Planning to visit Vietnam?
Who wouldn’t want to go? It’s quickly rising as a popular tourist destination, rivaling other nearby hotspots like Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan.
That said, where should you go and what can you do in Vietnam?
Look no further — we’ve got a list of the best things to do in Vietnam. Read on and discover where you should and what to see:
Table of Contents
1. Phong Nha Caves
One of the best things to do in Vietnam is to visit the Phong Nha Cave, which ranks as one of the biggest caves in the world. It is also home to one of the longest underground rivers too. This cave is also quite popular due to the fanciful names for the rock formations, such as “The Lion.”
2. Old Quarter in Hanoi
Your first stop in Vietnam is likely Hanoi, the capital city. However, don’t settle with the traditional hotel pitstops and cafes. Make it a point to visit the Old Quarter, an ancient section of the city that showcases centuries-worth of culture and architecture.
The Old Quarter weaves with tight, narrow pathways and alleys. It’s the best place in the country to hunt for street food. It’s a popular shopping district too, so be on the lookout for clothes, trinkets, and affordable souvenirs you can bring back home.
3. Sand Dunes and Kitesurfing in Mui Ne
Mui Ne is home to both a beautiful beach and gorgeous dunes. You can rent out a quad bike and ride across the white dunes or rent a kite and board to go kitesurfing at the beach. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy fun rides and still have spots to visit, like the beach bars.
You can also try visiting the Fairy Stream or hunt for a strip of an isolated beach, giving yourself a chance to take gorgeous photos without the bustle of tourists in the background. If you have extra time, why not visit the local fishing village too?
4. Phu Quoc Island
Do you want to get away from the loud noises of the city and spend time away from merchants selling souvenirs? Take a moment to visit the small island of Phu Quoc. It’s closer to Cambodia than it is to the main island of Vietnam and it promises visitors a moment of reprieve from the noise and busy lifestyle of other tourist attractions.
That said, you have to research ahead before booking your stay. Not all of Phu Quoc is daint and quiet. It’s advisable to look for the higher-end resorts to get the promised serenity of the island.
5. Lanterns in Hoi An
Out of all these tourist attractions, the one you shouldn’t miss is the lantern lighting at Hoi An. This takes place for a whole week during the Vietnamese New Year (Tet), which is the first day of spring. More than 50 of the local workshops take place, making lanterns that fill the city from the Hoi Ann Bridge to the Hoai River Square.
Simply seeing the city come to life at night with all these lanterns is a sight to behold. However, if you can afford it, you can rent a small boat and light a lantern yourself.
Don’t fret if you can’t make it every Tet. The city still holds a smaller lantern-lighting event every month, during the full moon.
6. Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Don’t leave Vietnam without touring Ho Chi Minh City, once known as Saigon. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country and also home to many sites and museums showcasing the damage and history that Vietnam endured during the Vietnam War.
You can also tour some of the old buildings. While many originated during the era of ancient Vietnam, you’ll also spot a few places designed by Gustav Eiffel, the man who also designed the Eiffel Tower.
7. Coffee at Buon Ma Thuot
If you’re hoping to take a break, visit Buon Ma Thuot and its coffee farms. You’ll find a myriad of outdoor cafes and the chance to taste farm-to-table coffee. Make it a point to try their coffee blended with coconut milk or eggs.
You can also give Kopi Luwak a try. Also referred to as Civet Coffee, this is one of the most expensive coffee blends in the world. Civets are a type of mammal and they have to digest the coffee and defecate it before the manufacturers can refine and roast it.
However, many of the shops and coffee manufacturers here face controversy due to the harsh treatment of the civets.
8. Cruise the Mekong Delta
Do you want to feel like Rambo or like an adventurer going through the wilderness? You can scratch that itch by taking a cruise along the Mekong Delta, a maze of rivers and swamps.
This is one of the best ways to check out the farmlands and rice paddies of Vietnam. It’s also a glimpse at traditional Vietnamese farm life, a way of living that hasn’t changed much in centuries.
9. Bike Tour Around Da Nang
Unfortunately, not a lot of people emphasize how beautiful Da Nang is. It’s a city currently going through expansion so you’ll see newer skyscrapers and revolutionary infrastructures still going up. It’s also home to the famous Dragon Bridge as well as the Lady Buddha.
If you’re tired of all the city-touring, you can visit Da Nang’s beaches. The beaches were once the highlight of Da Nang but nowadays there are many more things to do and see in the city.
10. Scuba Diving at Nha Trang
Don’t forget to visit Nha Trang for a quick scuba diving adventure! You won’t find anything too spectacular, like sunken ships, but the beautiful marine wildlife should be enough to make you consider the trip. You can visit popular diving spots like Madonna Rock, Mama Hanh Beach, or Mushroom Bay.
Try Out These Things to Do in Vietnam!
There is no shortage of things to do in Vietnam. Whether you want to explore the beaches or visit the ancient cities, there’s always a little bit of something for everyone. Why not go there soon and make it in time for a lantern lighting event?
Of course, there are other great places to visit. If you’re on an East Asian tour, you shouldn’t forget places like the Philippines, Macau, Hong Kong, or Indonesia. Check out our other guides today and read up all you need to know before you book your next adventure.