Fascinating culture, delicious food, historic sights and beautiful countryside, Vietnam has a lot of outstanding experiences and places that are well-worth a visit.
Here are 10 of the top-rated things to do on the Vietnam holidays:
Hanoi Old Quarter
A great way to spend half a day in Hanoi is to get lost in the Old Quarter (with 36 streets) with its tumultuous and congested streets, shops, stalls and food sellers that make this an area full of character. This vibrant part of Hanoi is a great experience in the evening when the area really comes alive.
A really unique and authentic stay in Vietnam includes spending a night or two in a traditional homestay. A few of the great places to experience the homestay include Sapa and Mai Chau. This type of accommodation is easily organised by meeting a Hmong family on arrival in their village or booking through a tour agency. Spending a night at a traditional homestay makes it possible to appreciate the local’s way of life, eat their food, and get a perfect view of the natural landscape.
Vietnamese cooking class
Vietnamese food is truly delightful so it makes sense to sign up to a local cooking class on the Vietnam private tour to try preparing it yourself. The majority of the major cities and towns throughout the county offer a half-day or full-day cooking class, such as ‘Hidden Hanoi’ in Hanoi or ‘Saigon Cooking Class’ in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese cooking classes offer a complete package that starts with buying the fresh ingredients at the market (morning classes are best for this) and returning to the kitchen to create local dishes like traditional fresh spring rolls or a bowl of pho.
Halong Bay is a recognized UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most popular destinations on the Vietnam travel packages for the tourist. The turquoise waters and 1000’s of limestone karsts are best experienced by taking a half-day or overnight trip on a traditional junk boat or cruise ship. Whether exploring on a backpackers party cruise or a 5-star steam ship, this is certain to provide a truly memorable experience while in Vietnam.
Cat Ba National Park
The largest island in Halong is Cat Ba Island which is well worth a visit on the Halong Bay organized tour. A visit to Cat Ba makes it possible to experience a kayaking trip that explores the beautiful scenery and cave systems in the Cat BA National Park. This biosphere reserve is rich in coral reefs, freshwater lakes, subtropical evergreen forests and mangroves. Plus, there are plenty of trekking trails such as the beginner hike to Dinh Kim Gial which takes about 2 hours to complete, while a more challenging trail leads to Ao Ech (Frog Lake) which is a total of 6 km and takes 4 fours.
Cu Chi Tunnels
A great day-trip in Ho Chi Minh city is to visit and crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels that were used by the Viet Cong throughout the Vietnam war to remain hidden and stage secret attacks. Certain areas of the tunnel have been made safe and widened to let the tourist get a first-hand view of the inside of these quite claustrophobic tunnels. Beyond crawling in the fascinating complex of tunnels, other exhibits are on display as well as having the opportunity to fire a weapon like an AK47.
A tour of the Mekong Delta in a traditional boat with a smiling guide with a traditional cone hat is certain to be one of the most memorable times while exploring this magnificent country. Unless the tourist is already in the local area, the shortest tour to take in the Mekong Delta region is in the region of 3 days; especially if travelling from Ho Chi Minh City. Many of the trips to the Mekong Delta include a trip on a large ferry to arrive at the small islands and from there it is possible to get the more authentic experience by signing up for a cruise on a small canoe with a local driver who will navigate the overgrown and narrow canals. A great part of the trip is the ability to visit the colourful floating markets that are filled with a varied range of goods.
One of the must-do things on a Vietnam family tour is to experience the street food scene. Some of the finest food options are available at the side of the street, such a sugar cane a delicious sugary treat, chicken feet grilled on a small BBQ, or freshly made spring rolls. It is helpful to visit the stalls that are regularly visited by the locals because these will be serving the best food and are well maintained and hygienic.
A great way to really appreciate the local dishes is to sign up for a street food tour, where a local guide will take you through the streets and direct you to the best street stalls for the varied treats that are high-quality and delicious.
A visit to a traditional fishing village can make an interesting day out with plenty of Vietnamese coastline to explore. A trek just out of Hoi An has a great fishing village with the locals hardworking while drying, sorting and catching the fish. Plus, there are many small fishing villages that will take the passing tourist on the sunrise photography or fishing tour on a traditional style of boat. This is a great way to really appreciate how a large proportion of the local people go about making a living.
Phong Nha caves
Explore the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park to get a first hand view of the largest cave system in the world; Son Doong. This cave was only fully discovered and marked in 2009 and certain to be appreciated by the enthusiasts of natural wonders. Other great attractions in the local area include hiking trails, bird watching and mountain biking. Plus, for longer stays on the Vietnam customized tour in this beautiful region, it is possible to relax at one of the many homestays or hostels nearby.