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A Traveller’s Bucket List for Vietnam

Ranging from the cascading rice paddies, the wild karst mountains, to the UNESCO-rich cityscapes of Hue and the sprawling waterways of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam has a wide range of natural and cultural destinations to discover on an Indochina tour of this part of Southeast Asia.

Top ten things to do in Vietnam

Get lost in old Hanoi
A maze of tight-knit alleys and crisscrossing lanes creates a unique part of the Vietnam capital city; the Old Quarter district is live with the wonderful street food scene, rattling cycle rickshaws, artisan boutiques with intricate oriental jewellery and wood carvings from places like Sapa, fresh beer bars and backpacker hostels. The Old Quarter is a perfect place to start a tour of Hanoi while also gawping at the Ly Dynasty pagodas and the mysterious Dong Huong and Bach Ma temples.

things to do in Hanoi

Cruise on Halong Bay
A cruise around Halong Bay is certain to feature high on a recommended list of things to do in Vietnam. This emerald seascape is an absolute jewel of the north and has nearly 2000 limestone islets that soar from the ocean bed. This region is best explored on an overnight cruise and hotspots include the countless floating fishing villages and the Thien Cung caves.

halong bay

Trekking the hills of Sapa
Sapa is a quaint hill station set in the valleys of the Hoang Lien Son Mountains and a great eco-tourist hub for trekking. Appreciated for its sweeping terrace rice paddies, this town in north-eastern Vietnam is rich in local tour guides that are just waiting to guide travellers along the misty trekking trails. This part of the country has some of the most striking countryside in Southeast Asia.

While trekking in the local area, make sure to visit one of the traditional tribal towns and stay in a homestay for the night. An overnight stay in a homestay gives a perfect opportunity to get a real glimpse of rural life and more freedom to interact with the local population of ethnic minorities. Sapa and Mai Chau are the most popular homestay destination and prices are in the region of about $10 per person.

trekking in Sapa

Sample the street food scene
The street food scene in Vietnam has the ability to provide some of the most flavoursome dishes on the planet. Any decent sized town or city has an array of food stalls ready to serve  steamed fish cut, soy-doused yellow noodles, Francophone baguettes, prawn spring rolls, chilli-topped papaya salads, sweet and sour sticky rice, and pho bo beef noodles. Plus, this delicious and authentic food is very cheap with an average price for a dish in the region of just $1-$2.

Vietnamese food

Relax on the beaches of Phu Quoc
The island of Phu Quoc has crystal-clear waters and glistening white sands to provide a perfect destination for a relaxing beach break on the Indochina tour packages. Phu Quoc is easily reached by air for travellers staying in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh City. The favourite beaches on the island include secluded Ganh Dau beach on the northern coast of the beach, as well the lively Truong beach with a great collection of hotels and surf bars.

Cool off in Ho Chi Minh City
Once the streets of downtown Ho Chi Minh City have been explored with its sprawling parks and post-colonial French relics, a great place to cool off is the off-the-beaten-track gem known as the Dam Sen Water Park. It is a short 15 journey by taxi from the city. This water park spans a total area of nearly 3000 square meters with rides that have names like Black Thunder and Kamikaze, as well as an artificial beach, Jacuzzi baths, a relaxing lazy river and a wave pool.

things to do in ho chi minh city

Hoi An’s beautiful city
Hoi An is one of the most beautiful towns to visit and certain to feature on most peoples bucket list. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city is rich in cultural interest with its cobbled streets and enchanting old town of French-styled cottages. Plus, this city has a delightful stretch of palm-backed beach and well-known for the skilled tailors just waiting to make the bespoke outfit. A Vietnam travel agent can help with organizing a tour guide to show the best the city has to offer, including the gorgeous Thu Bon River banks, the silk emporiums and bustling night market.

things to do in hoi an

Visit the wonders in Hue
Hue is a huge UNESCO World Heritage Site that has the impressive Imperial City and listed among the top culturally-rich spots in the country. A visit to Hue on the 2 week tour in Vietnam makes it possible to get a glimpse of the stunning 19th century architecture in the local area that includes the Purple Forbidden City. Other attractions to see in Hue are the opulently adorned tomb of Khai Dinh and the soaring Thien Mu Pagoda.

things to do in hue

Floating markets of the Mekong Delta
Get up early to take a trip on the twisty waterways of the legendary Mekong Delta to mingle among the colourful and lively floating markets. Bursting with colour, tastes and smells, the endless trading boats are awash with goods for sale such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Many sellers have hand-carved timber canoes with rich tropical fruits like jackfruit, durian, bananas, papayas and melons. The most popular markets are Cai Be and Cai Rang and best seen really early with both trailing off by about late morning.

mekong delta tour

Go cave exploring
Located in the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Son Doong Cave is the largest cave system in the world and only discovered in 2009. Inside the cave is a unique subterranean world of rivers and strange rock formations. This relatively exclusive tour is possible to book to experience a day of walking through the spectacular landscape. Other caves systems include Hang En which is complete with its own turquoise water and beach. Phong Nha is a great place to visit on the Vietnam customized tour for a subterranean boat ride. Also Thien Duong (Paradise Cave) is appreciated for its sparkling stalactites.