After India, only Vietnam can impact you in such a way that you develop a love-hate relationship. In short, this place has some of the most impressive landscapes you will see in your life, but it is also a place that is not easy to travel.
If you plan to travel to this country, in this article, you will find some key places to see in Vietnam; from south to north, and at the end we will make some recommendations for how you can enjoy your trip.
Places to see in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh / Saigon
It is recognised as the largest and most chaotic city in all of Vietnam, and it is. It is a city where hundreds of things happen at the same time, and something as simple as crossing the street here becomes an extreme adventure.
If you manage to cross the street in Ho Chi Minh, you can do it anywhere in the world. Except for seeing places, it is better you use the internet for everything else, whether you need to dig up United Airlines ticket confirmation, or you need a local guide. Moreover, Faremart.com can help you assist with the many popular airlines operating to/from Vietnam offering worth grabbing discounts and deals on their flight booking.
In addition to this type of adventure, the city is full of museums, memorials and history regarding the war. If you are interested in the topic, we suggest you visit, “War Remnants Museum”, where you will learn what happened and also do not forget to visit the Cu Chi tunnels, these are the tunnels that were used by the Viet Cong to fight against the United States.
If you are a little adventurous then you should visit this city, you can mainly enjoy two things. Dunes where you can rent ATVs or slide on them, but if you like another kind of adventure then you can learn or practice Windsurfing or Kitesurfing.
Due to its geographical location, this place is one of the world capitals of windsurfing having the perfect mix between sea and intense winds. You can see hundreds of people practising along the way and several schools where to learn.
Hue is one of the must-see places in Vietnam. Its imperial city is very well preserved but what makes it worthwhile are the tombs of the ancient emperors.
These are not near the city so to get to them you will have to rent a motorcycle, bicycle or hire a tour. In our case, we rented bicycles, and we do not recommend it unless you are in a good physical condition otherwise you will end up pedalling an old bicycle in streets so steep that it will be easier to go down and walk than to pedal. Opt for the motorcycle or the guided tour in Hue.
Hoi An was our favourite of all the cities visited in Vietnam. This city has a unique charm; it is also an excellent place to buy clothes made on order.
The speciality of the place is the tailoring, so you can buy shirts, pants, jackets, full suits or whatever you want to be done at the time. The prices are very good, and the quality is excellent.
If buying clothes is not your favourite thing to do, you can walk through the city. Its historical centre is small but charming and each night is illuminated with the hundreds of paper lanterns that you will see around the city.
Another advantage is that you can take an excursion to visit the famous Marble Mountains where you can see several temples and sanctuaries in or around the mountain.
Very close to here you can also visit the ruins of My Son. Ancient Hindu ruins in honour of the god Vishnu. Unfortunately, the ruins are not as well preserved as their counterpart Angkor Wat in Cambodia. So if you plan to visit Cambodia during your visit to Southeast Asia, we suggest you spend more time and visit the Marble Mountains.
In addition to tailors, mountains and paper lanterns, Hoi An’s food is delicious; it was my favourite of all Vietnam. Elsewhere in Vietnam, you will find specific dishes such as an Egg Coffee in Hanoi or a delicious Bun Bo in Ho Chi Minh, but each Hoi An dish is a masterpiece.
We became obsessed with the Cao Lau and asked for this dish from every restaurant that we visited. We would return to Vietnam only to eat in Hoi An.
If you want to have a few days of sun and beach, maybe this is your best option.
In addition to its beaches, the city itself has few tourist attractions, but in our case, it was ideal since we managed to stay in a very good hotel at a very good price. It was just what we needed to relax and not worry about anything.
If you are fond of diving, then this city may interest you and offers good destinations to dive at very affordable prices, if you do not dive you can also choose the snorkel.
Vietnam is home to the most important caves in the world. A few years ago, they discovered the famous Hang Son Doong, the largest cave in the world. It is so big that it has its own river, jungle and climate.
Unfortunately accessing this cave is extremely complicated and expensive, since they only allow a fixed number of people per year and it requires a week’s outing. However, this does not mean that you cannot visit other caves in the region.
This whole area is mountains, caves and rivers, and visiting them is one of the most interesting things to do in Vietnam.
The most popular is the Phong Nha Cave, which is accessed by the river in a boat. It is very impressive; unfortunately for us, it did not have so much charm compared to Paradise Cave.
A third cave that many people visit but for lack of time we could not go, was the “Dark Cave”. A cave where you go in a bathing suit because you will be full of mud. You will be guided in complete darkness by a guide, and at the end, you will jump from the cave on a zip line to a river of crystal clear water to clean all the dirt that you have accumulated while you crawl through the cave.
According to my friends, it is an experience that you have to live but preferably in summer since being wet and cold is never a good combination.
To access any of these caves, you will have to rent your transport (motorcycle). Otherwise, it is impossible.
Vietnam had two capitals, and to this day we think this is still true. Hanoi can rightly be called cultural capital of the country. It is completely different from Ho Chi Minh and is the starting point for many travellers on their trip around Vietnam.
We recommend that you spend a few days exploring the city and what has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, but my recommendation would be that you do not leave the city without trying their Egg Coffee. We promise you that you will become addicted.
Ha Long Bay
A trip to Vietnam would not be complete without a visit to its tourist jewel, the essential Ha Long Bay. Unfortunately travelling to this place can be quite challenging. We will not try to promote the place, because if you plan to travel to Vietnam, we are sure that one of its main attractions that you considered was this, so here are some tips on how to visit Ha Long Bay.
If you do a quick search on the Internet about Ha Long Bay, you will find hundreds, if not thousands, of articles related to the complexity of your business, mainly related to the many and varied scams that exist. For many, your dream trip can turn into a nightmare.
Our recommendation would be two; the first is do not hold back on cost, more than anywhere else you will receive exactly the value for what you pay. By saving a few pesos, you can end up on a very, very bad trip.
Second, look for a travel agency in Vietnam that has a good reputation. It’s not a simple thing to do, but doing a Google search of the agency’s name or reading reviews on TripAdvisor will tell you enough to trust or not.
Organising a trip to Ha Long Bay is not easy, and most of the result of your trip will depend on the agency you choose to make the trip. It can be one of the best or worst trips of your life.
Our recommendation for trips to Vietnam would be BestPrice Travel, it won the TripAdvisor award for excellence, and they have very good prices. It can support you in the organisation of your trip in any of the cities that we mentioned in the article and even with small procedures such as obtaining a visa for Vietnam.
Vietnam should be on the list of countries to visit any traveller; it is a place that your landscapes will take your breath more than once. We hope you enjoyed reading about the places and planning to visit them soon.