Things to do in Vietnam
With so many things to do in Vietnam you really will be spoiled for choice. Vietnam has a beautiful balance between natural highlights and cultural diversity. There is a vast variety of things to do in Vietnam with such wonderful scenery to experience. With numerous national parks, hikers, bikers, and outdoor lovers can really get their teeth into the wilder side of the country. Witness the jagged peaks of the winding mountain passes of Ha giang. Be amazed by the beauty of the steeped rice paddy fields of Sapa.
Enjoy a wonderful Halong Bay cruise where you will witness the spectacular karst seascape. Venture to the middle of the country and explore Danang, taking advantage of some relaxing beach time. Further south still will provide you with beautiful places such as Dalat and Nha Trang. If city life is more your thing then you certainly will not be disappointed. The big cities such as Hanoi in the north or Saigon in the south breathe with contemporary life. Vietnam also has an amazing number of ethnic minorities (54 to be exact) that provide culture diversity at every turn.There are just so many things to do in Vietnam that its important to get things right. Below is a sample of things to do in Vietnam (In no particular order) to ensure you have a wonderful time.
Things to do in Vietnam – Hanoi – Capital of Vietnam
Vietnam’s capital is the frenetic heartbeat of the nation. Hanoi is a place that befuddles travelers as much as it charms them. The motorbike frenzy and constant clamor of street vendors can get too much for some travelers,. However if you want to dive into Vietnamese city life, Hanoi is the place to do it. The old town quarter has plenty of charm on offer. History fans should make a beeline here simply to see the bundle of excellent museums. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Vietnam Fine Art Museum are both brilliant introductions to this diverse country. While the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an important tribute to the founder of modern Vietnam. Get the full insight to this wonderful city with a Hanoi City Tour.
Things to do in Vietnam – Ha Long Bay
The karst seascape of Halong Bay is one of the world’s most spellbinding sea views and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thousands of limestone islands sit within this bay in the Gulf of Tonkin. They are eroded into jagged pinnacles by wind and water over millennia. With the bay’s scenery best seen by boat, this is prime cruising territory. There are options for both overnight tours and day trips. There are plenty of caves in the bay that can be entered including the Hang Sung Sot, with three mammoth caverns. See the wonder of Hang Dao Go, with superbly weird stalagmites and stalactites. For most people though, the highlight is simply cruising amid the karsts and soaking up the changing scenery as you pass by.
Things to do in Vietnam – Sapa Countryside
The rice field countryside surrounding Sapa that are bordered by the jagged peaks of the Hoang Lien Mountains are home to Vietnam’s most beautiful rural vistas. The deep valleys here are home to a diverse mix of the country’s ethnic minorities. Including the Hmong, Giay, and Red Dzao people. While the rippling hills are terraced with rice fields and overlooked by the country’s tallest peak, Fansipan Mountain.
This is the top trekking destination in Vietnam, with a variety of options to trek or day hike between tiny villages and experience the staggering mountain views. Sapa town itself is the main base here. It is an old French hill station and now a bustling town. The town is a stark contrast to the sumptuous tranquil countryside right on its doorstep. There are various options to help you visit Sapa.
If you are short on time in Vietnam then look at one of the many day tour options from Hanoi. The ideal way to visit is on an over night stay. These are relatively inexpensive. There are three options usually, one is staying in a Sapa hotel. The second option is staying in a home-stay with a local family. However the third option is my favorite. Mix it up with a 2 night stay, staying one night in a hotel and the other night with a home-stay.
Things to do in Vietnam – Hue – Ancient Capital of Vietnam
Hue is packed to the brim with relics from the reign of the 19th-century Nguyen emperors. Sitting along the banks of the gorgeous Perfume River. The Imperial Enclosure is a huge site set within walls that sprawl for 2.5 kilometers. Touring the grounds make sure to check out the gorgeous Ngo Mon Gate, and the Thai Hoa Palace with its finely lacquered interior detailing. The Dien Tho Residence is where the Queen Mothers would live, and the Halls of Mandarins with its preserved ceiling murals are also sights not to be missed.
A dazzling number of historic sites lie outside the Imperial Enclosure walls as well. One of the nicest ways of visiting a collection of outlying sites is by taking a riverboat cruise on the Perfume River. A day cruise can take you to visit several royal tombs along with some pagodas. If you’re short on time, the best tomb to visit is the Tomb of Tu Doc and the most important pagoda in the area is the Thien Mu Pagoda, with its tower that soars for 21 meters high.
Things to do in Vietnam – Hoi An
Beautiful Hoi An is the most atmospheric city in Vietnam, with bags of surviving historic architecture. The old town quarter is a joy to explore, packed to the brim with well-preserved merchant houses that hark back to Hoi An’s trading center heyday of the 15th century. The town was a major meeting point for Japanese and Chinese merchants who flocked here for the local silks. Plenty of the old merchant houses have been opened to the public, so you can get a taste of these times. The best is 17th-century Tan Ky House, with fascinating architectural and decorative elements.
Hoi An’s major symbol is the delightful Japanese Bridge at the western end of Tran Phu Street. The Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation is the old town’s most highly decorated temple. There are numerous small pagodas and museums dotted about town. Hoi An’s true charm is found in simply rambling the old town streets admiring the well-preserved facades.
Things to do in Vietnam – Nha Trang
For beach fun in Vietnam, Nha Trang is king. The well-maintained beach trundles for six kilometers along the shoreline of central Nha Trang city. The swimming here is excellent with designated swimming areas and manicured lounging areas. If you do get bored of sunbathing, the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers are just to the north across the Xom Bong Bridge and have been used as a place of worship here since at least the 7th century . There is also an excellent museum dedicated to the work of Alexandre Yersin who discovered the cause of the bubonic plague and founded Nha Trang’s Pasteur Institute (which still carries out vaccination programs in Vietnam today).
Things to do in Vietnam – Ba Be National Park
Ba Be National Park is absolutely stunning and tranquil with three interlinking Ba Be Lakes at its heart. Rimmed by jagged karst peaks and thickly forested slopes. Most visitors come here to take peaceful boat trips or kayak on the lake and explore the caves full of stalactites and stalagmites in the vicinity. The more active may prefer the excellent hiking and trekking in the hills, between ethnic minority villages. This is one of the most peaceful spots in Vietnam. Travelers who spend the night here sleep in traditional stilt-house homestay accommodation along the lake-shore. Allowing an experience of simple rural life.
Things to do in Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is the buzzing and crazy commercial hub of Vietnam. The restaurant and cafe scene is incredibly cosmopolitan. The shopping is the best you’ll find in the country. At the center is Dong Khoi, a relatively small and easily navigable central district, which holds most of the city’s sights. Here, you’ll find the HCMC Museum, with a brilliant collection of artifacts that weaves together the story of the city.
You will also find the grand Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 19th century. Check out the old district of Da Kao nearby for some of the best surviving examples of the city’s French colonial architecture. Visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda with its dazzling array of Buddhist and Taoist religious iconography. The History Museum is a must-do for history fans with stacks of relics on display from various archaeological sites. Two big hitter attractions not to be missed are out of the center, along Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. The Reunification Palace, then known as Independence Palace was the residence for South Vietnam’s president. It’s chiefly famous as the spot where North Vietnam’s tanks stopped on 30 April 1975, officially ending the war. It’s a completely fascinating place to visit complete with 1960’s furnishings still in place. Nearby is the War Remnants Museum.
Things to do in Vietnam – Mekong Delta
As discussed above, there are many things to do in Vietnam. In the south of Vietnam you will find the mighty Mekong River. This is an incredibly lush part of the country with paddy field vistas and mangroves. The river is full of local life, with chaotic floating markets to explore by boat. The delta is one of the most interesting regions for travelers to discover. Can Tho is the most popular town to use as a base as it’s close to the floating markets of Phong Dien and Cai Rang. boat trips from Ca Mau allow you to explore the U Minh Mangrove Forest and Cau Mau Nature Reserve.
“Things to do in Vietnam” blog – written by – My Anh
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