5 Things you should do in Vietnam

Vietnam, such an amazing country that, unfortunately, doesn’t get the fame it deserves. With many people coming back dissapointed, feeling a bit overwhelmed with scams, it tends to scare off many others to go. But there is a big secret about Vietnam, about how to avoid the scams : Plan less, take your time.

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You see Vietnam is a relatively relaxed country (on the contrary of what you may think after looking at the traffic) and many people enjoy their experience once they have had the time to take a step back, relax, and understand a bit more the country.

Filled with history, the background of Vietnam is hard but interesting. But there is not only all those war stories that make Vietnam. What makes this country beautiful is its nature and its people. Step into it and be ready to be charmed.
So what should be the 5 things that will rock your world ? That will help you never forget the beauty of Vietnam?

Cruise on Halong Bay

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Yes, you’ve seen it everywhere, it’s expensive yes but it’s worth it. Cruising in one of the most beautiful scene in the world is an experience you can’t forget. Don’t fall for a dodgy cruise that will ruin your entire time, make some research, read peoples advice online but don’t book with somebody there, the biggest scam in Vietnam must be here, you’ll pay for what seems like a cheap price and get a terrible boat that will ruin your experience.

The experience is usually the same once in Halong : cruising around, discovering « Surprise Cave », Kayaking, enjoying the sunset and the sunrise, you can even go squid fishing. But don’t skip on this one or don’t budget too low for your cruise, that’s our advice !

 Discover the caves in Phong Nha Ke Bang National park

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Have you heard of Son Doong ? Probably, it’s the biggest cave in the world and is located in that exact park ! Unfortunately at the time of writing this article only a few tourists can a access this cave and prices are very very high. But don’t be discouraged, it doesn’t mean you can’t actually enjoy others. Paradise Cave, Phong Nha Cave, those are some of the beautiful and impressive sites you can discover in that park. Give yourself a couple of days and just enjoy the area. Nature can be impressive and those caves are a brillant example of that !

Trek in Sapa and join one of the markets

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Sapa, a town in the mountain in the North of Vietnam is a beautiful town with rice terraces and many tribes walking around. It’s the perfect town to opt for a classical 2 days trek and it’s also the place to go and enjoy one of the most beautiful market of the country: the Bac Ha Market. Full of colours, H’mongs coming to do their shopping, trading animals, food, you will be in the heart of the population there. Yes there will probably be many tourist but this, somehow, doesn’t change a thing, life keeps going whatever surrounds you.

Enjoy Hoi An’s old town at night

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Of course Hoi An is gorgeous, it’s not a UNESCO site for no reason, the old town has so much character to it, but while nights comes down and the thousand of lanterns illuminate in the street… That’s when Hoi An is the most beautiful! All those colours gives to the city something old and something terribly romantic. If you want to make the experience even better hire one of the little boats and go releasing some lanterns on the water. It’s super touristy yes but who cares? This is also amazingly romantic and beautiful! And while in Hoi An why not get a suit done by one of the many tailors there? Or try a bar crowl for only $1?

Take an Easyrider tour From Hue to Hoi An.

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Vietnam is a lot about motorbikes. If you’ve seen the Top Gear special, then you know also what we mean: a tour of the country without trying it out is a bit of a shame. But if you don’t drive, if you are a bit scared, do not worry! Hoi An and Hue have Easy Riders at your disposal that will be happy to take you through the famous Ho Chi Minh trail up to P’rao (Lao Border) and back down. 2 days on the road, hot springs, waterfalls, gorgeous landscape, meeting some minorities and an historic road, what could be better? You’ll also have the chance to discover My Son, another heritage of the country on the way. So give it a try, it’s not too expensive and it’s an adventure you will remember!

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Of course apart from those 5 things there is many things you should do, visit. We loved Dalat, enjoyed the Water Puppet theatre in Hanoï & the Jade Emperor Pagoda in Saigon but just take your time, limit your visits and let yourself go for a bit. Vietnam is a shy country, you need to push yourself to try to know it better to then see it opening slowly. Time is your ally, don’t rush, live your experiences to the fullest!

For more information you can read our articles and see our pictures:

Halong Bay: Photos

Sapa: Guide, Photos

Phong Nha: Photos

Hoi An: Photos

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16 responses to “5 Things you should do in Vietnam

  1. For us who had to skip Vietnam in our Southeast Asian trip, these tips come really great! We hope to include Vietnam in our next tripe, seems to be a wonderful country with so much to see!

  2. I really enjoyed Sapa and of course Halong Bay was a beautiful spot, but I left there feeling a little worried about it. It was so crowded with very little regulation and no real development plan. Unless some things change, I think it’s going to be loved to death very quickly.

    • We read that too about Halong Bay but apparently a year or 2 ago the governement made some changes, trying to force people to be more careful about the environnement surrounding them, it’s taking time but should work. We read about people seeing rubbish in the water, when we went only vegs were thrown in the water for the fish around. Hopefully it will keep this way!

  3. Ohhh I’ve been wanting to go to that cave for ages! I only spent a really short time in Vietnam, and unfortunately missed a lot of the sights. More reason to go back, right? 😉 Lovely post.

  4. We love Vietnam actually it is the reason we have become long term travellers 🙂 We are looking forward to spending more time there and really getting off the beaten track a bit. We also want to return to Sapa I loved the women of Sapa they were so friendly and had a wicked sense of humour,

  5. We nearly booked to go to Vietnam over Xmas 2013 but there was so much we wanted to experience that two weeks just didn’t seem long enough. Loving your five tips above though. I didn’t see the Easy Riders when looking before but will definitely be researching more into this now 🙂

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