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The Best Things To Do In Vietnam

The Ultimate List Of Things To Do In Vietnam: From North To South

Vietnam is a country full of adventure, nature and plenty of activities to keep you entertained for months. Starting from the North and heading South you will discovered some amazing gems which will leave you in awe. Covering everything from hiking and eating to getting a local experience you will find something for you on this list of the best things to do in Vietnam.


How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

guy in front of my son sanctuary in hoi an vietnam

The Best Things To Do In Vietnam

Motorbiking to Ban Gioc Waterfall

One of the best things to do in Vietnam is motorbiking from Hanoi to Ban Gioc Waterfall. If you’ve been to Hanoi then you have no doubt seen the huge photos of Ban Gioc Waterfall. They’re on the wall of just about every tour agency across Hanoi’s Old Quarter. With seemingly so many options, which is the best to take? Here’s a shock… none of them. In fact the best way to visit this majestic waterfall is by motorbike.

The motorbike ride from Hanoi to Ban Gioc Waterfall should take you two days each way. According to the map, the journey is 350km one way. You will likely spend your first night at Cao Bang which is the largest city in this northern province of Vietnam. From Cao Bang onward there are two routes; the DT206 and the DT207. I recommend making a loop and riding them both. Keep in mind that the DT207 is really slow ride due to potholes.

Once you’re out in the countryside though, there is no rush. You will be pleasantly surprised by the small rural communities, intricately built farms, and friendly locals. Then at the end of this 350km route, there is an amazing view of Vietnam’s largest Waterfall. The entry is $1.95 / 45,000 VND per person, and $0.40 USD / 10,000 VND per motorbike. The waterfall forms the border of Vietnam and China, not a bad border gate, right? Its no doubt this is one of the best things to do in Vietnam.

Josh- The Lost Passport

Ban Gioc Waterfall best things to do in vietnam

Three Day Motorbike Loop In Ha Giang

Ha Giang is the northernmost province in Vietnam. It’s not easy to get to it, so that means that it is still off the beaten path. However, it is slowly becoming more and more popular amongst travellers. This is especially so with motorbike adventurers making it one of the top things to do in Vietnam.

Home to the UNESCO Geopark Site, the Dong Van Karst Mountains have some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in Vietnam. And the best way to enjoy them is, you guessed it… by bike. As you ride through the incredibly-winding roads, you will see landscapes ever changing at every turn. From beautiful bamboo-lined river valleys, to mountains carved with rice paddies, to plateaus with conical outcrops, to karstic landscapes. In Ha Giang you will see so many different kinds of landscapes that you’d better have your camera ready as you won’t remember them all.

To get there from Hanoi, you can get a 7-hour bus to Ha Giang city. The bus leaves from My Dinh bus station, and you can normally book your ticket through your hotel/hostel.

When I got to Ha Giang I went straight to Bong Hostel, where I hired a motorbike. The hostel staff are extremely helpful and will give you recommendations about the route, stops, where to stay. But remember that before you set off you will need a permit from the Ha Giang Immigration Office, which you can easily get on the day.

The highlights in this 3-day motorbike loop for me was stopping for a cup of tea at both sides of Heaven’s Gate, a mountain pass with incredible views; climbing the Lung Cu flag tower, also known as the North Pole of Vietnam, which has excellent views across China; and riding through Ma Pi Leng Pass in the early morning with view of the misty mountains in the distance. This is the ultimate motorbike adventure and one of the best things to do in Vietnam.

Teresa- Brogan Abroad

motorbike loop in Ha Giang best things to do in vietnam

Hiking in Dong Van, Ha Giang

Ha Giang Provence is  a great place to explore by motorbike. Though, with scenery this good you’ll definitely want to get off the roads and out into the countryside. Dong Van is the best town to stay in when exploring Ha Giang and there is some excellent hiking nearby.

The paths, trails and roads lead through emerald hills and lush rice fields – and the best part about it is that you’re likely to have it almost all to yourself. You will come across some locals though and many of them wear their traditional hill tribe clothing.

There’s no set route for hiking in Dong Van but once you reach the town you’ll see the areas you’ll want to head to. I walked up the hill above town to a viewpoint overlooking a huge area of rice terraces and back.  It took around four hours but I could have gone much further though as there’s so much to explore in the area.

There’s no need to hire a guide unless you’re interested in a more cultural experience. Dong Van is a cool little town too and is well set up for tourists. I much preferred it to the more commercial Sapa.

Jon- Jon Is Travelling

How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

hiking in dong van best things to do in vietnam

Trekking In Sapa

Trekking in Sapa is one of the best things to do in Vietnam without a doubt. Sapa is nestled in the far north of the country, close to the Chinese border and among the highest mountain ranges in Vietnam.  It takes about 6 hour to reach from Hanoi by bus and 8 hours by train.

There are lots of tour companies that offer hiking trips around the Sapa rice fields. Choose carefully as some are much better than others! My favorite company, ETHOS, uses native Black Hmong Guides. They are a fantastic company with a great focus on sustainability.

Alternatively, you could take to the rice terraces independently. It is a bit more challenging, as there are no marked trails and it covers a huge area, but it is doable and you’ll get to enjoy the breathtaking sights in blissful solitude.

Many travelers to Sapa spend a night or two in traditional home stays. Often these are in the Black Hmong communities, where they can chat to the locals, sample some home-brewed rice wine and dine with a family. It’s a really unique experience.

Trekking in Sapa is fairly easy with many of the trails leading through the rice terraces and local communities. Though, there are some tough trails like Mount Fansipan which should never be attempted without a guide. The scenery is like no other I’ve seen. So, even if you’ve experienced rice terraces elsewhere (I had previously seen them in China and Bali, and they didn’t even compare to Sapa) I would highly recommend adding hiking in Sapa to your Vietnam bucket list.

Claire- Claires Footsteps

trekking sapa best things to do in vietnam

Can Cau Market

A must during any stay in Sapa, northern Vietnam, is a visit to one of the weekly markets held by, and for, the minority people of the region.  There is a very touristy Sunday market at Bac Ha. Though, we were advised to go instead to the much more authentic Saturday market at Can Cau.

It is very much off the beaten track and close to the Chinese border.  The last part of the three-hour drive from Sapa is on unmade roads and dirt tracks.  The mild discomfort is made up for by the stunning scenery en route.  Even though it will cost about $90, it is worth hiring a private car and driver.  We heard many stories of people going on organised trips and arriving too late to see anything of the market.

As you approach Can Cau, your progress will be slowed by a growing number of local people making their way on foot to and from the market.  The bright pinks and vibrant blues of their national dress are striking against the natural backdrop.

Just as Sunday services are for churchgoers, the Saturday market is a must for local tribespeople and Chinese traders, a chance to dress up in their finest clothes and meet friends and family for a weekly gossip, as well as stock up on essentials.  At Can Cau they can buy everything from foodstuffs to livestock, including water buffalo.  The Flower Hmong women flock here to buy colorful fabrics and trimmings to enhance their already elaborate outfits.

For tourists, Can Cau market offers a rare opportunity to be immersed in a riot of local color, noise and commerce, and to try a nip of the potent corn wine favored by local men or, perhaps less risky, a cup of homemade vegetable soup.  The photo opportunities are incredible, too making it one of the best things to do in Vietnam.

Andrea- Happy Days Travel Blog

can cau market in sapa best things to do in vietnam

Ha Long Bay

One of the most beautiful places to go to in Vietnam is the Halong Bay. It has mesmerized people for a long while with good reason. The karst topography of the bay dusts the ocean with numerous islands both big and small.

This unique ecosystem is a perfect place to cruise through and it is also a great place for some really cool adventure sports like kayaking, snorkeling, rock climbing and diving. If adventure activities aren’t your thing then lazing back on the boat and getting a tan is also a great option.

Okay, I may have to rephrase that because it also depends on which months you visit in. We visited the bay in December and alternated between covering up in jackets and jumping into kayaks in bikinis. We were some of the lucky few who got a mix of the sun and wind and hence the odd experience. People who visit Halong bay in summer have nothing to worry about. The summer months in Vietnam are warm and the sea offers a welcome dip.

A number of people choose to take a cruise through Halong bay. The cruise can last a couple of days. Alternatively, one can choose to stay on an island called Cat Ba island which has plenty of activities on its own. Don’t worry about missing out on the bay because you can take day trips from the island which makes it perfect.

Penny- Globe Trove

halong bay best things to do in vietnam

Drinking Egg Coffee In Hanoi

I am obsessed with Vietnamese food. So when I was actually in Vietnam, I thought nothing could surprise me. Then, I learned about egg coffee! Trying egg coffee is one of the best things to do in Vietnam.

Egg coffee, or cà phê trúng, is made with egg yolks, condensed milk, and coffee. No, it doesn’t taste like eggs- really, it’s similar to what people normally think of when they hear Vietnamese coffee (or cà phê đá): sugary, strong coffee. The difference is egg coffee is much creamier since the yolks are whipped, so it tastes even better! You can also get it hot or iced (I think the iced tastes better, but really, they’re both amazing and must tries).

Where do you get it? The original egg coffee place is Giảng Cafe in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Cafe Giang’s owner’s dad invented egg coffee when there was a milk shortage by replacing the milk with egg yolk in his coffee. Another place to try egg coffee in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is Cafe Phố Cổ, which is less busy than Cafe Giang, but still amazing. You can get egg coffee in cafes outside of Hanoi, but I think it tastes the best at these two cafes! The price of egg coffee can be between $0.90 – $1.10 USD / 20,000 – 25,000 VND depending where you go.

For more interesting foods to try in Hanoi, check out my post with some of the best foods in Hanoi.

Angelica- This To Do And Eat

How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

egg coffee in hanoi best things to do in vietnam

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Vietnamese water puppetry offers visitors to Vietnam a unique glimpse into the local culture. The traditional art form originated in the Red Delta region in the 11th century and was originally performed in flooded rice fields as a means for hard-working villagers to relax and escape the harshness of daily life.

The skilled puppeteers stand in waist deep water and control the puppets using hidden apparatus to create the illusion the figures are dancing on the water’s surface. Performances are accompanied by traditional Vietnamese folk music from a live band playing drums, cymbals, wooden bells, horns and bamboo flutes.

Visitors to Vietnam no longer need to travel to the flooded rice fields of the Red Delta region to see a show as there are many purpose-built water puppet theaters dotted across the country.

We visited the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi. There are multiple performances throughout the day and tickets are only VND100,00 each. The hour-long show is a series of short skits depicting traditional rural life including the dragon’s dance, catching frogs, fishing and the eight fairies dance. Each story is narrated entirely in Vietnamese, but it is possible to get the gist of what is happening and there were many humorous moments that transcend language. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre puts a modern spin on the traditional art by incorporating dramatic lighting and fire effects. If you find yourself in Hanoi, spending an hour at the Thang King Water Puppet Theatre is a must and one of the best things to do in Vietnam.

Allison- Flights to Fancy

vietnamese water puppets best things to do in vietnam

Where to party in Tay Ho

For most of the expats living in Hanoi, Tay Ho is the prime location for a good night out. A 15 minute drive out of Hanoi’s famous old quarter will bring you to an area full of artisan cafes, sophisticated clubs and convenient street food (with seafood being a known delicacy near the west lake).

Tay Ho is the predominately go-to hotspot since many of the clubs and bars there stay open late (until 3am). The clubs and pubs are spaced out, so getting around by foot isn’t recommended. Rather it is worth taking a motorbike or taxi. If you do choose to travel by foot however you are certain to find a few hidden gems around the district, in particular if you take a casual stroll around the lake (with Hanoi’s oldest Pagoda being located here).

When it comes to partying in Tay Ho, everyone congregates at a Bia Hoi bar for pre-drinks at around 5pm. The small bars can be seen on street corners with the big sign “Bia Hoi”. Bia Hoi means “fresh beer” in Vietnamese and the production of beer was introduced to the Vietnamese by the French during the days of colonization. The beer is probably the cheapest beer in the world (for around 3000-5000 dong).

Most expats then flock to either Rastaman or Hanoi Rock City at around 6-7pm for a gig or event. This is a great opportunity to make friends as well as become dumbfounded by how many motorbikes are parked outside.

As the evening draws to a close, the next place to hit is Savage, a hip and trendy nightclub in the heart of Tay Ho. You won’t get in if you wear flip-flops however so do intend to dress the part. Savage is unique as a club as its split into two sections; a lounge area and a basement area. Savage is a bit on the pricey side but the cocktails are some of the best in the city.

One last bar to mention is the Birdcage, this bar is a little hard to find since it’s out of the main hub of Tay Ho but it’s one of the best underground bars in Hanoi. You can sit in a rural area, swim in their pool (if you dare) and listen to anything from 80s music to Psy-trance.

Derek- 43km

partying in tay ho best things to do in vietnam

Trang An Grottoes

About an hour and forty minutes South of Hanoi are the Trang An Grottoes, a series of cross water caves and limestone karsts located in a picturesque valley of North Vietnam.  The best way to fully appreciate these grottoes is by boat. For a small fee up to four people can board a row boat and float through the caves for two hours. The scenery was quintessential Vietnam, alternating between rice fields, water buffalo, and flocks of ducks.

At first I was afraid we’d all become bored stiff doing nothing but watching the countryside for two hours.  Pretty soon however, we settled into a rhythm of watching, chatting and simply enjoying the peace and quiet. Every so often our boat lady would warn us of shallow cave openings and we’d all duck.  Since my son is over six feet, the ducking wasn’t always easy.

Towards the end of our boat tour we were amused by all the Vietnamese brides and grooms having their photos taken on boats while floating through the grottoes.  “What if they fall in the water?,” my husband asked. “I guess that would ruin the dress,” I replied. Then we came upon a group of Korean ladies on another boat singing.  My husband challenged them to a race, which our lovely boat lady didn’t seem to appreciate.

We had arranged for a tour guide and driver to visit this part of Vietnam.  The grottoes are a popular part of many different tours available.

Wendy Lee- Empty Nesters Hit The Road

trang an grottoes best things to do in vietnam

Ho Thuy Tien, (Abandoned Waterpark) Hue

Hue, Vietnam’s old imperial capital, is best known for its royal citadel and ornate kings’ tombs. If you’re looking for something slightly more off-beat to do, Ho Thuy Tien—an abandoned waterpark on Hue’s outskirts—is a must-see.

The waterpark, which consists of an aquarium, exhibition areas, waterslides and playgrounds, was constructed in 2004. For a while, it served as a popular destination for local families to escape Hue’s sweltering summer heat. What fate beheld Ho Thuy Tien is still the subject of mystery and rumour. It’s thought that the owners were forced to shut it after a few short years due to financial difficulties. Once abandoned, nature took over and the park quickly fell into disrepair.

Today, Ho Thuy Tien has once again risen to prominence as a tourist attraction—this time among urbexers (urban explorers) and Vietnamese teenagers. The main feature of the park is the three-story dragon aquarium, which sits over Thuy Tien Lake. Inside, gutted rooms and deteriorating exhibits—all covered with graffiti—are both creepy and utterly fascinating. The park is unattended so you’re free to explore on your own (and at your own risk!).

Ho Thuy Tien abandoned waterpark is located 8km south of downtown Hue. Roughly halfway between the Tu Duc and Khai Dinh tombs. I recommend wearing closed-in shoes to protect your feet from debris. You should also bring some small money for the ‘entry fee’ (we had to pay $0.40 USD / 10,000 VND per person). Some travelers have reported the park being closed when they tried to visit. Therefore I recommend consulting your guesthouse or hostel in Hue for advice before you set out.

Emily Lush- Wander-Lush

abandoned water park in hue best things to do in vietnam

Dragon Bridge In Da Nang

Many travelers to Vietnam skip Da Nang because there is so to see in this stunning country. For me, Da Nang is one of Vietnam’s unknown gems. Not only is the city so bright and colorful at night, it’s also home to a fire-breathing dragon. Literally.

In the heart of Da Nang sits the Dragon Bridge. With six lanes of traffic spanning 666 meters, it would be just another metal structure covering the Han River running through Da Nang, if it wasn’t for the giant steel dragon on top.

Every weekend, all 6 lanes of traffic are closed at 9 pm and the show begins. Tourists and locals alike crowd around the dragons head, and out of nowhere giant fireballs shoot from the dragons ferocious jaws. Even though the fire is very high off the ground, the heat you feel is intense.

If you get too hot, the dragon has you covered. Steam begins to bellow from the dragon just before water rushes out and turns into a soaking mist drenching everyone around. Walking back through the dripping crowd all you can see is smiling faces!

If you’d like to experience this unique attraction, you must be at the Dragon’s head a bit before 9 pm sharp, on either Saturday or Sunday. The show is amazing but brief, and it starts right on time.

As it’s in the center of downtown, most people walk, and if you can’t see the giant dragon changing bright colors in the distance, following the swarm of the crowd would probably work just as well!

This weekend event is totally free. No one charges admission. You can get close, or stay far away, it’s up to you. If you do decide you want to be in the center of the action, you will get wet! Don’t underestimate the reach of this giant super soaker dragon!

I always love reminiscing about Da Nang and how I almost missed it as many travelers do. It is definitely a Vietnam destination you shouldn’t think of as “just another city”!

Ben- Horizon Unknown 

dragon bridge in da nang best things to do in vietnam

Explore Cam Kim

In a country that can at times feel overwhelmingly crowded as Vietnam, finding a place where to escape the crowds of both locals and tourists is absolutely priceless. Cam Kim is just this kind of place.

Located near Hoi An Cam Kim is a small island that can be easily reached. You can either explore by bike and independently.

It’s the kind of place that, though at a stone’s drop from a main city, feels like a world apart. Life there goes by slowly: people seat at their doorsteps and wave at passersby, much as the local children do; lone buffaloes graze around in the wet fields; a solitary farmer pushes his bike while someone else is fishing in the river.

One of the nicest things to do in Vietnam is to visit the rice fields and Cam Kim is just the perfect place to do that. The best times of day to do so are the early morning or, even better, the late afternoon, in time for sunset, when the light gives the rice fields a special glow.

Claudia- My Adventures Across The World

cam kim best things to do in vietnam

Canyoning In Dalat

If you’re after some adrenaline filled adventure in Vietnam, then be sure not to skip Dalat!Dalat is also known as the “Alps of Vietnam”. Nestled 1500m above sea level, high up in the mountains of Bidoup Núi Bà National Park. This is your outdoor adventure playground of Vietnam and on top of Dalat’s adventure bucket list has to be canyoning!

Abseil down cascading waterfalls and take the 8m plunge into the depths below. Strap your harness tight, because you’re in for a for some epic outdoor adventures in Dalat.

Drive past coffee plantations and ethnic minority villages, through thick, dense mud, in an old school Jeep. Sitting or standing in the back with the roof down, good music, good company and even better views.

After an hour of four-wheel driving, you will arrive at the five breathtaking waterfalls that you will soon conquer. Ease into the day with a quick 5m waterfall, abseil down jump the last meter into the waters below and enjoy the fresh water in the morning. You slowly build up your confidence, with each waterfall gradually getting bigger and more exciting.

After conquering the first 4 waterfalls and some lunch with the most stunning view, you will arrive at the final waterfall of the day. The giant, 65m waterfall! It definitely is intimidating but what an adrenaline rush it is canyoning down a semi flowing fall completely horizontal. If you are visiting Dalat, canyoning is definitely one of the most thrilling things to do in Vietnam.

Monique- Honeymoon Backpackers

canyoning in dalat best things to do in vietnam

Ride The Wooden Train In Dalat

The mountain town of Dalat  is home to a bright yellow Art Deco railway station. Built by the French in the 1930s it has become one of the best things to do in Vietnam. For a long time it fell out of use, but now the train station is a tourist attraction in its own right. You can’t actually arrive in Dalat by train (you need to fly or take a bus ride through winding mountain paths). But you can take a half-day train trip on one of the retro wooden trains to a nearby town. This route is designed specifically for tourists, but it’s still a fun way to spend a few hours. The train ride is through pretty mountain scenery on a vintage train made of gleaming wooden carriages.

The journey ends in the town of Trai Mat, home to an incredibly quirky temple called the Linh Phuok Pagoda. Even if you’re not that interested in the train ride, the Linh Phuok Pagoda is worth seeing if you’re in the area. The pagoda is brightly colored and encrusted with unusual sculptures, statues, mosaic dragons and towering statues made of flowers. Like the Crazy House in Dalat, the style, mosaics and bright colors reminded me of Gaudi’s famous architecture in Barcelona.

It’s free to enter the temple, but the train ride (for the cheapest “soft seat” ticket) cost $5.50 USD / 126,000 VND plus an extra $0.20 USD / 5,000 dong to visit the train station.

Maire- Temples and Treehouses

How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

dalat vintage trains best things to do in vietnam

Wine Tour In Dalat

Although wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the best things to do in Vietnam, the budding wind industry is certainly worth exploring, at least for wine tasting!

If you only have time to make one stop you can visit wineries in Dalat. This is where the majority of wine production in Vietnam takes place or the coastal vineyards in Ninh Thuan. While some of the wines you taste are guaranteed to be terrible you may actually find a wine or two that you really like.

I found both a red and white that was quite delightful–I even bought a few bottles to enjoy later. You can follow my guide for a DIY Vietnam wine tour or book the experience with Vietnam Wine Tours like I did. If you do it yourself make sure you have a driver, no drinking and driving!

Lola- Miss Filatelista

wine tour in dalat best things to do in vietnam

Fairy Stream near Mui Ne (Suối Tiên Mũi Né)

Fairy Stream near Mui Ne is a geologic wonder. This gentle stream is just a few inches deep, perfect for a leisurely walk. This enjoyable and easy hike starts in ankle-deep water and continues through a shallow grassy valley.

Remove your shoes at the beginning and step onto the soft sand while you admire the sandstone cliffs and formations. The stream wanders through a moonscape canyon and sand dunes. Near the end is a small restaurant for a drink or ice cream treat where you can relax.

This free activity is a great way to experience southern Vietnam’s diverse environment and red sand dunes. It is completely safe for both family or solo travelers. Walking through Fairy Stream is a great activity for photographers or backpackers looking for artistic inspiration in nature.

To get to the entrance of the Fairy Stream, make your way to 67 Huỳnh Thúc Kháng Rd where the water crosses along and under the road. Past the fish sauce containers, you’ll find signs and the entrance to the stream surrounded by lush vegetation and bamboo. Leave your shoes here or tuck them into your pack to start your 1 – 2-hour walk.

Cerise Roth-Vinson- Enchanted Vagabond

fairy stream best things to do in vietnam

Explore Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels provides a view of how the war was fought between the Vietnamese and the American army. This is a large thick forested area where most of the tunnel network has been preserved.

It is a ticketed entry and there are guides at the entrance who take you around. The documentary movie shown in the beginning gives you a good overview of the war. There is a detailed model that shows you the different levels at which tunnels had been dug out during the war. It is quite overwhelming to imagine that the soldiers cooked, slept, lived and fought from those tunnels. If you are not claustrophobic, it is quite thrilling to go down one of these tunnels. There are no creepy-crawlies down there, I assure you!

There is a souvenir shop and a restaurant on the site, but it is a good idea to carry some water and lights snacks with you. Cu Chi Tunnels are a 2 hour road trip from Ho Chi Minh city. We had a friend’s car to take us towards the end of our two-week trip to Vietnam but there are enough options for a bus day tour for this trip.

Shweta- Zest In A Tote

hands coming out of ground at cu chi tunnels vietnam

Ho Chi Minh Food Tour

Vietnam food is incredible! Not only that, but it’s insanely cheap. If you’re not familiar with the types of food Vietnam has to offer I highly recommend signing up for a food tour. One of the best cities in Vietnam to take a food tour in is Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a fairly big city, so opting for a motorbike tour is best for getting around. It’s also so much fun zipping around the busy streets!

Prices for motorbike food tours in HCMC range from $40.00 – $150.00 USD. This depends on how long your tour is and if you prefer private or group tours. You’ll be riding on the back of the motorbike with an experienced local doing the driving. So no need to worry if you’ve never been on a motorbike before. The food chosen by the tour guides is always outstanding and usually includes items you would have never chosen on your own. You’ll try things like papaya salad and avocado shakes. Also some of the usuals such pho or banh mi. Don’t be afraid to at least try a bite of everything!

Plan ahead and don’t eat for several hours before the tour. Trust me you’ll be eating enough food to last the entire day! There are plenty of tour companies to choose from in Ho Chi Minh City, so do your research to find one that suits your budget and your food preferences.

Julia- The Frecked Tourist

ho chi minh food tour best things to do in vietnam

Experience Cao Dai Religion In Ho Chi Minh City

What would you say to a religion that worships Jesus Christ, Buddha, Confucius and Muhammed together? Not just these holy figures, the Cao Dai religion even worships Roman emperor Julius Caesar and Joan of Arc.

Cao Dai is a new and specific religion that is less than a century old. Born in the aftermath of the Second World War it was after the Cao Dai army. Cao Dai temples today are fantastic spaces that seeks to promote tolerance across the world.

You will find tours to the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh province north of Saigon. Though, a much better introduction is possible just a few kilometers from downtown Saigon in Cholon. The Cholon Cao Dai temple looks compact from outside but is impressive enough to make the detour with resident monks who will happily show you around. There are no fees or restrictions. I even climbed right up to the highest floor above to take in the view of the city.

You don’t need to take a guided tour. Just tell your moto-taxi driver to drive you there (fares will vary but bargain before accepting a decent price). Then on arrival find a monk to show you around. The statues and small write-ups in English will tell you more than enough to get a taste of this unique religion.

Cao Dai stands for all religions are the same and our job is to promote peace throughout the world. This is just like the many figures Cao Dai followers worship. If you’re still curious, do make the trip to Tay Ninh province to see the most prominent Cao Dai temple in Vietnam.

Priyanko- Constant Traveller cao dai best things to do in vietnam

Bia Hoi in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis where the traditional meets the new. There is no better way to soak up this city’s electric atmosphere than pulling up a plastic chair at the famous Bia Hoi.

Bia Hoi is a street in Ho Chi Minh City where plastic seats and tables spill out onto the busy street. The endless supply of fresh beer is brewed in the tiny local bars. It is a place where travelers rub shoulders with one another sharing stories of their adventures.

Beer comes cheap with prices starting from as little as 20 cent per glass! Soon a couple of beers turns into an evening of sharing jokes and travel tales which lasts long into the night. Bia Hoi is also the perfect place to try some of the city’s most delicious street food. From ga nuong to comg rang, the street is filled with locals who cook fresh, dishes at the side of the road. 

Undoubtedly though, our favorite thing about Bia Hoi other than the cheap beer and food, is the way is brings people together. The atmosphere is incredibly friendly and it you are sure to make new friends. Bia Hoi is one of the best things to do in Vietnam,

Megan & David- Half This World Away

bia hoi in ho chi minh city best things to do in vietnam

Long Beach in Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and is known as the southern paradise. Tourism has been boosted heavily in recent years, and just 20 years ago this was just a small fishing and farmer community.

Nowadays, more and more hotels are opening and there’s also an international airport at Phu Quoc. My best suggestion on things to do in Phu Quoc would be to rent a scooter or hire a driver for the day. In this way, you can visit all the dreamy places and discover your own favorite places as well.

A visit to the famous beach Bai Sao, also known as Sao Beach is a must if you want to spend some time in a real tropical paradise. When you’re driving across the island, make sure to stop at some of the local restaurants serving authentic Vietnamese food. These places are a lot cheaper than the regular tourist restaurants along Long Beach.

But of course, you should spend some time at Long Beach as well. After all, it’s the longest beach on the island, and vacationers from Europe, Australia, Asia and even the US come here to enjoy the sea and sandy stretches. It’s calm and relaxing, and still not too many people.

The Long Beach has more lively parts, and more secluded spots to choose from. You can choose after preference, and if you want to find a spot for yourself, just walk southwards on the beach.

Alex- Swedish Nomad

How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

beaches in phu quoc best things to do in vietnam

Cross Vietnam By Motorcycle- The Ultimate Adventure

To cross Vietnam by motorcycle  is one of my most exiting adventures in 6 years of traveling around the world. This is a very popular road trip along the Ho Chi Minh Way. Being a long and thin country it is not too difficult visiting most sites when driving from North to South.

There are a lot more motorbikes on the road in Vietnam. This is due to the high import tax on cars, about 39 million of them! So many motorbikes create a huge second hand market. As a result buying a bike and selling it after your trip is very cheap and easy.

The most common motorbike driven on this journey by backpackers is the Honda Win 110cc, second hand, Chinese copy and you can buy them for about $200. The trip takes 2 to 6 weeks depending on how long you spend at each stop. Breakdowns are never a big issue since there is a motorcycle mechanic around every corner and they are really cheap.

We took our time Scuba diving, hiking and exploring many amazing places throughout Vietnam. This is not the safest way to travel for a couple of weeks. This is because there are thousands of motorbikes and many trucks on the road, all bikes are not in road worthy condition and rain and fog makes visibility very bad at times.

Get ready for fantastic Vietnamese coffee, beautiful scenery, interesting people and passing motorbikes transporting everything from a family of five to cages with chickens or even pigs will leave you with excellent stories. It is no doubt this is the ultimate adventure and one of the best things to do in Vietnam!

Campbell- Stingy Nomads

motorbike journey best things to do in vietnam


How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

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  1. Luke October 8, 2018 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Check out Phong Na Ke Bang National Park on your next trip… definitely one of the best places to visit in Vietnam that still doesn’t find itself on travel lists.

  2. Kayla September 5, 2018 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Great post! I’m heading to Vietnam soon and many of these things I haven’t heard of.. but they have now been added to the list!

  3. Beth September 2, 2018 at 3:03 am - Reply

    What a brilliant post! I would love to go to Vietnam one day. It’s my top destination in Asia for sure

  4. Valerie August 28, 2018 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Nice post! So thorough. Vietnam has never been on my bucket list, but you provide such a nice glimpse into the possibilities of traveling there, that I think I’ve changed my mind.

    • Tasha Amy August 30, 2018 at 12:46 am - Reply

      Oh its a magical country, definitely bucketlist worthy!

  5. Mei Mei Chu August 27, 2018 at 2:24 am - Reply

    I’ve only done Ha Long Bay and Egg Coffee! My parents did Sapa Valley without me though! Gotta plan a return trip to beautiful Vietnam now…

  6. Becky @ Treasured Travels August 26, 2018 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Great post! Vietnam is my favourite country but I need to go back as there’s still so much more of it for me to see, like Sapa!

  7. Corinne S August 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    The scenery looks so amazing. I really don’t know why I haven’t considered Vietnam before. I might just have to look into it!

  8. Andrea Mayfield August 26, 2018 at 6:47 am - Reply

    I have heard so many good things about Vietnam lately! But I did hear it gets super super crowded, did you think it was? And did the crowds make it less enjoyable?

  9. Kaylene Isherwood August 26, 2018 at 1:40 am - Reply

    I’d love to visit Vietnam soon! Seems like there are so many things to do there. Ban Gioc Waterfall looks so beautiful, and I’d love to ride on the wooden train!

  10. Michelle August 25, 2018 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    How is it possible that I haven’t seen the Gioc Waterfall pics yet – it’s breathtaking :O Would also love to experience the Trang An Grottoes with my partner – how fascinating that Vietnamese brides and grooms have their photos taken there. Must be really picturesque then – can’t wait to see. Thanks for these great tips – Vietnam is on our bucket list but I’ve never heard of many of the amazing travel gems you’ve shared in your post so saving it for sure!

  11. karen August 25, 2018 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    This is seriously on my bucket list – especially those amazing waterfalls. TY. Kx

  12. Zoe August 25, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Great post, I really want to find myself in Vietnam one day… I get distracted by countries closer to me though haha

  13. Dina August 25, 2018 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    I’ve been so curious about going to Vietnam, as it seems overly touristic yet still stunning, but your pictures show there is still authentic cultural experiences left, despite so many travelers coming through! I’ve heard everyone rave about egg coffee, wish they served it here in Spain! Also, doing a trek in Sapa is definitely on my list, as well as going on that wooden train!! So cool!

  14. Jen Ambrose August 25, 2018 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    We did a few of these when we were in Vietnam this year, but there’s so many more. I think Dalat will be at the top of our list next time we’re there!

  15. Sarah - Borders & Bucket Lists August 25, 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Wow I feel like I’ve been reading so many posts on Vietnam lately! I want to visit so badly!

  16. Mo August 25, 2018 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    What a comprehensive post, thank you! I visited South Vietnam last year over 10 days – it was barely enough to cover just the south. I am dying to visit the rest of the country, particularly the north. I am SO going to use this guide when I start my planning 🙂

  17. Janja August 24, 2018 at 12:55 am - Reply

    Wow! Every next thing just wanted me to go there more. I am saving this for when I will actually be able to to go.

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Your typical New Zealander, now discovering the world one country at a time. With a high-end backpacking style I prefer to glampack across the globe by embracing the best of each destination. All of which I share right here on Backpackers Wanderlust. 


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