Everyone should visit Vietnam at least once in their lifetime. And when they do, they need a bucket list! This awe-inspiring destination has something for everyone. I loved basking on the beautiful beaches, floating down the meandering rivers, admiring Buddhist pagodas and shopping in the megacities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. There are so many awesome things to do in Vietnam that we’ve narrowed it down to what we consider to be the ultimate experiences; worthy of being on your Vietnam Bucket List thats for sure!
Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Vietnam
Despite some seasoned travelers considering Halong Bay to be a tourist trap, it’s still one of the most popular things to do in Vietnam and makes the top of our list. Hạ Long Bay is in northeast Vietnam and known for its beautiful still blue waters with thousands of towering limestone islands popping up like icebergs. Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take you past islands named Teapot and Stone Dog. Halong Bay is also popular for rock climbing, hiking and scuba diving.
Dodge Death In The Megacities
Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh; These two megacities of Vietnam are pretty cool with their rooftop bars, delicious cuisine, and craft beer. In Ho-Chi-Minh, visit the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace and enjoy the street food and cheap beer. Hanoi has Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter and Nha Tho Lon Cathedral. Alternatively have fun dodging death by venturing onto the motorbike-packed streets.
Packed with picturesque pagodas, eclectic street cafes and colorful colonial buildings. Relax on the beaches of An Bang and tuck into Cau Lao (thick rice noodles and pork seasoned with chili and lime) which is Hoi An’s most famous dish. Ride a bike through this ancient town painted almost entirely in deep canary yellow, watch boats glide past as you walk along the canal and stroll through the narrow flower-lined streets of the Old Town. As night falls, Hoi An undergoes a magical transformation; the town lights up, the lanterns glow and the night markets and sidewalks spring back to life.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park is in north-central Vietnam bordering the Hin Namno Reserve in Laos. The area’s rich wildlife includes tigers, black bears and elephants. Here you will find mountains, underground rivers and tropical forests, but this park is best known for its huge network of caves and ancient limestone karsts. These include the huge Sơn Đoòng cave and Phong Nha cave, big enough for a boat tour if you fancy it.
Sand Dunes Of Mui Ne
There are sand dunes in Vietnam? Oh yes! The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne are two geological wonders that no visitor to Vietnam should miss. There are two sets of Mui Ne dunes; the white sand dunes and the red sand dunes. The white sand dunes Mui Ne are a vast expanse of white sand, sculpted into rolling dunes by the winds. The red dunes, despite their beautiful color, are slightly less impressive. Surf these dunes by hiring a plastic sled or simply admire the view as the sunsets over them. Several tour organizers in Mui Ne organize day trips to these sand dunes or you can easily make the trip by yourself.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Get a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948. The site has over 120km of underground tunnels, with trapdoors, kitchens, living areas, armory, hospitals, and command centres. Now part of a Vietnam War memorial park in Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi tunnels have become a popular tourist attraction. The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of connecting tunnels located in the Củ Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country.
Motorbike Road Trip
Hiring a bike is the best way to see all of Vietnams incredible viewpoints and landscapes at your own pace. You can even see the smaller, less visited places and get to know the locals throughout your journey. If you love bike rides, a road trip through Vietnam is something you must do.
Tan Ky House, Hoi An
Thanks to its unique architecture (influenced by Japan and China), Tan Ky Old House in the center of Hoi An city was recognized as a world cultural heritage. Take a tour of this well preserved 18th-century merchant’s house, exploring the antiques-filled rooms and the gift shop. This beautiful house was constructed by a Vietnamese family and has been preserved lovingly through several generations.
My Son Sanctuary
The My Son temples in the Quang Nam Province of Vietnam survived for centuries through territorial wars and years of neglect. What finally destroyed the grandest of them all was American bombs, but all is not lost! Today My Son Hindu Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great sample of the ancient Champa civilization located in the southern part of Vietnam. A cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples, constructed between the 4th and the 14th century by the kings of Champa. The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvara.
Vietnam is not just bustling cities and beautiful mountains and rivers; its beaches are absolutely beautiful. Relax and unwind on the beaches at Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An or Phu Quoc Island. When you get tired of sunbathing and soaking up the stunning sea views go diving in Nha Trang.
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Other than these top things to do in Vietnam, there is so much more to see and experience in this fascinating country. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems and awesome experiences.
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