. Visitors to the city won’t want to miss the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum or the War Museum, and will enjoy the tree-shaded streets filled with French colonial architecture, bustling market places, and friendly residents.
Also known as Ho Chi Minh City, the capital of South Vietnam from 1955-1975, today Saigon is Vietnam’s largest city and commercial heart. Home to over 10 million people, this bustling city is replete with skyscrapers, shopping centers and motorbikes. New and old, traditional and trendy blend here. Among the historic sites to visit are the Old Post Office of Saigon, the Notre Dame cathedral, Dong Khoi Street, the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. The Chinese district of Cho Lon is home to the bustling Binh Tay market and Thien Hau Pagoda. There is abundant nightlife; for a traditional evening, take in a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show on the riverside outdoor terrace of Ngon Restaurant. About 40 km from Ho Chi Minh City are the Cu Chi tunnels, 250 km of tunnels dug in the 1940s during the French occupation and expanded in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. In this underground community, residents took refuge against the American bombings.
Nha Trang, is Vietnam's most famous beach destination. Set on a 7km stretch of beautiful white sandy beaches and the safe warm waters here make it a paradise, not only for beach lovers but also snorkeling and divers. Nha Trang safe waters are a haven for divers with an abundance of sea life to observe, it is easy to understand why this is Vietnam’s premier dive location. The city of Nha Trang is also probably the liveliest beach town, with many streets to explore and bars and restaurants spread across the city. One of the most famous being the Sailing club, with a great beachfront location, excellent food and great atmosphere. Away from the beach, there is plenty to see and do, including the Cham Temple of Pa Nagar, or the Thap Ba Mud baths, here you can relax in the mud baths, mineral pools and thermal waterfalls or enjoy the hot and cold swimming pools. Just off the coast of Nha Trang is Ninh Van Island, which is fast becoming the most famous island retreat in Vietnam, with its luxury hotels providing the finest services. This remarkable island is home to some of the finest remote beaches anywhere along with excellent reefs making snorkeling and diving also an option. Here you will find total peace and tranquility on this almost deserted islands. It is the perfect getaway destination and also within easy distance of the mainland.
Nearly 3,000 limestone islands, called karsts, emerge mystically from the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Ha Long Bay, translated literally as the Bay of Descending Dragons, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. A Ha Long Bay cruise to take in these strangely sculpted karsts, which hide caves, lagoons and beaches, is a must on any Vietnam vacation. Add a kayaking excursion for an up-close-and-personal experience of this dream-like masterpiece of nature as you explore hidden caves that are only revealed at low tide through the chinks in the cliffs.
A Mekong Delta visit in southern Vietnam is the authentic experience many Vietnam travelers seek. Here visitors encounter timeless scenes of the real life of real people, and are impressed with the friendly and rustic soul of the local people. Fishermen and farmers carry on traditional lives in this lush rice-producing delta, which is criss-crossed with rivers, canals and arroyos. The delta’s flat roads are excellent for bicycling. The town of My Tho is closest to Ho Chi Minh City, about a two-hour drive. Cai Be, known for its floating market and craft villages, is further south, and Can Tho, with the largest floating market in the delta and numerous fruit orchards, is at the delta’s heart. On a Mekong Delta cruise, the visitor takes in the traffic of rice and sand barges, fruit-drying facilities and wooden ship-building yards, you can them experience all. Or for those who wish to venture further a Mekong River Cruise extends from here up to and through Cambodia and beyond. Offering a whole new dimension to this region, with cruising in style through these peaceful and gentle waters.
Danang is a young city built on an ancient land, closely related with the Sa Huynh cultural traditions, located in the middle of Central Vietnam, 108km from Imperial City of Hue and 947km from Saigon. Danang is Vietnam’s fourth-largest city offers a variety of feelings and experiences to visitors: a vibrant and modern city, with stunning beaches, and a unique culture. The young city that still preserve ancient Champa culture which visitors can visit the Champa Sculpture Art Museum and submerse in the way local people daily lives. It offers a great balance between modern and traditional. Beside its dynamic city centre, the amazing yet pleasantly deserted beaches that are home to luxurious front beach resorts, having incredibly white sands, warm blue sea Danang has to offer. A visitor would find a long beach stay here at a tropical paradise with pleasant climate all year round, where they just relax and enjoy the beach life. Danang also has other various interesting attractions as Ba Na Hill, Ngu Hanh Son (Marble Mountains) as well as the Linh Ung Pagoda, Han River, and an outstanding place nearby: My Son Holy Land, an archaeological site dating back more than a thousand years located in a forested valley roughly 70 km west of Danang, this former capital and religious center of the Champa kingdom famous for the ruins of Champa stupas and temples. With its all assets, Danang is able to satisfy all styles of travel- city, beach, mountain or even a more cultured trip.
Beautiful beaches and fabulous seafood make the large tropical island of Phu Quoc in the Gulf of Thailand the perfect getaway. This mountainous and forested island has yet to be discovered by hoards of tourists and is not highly developed. Phu Quoc is blessed to have extraordinary beauty with beautiful white-sand beaches, deep blue sea and high blue sky that are considered among Southeast Asia’s most beautiful as well as tropical climate almost around the year , which can not be more perfect for an ideal beach holiday. Visitors can dive, snorkel, trek in the virgin forests, visit quaint fishing villages or just relax on private beaches of true luxury resorts Phu Quoc have to offer.
Phan Thiet & Mui Ne are in Southeast Vietnam, both are located around 200 km from Saigon, with their long sandy beachfront locations that are known for both wind and kite-surfing. They also have a championship Ocean Dune’s Golf Club located here making it a perfect option for the sport enthusiasts. Towards the north end of Mui Ne Bay are its famous sand dunes, where children offer instruction and plastic sleds to all who want to slide down, it is great fun. These immense sand dunes inspire photographers with stunning views of blue sky with white and yellow sands and occasional red sunset. For a bit of history, visit the Po Sha Inu tower, a remnant of the Cham culture from the eighth century which will bring visitors an interesting imagination of another time gone by. Also located nearby are the beautiful Fairy Springs, it is really a slow flowing stream
Located on Lam Vien plateau, Lam Dong province, in Vietnam’s central highlands, Da Lat is an elegant city, where tourist can feel the similarity to the Western charm, and also difference just has in Vietnam highland. Flowers and all nature are the big attraction of Da Lat, a premier vacation spot that attracts many Vietnamese to this city It’s flower market is renown, and every other year in December Da Lat hosts a flower festival with exhibitions and a flower parade. Some describe Da Lat as a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps, and it is home to some of the best-preserved French colonial architecture in Indochina. Hikers and mountain bikers enjoy the area’s trails through pine-covered hills, past organic farms and tea and coffee plantations. Don’t miss the Valley of Love and the Lake of Sorrow. Visitors should also see the three palaces and summer home of the last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Bao Dai, who died in 1997.
Located in south central Vietnam, the port city of Quy Nhon is famous for its pristine and exotic beaches, sunny and cream colored sand. The beach stretches out along following a semicircular shape with the city hugging the shoreline. Quy Nhon is situated in a beautiful bay, with a backdrop of impressive mountains and ahead the clear blue seas. Quy Nhon also has its rich tradition in Champa culture originating from the 11th century; standing out to mark its history are the Twin Tower to worship Linga and Yoni (Ying and Yang in Champa belief) easily visible from the city and an excellent example of the Champa architecture. Also home to Long Khanh and Tam An Pagoda, where you will find a 17 meter tall Buddha and the Thousand handed and thousand eyed goddess of mercy statue. Quy Nhon has plenty to offer for all.
Mai Chau is a rural district of Hoa Binh province in northwest Vietnam, 160 km from Hanoi. Visitors who trek or bicycle around the beautiful area of Mai Chau will get a look at the ethnic hill tribes of the White Thai and Hmong in their villages. Weaving is a much-practiced skill, and traditional hand-woven clothing abounds. Another fascinating feature of this area is its many stilt houses, made of bamboo and timber and built 10 to 12 feet off the ground to protect residents from rising water as well as to shelter animals. Visitors have a chance to join the community of the local people in the rustic and pretty villages, where they will be satisfied with the fresh and delicious food which has typical flavors of mountainous areas. Welcomed by friendly smiles of local people, visitors will experience deeply local life in rustic home stay and have a memorable trip here.
Ninh Binh, prepare to be welcomed by a friendly chorus of “Hello’s” and “Xin Chao” from the local children, as you discover this area. Here you will be amazed with everything Ninh Binh has to offer. Bringing the typical beauty of Vietnam’s Northern Delta with picturesque landscape of leisurely water buffalos, charming lotus lakes, immense golden-green rice paddies, over which white storks take long flights. As you walk, cycle or even paddle through this distinct region. Located to the south of the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh possesses the typical gorgeousness of Vietnam’s Northern countryside, with its kaleidoscope of colors all around you, the green rice fields, the blue waters and the amazing floral colour displays all around you. This is where you can totally relax and enjoying the fresh and stunning beauty of Vietnam’s nature with majestic limestone formations and meandering rivers on the rustic rowing boats. Often called “the small Halong Bay” on the land, Ninh Binh offers a new sense of serenity, tranquility and simplicity to those who are looking for peace in their mind. Home to some incredible sights such as Phat Diem Cathedral, Bai Dinh Temple and also Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh is a place with much to discover.
Trek Sapa to visit the rice paddies, learn about how the terraces are cultivated, discover Thac Bac waterfall, shop the multi-color products of the local, learn the ethnic culture
Over 200 meters wide and a drop of more than 70 meters, Ban Gioc Waterfall offers a stunning site of 3 layers of cliffs among a picturesque background of green forest and unique ethnic villages. Among top 7 amazing waterfalls in Vietnam, Ban Gioc is listed as the number 1.
One of the first things when people talk about Vietnam, it’s the Vietnamese wars. Go to Cu Chi to know more about how the Viet Cong lived and combated in 1948.
The most famous floating markets in Vietnam are Cai Rang and Cai Be but you have to wake up early because the markets will finish at around 9am.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, the remarkable Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia.
The official currency in Vietnam is Dong. The US dollar is widely accepted among major big shops and restaurants but the price might be rounded up to the nearest USD, making it a little bit more expensive than the cost in Dong. The Euro, Pound and other currencies are also easy to exchange but make sure your notes are clean and undamaged. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are becoming more accepted in many of the bigger hotels, restaurants, and shops, especially in the larger cities with 3-4 percent per transaction. An ATM is easy to find in any city of Vietnam.
For tipping, big hotels and restaurants in Vietnam often add a 5 – 10% service charges to bills, so you don’t need to tip there but small gratuities for great services are much appreciated. But you should tip waiters, hired drivers, massage ladies, and tour guides because they don’t get high paid.
Learn some bargain techniques in our competed guide to deal with local salesmen, that can be interesting and will save your money. In the big cities such as Hanoi and Saigon, it’s better to use taxis or private car with driver due to the terrific traffic or you can go for tours to visit more attractions, get more amazing moments and experiences.
Get free Vietnam Ultimate guide