Vietnam Travel Guide
Welcome to Vietnam – The beautiful country with endless beauty of nature and peace-loving people. Let’s explore Vietnam with Lelp.net through the article Vietnam Travel Guide.
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.
Vietnam is a country of breath-taking natural beauty with an incredible modern day history that quickly becomes addictive.
It has experienced war and a bloody revolution in the past 100 years, but the revolution now underway is peaceful and prosperous. The sped of the modern day changes is making Vietnam the absorbing and gripping place that it is today.
Vietnam has something to offer everyone, so whether you are a culture vulture, thrill seeker or just looking to relax and take in the beaches, Vietnam won’t disappoint.
General Information about Vietnam
Located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a well-known tourist destination for its glorious history, rich culture, and fascinating landscapes. Vietnam is often seen by Western tourists through the lens of the painful war. However, our country has stood from the ruins to become a new ‘economic dragon’ in Asia.
Traveling to Vietnam today, you will be stunned by excellent hospitality services, high-quality accommodations and friendly locals with a decent level of English speaking.
Influenced by Chinese, French and American cultures, Vietnam consists of unique architecture that is a combination of traditional and colonial styles.
You can also experience appetizing cuisines which are served in both luxury restaurants and local street vendors.
Best Time to Travel to Vietnam
Characterized by a subtropical climate in the North and a monsoon climate in the South, Vietnam’s weather is different from North to South. The best time to visit Vietnam is from November to April.
Northern Vietnam: There are four seasons in this region (spring is from March to April, summer from May to August, autumn from September to November, winter from December to February). Due to the difference in altitude, the temperature in mountainous areas is lower than in the delta region.
- Summer: It is hot and humid in Northern Vietnam during summers. This region will experience heavy rains as well, so we do not recommend traveling to the mountainous area in summers.
- Winter: The temperature may drop to 10 degrees Celsius, and maybe 0 degrees Celsius in mountainous regions.
- This region experiences drizzling rains and a high level of humidity in spring.
Central Vietnam: This region experience warm to cool weather year-round.
- February – August: It is the dry season in Central Vietnam, which is suitable for your swimming, snorkeling and diving activities.
- September – mid-December: This region is impacted by typhoons and flooding may occur in Hue, Da Nang, and Hoi An. Nha Trang, Da Lat, and Mui Ne are less affected by typhoons.
Southern Vietnam: Similar to the central region, the south of Vietnam is warm year-round.
- November – early May: Dry season, in which it is hotter from February to April.
- May – early November: Rainy season, but the rains are short so they will not affect your trip.
Passport & Visa to Vietnam
Traveler’s passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Vietnam. Passport holders from the USA, Europe, Australia, and Canada can travel to Vietnam without a visa for 15 days.
If you wish to enter Viet Nam at least two consecutive times without visa, the next entry must be at least 30 days after the previous exit. Otherwise, you still need a visa to enter Vietnam.
If your trip is 30 days or less and if you are traveling by air to Vietnam, you could apply for a Visa on Arrival. Firstly, you need to submit an application form online to apply for a Letter of Approval. Vietnam Immigration Department will email you the Letter of Approval.
Secondly, take your approval letter and passport on your trip and have it stamped at the immigration office at one of Vietnam’s international airport. Most important, remember to bring enough cash to pay for Visa fee at the airport in USD and no other form of payment is accepted.
>>> For more information, read How to Apply a Visa to Vietnam?
The official currency in Vietnam is Vietnam Dong (VND) which comes in different denominations: 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000; 50,000; 100,000; 200,000 and 500,000.
You can exchange money at our airport or at some national banks (Vietcombank, Techcombank, TP Bank, etc.) or international banks (Shinhan Bank, Public Bank, ANZ, HSBC, etc.). Unofficial exchange places such as jewelry stores are not recommended. ATMs are easy to be found in major cities, but if you travel to rural areas, bring enough cash.
Transportation in Vietnam
Streets in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are chaotic and crowded, especially during rush hours. If you cross the streets, don’t forget to stay calm and walk slowly with your heads high. Ask the locals if you need some help.
Taxi is a convenient way to travel around. To have the list of taxi brands, visit our Travel Guide page and select your destination. Grab is widely used in Vietnam; this app is available in 19 provinces of our countries including famous tourist destinations such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, and Nha Trang.
You can rent a bicycle or a motorbike at your hotel. Cyclo is a fun mean of transport, but it should cost you no more than VND 100,000 dong.
Holidays in Vietnam
The biggest and the most important holiday in Vietnam is Tet holiday or Lunar New Year. Normally, Vietnamese employees are given seven to nine days off work for this traditional holiday.
Main activities of this holiday take place from the 1st to the 3rd day of the first lunar month (late January or early February). Restaurants and stores are normally opened on the 4th day.
Visiting Vietnam during Tet holiday will be your unforgettable experience. A week before Tet, you can see the streets become hectic and crowded with people preparing for the holiday.
Kumquat and cherry blossom trees are sold in every street corner. Families gather together to cook traditional dishes such as banh chung (steamed rice cake), nem (fried spring rolls) and ga luoc (boiled chicken).
When Tet comes, big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City become strangely quiet and you can breathe the fresh air without suffering traffic jams.
There are many traditional customs you can observe in our Tet holiday: worshiping ancestors, decorating altars, choosing the first person to enter a house in the New Year, giving lucky money to children and elderly people, visiting a pagoda to pray for luck, etc.
However, there are some downsides when traveling to Vietnam during Tet: shops and restaurants are closed, it is harder to book a room and order a taxi, services are more expensive, etc. Consult a local travel agency carefully if you intend to travel to Vietnam in Tet.
Here are all public holidays in Vietnam you should be aware of:
- International New Year’s Eve: 1st January
- Tet holiday (Vietnamese Lunar New Year): Last day of the year + first 3 days of the first lunar month
- Hung King’s Memorial Day: 10th day of the third lunar month
- Liberation Day: 30th April
- Labor Day: 1st May
- Independence Day: 2nd September
Related reading: Tet Holiday
Top Destinations in Vietnam
1. Culture & History Tours
More than 4000 years of glorious history have been the pride of the Vietnamese in building and defending the beloved country.
Vietnam’s tumultuous history can be discovered through our museums, imperial and colonial architecture, historic relics and traditional art show in a Vietnam discovery tour.
Hanoi is one of the most unique places in Vietnam due to its quaint and rustic atmosphere. This city is the combination of traditional beauty and colonial architecture. Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter are the two must-visit attractions in Hanoi.
Spending a few days in Sapa during your Vietnam tours, you not only have a chance to breathe the fresh air of a northwestern mountainous regions, but also visit emerald terraced rice fields, spectacular waterfalls, conquer to Fansipan Mountain and trek to some ethnic villages such as Cat Cat, Ta Van and Ta Phin Villages.
Proud to be an ancient imperial capital of Vietnam dating from the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1954), the city of Hue has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
‘Poetic, romantic and dreamy’ are three adjectives people use to describe this wonderful city. With its imperial citadel, temples, pagodas and monuments, Hue contains a rich imperial part of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City
This city will be an ideal destination for history buffs who love to discover our colonial era. There are many colonial architecture and museums for your tour to Ho Chi Minh City: Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Museum of Vietnamese History, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, and Saigon Opera House.
Explore more: 2020 – Vietnam: Destinations of the wonderful things
2. Beach Vacations
Our country features numerous pristine beaches, unspoiled nature and mouth-watering local cuisines, which constitute for your perfect beach holiday in Vietnam.
Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia region such as Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, our beach destinations gain reputation not only from natural landscape but also excellent hospitality services and appetizing local cuisines at affordable prices.
This beautiful beach city features many beautiful beaches such as the famous My Khe Beach, Non Nuoc Beach and Son Tra Peninsula. Da Nang is also a heaven for food lovers. From street vendors to luxury 5-star hotel restaurants, you can enjoy appetizing dishes that use fresh and succulent local products and are prepared by dedicated and experienced chefs.
Crystal-clean beach, beautiful white sand and warm water – Nha Trang is a pearl of Central Vietnam. There are a lot of high-end hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars in the city center. Thanks to its gentle beaches, Nha Trang is also the heaven for exciting water sports such as snorkeling, diving the coral reefs, skyboarding, surfing and parasailing.
Mui Ne has become an attractive tourist destination with wide immense white sand dunes and towering coconut trees bending around the coast. You can sit under the cool green coconut to enjoy refreshing sea breezes. Mui Ne is the home to a lot of high-quality hotels, restaurants and resorts for your stay.
Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam. This place is well-known for its white sand beaches, spectacular sand dunes, and world-class accommodations with well-trained staff and state-of-the-art amenities. Some popular names for your stay here are Intercontinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort and JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay.
3. Adventure & Ecotourism
If you are seeking an impeccable destination for your adventure trip, Vietnam should be on your list. In your eco tour to Vietnam, you can have a chance to explore our spectacular natural landscapes, trek through exotic trails and get to know our ethnic minorities.
Ha Giang’s magnificent karst plateaus, spectacular rice terraces, mind-blowing passes, authentic ethnic villages and rich cultural heritage are the main reason for a trekking and hiking tour here. If you want to find a place which is less crowded and touristy than Sapa, Ha Giang is a great alternative for you.
Ninh Binh satisfies thrill-seekers with some interesting activities such as exploring unspoiled jungles, observing limestone caves, and discovering our unique stalactites and stalagmites system. There are many suitable attractions here for adventurous travelers: Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Cuc Phuong Natural Park, Hang Mua (Mua Cave), and Thung Nham Bird Park.
Stunning rice paddles, unique stilt houses, and peaceful ethnic villages are the main reason for a cycling tour to Mai Chau. If you love to discover traditional crafts in Vietnam’s mountainous area, visit an ethnic family and see how skillful ethnic women are in weaving and making brocade.
This region will thrill you with exotic experiences: shopping at a floating market, picking fruits in an orchard, cycling in a bucolic village, riding boats through capujut forests, exploring Khmer culture in some ancient pagodas, etc.
Explore destinations more: Mekong Delta
4. Honeymoon & Romantic
Sublimated feeling and unforgettable memories are what you can get from a honeymoon tour to Vietnam. Involve yourselves in some romantic activities here such as watching sunsets from the deck, fine dining in a luxurious restaurant, taking photos together and biking to rural villages.
A two or three-day Ha Long Bay cruise is a must-do activity for your trip to Vietnam. Nothing can compare with the comfortable feeling and relaxation when your couple enjoys the delicious seafood cooked and served by the skillful cooks while seeing the most beautiful and romantic natural sites in the world.
Nothing in the world is more romantic than immersing yourself in a mesmerizing scene of hundreds of colorful lanterns in Hoi An. Hoi An is where you can see the truly genuine Vietnamese architecture which is harmoniously influenced by French, Japanese and Chinese architectural styles.
Da Lat is praised as ‘the most romantic city in Vietnam’ with a pleasant weather year-round and lovely landscapes surrounded by flowers. You and your partner can spend time in some rustic French-colonial villas, dreamy strawberry farms, scenic Tuyet Lam Lake and the flowery Valley of Love.
Con Dao is the paradise for honeymoon days which more couples choose now. You will admire the scenic beauty of clean and beautiful beaches, enjoy fresh seafood and visit rustic fishing villages. You also experience the feeling of exploring deep ocean diving, coral viewing and fishing.
Explore more: Southeast Asia Travel Guide