Updated: July 2018

Ultimate Vietnam Travel Guide

From the limestone dreamland of Halong Bay to the enchanting fields of Sapa, Vietnam promises an intriguing and full adventure. With hustling cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and chill beach towns like Nha Trang this South East Asia wonder is a must do!
Sharing its borders with Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam is home to the Mekong Delta as well as rich history from the Vietnam War and French occupation. Vietnam combines traditional temples with fresh french baguettes making it a diverse cultural experience perfect for all types of travellers!
Here is our Ultimate Travel Guide for Vietnam.

Related: 10 Amazing this to do in Sulawesi, Indonesia

 


 


Ultimate Vietnam Travel Guide

Getting there: Jetstar often has sale fares to several Vietnam cities and takes around 8 hours from the East Coast of Australia. If you are coming from someone other than Australia I would recommend searching on Skyscanner.com for your cheapest route.
We flew from Hong Kong into Danang as it was cheaper than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.

On arrival: You will need to obtain a visa to visit Vietnam.  A lot of travellers organise their full visa prior to arriving. As long as you obtain an approval letter and carry a couple of passport photos you can actually obtain your visa on arrival. We used this service which was a breeze.

Population: Over 89.71 million

Capital: Hanoi

Currency: Vietnamese Dong

Exchange Rate: $1.00 AUD to 17,226 DONG (As of April 2017)

Language: Vietnamese

Flag:

Religion: Vietnam is officially an atheist country, with Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism widely practised.

When to visit:  Taking into account the size of Vietnam deciding the best time to visit can be difficult. The south sees the monsoon season around May- September whilst the north experiences it from October to April. The best time to visit Vietnam is during the Spring months of Feb-April. The temperatures are moderate, less humid and rainfall is lighter. March and April have the lowest rainfall across all destinations and temperatures are pleasant and get cooler as you go north.

Getting Around: If you are short on time Vietnam local airlines offer cheap airfares. We flew from Hanoi to Nha Trang with Vietnam airlines which were a decent price and took just under 2 hours. I also recommend travelling through Vietnam on a train, you not only get to see a different side to the epic country but it’s also a more eco way to get around.

RELATED: 10 TIPS FOR TRAVELLING TO ASIA


Where to visit in Vietnam

Vietnam, measuring over 300,000 square kilometres is vastly different from North to South. Deciding where you want to visit can be tricky considering there are so many wonderful places that are equally diverse and beautiful. A lot of people choose one end to start from and then work their way up or down the coast.  Here is a great 2 week Vietnam Itinerary to help you navigate your plans. Below you will find our top picks for Vietnam destinations.

Related: BEST VIETNAM HOSTELS

 




Booking.com

Danang

Da Nang is located on the central coastline of Vietnam. It is known for its history as a French colonial port and slowly been built up with resorts and tourist attractions like the new waterfront. Here you can visit Marble Mountain, Son Tra Peninsula and My Son Temples.

Sapa

A popular trekking base, Sapa is located inland in northern Vietnam. Overlooking the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley, this place is not to be missed! Hill tribes, such as the Hmong, Tay and Dao, make up much of the town’s local population, so rich culture will definitely be experienced!

Hoi Ann

Located just 45 minutes south of Da Nang, Hoi Ann is most known for its well-preserved Ancient Town and cute colourful buildings. Walk around the old streets that are lined with lanterns, trendy wine bars, coffee shops and yummy restaurants. Hoi Ann is definitely a must do!

Join Air BnB with this link to save $45 AUD on your first booking!

Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) is a busy city in the south of Vietnam. Lots of French influence here with Notre-Dame Cathedral made entirely of materials imported from France, and the 19th-century Central Post Office. Spend your days wandering the city and cafe hopping or head to the bustling Bến Thành Market. You can also visit the War Remnants Museum which houses retired military vehicles such as “Huey” helicopters, attack bombers and an M48 Patton tank. Tip: Don’t visit between 12PM-1.30PM as the Museum is closed for lunch 🙂 For an in-depth look into Ho Chi Mihn check out this guide!

Hue

Hue is a city in central Vietnam that was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. A major attraction is the 19th-century Citadel, surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls, take a local Cyclo (a local means of transport, where a rickshaw is human-powered by pedalling) around the Old Town and get a quick tour from a local. Around 14km northeast of Hue, you will find Thuan An beach, a fairly quiet spot that is lined with local seafood vendors. We stayed at the gorgeous beachfront resort Ana Mandara which was amazing.

Hanoi

The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a cultural mix known for its old architecture and a rich diversity of South-east Asian, Chinese and French influences. There are so many things to do in Hanoi, start by exploring the chaotic Old Quarter, where narrow streets are lined with local vendors, or temple hop and get lost. Here you can also visit the famous Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US prisoners during the American War. Hanoi is also the perfect place to organise your trip to the beautiful Halong Bay.

Halong Bay

Embark on a 3-day journey around this majestic place that is made up of around 2,000 limestone islands and emeralds waters. The tours range but usually include all meals, a cooking class, day tours to caves and of course free time to relax! Book a traditional Junk Boat tour, we went with Blue Dragon Tours who were just amazing!

Da lat

Dalat located on the Lang Biang highlands is situated in central Vietnam. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its distinctive temperate climate, take in the relaxing waterfalls, nature hikes and beautiful architecture. The area was developed as a resort by the French in the early 1900s, and many reminders of its colonial heritage remain.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a lovely little coastal town in southern Vietnam known for its beaches, diving sites and offshore islands. Its main beach is surrounded by a lovely park front, restaurants and shops. Take an aerial cable car over to Hòn Tre Island and explore Vin Pearl and the neighbouring islands.

Where to eat in Vietnam

So much amazing food to try in Vietnam. The Local cuisine is full of fresh vibrant flavours, lots of noodles soups and exotic infusions with remnants of the French influence in pastries and bakeries. Head to the beach town of Nha Trang where you can get fresh seafood on the beach and take part in the best Cooking Class in Vietnam! Venture to Hoi Ann and discover Vietnamese street food at its finest. Oh and don’t forget to try the famous Vietnamese coffee made with condensed milk!

Our top picks for Vietnamese dishes include Pho, Banh mi, Rice Paper Rolls and Vermicelli salad. See Below, some of my favourite restaurants in Vietnam.

The Sailing Club, Nha Trang

Amazing place to enjoy a meal and a cold drink whilst admiring the beauty of Nha Trang Beach. We went here on two occasions the first time ordering the Seafood Platter for two, which was amazing! My boyfriend even called it as the ‘best meal we have had whilst on this trip’. It came with a whole fish, mussels, squid, prawns and was accompanied by wedges and a salad! It was fresh, delicious and filling, we finished our meal off with some ice cream :). On our next visit, we got wraps, they were good. I also got a Berry Smoothie which was delicious! The staff are friendly and efficient, the view is amazing, and the food is great! Definitely, a must do whilst in Nha Trang.

The Melville Breakfast from Crate Cafe

Bread of Life, Da Nang

Da Nang was not as I imagined. So after a terrible first lunch, we checked trip advisor before venturing out again and decided on Bread Of Life. There were only a couple of others in the cafe when we arrived for lunch but the staff were very warm and welcoming. I got the Mexican chicken dinner- it was a great size and so tasty! I loved all the little elements- the chicken was a little dry but it was so yum I barely noticed. My boyfriend got the chicken burrito- he didn’t seem to enjoy his as much as me haha ( I think he was jealous) but said it was good. They also have a delivery service which I thought was great!

Fritters from The Corner House

Hoi Ann Roastery

Excellent rest stop! We needed a pick me up coffee and to have a little sit down. The coffee was delicious- excellent cappuccino. We also ordered shrimp rice paper rolls, they were fresh and tasty. They had a little too much mint and other greens for my liking but just meant I had to put extra sauce on :). Definitely a great place to grab a coffee if your in Hoi An!

Fritters from The Corner House

Morning Glory, Hoi Ann

We were recommended this restaurant by a friend and also by our tour guide and was so glad we took their advice on board. It’s the best meal we have had so far in Vietnam ( been here for a week). It serves street food in a stylish yet authentic way. The atmosphere was great (probably because everyone had a happy belly), the service was good and the meals were a great portion. My partner ordered the pork ribs in 5 spice that came with rice and Vietnamese salad- the ribs were beautifully cooked with a sticky sweet sauce that was accompanied well by the freshness of the salad. I had the roasted Vietnamese chicken which was huge and delicious. It had an incredible spice and the chicken was cooked to perfection – it also came with rice and salad. We highly recommend this place! And if we return to Hoi An I’m stopping in to get that sensational chicken again!

Lang Viet, Nha Trang

Excellent rest stop! We needed a pick me up coffee and to have a little sit down. The coffee was delicious- excellent cappuccino. We also ordered shrimp rice paper rolls, they were fresh and tasty. They had a little too much mint and other greens for my liking but just meant I had to put extra sauce on :). Definitely a great place to grab a coffee if your in Hoi An!

Morning Glory, Hoi Ann

Excellent rest stop! We needed a pick me up coffee and to have a little sit down. The coffee was delicious- excellent cappuccino. We also ordered shrimp rice paper rolls, they were fresh and tasty. They had a little too much mint and other greens for my liking but just meant I had to put extra sauce on :). Definitely a great place to grab a coffee if your in Hoi An!

What do in Vietnam

Halong Bay Cruise

For more information check out “Best Halong Bay Cruise for Backpackers

Trek through Sapa

For more information check out “Best Halong Bay Cruise for Backpackers

Explore the old city of Hoi Ann

For more information check out “Best Halong Bay Cruise for Backpackers

Admire the Temples and Pagodas

For more information check out “Best Halong Bay Cruise for Backpackers

Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels

If you want more info on the Tunnels head to Kerri’s post here–> “Why You Shouldn’t Miss The Cu Chi Tunnels

Visit The Mekong Delta

Check out “A Day Trip to Mekong Delta with Kids” for more Information.

Take a Cyclo Ride

Chill out on Nha Trang Beach

Check out “A Day Trip to Mekong Delta with Kids” for more Information.

Browse the local markets

Check out “A Day Trip to Mekong Delta with Kids” for more Information.

Try the delicious Vietnamese cuisine

Check out “A Day Trip to Mekong Delta with Kids” for more Information.

Get to know the Smiling Locals

Check out “A Day Trip to Mekong Delta with Kids” for more Information.

Found this pin helpful? Be sure to pin and share!

BOOKING RESOURCES

INSURANCE

ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com

FLIGHTS

INSTAGRAM

Come join us on Instagram, for daily wanderlust- @kelanabykayla