One of Asia’s top holiday spots, Vietnam is a colourful country boasting an eclectic mix of attractions. From ancient monuments and historic big cities to unspoilt beaches and laid back seaside towns, Vietnam holds many unique treasures. Whether you are looking to sail along the Mekong River or shop in Saigon, Vietnam is sure to delight and inspire. Here are ten of our favourite things to do in Vietnam.
A World Heritage listed site, Halong Bay is a beautiful sight to behold. Admire the spectacular seascape of limestone pillars as you sail through the pristine waters onboard a relaxing cruise or paddle along in a sea kayak. You can also take the time to explore the magnificent Cat Ba Island, which is blessed with forested hills, hidden coves and cascading waterfalls.
Ben Thanh Markets
For a taste of local life, head to the ever popular Ben Thanh Markets in Ho Chi Minh City. This bustling shopping mecca is filled to the brim with local wares, from clothing, handbags and shoes to fresh food, dolls and artwork. It’s the perfect spot to pick up your souvenirs as well as sample tasty Vietnamese fare.
Hoan Kiem Lake
In the heart of Hanoi, you will find the expansive Hoan Kiem Lake. Take a breather from the fast pace of city life and enjoy the peaceful surrounds. Admire the Ngoc Son Temple perched on a small island and watch the local tai chi enthusiasts gather on the lake’s shores. Enjoy a picnic lunch or pop into the nearby Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre for an intriguing show.
Cu Chi Tunnels
One of Vietnam’s most popular historic attractions are the Cu Chi Tunnels. Situated in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City, this complicated network of underground tunnels was used in the Vietnam War. Visitors can have the chance to crawl through the limited space and experience the cramped conditions firsthand.
Not just a country of big cities, Vietnam is also home to beautiful seaside towns. Nha Trang is a favourite spot for sun seekers looking for the country’s best beaches. The azure waters surrounding Nha Trang boast ideal conditions for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is situated in the heart of Hanoi. Many visitors and locals from all over the country come to visit the final resting place for the Communist leader, Ho Chi Minh. Nearby, you’ll also find fascinating landmarks including the Presidential Palace, the One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.
Hanoi Opera House
The Hanoi Opera House features striking neoclassical architecture and is one of Vietnam’s local treasures. Admire the beautiful facade of this grand building and if time permits, purchase a ticket to a local performance and enjoy a show in the 900 seat theatre.
Mui Ne Sand Dunes
You’ll find the small coastal town, Mui Ne, at the Southern end of Vietnam. Often dubbed the adrenaline capital, this is the place for kite surfing, kite boarding and wind surfing. Take a trip to the nearby Mui Ne Sand Dunes and you can even have a go at sand sledding down the magnificent mounds.
Saigon-Notre Dame Basilica
Situated in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the Saigon-Notre Dame Basilica is a famous landmark. This age old cathedral features neo-Romanesque style architecture with red brick walls and coloured glass windows. The church also showcases two 58 metre square towers tipped with iron spires in the shape of a cross.
One of the highlights of any trip to Vietnam will be sampling fresh and authentic Vietnamese cuisine. From rustic street vendors to traditional restaurants, Vietnamese food of all kinds will delight the senses. If you are particularly taken with the exotic flavours and spices, join a local cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City and learn the secrets of Vietnamese cooking.