During the past decade I’ve traveled in Southeast Asia more than any other region in the world. If I were to recommend one country to visit my shortlist would certainly include Vietnam. From Hanoi to Saigon – or vice versa – there are few countries that offer as much diversity. The following top attractions travel guide outlines all of the best things to do while traveling in Vietnam:
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1) I’ve honestly never met anyone who has regretted visiting Ha Long Bay. With stunning karst peaks and adventure sports aplenty it’s the kind of place where you can relax on a boat for several days and not want to come back to land anytime soon.
2) When based in Hoi An there are a plethora of attractions and landmarks worth visiting. Whether on foot – or on a bike – make sure to check out the Japanese covered bridge, Quang Dong Assembly hall and the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese.
3) I’ve heard of people who literally fly to Vietnam to have an entire wardrobe made. No place in Vietnam is more famous for its custom made tailors than Hoi An. From dresses to shirts and shoes to purses you can get just about anything made here for less than what you’d likely pay back home.
4) Feasting on Vietnamese local delights should be a top priority for anyone visiting the country and what better way to do it than by visiting a local organic farm. Nestled just outside of Hoi An we visited Tra Que for some amazing Vietnamese cuisine.
5) For those with an adventurous streak having the opportunity to cruise down the Mekong Delta on a boat is an experience you’ll never forget. To avoid getting a sunburn be sure to put on a conical hat – it only costs about a dollar!
6) If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be in a dynamic and chaotic city look no further than Saigon. With plenty of attractions ranging from shopping to museums, there is never a shortage of things to do in the city.
7) Taking the bus in Vietnam is a bit of a nightmare considering the road conditions, traffic congestion and liberal use of the horns. The alternative? Taking a train. Our of our favorite train trips in Vietnam was traveling from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to Nha Trang.
8) For the adventure sports junky the opportunity to go sea kayaking in Ha Long Bay is not to be missed. If you take a boat tour around Ha Long Bay for 2 to 3 days it should almost certainly be included on your itinerary.
9) Eating authentic and cheap Vietnamese cuisine is one of the things I miss the most about traveling in Vietnam. If you head over to the Bale Wel in Hoi An you can make yourself special rolls with country pancakes, spring rolls, satay, kimchi and other ingredients.
10) If there is one place in Vietnam I’d recommend more than anywhere else it is hands down Sapa. With breathtaking scenery, rolling hills and rice terraces it is worth exploring either on a one day hike or a several day trekking expedition. In this section we show you our first leg of the journey heading from Sapa to Lao Chai village.
11) If you have the opportunity be sure to listen to a live performance of traditional Vietnamese music.
12) The floating markets in the Mekong Delta region are fascinating. Bustling with activity you’ll have a chance to purchase iced coffee and other refreshments.
13) Checking out the Central market in Hoi An allows you to experience what a local market is like versus one aimed towards a tourist.
14) Having the chance to learn how to cook and prepare Vietnamese cuisine is inexpensive and fun. There are plenty of cooking schools to choose from but we decided to go with Green Moss.
15) I’ve already waxed on and marveled about Sapa but it is worth mentioning again that if you have the opportunity to linger be sure to get a hotel room with a view.
16) Finally, we prefer the trains but taking a night bus – at least once – in Vietnam is certainly an experience you’ll never forget.
This is part of our Travel in Vietnam series. We’re making a series of videos showcasing Vietnamese culture, Vietnamese arts, Vietnamese foods, Vietnamese religion and Vietnamese people.
This video features music -various artists and various songs – available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Commercial license.