Things not to miss
#02 Temples and Pagodas
Vietnamese temples and pagodas reflect the country’s diverse range of religions: Long Son Pagoda in Nha Trang is a good example.
The most important festival in the Vietnamese calendar, Tet sees the New Year ushered in with colourful flower markets, spectacular fireworks and exuberant dragon dances.
#04 Cu Chi tunnels
Look out for the spiked booby traps that Vietnamese guides reveal for visitors to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Viet Cong tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City © ImaginativeGifts/Shutterstock
#05 Bia Hoi
Bia hoi bars are fun, friendly, cheap and a great way to mingle with the locals. Order a bia hoi (lager-like draught) in any of the back lanes in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
#06 The Citadel, Hué
The former capital’s historic citadel, mausoleums and gardens are idiosyncratic enough to impress even the most jaded traveller.
Enjoy a performance of mua roi nuoc, an art form developed in the Red River Delta around Hanoi.
#08 Express Silk Tailoring
Visit one of the many Hoi An tailors who can rustle up a made-to-measure silk dress or suit in just a few hours.
#09 Trekking around Sa Pa
Trek in the northern mountains around Sa Pa – a small market town perched on a plateau facing Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s highest peak.
© Jimmy Tran/Shutterstock
#10 Lak Lake
Paddle the serene waters of Lak Lake in a dug-out canoe or take a guided trek into the surrounding forests before a sunset feast overlooking the water.
#11 Hoi An
With its rich cultural heritage, beautifully preserved merchants’ houses and slow pace of life, Hoi An is a captivating place to spend a few days.
#12 The Red River Delta
Slow the pace down with a trip to the countryside and experience a lifestyle little changed in centuries. For more information, see the section on Far North.
#13 The Mekong Delta
Putter through this fertile farming region, surrounded by classic Vietnamese scenery.
© Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock
#14 Take a Cyclo Ride
The quintessential Vietnamese mode of transport gives you an up-close view of street life. For more information, see the section on local transport.
#15 A boat trip in Ha Long Bay
The thousands of limestone islands jutting out of these silent waters have been dubbed the eighth natural wonder of the world.
© VLADYSLAV DANILIN/Shutterstock
#16 Chill out on Phu Quoc
Unspoilt beaches lined with coconut trees circle the island. You can also sail south to the unspoilt An Thoi islands for fine snorkelling.
#17 Ride the Reunification Express
The legacy of French rule can be found in the impressive examples of colonial architecture, such as Hanoi’s Opera House.
#19 Traditional music
Music is the most important of all Vietnam’s performing arts and a traditional performance should feature on every itinerary. For more information, see the section on music and theatre.
#20 Browse the markets
Markets such as Binh Tay are good grazing grounds for snacks. Have a soup, spring roll, sticky rice cake – or even a baguette filled with pâte–to keep you going while you shop.
#21 Adventure sports
Rock-climbing, kitesurfing, kayaking and mountain biking are just a few of the heart-pumping activities awaiting thrill-seekers.
Learning kitesurfing in Mui Ne beach © Dan Baciu/Shutterstock
#22 Cao Dai Cathedral
Vietnam’s most charismatic indigenous religion goes in for exuberant architecture and ceremonies.
#23 Bahnar villages
Spend the night in a communal house (rong) where timeless ceremonies are performed and village decisions made.
#24 Street food
Soak up the atmosphere at a street kitchen and have your plate piled high with a selection of fresh food for next to nothing. For more information, see the section on street food.
#25 Nha Trang
Take a snorkelling trip in the emerald waters of the outlying islands around Nha Trang, or simply chill out on the beach.
© Le Quang Photo/Shutterstock
Planning your trip to Vietnam
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners
Book Your Trip To Vietnam
Get your dream travel planned & booked by local travel experts
At Rough Guides, we understand that experienced travellers want to get truly off-the-beaten-track. That’s why we’ve partnered with local experts to help you plan and book tailor-made trips that are packed with personality and stimulating adventure - at all levels of comfort. If you love planning, but find arranging the logistics exhausting, you’re in the right place.Learn Morechevron_right
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.