May 30, 2024

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Vietnam travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go

Vietnam travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go

A region well-known for the range of its landscapes as well as its foodstuff, heritage and temples, Vietnam is a wallet-friendly place which encompasses South East Asia’s finest bits – you will hardly ever be significantly from some scrumptious road food items, a heritage web-site or a pagoda, and the sprawling museums – numerous of which are in former palaces and governing administration buildings – in monument-packed towns such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are fantastic destinations to study about the country’s previous.

Journey constraints and entry demands

At this time (as of October 2022) mask donning is continue to obligatory in general public. Neither tests nor proof of vaccination are necessary to get into the place, no matter of vaccination position.

Ideal time to go

Vietnam’s climate varies according to location, but as a rule, March and April are great months to go – rainfall is usually lower and temperatures are cooler. July and August are high period, with scorching and humid temperature. Lodges need to be booked very well in progress and rates can improve by 50 for every cent.

Vietnam has hundreds of yearly festivals and celebrations. The Buddha’s Birthday is just one of the country’s most vital situations. It is held in April or May perhaps (the exact date depends on the lunar calendar). All through the celebrations, temples are adorned with lavish decorations and there are colourful street parades, the most lively of which take area in the coastal town of Hội An.

Top areas

Phú Quốc

In modern yrs Phú Quốc, a Vietnamese island off the coastline of Cambodia, has remodeled into a well-known wintertime sunshine vacation spot. Really don’t hope huge tracts of wilderness or alternatives for background fixes in this article – most men and women occur to sprawl on the seaside, even though internet sites truly worth examining out include its (instead stinky) fish sauce factories and Phú Quốc jail, where Vietnamese troopers were being after imprisoned (and tortured in various horrific ways) by French and American troops.


Vietnam’s money is smaller than Ho Chi Minh Metropolis and has retained a compact-town sense. Parks and lakes (like Hoàn Kiếm Lake, with the stunning Ngoc Son Temple in in the center) fill its centre, and its leafy streets are lined streets with heritage properties. The Old Quarter is the finest place for a background resolve (it is where by you are going to uncover Hanoi’s wonderful French-constructed Opera Household) and amazing street food. Hanoi’s most frequented internet site is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Ho Chi Minh

Vietnam’s greatest city has the country’s best lodges and the tallest skyscrapers, even though reminders of its earlier are omnipresent – in places this sort of as the Reunification Palace (also known as the Independence Palace). In 1975 North Vietnamese tanks crashed by way of the gates, sparking the slide of Saigon. Locations open up to the public include things like previous reception rooms, the president’s residing quarters and the basement telecommunications centre. For further insight into Vietnam’s earlier, go to the War Remnants Museum for a interesting (albeit harrowing) search at the US invasion of Vietnam.

Hạ Very long Bay

Sure, Hạ Extensive Bay, in North-East Vietnam, has turn out to be somewhat crowded of late, but you just can’t are unsuccessful to be impressed by the limestone islets and pillars which attained this location its UNESCO Globe Heritage position. There are 1,600 islands, while most visitors foundation on their own on Cat Ba Island, the region’s major. Well-liked pursuits incorporate day cruises, kayaking and explorations of caves these as Tien Ong cave, which has stone artefacts relationship back to 10,000 BC.

Underrated destinations

Sa Pa

Sa Pa is a very city in Northern Vietnam which is employed by several travellers as a base by hikers keen to trek via Lào Cai Province’s hills. Near to the border with China, it’s property to the Hmong persons, many of whom act as guides. Despite its site in Vietnam’s significantly north, receiving there is relatively straightforward – there are normal bus products and services, whilst we recommend the eight-hour sleeper prepare services which departs from Hanoi.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

You’ll come across this UNESCO-mentioned park in the Quang Binh province in north-central Vietnam. It straddles the border with Laos, and its varied landscape involves limestone plateaux, tropical forests and cathedral-like caves. Most website visitors remain in one particular of the several homestays close to the park.

My Son

My Son is a UNESCO-detailed collection of Hindu temples in central Vietnam. The temples, developed among the fourth and thirteenth generations and famous for their intricately carved layouts, ended up rediscovered in the nineteenth century by the French and were being partly destroyed by bombs dropped for the duration of the Vietnam war. Even with this, the site is unquestionably well worth a pay a visit to. It is located 70km south of the coastal town of Da Nang.


Huế is a former feudal hilltop money crafted by the Kings of the Nguyen Dynasty. This laidback central Vietnam metropolis is crammed with temples, pagodas and monasteries, and there are a lot of historical palaces to look at out, much too. Its architecture is thoughts-bogglingly diverse – a solitary leafy avenue is extremely like to have both equally a pagoda and an artwork déco mansion.

Ideal things to do

Examine out Hanoi’s coach road

Head to Hanoi’s centre to sip a chilled bottle of Saigon Pink beer at a rickety trackside desk and hold out for the railway worker to audio the alarm that a practice is approaching (albeit pretty slowly). Street food stuff sellers and bar house owners will quickly fold absent their tables to make way for the train, prior to changing them the 2nd it’s trundled past.

Check out the Củ Chi tunnels

The ideal way to see these tunnels, on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh, is on a guided tour. The tunnels had been dug by the Viet Cong military and you will see some of the fearsome booby traps they designed for the American “tunnel rats”, who struggled to have an understanding of how the Vietnamese soldiers appeared from nowhere then immediately disappeared. You’ll also get the opportunity to crawl alongside a single of these claustrophobia-inducing passageways. Excursions commonly include things like a halt-off at a rubber plantation and there’s a firing variety a few metres from the tunnels for any one keen to fireplace off a number of rounds from an AK-47.

Shell out your respects to Hồ Chí Minh

The physique of Vietnam’s former president, kept in a glass coffin in the Hồ Chí Minh mausoleum, is in remarkably great shape, many thanks to normal re-embalming sessions. The mausoleum is part of a elaborate which involves the Hồ Chí Minh Museum, exactly where reveals aim on Vietnam’s past struggles in opposition to numerous foreign powers.

Receiving all-around

Vietnam’s intensive rail network contains a great deal of magnificent sleeper prepare products and services, most of which have a selection of various cabin varieties. For illustration, choose for an overnight coach among Hanoi and Sapa, a popular trekking spot in the north, and your solutions contain the Sapaly Express trains, with its roomy, wood-panelled cabins the low cost-and-cheerful Dream Categorical trains and Chapa Convey trains, with small but ornate cabins. Costs for this journey array from £31 to £140 1-way. Alternatively, think about a long-distance mentor. Most significant locations are related by mentor, and they’re unbelievably inexpensive – hope to shell out all around £12 for an eight-hour journey. 1 of the greatest operators of sleeper coaches in Vietnam is The Sinh Vacationer – their automobiles cover huge areas of Vietnam and, like most modern day sleeper coaches in the place, have armchair-like reclining seats.

How to get there


Vietnam Airways flies immediate to the two Hanoi (twice a 7 days) and Ho Chi Minh (when a week, even though a next route will start in December 2022).


If you’re in neighbouring Cambodia, there are various prolonged length bus routes which hook up the country to Vietnam.

Income-preserving tip

US bucks may be the most broadly-used forex amongst holidaymakers in Vietnam, but we suggest making use of Vietnamese Dong. You’ll get greater trade rates and, supplied that price ranges are usually mentioned in Dong, it will be easier to verify your adjust and to pay back the specific amount of money.


What is the temperature like?

In the north, it is scorching and humid amongst Might and October and cool and dry in between November and April. December and January are the coldest months – particularly in the considerably north. In the south, dry season lasts among November and April and wet period lasts from Could to November. In central Vietnam, the wettest period of time is among June and November.

What time zone is it in?

Indochina time (GMT+7).

What forex do I require?

Vietnamese Dong.

What language is spoken?

Vietnamese, whilst English is extensively spoken.