Explore destination attractions in Vietnam

Explore destination attractions in Vietnam

Destination attractions in Vietnam

Vietnam has an astonishing mix of natural beauty and cultural diversity. The scenery ranges from tropical jungle to dramatic karsts seen from winding mountain passes down to paddy fields painted every share of green in the palette.

Explore Destination Attractions in Vietnam

Explore destination Attractions in Vietnam
The map: Here it is, our list of top attractions of Vietnam, Explore Destination Attractions in Vietnam

While the country’s 4000 year old history and 54 groups of ethnic minorities means the culture addicts will have plenty to explore, it’s no surprise that the 3,000km coastline stretching along the country with clear blue waters is the main draw for beach lovers.

Outdoor ones can find themselves lost in numerous national parks and nature reserves, and everywhere you go, you can taste its fantastic foods with want-some-more feeling.

Vietnam Food & Drinks

Vietnamese cuisine features a combination of five fundamental tastes including spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter (fire), salty (water) and sweet (Earth). Common ingredients include fish sauce, shrimp paste, soy sauce, rice, fresh herbs, and fruits and vegetables.

With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.

Though the mainstream culinary tradition throughout the country share some key features of freshness, herbs and vegetables, broths and display, Vietnamese dishes vary from region to region. From north to south, you will find a delicious variety on offer, influenced from China, Thailand, India and French.

In the north, the foods are often less spicy than in other regions. In general, northern cuisine is not bold in any particular taste but feature light and balanced flavors that result from subtle combinations of many different flavoring ingredients.

Notable dishes are pho – perhaps the most famous one, bun cha (rice noodle with grilled pork), cha ca La Vong.

The central Vietnam’s cuisine is known for its spicy food and sophisticated meals consisting of many complex dishes served in small portions, which sets it apart from the two other regions.

Hue, the country’s former capital is considered the culinary center of the region features highly decorative and colorful food that reflect the influence of ancient Vietnamese royal cuisines. Some signature dishes are bun bo Hue, banh khoai, cao lau

Food in the South is vibrant and flavorful as a result of the warm weather and fertile soil of the region. Southern people prefer to add more sugar in dishes than other regions. The vast shorelines also make seafood a natural staple for the South.

Ho Chi Minh, the biggest city in Vietnam, is one of the best 10 places in the world to have street food, according to Forbes. Popular dishes includes banh my, hu tieu, banh xeo

Vietnam Shopping Tips

Vietnam has fantastic shopping opportunities so it’s well worth setting aside half a day or so. Popular shopping sites include Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, each has a wide selection of everything from art to luxurious silk suits. Here are some of the best buys:

Vietnamese art and antiques

Both traditional and modern paintings are available. Sophisticated works are on display in art galleries while cheaper ones are sold in souvenir shops along streets. Favorable specialties are the instant antique like teapot or ceramic plates.
Vietnam has strict regulations on the export of real antiques, thus remember to check carefully the origin as well as the exporting capacity of the item. Most reputable shops can provide the necessary paperwork.

Clothing

Ao Dai, the national dress for Vietnamese women, are a popular item to take home. Ready-to-wear Ao Dai are available in big tourist attractions like Hanoi, Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh City. A tailor-made one will cost you more.
Hoi An town in the central region is known for its local tailors, here you can get almost every kind of clothing that can be customized to meet your need within a day or two. The price is affordable and the quality will surely satisfy you.

Handicrafts

Lacquerware, brocades, ceramics, colorful embroidery, silk, oil painting, carpets, jewelry and leather work, all are on offers with reasonable price.

Tips: Bargaining 

Remember to ask the price before you buy a thing. Walk around and draw a comparison between shops with similar items in case you’re not sure. Bargaining should be good-natured, smile and don’t get angry or argue. In some case, you will be able to get a 50% discount or more, at other times this may be only 10%.

Weather in Vietnam

Vietnam’s climate varies considerable from region to regionThe North
  • April to October: temperatures between 30-35°C with occasional bursts of heavy rain.
  • December to March: temperatures between 10-15°C. February and March can be damp with drizzle and overcast skies.

The Centre

Nha Trang: sunshine all year round apart from November and December when the area has heavy rain.
Da Lat: cooler than the coastal area, particularly from November to March.
Da Nang and Hue: typhoons from mid-October to mid-December

The South

May to October: hot and wet
November to April: hot and humid

  • For the best balance, try the months of April, May or October;
  • For those sticking to the south, November to February is dry and a touch cooler;
  • From July to November, violent and unpredictable typhoons hit central and northern Vietnam.

If you are going to Vietnam during the Tet holiday – the biggest festival in the country, which often falls in late January or early February, it’s a nice idea but not ideal as the whole country is on the move and prices rise significantly.

Vietnam Transportation

How to travel throughout Vietnam by air, road, train and co.

By air

Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi are the two main arrival terminals for foreign visitors coming to Vietnam. Tan Son Nhat is the country’s largest airport handling 75% of international passenger traffic.

By land

Vietnam shares land border with Cambodia, China and Laos. There are plenty of border crossing open to tourists with each neighbor.

From Cambodia

  • Bavet (or Moc Bai)
  • Kaam Samnor (or Vinh Xuong)
  • Phnom Den (or Tinh Bien)

From Laos

  • Donsavanh (or Lao Bao)
  • Nam Phao (or Cau Treo)
  • Nam Can
  • Tay Trang

From China

  • Youyi Guan (or Huu Nghi Quan – English name is Friendship Pass)
  • Hekou (or Lao Cai)
  • Dongxing (or Mong Cai)

How to transport throughout Vietnam

By plane

There are 21 major civil airports including 3 international gateways in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam has good domestic flight connections with new routes opening up all the times with affordable price.
There are several domestic carriers including Vietnam Airlines – the national airline, and several private airlines are Jetstar, VietJetAir.

By train

The railway is the least developed transportation infrastructure in Vietnam. Most of the network was built during the French colonial period and has not been expanded up to now.

However there are various programs for restorations and upgrades. Nevertheless, trains are a more comfortable way to travel throughout the country though the prices are more expensive than bus.

The main cross-country railway from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City is commonly known as the Reunification Express. The line was originally built by French colonists in 1936 with a total length of 1,726km.

Repeatedly bombed during the war with the United States, the service didn’t start running properly again until 1976 when the Geneva Accords were signed, and divisions between North and South were resolved.

The train has two types of service, express (SE) and local (TN) with different durations depending on the number of stops.

By bus

Long-distance buses connect most cities and provinces in Vietnam.

By car

Car is very popular means of transport for traveling at your own pace

By bike

Bikes are a greater way to get around Vietnam, especially when you get off the beaten path, in the rural countryside. Travel on two wheels, you are often greeted by enthusiastically locals.
Long-distance cycling route is popular as much of the country is flat or moderately hilly, major roads are in good condition. Decent bikes can be bought in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Hotels and some travel agencies also have bike for rent.

Motorbike

Ride a motorbike gives you maximum flexibility to visit remote areas and stop whenever you like. Remember to wear a helmet as it is compulsory when riding a motorbike in Vietnam.

Local transport

Cyclo, xe om, Grab

Vietnam Practical Info

The information about traveling in Vietnam, public holidays, money, health and safety, so on.

Internet access

Internet and wi-fi is widely available throughout Vietnam. Most hotels, restaurants, cafes offer wi-fi for free. In remote areas, however the connection is quite bad.

Telephone & post office

You can make international phone calls in Vietnam but the prices are not cheap. Vietnamese SIM cards are an affordable way of calling to other countries.

The postal service in Vietnam is reliable and there are courier services widely available. Do not put postcards into letter boxes, give them to your hotel or post or go to a post office.

Business hour

Opening hours vary very little throughout the year.

Restaurants: 11.30am–9pm

Banks: 8am–3pm weekdays, 8am–11.30am Saturday

Offices and museums: 7am or 8am to 5pm or 6pm. Museums generally close on Monday.

Temples and pagodas: 5am–9pm

Shops: 8am–6pm

Public holiday

If a holiday falls during the weekend, it is observed on the following days.
Jan 1 – New Year
Jan or Feb – Tet holiday
10th day of the third lunar month – Hung Kings Commemoration
April 30 – Reunification Day
May 1 – May Day (International Workers’ Day)
Sep 2 – National Day

Traveling with children

The Vietnamese people love children as they always become big attractions and everybody wants to play with them. Big cities have lots of things to keep kids interested and vice versa in small town and rural areas.

There have amazing beach but pay attention to any playtime in the sea as there are some big riptides along the main coastline. Some popular beaches have warning flags and lifeguards, but at quieter beaches parents should test the current first. Seas around Phu Quoc Island are more sheltered.

Baby supplies are available in the most cities and town, but dry up quickly in the remote areas. You’ll find cots in most midrange and top-end hotels, but not elsewhere. There are no safety seats in rented cars or taxis, but some restaurants can find a high chair.

Breastfeeding in public is quite common in Vietnam, but there are few facilities for changing nappies (diapers) other than using toilets and bathrooms. For kids who are too young to handle chopsticks, most restaurants also have cutlery.

The main worry throughout Vietnam is keeping an eye on what strange things infants are putting into their mouths. Their natural curiosity can be a lot more costly in a country where dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis are commonplace.

Anti-bacterial hand gel (bring from home) is a great idea. Also remember to keep their hydration levels up and slap on the sunscreen.

Women travelers

Vietnam is relatively a peaceful and safe country so women travelers do not have to face any particular safety issues. That said, there are certain things female travelers should keep in mind when visiting Vietnam.

Beside some obvious points like don’t walk alone in late night or in remote areas or being seriously drunk, following are some advices you should take into consideration to ensure a perfect trip in this Asian country:

• When it comes to clothing, it is advisable to follow the local style of dressing.
• Female solo travelers are likely to become victims for pick pockets, bag snatchers and frauds. It is necessary to pay attention to your luggage and valuable items at all times.
• If traveling alone, you are likely to be bombarded with question about your marital status, home, family and personal life. It might be a bit annoying at first, but take it easy as it is just part of Eastern culture.
• Friends in Vietnam do not hug or kiss each other as greetings. So not to make any misunderstanding for your local male friends. Be sure to leave a copy of your itinerary with friends or family at your hometown and keep in touch with them regularly.

Money & cost

The Vietnam’s official currency is the Dong (VND or d). US dollars are widely accepted in tourist attractions or big shopping malls.
Visa and master card are accepted in many hotels, restaurants and large stores, particularly in big cities. ATMs are popular throughout the country. You can find a number of international banks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Health and safety

Health care in Vietnam varies in quantity and quality. Big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh have a good health care system while in remote areas are not.

Pharmacies can be found in almost town.

Before you go:

  • Pack any medications in clearly labeled box
  • Bring a letter from your doctor describing your medical conditions and medications
  • If you have a heart condition, bring a copy of a recent ECG

Insurance

  • Don’t travel without health insurance.
  • Vietnam is generally a safe country to visit.
  • Emergency contact number: 113 (Police), 114 (Fire), 115 (Ambulance)
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