Travel Guide

Destinations » Vietnam Travel Guide

Vietnam Overview

With bustling metropoles, countless cultural sites, an exceptional gastronomy, colorful ethnic minorities, impressive mountains, emerald green rice fields, limestone karsts, tropical beaches and numerous remnants from recent history (including French colonialism and the Vietnam War), it is not surprising that Vietnam is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination. No matter what your traveling preferences are, there is no doubt that Vietnam has plenty to offer to you.

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Vietnam Destinations


Vietnam's capital and second largest city, Hà Nội, is not only the gateway to top destinations such as Sapa, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh, but it is also a highly enjoyable destination by itself. Most travellers will start exploring the Old Quarter around the Hoàn Kiếm Lake, where you will find the Bạch Mã Temple, the Memorial House of Ho Chi Minh, the Saint Joseph's Cathedral and, not too far away, the National Museum of Vietnamese History, the Temple of Literature and the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel. Other interesting sights include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Hỏa Lò Prison, the Trấn Quốc Pagoda and the Museum of Ethnology, where visitors can learn about Vietnam's ethnic minorities before heading to the highlands, where most of them live.

Vietnamese woman with traditional attire walking next to the railway on a narrow street


Nestled up in the highlands of northern Vietnam, Sa Pa is synonymous with stunning nature and ethnic diversity. The nearby valleys are home to several hill tribes including the Hmong, the Dao, the Tay and the Giay. The picturesque town of Sa Pa, with its central lake and its traditional market, is the perfect base to trek the surrounding areas through endless rice terraces and explore nearby villages such as Cát Cát (Hmong), Lao Chải (Hmong), Tả Van (Giay), and Giàng Tả Chải (Dao) in the Mường Hoa Valley, where homestays can also be arranged. Sa Pa is also located next to Fansipan, Indochina's tallest mountain, whose summit can be reached by a 6 to 8-hour hike or a cable car with almost 6,300 meters of length. Other nearby places of interest include the Silver Waterfall, the Love Waterfall, the charming Bản Phố village and the colorful Bắc Hà Market (only on Sundays).

Green rice fields and farm houses

Halong Bay

The Hạ Long Bay is famous for its scenic ocean limestone rock formations, turquoise waters, caves and over 1,600 islets, and is recognized by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage. The bay actually includes four different areas: Hạ Long Bay Central (in the center), Bái Tử Long (in the northeast), Lan Hạ Bay (to the south), and Cát Bà Island (to the southwest). The most common way to explore these areas is to cruise on a small liveaboard ship while simply relaxing and enjoying the scenery. During the cruise, some of the most popular activities include visiting the Sửng Sốt Cave, climbing to Ti Tốp Island's viewpoint, cycling around Cát Bà Island, kayaking through the Luồn Grotto, visiting the Floating Pearl Farms, onboard cooking classes, snorkeling in Cống Đỏ Island, visiting the Cái Bầu Pagoda, exploring the Cửa Vạn Floating Village and many more.

Blue lagoon with ships surrounded by limestone mountains

Ninh Binh

Despite its truly spectacular landscapes, Ninh Bình still remains relatively off the tourist trail. Just like Halong Bay, the area is characterized by impressive limestone peaks, although in Ninh Bình's case they are not surrounded by the sea, but by mirror-like rivers, picturesque lakes and shiny green rice fields. Some of the best natural sights include the Vân Long Nature Reserve, Tam Cốc, the Hang Múa Peak, Tràng An and the Cúc Phương National Park, which hosts the Endangered Primate Rescue Center. Ninh Bình also has several cultural sites that are worth visiting, such as the Phát Diệm Cathedral, the Bích Động Pagoda, the Bái Đính Pagoda and Hoa Lư, which was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th century. Cycling is also a good way to explore some of these areas.

Old house on a lake mirroring the surrounding limestone mountains


The former imperial capital of Vietnam, Huế, offers plenty of historical sites to discover, including its majestic Imperial Citadel (or Đại Nội), the Tombs of the Emperors (there are seven of them), located along the Perfume River, the Thiên Mụ Pagoda, the Từ Hiếu Pagoda, the Huyền Trân Princess Temple, the Duyệt Thị Dường Royal Theater, the Hiển Lâm Pavilion, the Hòn Chén Temple and the Thanh Toàn Bridge. Nature enthusiasts can also check out the Bạch Mã National Park and, for beach lovers, Thuận An and Hải Tiến beaches can make a pleasant escape.

Historical building with grey arc

Da Nang & Hoi An

Đà Nẵng is Vietnam's third largest city and the main urban center in central Vietnam. It has plenty of interesting sights within the city, including the Linh Ứng Pagoda, the Pháp Lâm Pagoda, the Đà Nẵng Cathedral, the Cồn Market, the Dragon Bridge, the Cham Museum, the Marble Mountains, Mỹ Khê Beach, Non Nước Beach and Phạm Văn Đồng Beach, among many other. It is also an excellent base to go on a day trip to the Golden Bridge in the Bà Nà Hills, to the Chàm Islands, the impressive Mỹ Sơn Temple Complex or the quaint town of Hội An, with its gorgeous old architecture, cultural sites such as the Quan Công Temple, local markets, tasty food and surrounded by a lush green countryside.

Two boats docked on a river in front of old shophouses

Ho Chi Minh City & Mekong Delta

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is Vietnam's largest city and main economic centre. It is home to numerous cultural and religious sites such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the temples of Thiên Hậu, Giác Lâm, Bửu Long, Phụng Sơn Tự and Vĩnh Nghiêm. History lovers will be delighted by the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace and the People's Committee building in Nguyễn Huệ walking street. The Bến Thành Market is also worth a visit. Outside the city, travellers should also not miss the Cu Chi Tunnels, a huge network of underground tunnels that were used during the Vietnam War. Further south, visitors will find Cần Thơ, the largest city in the Mekong Delta, famous for its floating market.

Phu Quoc Island

Phú Quốc is the quintessence of tropical islands: white sand beaches, turquoise waters, tall palm trees and beautiful sunsets. The best beaches in the island are Sao Beach, Long Beach (or Trường Beach), Ông Lang Beach and Starfish Beach. Besides sunbathing and relaxing, visitors can also go snorkeling or scuba diving, go island hopping on a boat tour, eat seafood at the Hàm Ninh fishing village, roam around the Night Market, visit the old Phu Quoc Prison (established by French colonialists) hike to the Suối Tranh Waterfall, check out the impressive Hộ Quốc Temple or ride the Phu Quoc Cable Car for some of the most breathtaking views of the island.

Useful Information about Vietnam

  • Capital City


  • Population

    98 million (as of 2022)

  • Language

    Vietnamese (official) and other languages from ethnic minorities including Hmong, Tay, Cham, Khmer, etc.

  • Religion

    No religion (74%), Buddhism (15%), Christian (9%) and other.

  • Gastronomy

    Some of the must-try Vietnamese dishes include phở (noodle soup), bánh mì (baguette sandwich), bánh xèo (savoury thin pancake), bún chả (rice vermicelli with meat and vegetables), gỏi cuốn (fresh spring rolls), chả giò (fried spring rolls) and cơm tấm (broken rice with meat, egg and vegetables).

  • Currency

    Vietnamese Dong (VND)

  • Electricity

    220V/50Hz, European plug (two round pins) and North American plug (two parallel flat pins)

  • Climate

    Due to its considerable length from north to south, Vietnam experiences tropical weather in the south and four distinct seasons in the north, ranging from near freezing temperatures in winter in the northern mountains and hot and humid mid-thirties temperatures in the south. There are also two rainy seasons: from October to early April in the north and from April to September in the south.

  • Required Travel Documents

    (1) Passport with more than 6-months validity from the entry date
    (2) Return plane ticket
    (3) Visa exemption for up to 15 days for some countries, and E-visa to be requested online for other countries

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