All Things You Should Know Before Travelling to Vietnam
Vietnam is a country in Indochina and one of the most beautiful destinations in Asia. Vietnam had the name in the world for well know through background of countless war movies. And most of people know Vietnam for the war in Indochina by French colonial and America. However, nothing can prepare for the exotic beauties of Vietnam along the country.
How Viet Nam is a country must be visit once in life?
Recently, travelers from all over the world know more Vietnam in Asia for beautiful landscape and UNESCO world heritage sites. Firstly, reaching Vietnam, visitor can experience the long rich history of the country more than 1,000 years. Secondly, the country offers a lot of natural beauties of mountain, bays, rice terraces and beaches which have different enjoyment from mountain to city. The diversity of nations of 54 group people will give visitor different experiences while discovering and interacting.
Traveling in Vietnam usually has two choices for starting and ending between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. These are two important cities in two part of Vietnam from North and South. When you arrive in from Hanoi, the most reasonable is to leave in Ho Chi Minh city and vice versa. The journey through the country can take highlights as well as should not miss Cruise trip in Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Trang An, compex caves Phong Nha, Hoian ancient town, Danang beach city, Mekong Delta, etc. You’ll find a very interesting and visually pleasing place to visit.
Top 6 Things to See and Do in Vietnam
1: Wander around Hanoi city
Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital. It is the long rich historic city in Vietnam more than 1,000 years. Travel to this city, visitors should not miss to explore the narrow streets of the Old Quarter. Here is the chance to see the real life by visiting local houses in Old Quarter with a very narrow path, narrow house remaining. In addition, visitor can visit the countless temples and galleries, the history museum, or the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Hanoi is also a good base for doing multi-day tours to Halong Bay or handicraft villages surrounding or Duong Lam ancient village. It’s a hectic, chaotic city, let embrace it!
2: Discover Halong Bay
Halong Bay complex has three bays Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. With more than 3,000 islands sit within the emerald green waters, Halong Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations and must see in the country. Cat Ba Island and National Park has great for hiking and taking one of the cave tours. Most of cruise trip leave from Hanoi for 1 day or longest 5 days.
3: Get adventure in Sapa
This is northern Vietnam’s trekking area. And it is hugely famous for all travelers all over the world. Sapa is famous for its hill tribe’s villages with different ethnic groups for diversity cultures. It is also a lush vegetation, beautiful hiking trains as well as breathtaking mountains. Travel to Sapa to enjoy rice terraces and share local experiences.
4: Walk out Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An is ancient town in Central Vietnam. Similar as in Hanoi Old Quarter, however, Hoi An has its own unique for the diversity of an old port for trading from Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, etc. It is special with historical houses and buildings and quaint cafes. It is great for walking and passing through very narrow paths in the old town. Hoi An is also famous for shopping and make tailor with reasonable price as well as relaxing on nice sandy beaches and countryside life.
5: Homestay at remote Mu Cang Chai terrace fields
Mu Cang Chai rice terraces is the perfect journey from Hanoi city. It is also perfect for combine Sapa and Mu Cang Chai to discover and admire the amazing of rice terraces. Surrounded by luscious green rice terraces that dominate the landscape, it is a great chance to take in the breathtaking scenery and rest en route.
Visitors can touch this area every time of the year with different beauties from the water draining to ripe yellow silk of rice. Homestay is the accommodation this area for get deeply experience with local.
6: Tour Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta is the famous region in South Vietnam. Moving from Ho Chi Minh City to reach this area for famous tropical fruits. The delta is a 60,000km long with the main interconnected waterways. The area is filled with small villages, pagodas, mangroves, orchards, and floating markets of Cai Be, Cai Rang. The best way to experience Mekong Delta tours boat trip and then biking tours to inside villages.
Accommodation in Vietnam
Accommodation in Vietnam is diversity. It is according to destination you travel and stay. With mountain area especially remote villages, homestay is the only way to accommodate. Beside big cities, visitors can choose from homestay to luxury hotels and resort with different quote according to its location. There are many famous beach city like Danang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc island, resorts along the coastline are mainly and easy to choose a reasonable resort.
Most hotels and resorts offer free WiFi. And they included breakfast in room already with a bottle of mineral water. The room rate is around 30 USD to 1,000 USD/room/per night base on the hotel traveler choose
As for budget hotels from 1 to 2-star quality, the room rate is from 10 to 30 USD/room/night. The homestay can be from 10 usd up and some homestay has the rate as 3-star hotel up. With small hotels and guesthouse, it usually not includes breakfast in room rate.
Food in Vietnam
Vietnam is a Asia country so it has the colorful in cuisines. Especially, it has three main regions: North, Central and South. As a result, food is as these main regions for taste. Each city and province has its own special which pleasure visitors love to taste local food. There is a wide chance for visitor to taste in each city once they step their foot to.
You can get a bowl of Pho(noodle) a famous rice dish in Hanoi capital city and well known all over the world. With street food it is around 1 USD. However, its cost is from 2 to 3 usd/bowl when you choose a sit-down restaurant.
While move to Central Bun Bo Hue (Hue beef noodle), a popular dish in Hue city has become well-known worldwide. Plus bread in Hoi An and many street foods will pleasure food lovers. And travel along the country will make every visitor surprise for its specialty.
In fact Vietnamese food is distinct and unforgettable. The cuisine has the balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot flavors. Local people use nuoc mam (fish sauce) in most of dishes, cane sugar and chilli peppers. Dishes use plenty of fresh herbs.
Tops 10 dishes should try in Vietnam
1: Goi cuon
Goi Cuon is the most famous dish in Vietnam. It has translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced pork, shrimp or crab. According to the places, Goi Cuon is served with a bowl of lettuce included or not mint.
2: Banh mi (bread)
This colorful sandwich filled with greens and a choice of fillings. It includes paté and freshly made omelette and many other ingredients depend on each city. It is so good it’s been imitated around the world.
3: Banh xeo
It is cheap and filling Vietnamese pancakes. It names banh xeo means “sizzling pancake”) pancake contain shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and egg. All then fried, wrapped in rice paper with greens and has a spicy sauce before eaten.
4: Bun cha
Bun Cha is a Hanoi specialty. Visitor can find bun cha at food stalls and streets along the city. It is the mixture of just a few elements in the making of Bun Cha. It is the simplicity of pork, garlic, greens, noodles and fish sauce.
5: Pho (noodle)
Pho is the national dish. A noodle soup can eat at any time of day. Visitor can see mainly in the morning or evening everywhere. A bowl of pho consists of a light beef or chicken broth flavored with ginger and coriander. All are added broad, flat rice noodles, spring onions and slivers of chicken, pork or beef.
6: Cao lau
Cau Lau is the special cuisine in Hoian of Central Vietnam. It is a bowlful of thick rice-flour noodles, bean sprouts and pork-rind croutons in a light soup. It is additional for flavored with mint and star anise. On the top has thin slices of pork and grilled rice-flour crackers or sprinkled with crispy rice paper.
7: Cha ca
Cha Ca is also the famous dish of Hanoi. This seafood dishes are among the standouts of Vietnamese cuisine. It is a white fish sautéed in butter with dill and spring onions. It is served with rice noodles and a scattering of peanuts.
8: Hue beef noodles (Bun Bo Hue)
All visitor will never forget the flavor of Bun bo Hue – a specialty of Hue. A bowl of Hue beef noodles has white noodles from rice, pieces of pig’s trotters, beef will make unique impression about Hue cuisine. Eating together is some vegetable such as banana flower, onion, etc.
9: Oc – Sea snails
Seafood is the specialty of Vietnam. The country has a long coastline along the country so when travel any cities which has sea you can taste seafood especially Oc (sea snails) or even no beach as Ho Chi Minh city. In some cities, visitor can easily find the sea snails in every corner or local food stalls. Especially, they are always available on seaside. There are many different sea snails for choice.
10: Nem chua ran – Fried Fermented Pork Roll (Spring Rolls)
Nem chua ran (or spring rolls) another must try Vietnamese dish. Although it is the same dish in Vietnam, its taste is different from each region for its special. The sour and a bit salty taste of the spring roll together with the spicy chilli sauce create the special flavor for this Vietnamese food.
Transportation in Vietnam
Vietnam is developing for tourism fastly. Therefore, transportation in Vietnam is various and developed. Travelers to Vietnam can choose many different ways of transportations from air, road to water, All can meet the demands of tourist while travel within the country.
In fact, transportation in Vietnam develops rapidly with various kinds of transports. As a result it gives the most convenient for travelers to travel to Vietnam from other countries and vice versa.
Nowadays, travel in Vietnam is much easier than in the past. Means of transportation are comfortable and convenient. It is easy to travel between big cities in Vietnam by air, car, bus, train, etc.
There are many international airports to reach Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hai Phong, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang for moving from countries in the world to Vietnam. There are two main airports are Hanoi (Noi Bai airport) and Ho Chi Minh (Tan Son Nhat airport) with all flights schedule in and out Vietnam.
While being in Vietnam, traveler can choose domestic flight, train along the country with most of cities train stations. It is the same for bus.
For traveling around each city, there are also many choices to move: car, bicycle, cyclo, bus, taxi, motorbike, etc. All will have chance to visit and discover the beautiful natural landscapes and predominantly rural areas
Vietnam is a diversity country. It has mountain and plain as well as sea. Therefore, there are many different activities to join. In addition, Vietnam is a rich historic country. It will give visitors chances to learn more about the country history as well as ancient values.
Diversity cultures & rich history
Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups, so travel to the country at different cities and regions, visitors can experience different cultures of lifestyles. North Vietnam is mainly the home of the hill tribe groups, so travel to this area can admire beautiful landscapes, national parks as well as ethnic people cultures
Rich history and ancient values of villages and city still remains until now are special of Vietnam. Hanoi with over 1,000-year history will give visitors. Duong Lam ancient village or Hoian ancient town as well as Ha Noi Old Quarter will bring visitor back the past. While Hue Imperial City will give the view for the last dynasty in Vietnam, etc.
Rich of beach and even touch pristine beach
Beaches in Vietnam have long been kept secrets of Southeast Asia. Since tourism develops in Vietnam, the countries coastal areas are now becoming more well-known.
Vietnam has over 3000 km of stunning coastline. So, it is full of stretching of white and yellow sand beaches. In addition, there are a lots of tropical islands and countless coves and lagoons just waiting to be discovered. All beaches make for blue and clear sea water, white sand and the perfect places for water sports and watching the breathtaking sunsets. Here are some famous beaches which visitors should not miss once visit the whole or a part of the country
Halong Bay has many beaches on island with pristine sea water like Ti Top. In addition, Lan Ha bay is in the complex of Halong bay with Cat Ba island. It is the ideal place for cruise trip on the bay and beach relaxing. In reality, Lan Ha Bay is less touristic and has untouched beach and area for visitor to get closer the nature.
Nhat Le beach in Quang Binh where has nice beach in the combination with the complex of caves’ system in Phong Nha, Paradise cave, Son Dong cave, etc.
Lang Co beach bay in Thua Thien Hue is an ideal for relaxing on beach. It is between Hue and Danang city. It offers nice resort along the seaside for relaxing and swimming and far from the busy life.
Da Nang beach city is well known from all over the world. It has many beaches along the coastline from Hai Van pass to Hoian with blue and clean sea water. It is the hot spot for tourist love beach in Vietnam and the world. Therefore, It is very crowded on summer time from May to October
Nha Trang beach bay is the same as Danang city. It is one of the nicest beaches of Vietnam with different choice for beaches right in Nha Trang city centre or on islands. The combination of cruise trips to islands and snorkeling, diving see coral reef and relax on beach.
Mui Ne beach is in Phan Thiet province. The land is famous for beach and grapes as well as dragon fruit of Vietnam. There are hundreds of hotels and resorts along the coastline to enjoy on beach and sea sport activities
Phu Quoc Island is well known as the pearl of East Sea. It is similar as Singapore area, it has many beautiful beaches and some of them still pristine for traveler to enjoy and discover.
Beautiful landscapes from mountains to the countryside
Visitor can join many different activities in Vietnam. For mountain areas such as Ha Giang, Sa Pa, Mu Cang Chai, they are great ideal places for walking, trekking, climbing Fansipan Mountain in Sapa. It is also places for homestay and experience the authentic Vietnam with mountain landscapes, windy passes, and amazing rice terraces.
Furthermore, travelers can enjoy and experience peaceful countryside in combination with famous visiting sites such as in Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An, Mekong delta, etc
It offers many different activities from adventure at mountainous, national parks to easy walking along the country. These are famous national parks in Vietnam and worth to visit Cuc Phuong NP, Phong Nha Ke Bang NP, Pu Luong NP, Cat Tien NP, Bach Ma NP, etc.
Vietnam Quick Information
- Currency: Vietnam dong (VND) is the official currency. USD, Euro, Australia, Pound and other currency in the world also accepted. And it is easily to exchange at big cities, famous tourist destinations. ATM for withdraw at main attractions.
- Electricity Socket: 220V AC electricity. Power outlets are often compatible with the standard US plug and the European one. It is recommended to bring a Universal Travel Adaptor while traveling in Vietnam so that you can avoid of having buy new adaptors.
Visa for entry Vietnam
Vietnam requires to make a visa upon letter in advance. Therefore, when having plan to travel to Vietnam, please make it in advance to avoid unhappy thing happen when you arrive and make it directly.
There are 3 types of visa: 1 month visa, 3 months and 6 months (single visa or multi visa)
The following countries can get a free visa for the prescribed number of days. Incase visitor would like to stay longer, please apply for a visa beforehand. Visitor can choose an agency or through the newly implemented e-visa program.
- 30 days: Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore
- 21 days: Philippines
- 15 days: Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain
- 14 days: Brunei, Myanmar
Note: While visitors are in Vietnam and the time visitors stay longer than the free visa, visitors should make it for longer day in advance 3 days. Otherwise visitors must fly out the country.
Safety: In generally, Vietnam is a pretty safe country to travel around in. Although there are some scams happen, please travel out with you be careless. All papers (passport, money, value jewery, etc) you should send at safe box at the hotel reception to make sure you will not lose it while walking out. Most hotels have the keeping these things for passengers. Especially Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City you should not bring out.
Language: It is easy to communicate English at most cities in Vietnam. With big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, people speak English very well. However, the level of English drops at small towns and mountainous area.
For other languages: French, Russia, Spain, Korea, etc visitor can communicate at big cities. Small towns and cities don’t have.
Bargain hard – Tourists tend to be charged more than locals for everything. Bargain harder than you would ordinarily to get the better price.