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Things to do in Vietnam

Things to do in  Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam

As chaotic as it is captivating and as fast-paced as it is traditional, Vietnam is a country of contrasts. However, one thing is indisputable—there's no place on earth quite like it. Hanoi, Vietnam's bustling capital, with its atmospheric Hanoi Old Quarter, striking Do Temple, and West Lake, is best explored on foot, by motorbike, cyclo (three-wheeled taxi), or scooter. Hanoi is also a convenient jumping-off point for junk boat cruises on Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Red River Delta, home to remote tribal craft villages. Continuing down the east coast, the Forbidden Purple City in Hué is a glorious reminder of Vietnam's Imperial past; the Old Town of Hoi An—arguably Vietnam's prettiest city—is a hotspot for Vietnamese street food; and Nha Trang is known for its idyllic beaches. Hanoi's southern rival, Ho Chi Minh City, is Vietnam's largest and most modern city in which sightseeing tours reveal cultural treasures such as the Saigon Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Vietnam Cookery Center—great if a cookery course is on your travel menu. Plus, just a short drive away from Ho Chi Min City, the Cu Chi Tunnels are a poignant reminder of the tragedies of the Vietnam War, and the winding canals, lush rice paddies, and traditional villages of the Mekong Delta stretch all the way to border of Cambodia, allowing you to continue your South East Asia adventure with ease.

Top 15 attractions in Vietnam

Cu Chi Tunnels

Built by the Viet Cong in the 1940s as protection from French air raids during the Indochina conflict, the Cu Chi Tunnels extend underground for more than 155 miles (250 km) in the vicinity of Ho Chi Minh City alone. This network of subterranean passageways later provided vital access to and strategic control over the rural areas surrounding the city during the Vietnam War (also known as the Second Indochina War or the American War), when the tunnels housed living quarters, hospitals, booby traps, and storage facilities for the Viet Cong.More

Ha Long Bay

A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is renowned for its spectacular scenery. One of the most popular tourist attractions in northern Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is home to sparkling emerald waters, more than 1,600 towering limestone islands and islets, caves, and traditional floating villages.More

Marble Mountains

One of Da Nang’s top attractions, the five outcrops that make up central Vietnam’s Marble Mountains (Ngũ Hành Sơn) each are named after a different element: fire, wood, metal, water and earth. Visit the mountains to take in views of the landscape, to explore caves, Buddhist and Hindu grottoes, pagodas, and shrines, and even to shop.More

Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old Quarter, a triangular area surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake, has been the cultural heart of Hanoi for nearly 2,000 years. Daily routine starts early and builds to a friendly bustle in this ancient neighborhood, where streets have distinct character and are named after the crafts once made there, such as silver, silk, and paper.More

Hoi An Ancient Town

Renowned throughout Southeast Asia for its antique charm, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town is a must-see for first-time visitors to Vietnam. The pedestrianized streets provide a calming break from chaotic traffic, while the colorful facades of lantern-clad houses harbor history that dates back more than 2,000 years.More

Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

Over a century old, the Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon is a national landmark due to its neoclassical French architecture and Gothic embellishments. Home to the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra, the opera house also hosts the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Ballet, and both traditional and modern local productions.More

Surprise Cave (Hang Sung Sot)

Amid the lush islands and karst cliffs of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay; Surprise Cave (Hang Sung Sot) is one of the most memorable highlights. The bay’s largest cave earned its name for its startling natural scenery—a trio of immense caverns adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, and karst formations.More

Hue Citadel (Dai Noi)

The renowned Hue Citadel (Da Noi) in Hue attracts history buffs from around the globe. The sprawling fortress, which was constructed in 1804 for the Gia Long Emperor, is surrounded by a 68-foot (21-meter) defensive barrier and is home to the tallest flagpole in Vietnam.More

Dau Go Cave (Hang Dau Go)

Just half a mile (800 meters from Tuan Chau Pier, Dau Go Cave (Hang Đầu Gỗ is one of Halong Bay’s most popular caves, praised by colonial-era tourists and Vietnamese emperors alike. Ninety steps lead from the jetty to three distinct chambers, dripping with stalactites: the last, which is colorfully lit, boasts a freshwater lake.More

Hon Mun Island

One of a cluster of islands that stud Nha Trang Bay, Hon Mun island is the epicenter of the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area. Spanning 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of protected ocean, the zone is home to colorful coral and marine life. Visit to snorkel one of Vietnam’s favorite underwater spots.More

Lan Ha Bay (Vinh Lan Ha)

Remote Lan Ha Bay (Vịnh Lan Hạ), situated off the southeast coast of Cat Ba Island, is an idyllic spot and quieter alternative to the popular and often busy Halong Bay. The area features some 300 karst islands and limestone outcrops, as well as several white-sand beaches. Active travelers come here for swimming, rock climbing, hiking, and kayaking.More

My Son Sanctuary

Visit the ruins of ancient towers and temples on the emerald hills of central Vietnam at the My Son Sanctuary (Mỹ Sơn), a complex of brick and stone temples built by Hindu Cham kings between the fourth and 13th centuries. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site makes an easy day trip from Hoi An or Da Nang.More

Thien Mu Pagoda

The 7-story Thien Mu Pagoda towers over the banks of the Perfume River (Song Huong River). The pagoda, which sits among the buildings of a Buddhist monastery, became known as a site for anticommunist protests after Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist clergy member, self-immolated and brought attention to the plight of his people.More

War Remnants Museum (Bao Tang Chung Tich Chien Tranh)

A must-visit when in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City’s War Remnants Museum (Bảo Tàng Chứng Tích Chiến Tranh) is a poignant reminder of the horrors of war. The grounds house American planes, tanks, helicopters, and weaponry captured during the Vietnam War. Pictorial displays cover everything from the My Lai Massacre to the traumas of Agent Orange and the work of war correspondents.More

Bai Tu Long Bay

The fairy-tale limestone seascapes that made UNESCO-listed Halong Bay famous continue into Bai Tu Long Bay (Vinh Bai Tu Long). Quieter, less developed, and more difficult to reach than its famous sibling, Bai Tu Long Bay is an increasingly popular choice for day cruises and overnight adventures.More

Trip ideas

Halong Bay Cruises from Hanoi

Halong Bay Cruises from Hanoi

How to Spend 2 Days in Ho Chi Minh City

How to Spend 2 Days in Ho Chi Minh City

Mekong River Cruises from Ho Chi Minh City

Mekong River Cruises from Ho Chi Minh City

How to Spend 3 Days in Hanoi

How to Spend 3 Days in Hanoi

Vietnam War History Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam War History Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

Top activities in Vietnam

Hanoi Motorbike Tours: FOOD + CULTURE + SIGHT +FUN By Vintage Motorbike
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Recent reviews from experiences in Vietnam

It was the best...
Soyun_K, Nov 2022
From Ho Chi Minh To Mui Ne Day Tour
Definitely work to visit.
Such a great way to see...
Liz_S, Nov 2022
Private Hanoi Street Food Tour With Mr.Ha
Such a great way to see the city as well as learn about Vietnamese food and culture.
Do it!
Andrew_C, Nov 2022
Ho Chi Minh City Private Half-Day Tour by U.S Army Jeep
Awesome, awesome way to see vietnams sights.
A very enjoyable day trip to Hue
Russell_L, Nov 2022
Our tour guide Eric is very knowledgeable about the history of Vietnam and can explain very well in proper English.
Highly recommended Vietnamese food cooking class in Hoi An
Russell_L, Oct 2022
Hoi An Cooking School
We leant a lot about the cooking techniques of 4-course Vietnamese food - pho, deep fried spring roll, rice pancake & organic shrimp roll
Jules_M, Oct 2022
Hue city tour with private english speaking driver: see royal tombs and more
His english is also very good.
Old Quarter Hanoi
Mary_H, Oct 2022
Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Hanoi Private Tour
It was a great introduction to Hanoi and I would highly recommend this trip to visitors.
Walk through time…the Vietnam war journey!
Anita_B, Oct 2022
Cu Chi Tunnels Small Group Tour Morning or Afternoon
We learned about the history of the Vietnam War and had the opportunity to see firsthand what the artillery and the fields looked like.
Best way to see the sites of Saigon
Stacey_B, Oct 2022
Ho Chi Minh City Private Half-Day Tour by U.S Army Jeep
We saw everything we wanted to see and Hoa was very knowledgeable about the history of Vietnam.
Loved this class!
MAYETTE_P, Oct 2022
Hanoi Egg Coffee Making Course
We were also given our choice of Vietnamese spring roll which we had with our coffee.
Amazing and worth it!
Josiah_L, Oct 2022
Halong Bay Full Day Trip with Fast Expressway Transfer Round Trip
Got to see the beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay and the boat cruise was super relaxing as we saw the bay.
Great guide!
Sadie_Y, Oct 2022
Golden Bridge-Monkey mountain-Dragon Bridge -Marble Mountain Fullday PrivateTour
It was the perfect amount of things to see on our tour.
The best tour guide!
Katherine_H, Sep 2022
Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Hanoi Private Tour
We had already seen the key tourist points the day before but this tour allowed us to visit the real Hanoi with the best guide possible - thank you, Ella!
Great tour!
Sen_X, Sep 2022
Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta VIP Day Tour Transfers by Limousine
Memorable journey with a lot of activities including a ferry expedition on the Mekong, exploring the Cu Chi tunnels, and listening to traditional Vietnamese folk songs.
Hanoi Cooking Class
JayantGanguly, Aug 2022
5 Traditional Dishes Hanoi Cooking Class with Market Trip
We had a great time cooking Vietnamese food - spring rolls and several other dishes!
Great tour with Minh
Veronica_S, Aug 2022
Hanoi Jeep Tours: Food+ Culture + Sight + Fun By Vietnam Army Legendary Jeep
You get to see how Vietnamese people live, have nice food and visit places like the train street and food market
Traditional Vietnamese Show
Yvonne_L, Aug 2022
Skip the Line: Golden Dragon Water Puppet Tickets
The kids loved it the most it was lovely to see this.
Great food tour and great company
silvia_b, Aug 2022
Small Group Hanoi Street Food Tour with a Real Foodie
Our tour guide Mint was always helpful and spoke perfect English.
A great day...a must in Hanoi
Guy_K, Jul 2022
Hanoi Motorbike Tours Led By Women: Hanoi Countryside Motorbike Tours
Their English was excellent and we all enjoyed trying to speak some Vietnamese words aswell.
All inclusive must do in HCM
Jessica_P, Jul 2022
Mekong Delta Guided Tour with Vinh Trang pagoda & Sampan boat ride
Tour was very in-depth and included so many different things to see besides the main attraction of riding a boat thru the delta.
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All about Vietnam

When to visit

Typhoons, monsoons, and drastic differences in regional climates mean that a trip to Vietnam takes more planning than most countries. The far north avoids humid summers and monsoons, while central and south are generally sunny during winter, when the beaches beckon. Keep in mind that much of the country vacations during Tet (Vietnamese New Year) in January or February.

Frequently Asked Questions