World class food, inexpensive actives, and some of the most beautiful landscapes. This pretty much sums up one of my favorite countries in the world. Being a US citizen, there has been some turmoil in the past, but was never brought up during my time there. The people of Vietnam are amazing and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
One day you could be in the mountains of Sapa and the next day chilling in one of the most scenic UNESCO site of Halong Bay. There are beaches in the south and tropical jungles around every corner. There is something for every type of traveler which makes it truly reachable for the masses. Come and learn about the country, the history, and have a thrill while at it!
Top Things to Do
- Halong Bay – Check out one of the most picture perfect places on this earth. You will feel like you are in a different world and will be able to kayak, hike, and party if you like. There are many tour operators that will take you there from Hanoi. It is one of the most beautiful unesco sights in the world. It is also a fun experience seeing it by boat for 2-4 days.
- Cu Chi Tunnels – The Vietnam war is a part of our history that will forever haunt us, but it was nothing compared to what the people in Southeast Asia had to face. Come explore the tunnels and go to the museums. Learn a little about the history and see it from a different perspective. Eyes will be opened with all these experiences.
- Get a New Suit – There are many suit retailers in Vietnam that “may” design you a unique garment. I would recommend going to Hoi An. Get your measurements and it can be ready in a day. Also, a great way to explore an amazing little city.
- Rice Terrace Culture – Head over to Sapa in the north and see the unique village culture of Vietnam. You will see the unique landscape of the rolling mountains and rice terraces. Get out of the hustle and bustle of Hanoi with a two day trip to Sapa.
- Eat Pho for Breakfast – Pho is typically dinner in most western countries. In Vietnam, it is actually a breakfast dish. Some of the best pho I ever had was in little mom and pop shops that are only open until 11am or when they run out.
- Beer Hoi – This is some of the cheapest beer in the world. Fine a Beer Hoi stand on the corner of Hanoi and partake in some $0.30 beer. Drink with the locals. This serves as a nice afternoon break from touring the city.
- Mekong Delta River Cruise – This is an amazing way to see a different side of Vietnam. In the delta life is way slower than Ho Chi Minh, but amazing in all respects. There are one and multi day trips that can be booked at most hotels in the city. A lot of fish is produced in this part of the world, so why not go and have some fresh fish!
- Cook! – Yes, I want you to cook while on vacation. Vietnam is a culinary paradise with a mix of SE Asia and European flare. Some of the worlds best chefs have spent time learning the typical vietnamese style of cooking. There are classes you can take everywhere. I have taken two and I would like to say they turned out pretty well.
The food in this country is unreal. I could go on for days about the variety and different types of food. Below are a few of your must have dishes when here:
Fresh Spring-rolls – Fresh, not fried, spring rolls with spices, vegetables, and meat of your choice.
Pho – broth soup usually with beef and rice noodles. Usually served with a place of fresh herbs.
Mi Xao Ga – Stir Fried Egg Noodles with chicken
Bahn Mi – Baguette stuff with meat, mayo, cucumber, carrots, onion, cilantro, and spices.
Overall Country Cost – $ (1/4)
Hostels – $5 – $15 USD per person
3 Star Hotel – $40 – $120 USD
One of my favorite hostels is in Vietnam. It is Vietnam Backpackers Hostel. I stayed here a few years ago and fell in love with the place. It has an amazing vibe and is extremely well maintained. They also have an amazing activities desk organizing trips to Sapa and Halong Bay. It is in the city of Hanoi and there are two locations. Definitely check it out if in Northern Vietnam!
Breakfast – $2 – $5
Lunch – $2 – $7
Dinner – $3 – $12
You could spend months exploring this large and long country. Below is my 15 day itinerary:
3 Days Ho Chi Minh City – Take some time to explore this city and eat your way through it. Take a day trip to the Delta and tunnels.
2 Days Mui Ne – Next, this little fishing village is great for exploring. Rent a motorbike and get lost for the day. Check out the sand dunes and relax by the beach.
2 day Hoi an – Get your suit or dress made and explore this little town. There can be some cool little bars to spend your nights.
2 Days Hue – This is the ancient capital of Vietnam. Its a funky little town with a lot of history.
2 days Hanoi – Check out the streets of this Northern city. Go to snake village to have an interesting dinner!
2 Days Sapa – Put your feet up in these rice terraces and eat some world class cuisine.
2 Days Halong Bay – Hit up this UNESCO site and explore all the island by boat!
Transport is really easy in Vietnam. There are trains, planes, and automobiles that will take you everywhere. Also, many people rent motorbikes and explore the country with a little more freedom.