Planning to travel Vietnam? Perhaps you need some travel inspiration for your bucket-list? Whether it’s exploring Vietnam’s floating houses or learning about the history of the Vietnam war, narrow down your list of where to go in Vietnam with our helpful travel guide – travel to Vietnam has never been easier.
Travel to Vietnam: Must See Destinations
1. Escape to Ho Chi Minh
Located in Southern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is a hot-spot for Western tourists. The city played a pivotal role in the Vietnam war, meaning it’s filled with history and a great place to learn about Vietnamese culture and their past. The War Remnant’s Museum is popular choice if you’re looking for Vietnam points of interest. Conveying the brutality of the effect of war on civilian victims, this museum is not for the faint hearted – displays of war vehicles and equipment are presented around and inside the museum. See rare experimental weaponry that was used in war but kept secret at the time, such as the Flechette – an artillery shell filled with tiny darts.
To truly escape in Ho Chi Minh, discover the Cu Chi tunnels – an immense network of tunnels located underground. There are more than 250km of tunnels in Ho Chi Minh alone – the tunnels, at their peak, stretched from South Vietnam to the Cambodian border. Explore the plummeting depths and find trap doors, constructed living areas, weapon factories and more all built underground. Don’t forget to pack your fleece – the tunnels can feel cold at times due to lack of daylight.
2. Discover Halong Bay
A major bucket-list item for places to visit in Vietnam is Halong Bay. The bay has a mystical story behind it – Halong meaning “where the dragon descends into the sea”. Some believe the dragon created this seascape by charging towards the coast, his tail gouging out the valleys and crevasses that still exist today. There can often be an eerie mist adding to the mystical tale of the dragon, so don’t forget to pack your jacket.
This vision of beauty is made up of a scatter of islands spread across the landscape, making it a number one tourist spot. Discover Halong Bay in style with the recommended overnight cruise option – travel to several islands and caves by ship and kayaks to reach your destinations, truly experiencing the hidden corners of Vietnam.
“From the chaos and energy of Hanoi, the peaceful and relaxed Halong Bay is quite the adjustment. The limestone islets that are scattered throughout the bay have long been on my bucket list and I was not disappointed. Each one is different and viewed both close up or in hazy groups on the horizon I don’t think I could ever grow bored of the view.” – South East Asia Sales Supervisor at Explore, Jane.
Whilst in Halong Bay, visit Cat Ba Island – caves, jungles and waterfalls galore, this beautiful island is mostly untouched and left wild. As this is the largest island in Halong Bay with 354sq km of land and 90sq km of adjacent water, Cat Ba Island was declared a national park in 1986. Explore the island’s rocky cliffs, sandy beaches and fishing villages hidden away in small coves.
3. Explore Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Named as one of the top places to visit in Vietnam, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is best known for its mountains, tropical forests, underground rivers, and vast network of caves. With any luck you may also spot tigers, black bears and elephants here with over 100 types of mammal, 81 types of reptile and more than 300 types of bird recorded in the area. Home to the oldest karst mountains in Asia formed 400 million years ago, this park is unsurprisingly a haven for tourists to truly explore Vietnamese nature and wildlife.
Explore the caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. New caves are constantly being discovered in this enormous 885sq km national park. Hang Son Doong is the world’s largest cave – and the only way to view it properly is to book a 7-day expedition, due to its extremely remote area. The cave is big enough to accommodate a battleship, with sections of it pierced by skylights. You will also discover formations of ethereal stalagmites, which have been named Cactus Garden. Make sure you’re fully equipped to explore this park with your outdoor protection clothing!
4. Cruise through Mekong Delta
Top of a lot of travellers’ bucket lists of where to travel in Vietnam is Mekong Delta – a world afloat. This Southern Vietnamese maze of islands, rivers and swamps is home to floating houses and markets on rivers, canals and streams. Travel to the epicentre of Mekong Delta, Can Tho, which is the largest city in the region. This bustling town with its lively waterfront is the perfect base for nearby floating markets.
The best floating market here is Phong Dien with stand-up rowing boats containing products and food to buy where local vendors complete their daily shops. The best time to visit is in between 5 – 7am, as after that, a lot of produce has gone. Don’t forget to wear your insect repellent clothing when you visit floating markets early in the morning – you’ll be grateful to avoid irritating insect bites. You can reach Phong Dien by road, but river tours are highly recommended to see as much as Mekong Delta as possible, often using quieter backwaters for a more serene trip. Experience Vietnamese cuisine with floating fish farms and markets in Mekong Detla – one of Vietnam’s must see places.
5. Relax at Nha Trang
Nha Trang – the city on the beach. This high rise high energy beach resort is a main tourism hub with stunning hills, sandy beaches, a turquoise bay and tropical islands. There is 6km beach stretched across long golden sands, so the further you explore, the more likely it will be to find yourself a nice secluded spot for yourself. Pack a bag and spend the day here as come sundown, this city turns into a party town – with no curfews in place, visitors can play late into the early hours. However, if you prefer a more peaceful experience, the beachfront has quiet open bars to relax in an evening.
Spa treatments are available in the form of mud baths, and there is vast history to explore too. Centuries-old Po Nagar Cham towers stand in the town centre, still used for worship by Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists. These towers have inscribed slabs scattered around, most relating to history or religion, so this is a great way to gain insight into Vietnamese culture and the spiritual beliefs of the locals.
Found your travel inspiration to visit Vietnam? Book your trip with Explore to travel to Vietnam safely and securely. Don’t forget to purchase all of your travel clothing before you go. The correct clothing is essential to ensure you travel Vietnam in the best way possible. Browse through our protective clothing ranges today.