From a backstreet food tour of Hanoi to feasting on fresh seafood as you cruise throughout Halong Bay, eating your way through Vietnam is a delicious way to experience the country.
Unique experiences are at every turn. Create a souvenir from recycled materials at the Spiral Foundation, take a picturesque coastal train journey or travel by speedboat to the Mekong Delta.
Gain a fascinating insight into the Vietnamese culture as you share a meal with a local family in Hue or visit colourful minority communities in the beautiful mountains surrounding Sapa.
Top Places to Visit
Located 1,500 metres above sea level in Vietnam’s remote northwest mountains, Sapa is famous for its rugged scenery, luscious rice fields and rich cultural diversity. Close to China, this picturesque town is home to many ethnic minority hill tribes, who can be seen around the town in their colourful, traditional costumes.
A short journey south of Hanoi brings you to the “Dry Halong Bay” known for its limestone hills and meandering river that takes you through three caves before unveiling a secluded valley. Your boatsmen are locals who often employ their feet for rowing. As you make your way through the waterway on a sampan, keen an eye out for plunging Kingfishers or nimble-footed mountain goats silhouetted against the skyline and rough stone.
Floating villages, green fields and sleepy villages make up this region. Though the pace of life here is laidback, the region is full of life with luscious rice paddies and fish farms being cultivated by the river, as well as sugar cane, fruit, coconut and shrimp. It is one of Asia’s most picturesque regions that offers travelers the opportunity to experience rural Vietnam and a way of life little changed over centuries.
Dalat is a slice of Europe in the Central Highlands. It was originally the playground of the French who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast and of Saigon. Dalat is still popular with locals and tourists alike for this reason, as well as the town’s landscape of colonial villas, lakes and rolling hills. Dalat’s market features locally-made specialities such as candied fruits, coffee and the finest cool climate vegetables and flowers in Vietnam.
The capital city of Vietnam and one of the most beautiful cities in all of Asia. Hanoi is full of history; a maze of winding, narrow, wooded lanes full of shops, taverns, bicycles, cycles and motorbikes. The city center is an architectural museum piece, its blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a peaceful and austere provincial town, contrary to the fast-living and bustling air of Saigon. Through several successive dynasties, it remained as the country’s capital city, the heart and soul of the whole nation.
Situated directly on the atmospheric Perfume River, Hue is without doubt one of Vietnam’s most historic cities. This former Royal Capital is full of temples, pagodas, palaces, tombs and culture. Hue became Vietnam’s first World Cultural Heritage site recognized by UNESCO in 1993.
Phan Thiet / Mui Ne
Often overlooked by travelers, Mui Ne is a charming beach town and a paradise for kite surfers! Centered along one main road are a vast array of international and local seafood restaurants, bars and beach clubs. Phan Thiet is located 200km from Saigon along Vietnam’s southeastern coast; it is home to one of the best stretches of beach in the country.
Vietnam’s largest and most up-and-coming city, buzzing with activity 24 hours per day! French colonial buildings and historic landmarks and museums are highlights of this rapidly developing city. The city is crammed full of restaurants and bars ranging from simple pavement stalls where you can buy a bowl of noodles for a few cents to sophisticated restaurants serving fine European cuisine at a fraction of the price you would pay in Europe.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered by many to be one of the Natural Wonders of the World, and for good reason. Over 2,000 magnificent limestone karsts rise from the clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, making for a truly picturesque scene.
Vietnam’s third largest city, and largest major port city, Danang is an ideal base to explore the nearby Old Town of Hoi An, or historic former royal capital of Hue. Located directly on the coast, Danang boasts some of Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches and beach-side hotel resorts.
This quaint riverside town was once the principal port of the Cham Kingdom. Beautiful, steeped in history and culture, this UNESCO World Heritage Town is very popular with visitors to Vietnam. Hoi An has retained a distinct Chinese atmosphere with low, tile-roofed houses and narrow streets. The original structure of some of these streets remains intact. All the houses were made of rare wood, decorated with lacquered boards and panels engraved with Chinese characters; pillars were also carved with ornamental designs.
Surely the most beautiful island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc is surrounded by picture-perfect white sand beaches and with dense, impenetrable jungle in the center. Long Beach is refined, Ong Lan Beach romantic, and Bai Sao simply irresistible. It takes about 40 minutes by plane from Saigon to reach the “pearl island” where you can enjoy both sun and steam baths, then climb to caves or take tours to forests where you can enjoy the nature and wildlife.