Ultimate Guide to Vietnam Travel
17 July 2023
As a travel enthusiast, one of my favourite destinations is Vietnam. The country boasts of a rich cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, bustling cities, and stunning beaches. Vietnam is a perfect blend of history and modernity, offering unique experiences to travellers. In this guide to Vietnam travel, I will provide you with tips and insights to make your trip to Vietnam a memorable one.
Introduction to Vietnam
Vietnam is a beautiful country located in Southeast Asia, bordered by China, Laos, and Cambodia. The country has a population of over 96 million people and is divided into 58 provinces. Vietnam is known for its lush green rice fields, towering mountains, and pristine beaches. The country is also famous for its rich history, dating back to the Bronze Age. Vietnam has experienced significant changes over the years, from colonialism to war and economic growth. Today, Vietnam is a bustling country with a thriving economy and a vibrant culture.
Best time to visit Vietnam
Vietnam is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on the region you plan to explore. The country has three distinct regions: North, Central, and South. The North has four seasons, with a cold winter from December to February and a hot summer from June to August. The Central region has a hot and dry season from February to August and a wet season from September to January. The South has two seasons: a dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October.
The best time to visit North Vietnam is from September to November or March to May when the weather is pleasant. The Central region is best visited from February to May when the weather is dry. The South is ideal to visit from November to February when the weather is cool and dry.
Top tourist destinations in Vietnam
Vietnam has many tourist destinations to choose from, each with its unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the top tourist destinations in Vietnam:
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is located in the North. The city is known for its rich history, ancient temples, and bustling streets. Some of the must-visit attractions in Hanoi include Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the Gulf of Tonkin. The bay is known for its emerald waters, towering limestone cliffs, and floating villages. A cruise on Halong Bay is a must-do activity.
Hoi An is a charming ancient town located in the Central region of Vietnam. The town is known for its well-preserved architecture, lantern-lit streets, and delicious cuisine. Some of the must-visit attractions in Hoi An include Japanese Covered Bridge, Tan Ky Old House, and Hoi An Ancient Town.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. The city is known for its vibrant culture, French colonial architecture, and a bustling nightlife. Some of the must-visit attractions in Ho Chi Minh City include Cu Chi Tunnels, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market.
Culture and customs in Vietnam
Vietnam has a rich culture that is heavily influenced by Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. The Vietnamese people are friendly, hospitable, and respectful. The family is at the centre of Vietnamese culture, and elders are highly respected. When visiting Vietnam, it is essential to be aware of the customs and traditions to avoid offending the locals.
One of the most important customs in Vietnam is the concept of "face." Face refers to a person's social standing and reputation. Losing face is a significant insult, and it is essential to avoid causing embarrassment or shame to others. Another important custom is the practice of removing shoes before entering someone's home or temple.
Guide to Vietnamese cuisine
Vietnamese cuisine is known for its fresh, healthy, and flavourful dishes. The cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese and French cooking styles and uses a lot of herbs, spices, and vegetables. Some of the must-try dishes in Vietnam include Pho, Banh Mi, Bun Cha, and Com Tam. Vietnamese cuisine also offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.
Tips for traveling in Vietnam
Vietnam is a relatively safe country, but it is always essential to take precautions when traveling. Here are some tips for traveling in Vietnam:
- Always carry a copy of your passport and visa with you.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid carrying valuable items in crowded areas.
- Use reputable taxi companies and avoid unmarked taxis.
- Negotiate prices before purchasing goods or services.
- Learn basic Vietnamese phrases to communicate with locals.
Transportation in Vietnam
Vietnam has a well-developed transportation system that includes buses, trains, and flights. The country also has a variety of options for getting around within cities, including taxis, motorbikes, and bicycles. When choosing transportation, it is essential to consider safety, comfort, and cost.
Buses are the most popular mode of transportation in Vietnam, with a vast network of routes connecting cities and towns. Trains are a comfortable and scenic way to travel, but they are often slower than buses. Flights are the fastest way to travel long distances, but they are also the most expensive.
Accommodation options in Vietnam
Vietnam offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. The country has everything from luxury resorts to budget hostels. Some of the most popular types of accommodation in Vietnam include hotels, homestays, and guesthouses.
Hotels are the most common type of accommodation in Vietnam, with a wide range of options to choose from. Homestays offer a unique experience to travellers, allowing them to stay with a local family and experience Vietnamese culture firsthand. Guesthouses are a budget-friendly option for backpackers and solo travellers.
Vietnam travel itineraries ideas
Vietnam has so much to offer that it can be challenging to plan an itinerary. The best way to see Vietnam is to plan your trip based on your interests and preferences. Here are some sample itineraries to help you plan your trip:
Northern Vietnam Itinerary
- Day 1-2: Hanoi
- Day 3: Halong Bay
- Day 4: Ninh Binh
- Day 5-6: Sapa
Central Vietnam Itinerary
- Day 1-2: Hue
- Day 3-4: Hoi An
- Day 5: Da Nang
- Day 6-7: Phong Nha
Southern Vietnam Itinerary
- Day 1-2: Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 3-4: Mekong Delta
- Day 5-6: Phu Quoc Island
Essential items to pack for Vietnam
When packing for Vietnam, it is essential to consider the weather, culture, and activities you plan to do. Here are some essential items to pack for Vietnam:
- Light and breathable clothing
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Raincoat or umbrella
- Insect repellent
- Travel adaptor
- Cash and credit cards
Safety and health considerations in Vietnam
Vietnam is a safe country to travel to, but it is always essential to take precautions. Here are some safety and health considerations to keep in mind:
- Drink bottled water and avoid tap water.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night.
- Wear a helmet when riding a motorbike.
- Make sure you have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.
- Get vaccinated before travelling to Vietnam.
Language and communication in Vietnam
The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas. Learning basic Vietnamese phrases can help you communicate with locals and enhance your travel experience. Here are some basic Vietnamese phrases to get you started:
- Hello - Xin chào
- Thank you - Cảm ơn
- Yes - Vâng
- No - Không
- How much does it cost? - Bao nhiêu tiền?
Conclusion: Why Vietnam should be your next travel destination
Vietnam is a beautiful country that offers a unique travel experience to visitors. From the bustling cities to the serene countryside, Vietnam has something for everyone. The country's rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and friendly people make it a must-visit destination. With this guide to Vietnam travel, you can plan your trip and explore all that Vietnam has to offer. So pack your bags and head to Vietnam for your next adventure.