It’s not possible to see everything Vietnam in one trip – if there is an offer for that, don’t trust at any price. But to taste the country’s highlights is possible. Followings will bring you an overview about Vietnam’s “not to miss” things with outstanding architecture, classic landscapes and awesome food and beverage to try.
Browse the markets
Markets such as Binh Tay are good grazing grounds for snacks such as soups, spring rolls and sticky rice cakes. Try a banana-leaf filled with pate to keep you going while you shop.
Music is the most important of all Vietnam’s performing arts and a traditional performance should feature on every itinerary.
Trekking around Sapa
Go trekking in the northern mountains around Sapa – a small market town perched on a high plateau facing Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak.
Express silk tailoring
Pick up a bargain at Hoi An market from one of the many tailors who can rustle up a made-to-measure silk dress, suit or even shoes for you in just a few hours.
Take a snorkelling trip in the emerald waters of the outlying islands around Nha Trang, followed by a seafood feast on board your boat.
The Mekong Delta
Putter through this fertile farming region, surround by classic Vietnamese scenery.
Cao Dai Cathedral
Vietnam’s most charismatic indigenous religion has goes in for exuberant architecture, with its supreme being symbolized by the all-seeing “EYE”
Paddle around the serene waters of Dak Lake in a drug-out canoe, take a guided trek into the surrounding forests and then feast at sunset whilst overlooking the sparkling water
The Red River Delta
Slow the pace down with a trip to the countryside and experience a lifestyle little changed in centuries
The Citadel, Hue
The former capital’s historic citadel, mausoleums and gardens are idiosyncratic enough to impress even the most jaded traveller.
Partake in a glass of “snake wine”, a snake-laced liquor that’s supposedly imbued with all sorts of health-giving properties.
Hon Chong peninsula
Enjoy the Mekong Delta’s most attractive palm-fringed beaches and calm waters.
Take a cyclo ride
The quintessential Vietnamese mode of transport gives you a upclose view of street life
Ride the Reunification Express
Sit back and relax as the train slowly chugs its way between Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi, with no shortage of pinic breaks.
Soak up the atmosphere at a street kitchen and have your plate piled as high as you like with a selection of fresh food for next to nothing – but get there early for the best choice.
Chill out on Phu Quoc
Untouched beaches lined with coconut trees circle the island. Feel the sand of Bai Sao between your toes or sail south to the unspoilt An Thoi islands for fine swimming in crystal-clear waters
Browse the streets in Hanoi to pick up some unusual souvenirs, such as these traditional prayer flags.
Spectacular traditional dress and a lively atmosphere make the ethnic minority markets a must – especially those in Bac Ha (Lao Cai – near Sapa) and Can Cau (Sapa)
Cu Chi tunnels
Go underground for a glimpse of tunnel life as experienced by the Viet Cong during American War.
Hon Ong (Whale island)
Take it easy with a stay on this relaxed island which has fabulous views of fine golden sand, aquamarine water and, in season, glimpses of Humpback whales and whale sharks swimming in the bay.
Even in the dry season you’re guaranteed a drenching at these impressive fifty-metre falls near Da Lat.
My Son Cham towers
These battered but beautiful towers near Hoi An are all that remain of the once-powerful Champa kingdom.
A boat trip in Ha Long Bay
Navigate the silent waters around the thousands of limestone islands jutting out of the water at Ha Long Bay, dubbed the eighth natural wonder of the world.
The legacy of French rule can be seen in the Vietnamese fondness for baguettes and, more impressively, the instances of colonial architecture, such as Hanoi’s Opera House.
Bia hoi (Fresh beer)
Bia hoi bars are fun, friendly, cheap and a great way to mingle with the locals, kind of Vietnamese guys culture.
Enjoy a performance of “Mua roi nuoc” (puppets that dance on the water), an art-form developed in the Red River Delta around Hanoi.
Vietnam’s best coffee grows around the hills of Buon Me Thuot. Drink it, the Vietnamese way strong and short, with a dollop of condensed milk – at one of the quirky cafes scattered all over town.
Temples and pagodas
The Vietnamese architectural style is best represented by its temples and pagodas, which reflect the country’s diverse range of religions. Ngoc Son on Hoan Kiem Lake is a particularly good example.
With its rich cultural heritage, beautiful beach and slow pace of life, Hoi An is a captivating place to spend a few days.
Bahnar villages (socalled Ba Na villages – a group of ethnic Vietnamese people)
Spend the night in a communal house where timeless village ceremonies are performed and important decisions are made.
The northern mountains
Vietnam’s most impressive mountain landscapes offer not just scenic rewards but also the chance to visit an ethnic minor village.
Tet (Lunar New Year Festival)
The most important festival in the Vietnam calendar, Tet sees the New Year ushered in with colorful flower markets, spectacular fireworks and exuberant dragon dances.