Once a war-torn nation and even non-existent on tourist radars, Vietnam today is a country in constant transformation, and luckily for the traveler, towards the new, fun, and enchanting: with so much openness towards market-oriented economics, the government is a mecca for businesses, which of course entails being a magnet for tourist services, amongst them cafes some of which rival the posh establishments in Bangkok and Singapore, shops of all kinds and tastes, green parks; and above all, a unique natural beauty found in the heartland and nowhere else.
Visiting this city allows you to discover traditional Vietnamese food, experience the locals' way of life, and be inspired by stories of the city's culture, history, and cuisine. Vietnam's capital city is rich in history, with the streets of its sprawling Old Quarter dating back to the 14th century. However, today's Hanoi is about much more than the past. The ancient city is being refreshed with modern cafes, world-class restaurants, and great art galleries. A few days in the city don't get fairness, but fortunately, most attractions are within walking range of one another. Between the great activities are the Hanoi Old Quarter, the Dong Xuan Market, Hoan Kiem Lake, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Ba Vi National Park, Hanoi Opera House, and the Temple of Literature.
Ho Chi Minh
This area is Vietnam's business and financial powerhouse. Since the drastic economic changes of 1986, this vibrant city has changed from being an icon of a war-torn slum to one of a booming metropolis, rivaling the most cosmopolitan cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, or Kuala Lumpur. Ho Chi Minh is packed with fine restaurants, stylish hotels, swanky bars and clubs, shops crammed with imported luxury goods, and of course, the inevitable landscape of past colonials and indigenous greatness, like French-era buildings juxtaposed with golden pagodas.
The Central Highlands
In its interior, Vietnam hides some of Asia's most spectacular mountain ranges to the north. The central highlands are a marvelous beauty teeming with wildlife, thundering waterfalls, and towering mountains canopied by mist, all rising above a sea of greenery. This is the budget, virgin eco-tourist spot for the adventurous.
Top things to do
Cruise along the Halong Bay
Halong Bay emphasizes many a traveler's Bucket List due to its extraordinary landscape and is considered one of Vietnam's most beautiful spots. This remarkable area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Here, you can explore uncrowded caves, tiny beaches and feast on super-fresh delicious seafood. The best way to discover Halong Bay is by cruise.
Explore the Old Quarter in Hanoi
It is considered the city's business hub and leading tourist destination.
Bound with charming colonial architecture, Buddhist temples, and pagodas, the Old Quarter, found near Hoan Kiem Lake in Hoan Kiem District, is Hanoi's primary commercial district. Its heart and soul are exposed in the ancient commercial streets named after their original businesses dating back about 1,000 years. Historically, each of the 36 streets here concentrated in one particular trade; the Old Quarter is also home to countless travel agents, restaurants, bars, and hotels. Visitors have no choice but to face the local style's traffic, but the experience of exploring the historical area is a must-do and truly well worth it.
Savor the Vietnamese Cuisine
First of all, it's one of the world's healthiest cuisines. With fresh components (including lots of veggies) and little oil and dairy, you can feel great about ramming your face with Vietnamese food!. Plates in Vietnam have a nice mix of five flavors – spicy, bitter, sour, salty, and sweet. They also appeal to all five senses and include five types of nutrients. There really is much going on in the galley in Vietnam!
Visit Hoi An
The ancient town of Hoi An is one of the most popular places in Vietnam, which is running alongside the serene Thu Bon River. This place is a remarkably well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and street form reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Learn at the War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City
The War Remnants Museum delivers a melancholy account of the horrors of the Vietnam War and other colonialist aggression wars that have disturbed the Vietnamese people.
Connect to the Beach
There are various beautiful beaches across this country that you can definitely add to getting some sun & sand on your list of things to do in Vietnam. The beautiful Da Nang beach, the Nha Trang beach, and Phu Quoc beach are some choices when you visit Vietnam.
Discover the Floating Markets in the Mekong Delta
It's here that the magnificent Mekong River empties into the sea after passing through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and China. Life hither turns around the river, and there are several villages you can only grasp by boat. Mekong Delta is the rice basket of Vietnam. Also, much of the fish, vegetables, and fruits come from here.
Trek in the North Area
Two areas in northern Vietnam are prevalent for trekking. The town of Sapa is where you'll base yourself if you want to tackle Fansipan – Vietnam's highest peak. There are tons of easier trekking opportunities if you're into a more mellow adventure. Ha Giang is another prime spot for trekking, a beautiful area that deserves a visit. If you're an enthusiastic outdoors personality, you'll be pleased to hear that trekking is one of the best things to do in Vietnam.
Glide Underground in the Cu Chi Tunnels
Once you visit Vietnam, you must spend a day touring the Cu Chi tunnels outside of Ho Chi Minh City. You will see a short video detailing the tunnels' history and how they were created. You will walk by some images that show how people lived in the tunnels during the war. Life was not easy underground, as people frequently maintained eating tapioca and sometimes couldn't come up for days.
Tour the ruins of My Son
One of the most intriguing historical attractions to visit in Vietnam is My Son. They were built by the Champa Kingdom between the 4th and 13th centuries and were dedicated to Shiva, known as "The Destroyer" in gods' Hindu trinity. In this exciting place, over 70 temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site not to miss.