Want to Travel to Vietnam? It’s one of my favorite destinations in Asia, and there’s truly something for everyone, no matter if you want an adventure, beautiful nature or interesting culture and sunshine and beaches.
Tourists who visit Vietnam will also get a lot of value for their money, and it’s also one of the easiest destinations to explore on your own in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, Vietnam has a distinct food culture that shouldn’t be missed.
In this travel guide, you can read everything you need to know before your trip to Vietnam, including attractions, destinations, facts, and other helpful information.
Quick facts about Vietnam
There are many interesting facts about Vietnam but below is some general information that’s good to know.
|Population: 92.7 million||Capital: Hanoi|
|Area: 331 210 km²||Language: Vietnamese|
|Continent: Asia (Southeast Asia)||Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND)|
|Timezone: UTC + 7 hours||Religion: 70% Vietnamese folk religion or no religion|
Vietnam is quite a large country with a rich history and diverse nature, and there are many beautiful places to visit in Vietnam. From the north to the south, you could easily travel around for 30 days and still be able to discover new and exciting places.
- Ha Long Bay
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Hoi An
- Nha Trang
- Phu Quoc
- Phan Thiet
- Sa Pa Valley
10 x Attractions in Vietnam
There are many beautiful places and cool attractions to experience in Vietnam. Below are 10 landmarks that are truly something special.
|Cu Chi Tunnels||Han Song Doong Cave|
|Mekong Delta||The imperial city of Hue|
|Ban Gioc Falls||Notre Dame Cathedral in HCMC|
|Cao Dai Temple||My Son|
|Sand dunes in Mui Ne||Bac Son Valley / Rice Terraces|
5 x Beaches in Vietnam
More and more tourists discover the beauty of the beaches in Vietnam. Along the coast, visitors can enjoy several paradise beaches with pristine white sand and turquoise water.
- An Bang Beach (Hoi An)
- Bai Sao Beach (Phu Quoc)
- Con Son Island Beach
- Doc Let Beach
- Nha Trang Beach
How to travel to Vietnam
Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City are the two largest airports in Vietnam with daily connections to several countries around the world. The main airlines are Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines.
If there are no direct flights from your country to Vietnam, you’ll likely be able to find flights to Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong, where you can make a stopover before continuing to a Vietnamese airport.
Phu Quoc international airport is another popular airport that mainly serves the island of Phu Quoc.
Buses and trains
If you’re already traveling around Southeast Asia, you can also choose to travel to Vietnam from a neighboring country overland. There are daily buses and trains from Cambodia, Laos, and China.
They are often time-consuming to make compared to flying, but it might be cheaper. In recent years, a popular combination has been to visit Koh Rong in Cambodia before traveling onwards to Vietnam. There are daily shuttle buses from Cambodia to the Vietnamese border at Ha Tien.
How to get around in Vietnam
Domestic flights are a cheap and convenient way of getting around the country. Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines have several departures daily to various islands and destinations.
If you’re traveling from Ho Chi Minh City or Phu Quoc to Hanoi or vice versa, it’s recommended to take a flight due to the long distance.
Bus / Train / Motorcycle
In addition to flights, you could also take a bus or train between cities and towns. I recommend that you pay for Deluxe buses, which are air-conditioned and have comfortable seats. The prices are still low for these, and the little money saved by taking a standard bus is not worth the lower standard.
My favorite way of getting around Vietnam is by train since they are quite comfortable and budget-friendly. I especially recommend the sleeping trains to save time and money on accommodation.
We took a sleep-train from Hanoi to Sa-Pa Valley, and left the city at night, and arrived in the morning after sleeping for 6 hours on the train.
Motorcycle: If you’re a little more of a daredevil, I would recommend to either rent a motorcycle and explore the countryside, or hire a motorcycle driver to take you from one city to another.
Accommodation in Vietnam
You can find all kinds of hotels in Vietnam, and there are plenty of luxurious and mid-range hotels at low prices compared to Europe. This means that you can spoil yourself with a nice hotel, without breaking the bank.
I recommend that you book a hotel room in advance, especially if you travel during high-season where the best hotels in Vietnam often gets fully booked. If you prefer to stay in an Airbnb-apartment, there are many options for that as well.
I recommend these hotel booking sites:
- Hotels.com (Every 10th night is free)
- Agoda.com (Often the best website to book hotels in Asia)
- Airbnb (Get $40 discount on your first booking)
If you travel as a backpacker in Vietnam and want to book your accommodation upon arrival, this is often possible. Guesthouses and hostels are widely available in most destinations and often have very cheap rates.
If you’re planning to stay in hostels in Vietnam, it’s recommended that you bring your own sheets, such as a silk sheet, to avoid bed bugs and save money on linens.
Budget and price level
Prices in Vietnam are about 50-70% lower than average prices in Europe and the U.S. The majority of things are cheaper here, such as restaurant visits, guided tours, hotels, and transportation.
When it comes to clothing and electronics, it’s a good idea to be wary of cheap knock-offs. With that said, there are many tailors that can sew quality clothes and suits for very reasonable prices.
Currency and Credit Cards
The currency used in Vietnam is called Vietnamese Dong. Credit and Debit cards are accepted in some places, mostly at more exclusive hotels and restaurants. The majority of establishments and shops will only accept cash payments.
I recommend that you don’t exchange money before your trip and that you use a travel card without fees for atm withdrawals abroad.
Best time of the year to visit Vietnam
The northern part of the country gets quite cold during the winter months, while the south remains warm with pleasant temperatures during the winter as well.
Many tourists will visit several places during their trip to Vietnam, and due to the long distance from north to south, there will often be regional differences in climate. From Nha Trang and further south, you’ll have nice weather with warm temperatures almost all year-round.
In Hanoi, it’s warm and moist during the summer and somewhat colder and drier during the winter. The same goes for Hoi An. If you’re planning to visit the mountains and places such as Halong Bay, I recommend that you travel between March or June, and September/October.
Weather and Climate
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate and below, you can see the average temperature from Hanoi and how much rain to be expected in each quarter. Please note that the average temperature will vary from region to region.
|January, February, Mars||17-23°C||90 mm|
|April, May, June||24-29°C||440 mm|
|July, August, September||29°C||570 mm|
|October, November, December||26°C, 22°C, 18°C||190 mm|
The average temperature on Phu Quoc is around 28 degrees year-round. Ho Chi Minh City has an average temperature of 27-30 degrees year-round.
What to eat in Vietnam
Vietnamese cuisine differs quite a lot from Thai food, and there are plenty of traditional dishes from Vietnam. There are also some famous dishes that have been mixed with other food cultures.
The French legacy has led to the creation of Bahn Mi, which is a kind of Vietnamese baguette. Below are some of the most classic dishes that you should try if you enjoy eating local foods when traveling.
Also, don’t be afraid to eat at local restaurants or try street food. More often than not, smaller restaurants and food stalls will serve the best food. Look for places where the locals go, since that will be a sure sign of delicious food.
- Pho (the national dish of Vietnam)
- Bun Cha
- Vietnamese spring rolls
- Banh xeo
- Cao lau
- Com tam
- Cha ca
Unique things to try in Vietnam
- Try egg coffee
- Drink regular Vietnamese coffee
- Stay at a homestay with a local tribe family in the mountains
- Drink the cheapest beer in the world in Hanoi
- Go for a ride in a rice basket boat
- Eat Pho and Bahn Bi
How to cross the road in Vietnam
If you haven’t been to Vietnam yet, especially in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, you might wonder what I mean. However, as soon as you arrive, you’ll quickly understand what I mean. Crossing the road in Vietnam is not like crossing the road in Europe, and there are almost no crossings for pedestrians.
Instead, pedestrians just cross the road whenever they want and the traffic will adjust and switch lanes as the pedestrian crosses the road. At first glance, it seems incredibly dangerous, but when you get the hang of it, it’s quite convenient.
Of course, you shouldn’t just walk out in front of a car that’s coming at full-speed. What I do recommend is to follow the locals and observe how they do it. Also, don’t be too afraid and don’t hesitate will crossing the road.
The Vietnamese traffic is certainly some sort of organized chaos that works quite well.
5 x Practical tips for your trip
- Use a travel card without fees for ATM withdrawals
- Learn how much 100 000 Vietnamese Dong is worth in Euros
- Always carry cash when traveling around Vietnam
- Make sure that you have a valid travel insurance
- Don’t be afraid to haggle, it’s part of the local culture and customs
Frequently asked questions about Vietnam
Is Vietnam safe for tourists?
The crime rate is generally low in Vietnam, and tourists will likely not encounter any troubles. However, it’s worth mentioning that bag-snatchers and scams do happen from time to time.
Terror threats are very low in Vietnam, and physical assaults against tourists are very unlikely to happen. When it comes to travel scams in Vietnam, most of them are not something serious, but you could still end up spending more money than intended.
One common problem is the fact that there are many tourist agencies with similar names to reputable agencies, which could make it a bit confusing to find the real agency. In the same street, there could be several offices with the same name and logo.
It’s similar to restaurants. Whenever a tourist agency or restaurant gets a mention in Lonely Planet or become famous, there will be lots of new establishments that will display the same name as the successful business.
Can you drink the tap water in Vietnam?
It’s not recommended to drink tap water in Vietnam. You should instead drink filtered water or buy bottled water that is safe.
What Power plug are they using in Vietnam?
There are various types of electrical outlets that are used in Vietnam, but the most common ones are A, C, and D. At some places, you might need to use a travel adapter in order to charge your electronics.
More information about Vietnam
Vietnam is an elongated country in Southeast Asia, which borders Cambodia, Laos, and China. The capital is Hanoi, which is full of culture and history. The largest city in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City in the south with some 13 million residents.
There’s a lot to see and experience as a tourist with everything from grand nature to thousands of years of history and culture. Each region has its own traditions and unique aspects. The history of Vietnam is complex and every piece of the puzzle has contributed to what the society looks like today.
Vietnam also has a colonial heritage from the 19th century when it was part of French Indochina. The colonial architecture is well-preserved in several cities, especially Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi, which were both capitals during different time periods.
Tourism in Vietnam
Almost 18 million international tourists have visited Vietnam during the year of 2019. Tourism has increased every year, which is a result of more people discovering the country as well as efforts from the government.
The majority of the tourists in Vietnam are domestic travelers or international tourists from other Asian countries.
Map of Vietnam
Below is a map of Vietnam, and as you can see, it’s quite an elongated country that spans about 1600 kilometers from north to south.
Want to get more tips before you travel to Vietnam? Leave a comment below!