When you come to South East Asia, you have to make sure to visit Vietnam. Packed to the brim with beautiful culture, amazing food and breath-taking views, it would be silly not to visit.
If you’ve ever wanted to be an adventurer, Nam is the place to do it! Read on for our list of ten things on what to do in Vietnam.
1. Shop tailor-made clothes in Hoi An
It would be a fashion crime to visit Hoi An and not spend some of your Vietnamese dong on specially made tailored outfits from the stylish tailors that line the streets. From custom made leather boots to specially fitted evening gowns, Hoi An tailors have you covered. Be prepared though – you may go in hunting for one outfit, and come out with six!
TAC Tip: Whilst you are waiting for your new clothes to be made, you can take a break at Morning Glory, one of the most well known eateries in the city. Ms Vy, the owner and one of the country’s most premier chefs, has become something of a legend throughout Vietnam for her authentic tastes that promise to satisfy every visitors’ adventurous taste-buds. Scrumptious!
For more details, click here.
2. Embark on a Halong Bay cruise (and then stay on an island overnight)
You probably already know that Halong Bay should be on your Vietnam sightseeing list, but how would you fancy getting a bit more familiar with that infamous emerald water by kayaking through it? Not all boat tours offer this extra treat, so we recommend Indochina Junk. They’re safe, reasonably priced and you can choose from a variety of amazing activities – you can even go for a full blown cruise, if you fancy going that extra mile.
3. Egg coffee Hanoi – a must-try!
Fancy a brew? Don’t miss out on the infamous egg coffee in Hanoi. Brewed to perfection and served hot or cold, this creamy little delight will make you come back for more. Be warned though: you may find it difficult to find a decent egg coffee anywhere else in Vietnam, so make sure you don’t miss out before you leave Hanoi!
TAC Tip: Giang Cafe is the hidden gem of Hanoi, hidden well amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s rustic, homely feel is complimented by the fabulous views. There’s no better place to drink authentic Vietnamese egg coffee so definitely put this on your What to do in Hanoi list!
4. Have a mud bath in the Phong Nha caves
If you fancy a bit of relaxation with a mucky twist, visit the Phong Nha caves and prepare yourself for the strangest bath you will ever take. After exploring of some of the most beautiful caves in Vietnam, you will be taken down a narrow and dark passage that gets slimier and slimier. The result is a hollow cave made entirely of mud so thick, you can position yourself in the lotus pose and not worry about hitting the floor. A great, healthy ointment for the skin and an excellent way to clear those pores and an activity that cannot be missing when visiting Vietnam!
For more details about the cave tours, and many others, click here.
5. Release lanterns in Hoi An
It’s been scientifically proved that Hoi An is the most chilled out place on Earth. Okay, we made that up, but we can’t imagine a place that is more relaxed than this little Vietnamese town. After taking in everything Hoi An has to offer, we recommend you end your trip with a little voyage down the Thu Bon river in a quaint rowing boat. For a small amount of dong, you will be given a lantern by one of the local women, to release back into the water. A small gesture that will surely pull on your heartstrings as you watch your glittering lantern float along the Thu Bon and into the unknown.
6. Go hiking in Sapa
Sapa is an Instagram post waiting to happen. We dare you to look out across the vast rice paddies and not feel overwhelmed by its fantastic views. There are a few different tours available to show you the beauty of Sapa, but we recommend that you hike across the fields, trekking through miles and miles of alluring scenery and getting familiar with the local tribes. Get your #nofilter hashtag at the ready and put this Instagram-able spot on your list of what to do in Vietnam now!
7. Canyoning in Da Lat
Dalat is famous for two things: it’s beautiful French architecture and adrenaline junkie canyoning. Canyoning gives you the option to navigate yourself through canyons, putting your hiking, swimming and abseiling skills to use. A perfect opportunity for your inner Indiana Jones to make an appearance.
TAC Tip: 100 Roofs Bar in Dalat is a trippy treat for all you quirkier explorers. Set out like a labyrinth, you really have to work for that extra large cocktail! A wacky little place sure to stir up some Alice in Wonderland-esque nostalgia.
8. Visit the red sand dunes of Mũi Né
Known for its enchanting red dunes, Mũi Né is a perfect little getaway if you are tired of the bright lights and sounds of Saigon. You’ll be treated to fresh fish restaurants, stunning ocean views and a little sprinkle of adventure; look out for opportunities to kiteboard, ride around on dirt bikes or surf those clear blue waves.
TAC Tip: If you’re planning on staying in Mũi Né for a prolonged time, we suggest you settle into Full Moon Village, one of the most luxurious sleeping choices in this small beach resort town. Definitely a place to boast about on your social media.
9. Homestay in Mai Chau
If you really want to experience the authentic delights of the Vietnamese culture, we would suggest planning a homestay in Mai Chau. You will be welcomed to stay in a house with a family of locals, who will be eager to show you more of their traditional culture, as well as their everyday routine.
TAC Tip: If you don’t feel like you want to rough it in Mai Chau at a homestay, relax at the Mai Chau Ecolodge instead. A beautiful, airy place to chill out, with full views of the magnificent rural landscape of Mai Chau to compliment your stay in Vietnam.
10. Cycling in Vietnam – explore the countryside on a bike
Ready to get your endurance on? Don your helmet and plan a cycling route that will satisfy your lust for the sights and sounds of Vietnam. There are many famous routes you can take through the country, but we recommend the full North to South trail, from Hanoi to Saigon. Because who doesn’t want to see the entirety of Vietnam via a bike?!
For more details of bike routes through Vietnam and other Southeast Asian destinations, see indotrek.com.
Do you have any recommendations of what to do in Vietnam that didn’t make the list? We’d love to hear from you!
Join The Asia Collective – “Luxe Travellers” group on Facebook to share your insider-tips and ask for advice from like-minded travellers.