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The Big 15 Things to Do in Vietnam

Offering cultural diversity, a rich history, awe-inspiring landscapes and mouth-watering cuisine, it’s not difficult to see why Vietnam is one of our most popular destinations for winter holidays. While the five Hs – Hanoi, Hue, Halong Bay, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City - tend to form the backbone of any trip to Vietnam, there are experiences within these highlights that are not to be missed.
Experience the best of Vietnam this winter with this handy guide.

1. Try your first Pho
At the top of our list of things to do in Vietnam is trying Vietnamese street food and, in particular, Pho. Try this delicious beef noodle soup – Vietnam’s national dish - in the Old Quarter, Hanoi. While Pho can be found everywhere, it’s best served fresh and steaming hot from street stalls.

2. Crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels

Explore the immense Cu Chi Tunnel network in Southern Vietnam. Crawl through specially adapted sections of the Vietnam war tunnels and experience the conditions in which the Viet Cong troops lived.

3. Walk through the back alleys of Old Saigon
Unearth the history of the modern dynamic city of Ho Chi Minh city on a walking tour through Old Saigon’s back alleys. Visit the thriving markets, flower shops and cafes, and discover the Secret Weapons Bunker.

4. Stay overnight on a junk boat, Halong Bay
Wake up to towering limestone karst scenery and jade-green waters on an overnight junk cruise in Halong Bay. Eat fresh seafood on board, and pull in at a beach to swim or kayak in the glittering waters.

5. Try your hand at making Chinese lanterns
Try your hand at crafting the ubiquitous Chinese lanterns in Hoi An and take home your own piece of Vietnam. In Vietnamese culture, these traditional lanterns are hung outside homes to bring happiness, wealth and luck to the family.

6. Cycle the Hon Giao Pass
Take the exhilarating cycle up, over and down the Hon Giao Pass on a Vietnam bike tour. Cycle through the hills of the Langbiang Plateau before taking on the Hon Giao Pass ascent through pine forests and dramatic mountain scenery. The highlight for most is the exhilarating 30km of virtually uninterrupted descent, ending with a well-deserved lunch.

7. Wake up in a tented camp overlooking the shores of serene Lak Lake
Spend a night in a tented lodge near the shores of Lak Lake, and take a relaxed boat ride aboard a traditional pirogue – a long, narrow canoe carved from a single tree trunk.

8. Tuck into Banh Mi in Hue
When looking at what to do in Hue, don’t miss out on sampling the region’s own style of Vietnamese street food. Banh Mi is a Vietnamese take on the French baguette – spicier than its European counterpart, it consists of meat, pickles vegetables and garnished with. coriander.

9. Take an overnight train along the coast
Mingle with the locals on an overnight train journey along Vietnam’s coastline between Hanoi and Hue. Pack snacks, playing cards and your sense of adventure!

10. Walk across the Japanese footbridge in Hoi An
The beautiful little Japanese Bridge is emblematic of the UNESCO Heritage town of Hoi An. First built in the late 16th century by the town’s Japanese inhabitants, the bridge has been preserved in its original design.

11. Learn to catch fish by cast nets in the Thu Bon River Delta, Hoi An
Thu Bon river fishing is a must-do activity in Hoi An. This experience gives you a taste of the traditions and daily life of Vietnam and you can even learn to row a traditional Vietnamese ‘basket boat’ at the same time.

12. Cycle alongside the tropical waterways of the Mekong Delta
For some of the best cycling in Vietnam, try riding through the Mekong Delta, renowned for its lively floating markets, lush mangrove forests and dwarfing pagodas. Experience the back roads and hidden trails of this special water world from the saddle.

13. Walk amongst the lush rice terraces of Pu Luong
Trek through the rice terraces of Pu Luong, Sapa’s quieter, lesser-known little brother in northern Vietnam. These are among the best rice terraces in Vietnam.

14. Practice meditation with a monk in one of Hue’s ancient temples
No trip to Vietnam would be complete without a visit to a temple in Vietnam. This country is deeply spiritual and there is no better way to understand their culture and beliefs than discovering the ancient meditation practices passed down the generations in Hue’s magnificent perfumed temples.

15. Relax on the palm-fringed white sand beaches of Phu Quoc
Spend a day relaxing on the beach at Phu Quoc Island. Phu Quoc weather makes this an ideal spot for some quality beach time. While you’ll never be short of things to do in Phu Quoc, simply taking time to relax and unwind here is perfect after a busy trip exploring Vietnam.

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