Vietnam is loaded with beautiful nature, experiences and culture. This list will help you to find the best things to do in Vietnam as well as how to prepare your adventure.
Vietnam has earned its name as one of the most versatile and golden places to visit on earth. It has a lot to offer when it comes to the tourist attractions.
It actually has everything for everyone when it comes to likes and favorite places to visit, foods to eat, and scenery among others. It is a serene tourist destination which is envied by even the frequent travelers.
1. Take your food fantasy to Hanoi
It is a haven for all the food lovers.
You can find in Hanoi the best delicacies in the country and at a cost friendly price. It is a big city which mean that there are multiple restaurants and places where you can get any type of meal you want.
If you love eating unique and tasty meals, then you need to take a tour to Hanoi. It is better if you have a tour guide to help you explore the city without much hustle while you enjoy the tasty meals which are readily affordable.
There are also plenty of Hanoi Waking Tours. Personally I love food walking tours combined. You can find great walking ours in Hanoi here.
Find more information on food tours in Hanoi here.
From pork to noodles and fish dishes, you will find all once you get to Hanoi.
Our absolute favorite restaurant in Hanoi is called NEW DAY in the old town.
Vegetarian Food in Hanoi
Also, Vegetarians will love the food in Hanoi. There are many many options. All over Vietnam you will find An Chay Restaurants.
“An Chay” means Vegetarian. Not everybody actually understands what vegetarian means, so they might want to put chicken on top of your Bahn Mi, for instance. Keep an eye on it and let them know by gestures you do not want chicken on your food, for instance.
Vietnamese street sellers are happy to make you the sandwich you want.
Accommodation: Where to stay : Click Here
2. Take a Tractor to the beach (central Vietnam)
One of the most adventurous things to do in Vietnam was taking a tractor to the beach.
This is one of the super-NON-touristy things to do!
This beach we went to is North of the Mui Dinh dunes. There was a street food stall near the street. We stopped there, asked, they sent the tractor.
This is the exact location on Google Maps.
” No, I am not kidding. This is exactly how Vietnam works! ”
They brought us to the beach through the Vietnamese dessert.
We agreed they will pick us up again in 2 hours. We were beaching for a bit, took amazing photos, enjoyed the ambiance. There was also a small street food shop on the beach.
Again, this is Vietnam. This is the typical Vietnam experience when you leave the beaten path!
We stayed at the Hon Co Ca Na Resorts for $35 a night.
From here we took our motorbikes along the coast line to the dunes again and then took the tractor.
The resort is super cool as well. You stay 5 meters away from the beach in huge rooms. The food int he restaurant itself was also amazing.
The guy working there became our close friend, we chatted always with him and he gave us amazing tips. So, yeah, come over here!
3. Experience wind and kitesurfing in Mui Ne
The region may paint a picture as being only a fishing destination, since it is famous for that.
However, it has a lot more to offer in terms of adventure.
Mui Ne has amazing sand dunes which you can take advantage of.
You can get your gear ready to surf with the wind and sand dunes. It is a magical experience which adds to the excitement once you tour the area. It ignites a sense of adventure and if you do not want to surf you can watch the beautiful sand dunes to make your trip worthwhile.
Important: If you are coming here by motorbike, pay attention to the police and avoid their scams
.Accommodation: Where to stay : Click Here
4. Talking about Mui Ne: The Dunes
The dunes of Mui Ne are one of the top places in Vietnam.
Everybody knows about them. If you haven’t heard about it, well, you would have heard it soon enough.
The dunes in Mui Ne are super cool and you even sandboard here. Wherever you stay, a hotel, hotel or home stay, they can offer and organize the tour for you.
The dunes are about 200km East of Saigon aka. Ho Chi Minh City.
Good to know: Mui Ne is known for its dunes AND the corrupt police men. When you plan to come here with your motorbike, chances are the police will stop you. And even if you have all the needed paper work, they want some money from you.
We avoided Mui Ne with the motorbike and drove around it. You can find an alternative route here.
Accommodation: Where to stay : Click Here
5. Explore the Hang Son Doong cave
Located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park, the Hang Son Doong cave is the largest known cave in the world.
Hang Son Doong cave is the largest known cave in the world.
You will be treated to a rare site in the national park where the cave is found. Tourists flock this national park to see the amazing cave which is reputable due to its size.
However, you will have to pay an entrance fee to enter the cave and experience the beauty of greatness.
Good to know: You cannot enter this cave without any guide. You HAVE to get a guide and you can even sleep here.
You can book the tour with Oxalis.com. They are specialized in this cave tour.
Bare in mind, some tours can cost up to 3000$. During these tours you atually sleep in the cave. Now, that’s definitely amazing!
6. Have a Mud Bath in Dark Cave-Hang Tối (and Zipline)
In the same area, near the enormous cave of Hang Son Doong, you find the so-called Dark Cave.
The Dark Cave is a long cave where you enter with a small group and you are armed with a helmet and a light. At the end of the Dark Cave there is a mud bath waiting for you.
It is pure fun!
The group is limited to 15 people (around about). You can also enjoy a bit of Kayaking and a tiny water park with the Dark Cave together. You start with a 400m Zipline, walk in the cave, have the bath and then enjoy the water park with zipline, water bikes and a few more fun games.
There is no need to book anything ahead of time. Just go to the Dark Dave, buy your entrance and enter.
The tour starts as soon as enough people are in.
Accommodation: Where to stay : Click Here
7. Take a trip to the Vietnam capital
Hanoi has a lot to offer from art galleries to beautiful temples.
If you are a fan of architecture and historical ruins, the city of Hanoi has a lot to offer.
Visit the museums where you will get to learn about the history of the Vietnamese people which you enjoy the sights and sceneries.
While in Hanoi, make sure you visit the corps of Ho Chi Minh. Personally, I had no idea that this is even possible.
You can enter the Mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh is placed. You can see the real dead body of him.
It looks like in the movies, very very interesting!
Many schools with young kids from all over the country visit. They hold a small ceremony, all are dressed accordingly.
You are not allowed to bring in a big camera. You can leave this free of charge outside, and can pick it up later. I did it, the camera was in perfect shape, no worries!
Inside you will find 4 soldiers, not moving at all.
Important to know: You are not allowed to take any photo. If you do, you can end up in jail! Behind the body you will see huge flags in red. One flag is the Vietnamese flag with a golden star on red background. The other one is the Sowjetunion/ Communism flag known as The Hammer and Sickle and The Red Banner.
The entrance is free.
Tuesday – Thursday: 07:30 – 10:30
Saturday and Sunday: 07:30 – 11:00
Location: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
8. See the pagodas
Get to know the religious culture of the Vietnamese.
The pagodas serve as evidence of a rich culture which is still respected in the region.
The pagodas are unique structures or buildings which are found everywhere you go within Vietnam. They are normally used as shrines by the people are which makes them important to the citizens of the country.
They have ancient carvings on them which will be worth seeing and exploring.
Not to worry actually.
You will come across religious buildings in
- Saigon,Hue,Hoi An,Hanoi
No need to add anything extra to the list.
The biggest Pagoda in all Vietnam is Bai Dinh Pagoda, in Ninh Binh province. This is around 100km south of Hanoi.
Accommodation: Where to stay in HANOI : Click Here
9. Find solace in Dalat (or Da Lat)
Set yourself up for a relaxing atmosphere on the highlands.
If you want a little action to go with this, you can participate in the sporting events on the hills of Dalat.
You can also tour the villages around which will open up the rich culture of the region while you find solace in that serene place.
We especially enjoyed the tiny, cute coffee shops all over the village.
Our favorite coffee shops in Da Nang are:
- An cafe
- Me Linh Coffee Garden (for a day trip to the area)
- Bicycle up cafe
- ZEN Cafe Dalat – Villa
- K’ Coffee
Dalat is also the region where they produce wine. Try a few local wines, they are tasty!
Another highlight is the night market directly in the city center. You cannot miss it!
Accommodation: Where to stay in DA LAT: Click Here
10. Visit Hoi An for a shopping adventure
Get suited and put on your suit game as you will find tailor-made suits in Hoi An.
Hoi An is the cutest, typical Vietnamese village you will find. So, at least, it is in the book.
It is really cute, a river flows through the village, many small shops, cafés, restaurants. The whole village is surrounded by rice fields, perfect to take photos.
In this guide we cover as well the best things to buy in Vietnam.
The beach of Hoi An is around 5km away.
Hoi An is a small place where you can opt to take a walk as you explore the authentic suits they have in store.
Most visitors come to this place to shop, see historical building and have coffee at the most exquisite cafes it has to offer.
Also, you can choose to relax at the beaches after a long day of exploration and adventure.
Good to know: The first day we entered the village we went to a beautiful roof top restaurant. The next day we took the same street and suddenly there was a stand asking for an entrance fee. Apparently this is not a scam, but true. Around the city you find a few places asking for entrance fee.
We did not pay, since we thought it is a scam. We went to a different street, same story.
Then we went to the street with Cong Caphe, there we did not have to pay any entrance. I cannot assure you it will be the same for you, but give it a try.
To me it does not seem fair to pay an entrance fee to an ancient city, especially since i leave my money anyway here, buying at least a few souvenirs or coffees.
Anyway, this is just for you to know.
My best tip for Hoi An: Move around and keep walking. There are so many corners and tiny places you can explore. Do not stay only on the main street. At night, the city is lightened up. This is the best time to take beautiful photos.
Last but not least: I loved the Chinese Bridge, so beautiful and picturesque. Here is our photo from the Chinese Bridge.
Update: once a month, every full moon, there is the Full Moon Festival in Hoi An.
If you happen to be around here, stay in Hoi An. You can purchase little floating candles boats and set them free in the river.
Personally, I did not like this that much. When you walk a bit in floating direction, you will see all the trash. Not really adorable anymore.
Accommodation: Where to stay in HOI AN : Click Here
11. Take a bike tour to Da Nang
Da Nang is the big city near Hoi An. It is in the north of Hoi An.
It has SO MUCH to offer, but it is less known, a real hidden gem in Vietnam.
If you know how to ride a bicycle, then Da Nang will be the best place to tour. A bike tour will go well if you have local guides helping you discover the beautiful landscape.
You will be able to go through villages as you wish away the sunlight.
The tour will start as the sun rises and may go on til the daylight is gone.
It is an adventurous tour, which educates you on what the area has to offer in terms of tranquility and unlimited adventures as you move along with a small crew.
The best hostel in Da Nang is Memory Hostel. Here is our full review of Memory Hostel in Da Nang.
Read: 12 best design cafes in Da Nang.
What to do in Da Nang?
You have to visit the infamous Dragon Bridge. Every Saturday and Sunday at 9pm then dragons spits fire – real fire!
Okay, the dragon spits as well water after spitting the fire… but I think the fire is way cooler!
Below you can find more information, #15.
During the day, hang out at the beach or drive to the peninsula. There is a gigantic Buddha statue.
In the area you find as well restaurants directly at the beach. Just keep driving – there is only 1 street – and keep an eye to the right side. Once you see a restaurant, climb down the stairs, sit down, enjoy the ocean!
Here is the street I am talking about. This will make it easier for you to find the place.
Bare in mind, wherever you park with your motorbike, you pay a bit for parking. It is kind of a tipping for the people watching over your vehicle.
Accommodation: Where to stay in DA NANG : Click Here
12. Scuba Diving in Nha Trang
It is a favorite destination for all those visitors who love diving in the sea. If you are familiar with scuba diving you can apply for a certification and take a plunge into the sea.
However, if you are not a fun, you can dine and wine in the beautiful resorts found bedside the sea which adds value to your visit.
Vietnam has a lot to offer for your perfect vacation or holiday.
There is a lot to see and a lot of places to visit.
However, this will depend on how well prepared in terms of the necessities you need and the prior knowledge of the area you are visiting. This will prevent you from running into trouble and enjoy your stay while you make the most out of it.
The best hostel in Nha Trang is the container hostel CCASA Hostel.
Update: We wanted to give you even more insights to the essential things to do in Vietnam.
So, we at Hostelgeeks, updated this guest article by William Benetton with even more Vietnam tours and places to visit in Vietnam.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Nha trang : Click Here
16. Visit Sa Pa (trekking and family)
Up in the North of Hanoi, right at the border of China, there is Sa Pa.
It’s a wonderful experience to admire the scenic landscape. Stay with a local family, play with the kids, and mingle with the locals.
Sa Pa is known for the
- rice fields in the mountains
- the magical views and
- trekking experience
- You can stay either in the Sa Pa Village itself in a better guesthouse. Or you can stay with a local family.I totally recommend the local family experience.The locals will approach you when arriving to Sa Pa. You will go for a trekking with your guide, all the way to the families village and house. Here you hang out in the kitchen, near the fire, can take beautiful photos of the landscape and try rice wine.
Rice wine? It is the drink of the simple people. You have to try this when you visit!
- How to get to Sa Pa?You can take:
1. Night Train: This is one of the best and most adventurous things to do in Vietnam. Book a night train and go over night to Sa Pa. Here’s a blogger guide to get from Hanoi to Sa Pa by sleeper train.
Very good to know: As a foreigner you cannot book tickets on the official train website with your foreign credit card. There is only a website to buy EXPENSIVE tickets to Sa Pa.
- BUT: You can buy your cheap tickets directly at the train station. We paid only 7€ per person, while others who paid online bought a ticket for 50€ – each way.2. Bus: There is a bus leaving from Hanoi to Sa Pa everyday. There are as well sleeping buses. I am not a big fan of buses, this is why we took the train.
Find our full guide to traveling in Sa Pa here.
Read: all our travel photos from Vietnam here.
- Accommodation: Where to stay in SAPA : Click Here
17. Enjoy Ha Long Bay (starting from Cat Ba)
Head over to the stunning Ha Long Bay. For me, this is one of the BEST things to do in Vietnam.
There is no way aorund it, do not SKIP THIS!!
You can take a cruise ship and soak in everything there is. We recommend spending at least 1 night here. It is really something special and unique!
You can book your cruise tour in Ha Long Bay here.
You can also ask the team at . They know the best tour providers and will let you know what tour operators to skip.
Planning to stay in Ha Long Bay?
Instead of staying at the not-so-beautiful-city of Ha Long, I highly recommend Cat Ba Island. It is directly located in the Ha Long Bay – exactly the same landscape!
This island has a cave hospital, a small village, a national park to visit and really nice restaurants.
For the backpacker, we recommend the Woodstock Beach Camp.
- Accommodation: Where to stay in Ha long : Click Here
- ———————————————————————— Welcome to Vietnam ——————————————————————
- Accommodation: How to come to Vietnam : Click Here