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The Best Things to Do in Vietnam According to Travel Bloggers

I’m off to Vietnam! In preparation I’ve been scouring my favourite blogs to see what everyone else got up to when visiting the country.

Now my list of things to do in Vietnam is epic, I’m spoilt for choice and being my first time in Asia, I’m just going to be totally overwhelmed as soon as I touch down. I’m only going to Vietnam for a two week trip, but I’m determined to fit in as much as possible.

I want to do some tours in Vietnam, to relax, party, shop, sightsee and I need to end in Ho Chi Minh City for a friend’s wedding, which is going to be awesome. Thanks to the Vietnam tips from a few select travel bloggers the current plan is this…

best things to do in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

This is where I’ll start and end. After a walk around Ben Thanh market and some lunch to get my bearings the next task will be to get a massage. My body is in knots thanks to the London Triathlon I recently did and sitting at computers for 12 hours+ every day. Sounds like Kristin from camelsandchocolate.com had an awesome time at Jasmine Spa in Ho Chi Minh City – I’ve added that to my list of places to check out. In fact I’ve spent just shy of an hour poring over the menu deciding between the massages. I’ll get back to that one.

“Each of our hour-long massages were about $24 each, which is considered “expensive” for Saigon.”

– I went!

I absolutely definitely want to go on a little boat trip down the Mekong Delta too. I’m hoping I don’t have the same experience as Audrey from thatbackpacker.com, but I guess at least her problem trip made for a good story, even if she was put at risk of avian flu. As soon as I see the shops on boats and locals wearing the pyramid hats I’ll feel like I’ve arrived.

READ MORE: 52 Coolest Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City


MONEY OFF BOOKING.COM


Nha Trang

I want our two-week trip to cover a lot. I never went backpacking round South East Asia when I finished school, so now is my big chance to fit it all in to two weeks. From everything I’ve read about Vietnam it feels like Nha Trang is party central – Adventurous Kate’s tip off about the party boat is a definite must do as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to check out Mamma Linh’s party boat and snorkeling trip. Looks like for $7 I get to eat, drink, party and check out some paradise islands too. A backpacker’s dream.

“As bizarre as it is, it’s one of the most fun activities Nha Trang has to offer.”

Definitely going to go to the mud baths here too [I ended up at the egg mud baths!]. Check out this cool vid from PositiveWorldTravel.com…

READ MORE: 52 Coolest Things to Do in Nha Trang


More on Vietnam travel

Read more about travelling Vietnam. I’ve been twice now!

Click here to read all my advice on travelling to Vietnam. I’ve got over 30 posts, so you’ll be well prepared. 

Interesting Facts About Vietnam to Know Before You Go

11 Great Festivals in Vietnam to Time Your Trip By

Travel to Vietnam: How to Plan the Perfect Trip

Perfect Week Itinerary for Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam 


Hoi An

One of the things I’m most excited about doing in Hoi An is checking out the custom clothing possibilities. Adventurous Kate got some wicked trainers custom made on the Hoi An market stalls for just $65 (£40). She even got adventurouskate.com emblazoned on the side – I need some VickyFlipFlop flip flops for sure. You can get a custom-made suit for around $130 too.

Loving Will Peach’s article on thatbackpacker.com about what to buy in Vietnam – mmm weasel puke and pig’s trotters, where have you been all my life?

“What western girl wouldn’t want a tight-fitting little silk number to take home and wow the boys?”

The best things to do in Vietnam according to travel bloggers

I really like the idea of doing a cooking lesson like this one Micheal Tieso from artofadventuring.com did in Hoi An at the White Lotus restaurant. For $18, which all went back into the Project Indochina NGO, he got a private lesson in making Vietnamese pancakes, spring rolls and sautéed chicken. The morning started with an informative trip around the local market, followed by a boat ride before getting back into the kitchen. The best part is no doubt getting to eat all your hard work at the end.

The best things to do in Vietnam according to travel bloggers

READ MORE: 52 Coolest Things to Do in Hoi An

Hanoi

Loving Justin’s feature on 48houradventure.com about what to do in Hanoi. My main inspiration from this is to see the Hanoi Hilton and check out the markets to spend my dong. Also can’t wait to get stuck into some Vietnamese food here – looks like Justin had a right feast.

[Went there, saw some crazy stuff in Hanoi!]



Entry requirements for Vietnam 

You’ll need two things to ensure a smooth entry into Vietnam: 

– Your passport, which should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of entering the country

– And a Vietnam visa

If you’re not eligible for a Vietnam visa-free stay, and you’re travelling to Vietnam by air, then apply for a Vietnam visa on arrival. 

This way, you only need to submit an online application form and pay the service fee; no document is required. You then get a visa approval letter via email, print it out and take it with you to board the flight to Vietnam. You’ll get your visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport by paying the stamping fee in cash. 

The processing time for the tourist visa approval letter is 2 working days. If you’re in an emergency, it can be processed in 2 to 4 working hours, during the weekend or public holidays of Vietnam. This is for people on a last minute urgent trip or who didn’t know they needed a visa until they reached the airport.

One important note for applying for a visa on arrival to Vietnam is that to get the visa letter issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department, you need to work with a travel agent in Vietnam. In this regard, Vietnam-visa.com is recommended as it seems to be one of the most experienced service providers; it has been operating since 2007. 

Always check your local government website for the latest and most up to date visa information. 


Halong Bay

It’s all about the junk boat cruises up here, so my research tells me. I checked out the Halong Bay party cruises from Hanoi Backpackers again as recommended by Adventurous Kate, but looks like they don’t do them any more. Shame, looks like she had an amazing time on that trip.

Maybe at 28 I should be looking at something a little more mature anyway. I’ll always have the party boat in Nha Trang for that behavior. Looks like Jayne from 40before30.com had a great time on a more upmarket Junk Boat – she saw a floating sweet and snack shop. That’s the kind of thing I’m into now, and the monkeys, and the views. A junk boat cruise around Halong Bay is a definite for my trip to Vietnam.

“On the other side was a quiet inlet where some tiny monkeys were swinging through the trees.”

Floating Tuck Shop from 40before30.com

This ‘Cave of Awe’ from thetravelhack.com is pretty cool too.  She says ‘Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam’ – better check it out then.

[Yep, yep, did both of those things and decided that Halong Bay was the most beautiful place in the world!]

READ MORE: An Awesome Two Week Itinerary for Vietnam

And you definitely need to read this…

Advice for Vietnam


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Insurance for Vietnam 

Travel insurance is more important than ever. Make sure you have your travel insurance sorted well in advance before you leave home. Always read the Ts and Cs, so you know what you’re covered for if you should need it.

insurance for nomads

SafetyWing specialise in travel insurance for digital nomads, so if you’re visiting Vietnam for longer than normal, then check their options out. They also offer the opportunity to sign up while you’re abroad, to have your children covered, and to be covered in your home country if you’ve been travelling for 90 days. 

Check out SafetyWing for all the Ts and Cs and details. 


Back to Ho Chi Minh City

And then it’s back to Ho Chi Minh City again via a 2-hour plane from Hanoi. I have absolutely no desire to go down the Chi Chi Tunnels like Dave from theplanetd.com did. Just the thought of those claustrophobic crawl ways is enough to make me feel weak and breathless. I’ll just take his word for it that they’re worth a look.

Instead I’ll be stuffing my face on the streets and in the shops – check out the dinosaur egg full of chips in Adam from travelsofadam.com’s post on getting spoilt in Saigon. Looks epic, and weird. And what’s that thing next to it? His post has got me excited for the wedding we’re going to.

“Weddings in Vietnam are really just about the food.”

Ooo yeah. Not sure about the Balut egg he scoffed though. The fertilised duck embryo is boiled and eaten in its shell and is a popular snack on the street food stalls – have to see how many Bia Hoi’s I have before I can even think about doing that.

The best things to do in Vietnam according to travel bloggers

I’ve picked up a few top tips along the way in my research. I know I have to watch out for the cyclo drivers’ billing as Jayne from 40before30.com points out – they’re slippery buggers. Kristin from camelsandchocolate.com got some cool dresses made in Ho Chi Minh City – just a note to self in case I don’t get time in Hoi An. And turns out Matt from nomadicmatt.com and Alex from alexinwanderland.com didn’t even like Vietnam.

I’m looking forward to making my own mind up, stepping foot in Asia for the first time and hitting the karaoke bars hard!

Check out all my stories from Vietnam, and what Vietnam was really like, for me!


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Check the prices for your Vietnam trains, buses, flights and ferries here… 


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More on Vietnam

https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/where-to-go-in-vietnam/

https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/best-beaches-in-vietnam/

99 comments

  1. Ooooh, Vietnam was one of my favorite stops in my RTW, so I hope you love it, too! I’ll follow along and see the cool things you had made while there =)

  2. Sounds like you’ll be having a great time in Vietnam. Awesome that you’re going to a wedding there. They’re really a lot of fun!

    And thanks for reminding me of the dinosaur egg – what a bizarre food!

  3. Looks like a good list! I went for two weeks in April and tried to fit in as much as possible 🙂 The train system was a godsend. If you’re looking for additions to your list and have 2/3 days to spare in the north then I would recommend taking an overnight train out to the beautiful Sapa – I wrote about it here: http://www.travmonkey.com/trekking-in-sapa-vietnam/

    Another place to potentially stop off at (but only if it’s on the way and you have time) is Mui Ne – if just for the experience of quad biking the sand dunes.

    Have an amazing time!

  4. Great post Vicky! From Hanoi, I booked a trip to Halong Bay that took in Monkey (CatBa) Island as well which was brilliant!

    We also took an Easy Rider Tour in Nha Trang, where we each had a driver and they took us on the back of their motorbikes through villages, along the coast, paddy fields and then to a beautiful waterfall! Brilliant day!

    Have a great time!

    1. Halong Bay was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I booked Vietnamese Visa on Best Price travel company and they recommend me to combine those package to reduce the cost. May be I am kind of the cheap one when being attracted with discount and sale, I even hide all things from my husband since I was afraid that he wouldn’t allow me to do that.
      Unfortunately, bad luck really happened when joining our Pelican cruise trip. I book 3 days trip, but in the first night on that ship, the government warned about one coming storm. Hence, we had to be back to the island in the next morning instead of enjoying the last second night and the third day as planned. Due to the volatile weather, I could not blame any one. However, the staff of that company supported, made up and even returned the change. I am so suprise and thankful.
      I really want to recommend this website: http://www.bestpricevn.com I for their fast, helpful and reliable service. I am enjoying those left days at Vietnam in Nha Trang. Eventhough I don’t use their service to book Nha Trang. What they have done for me in the time I was in Ha Long was satisfied and went beyond my expectation. I hope everyone have great experience there.

      1. Glad you managed to have a good time in the end Halle. Sounds like you chose a good company there – thank you for recommending it 🙂

  5. Hi there …

    Still in South East Asia,

    There’s beautiful place called Indonesia,
    With thousand island, culture and awesome panoramic
    one is Lampung Province …

    Try our awesome country.

    Warm regard

    eloratour

  6. Oh! That’s great informative article. I love your video at Nha Trang. What’s a pity! I do not see Hue – the old capital in Vietnam here. I’m in Hue.

  7. Great list of things to do in vietnam, as a traveler I found useful information in this post. thanks for it

  8. You could consider Cat Ba Island as well. It is the largest island in HaLong Bay, but should be slightly less crowded. There is also some awesome rock climbing that can be done there. Travel there should be done through Haiphong instead of HaLong City though. An alternative to Sapa could also be Ha Giang. I’ve not been there myself, but the next trip to North Vietnam, I’ll definitely be planning to check it out.

  9. Pingback: Travel Bloggers Best Things to Do in Santorini - Two-Up Travels
    1. Yeah definitely! I didn’t buy a designer one but I did buy a leather one that I loved until someone told me it was too dirty and filthy and should go in the bin!

  10. Most travel bloggers who dislike Vietnam tend to be American. . I wonder if there’s still some hostility there.. I for one, consider Vietnam my favourite country in South East Asia.

    1. Ah maybe? Good point. I loved it and still get excited about it when anyone tells me they’re going. It was a brilliant two weeks!

  11. I never knew Vietnam was such an awesome vacation spot, I might me paying them a visit soon, after all everyone needs a holiday right. I will definitely learn to cook some Vietnamese dish and wow my husband when I get back 🙂

    1. Ah yeah I loved Vietnam. I think it’s a perfect place to go for two weeks as you can do so much, and there’s a pretty set route of where to go and what to do, especially with what I’ve laid out!

  12. Vietnam was an awesome experience Hallie, you should visit Vietnam. Vietnam has everything you will ever need for an awesome vacation.

  13. Hi Vicky, Thanks for sharing these cool places in Vietnam. Have you ever came back to Vietnam since this post?

    Beside the news about new world biggest cave name Son Doong, there are a few places you should try out: Mui Ne, Bana Hills, Hoi An, Sapa.

    Whenever you come visit Hanoi, be sure to send me an email and we might arrange some beers.

    Cheers,
    Binh Nguyen

    1. Hello Binh, Sadly not. I’d love to though! I want to visit the area again as I’d love to see Sapa and Mui Ne as you say. I went to Hoi An for a few days but I’ve not heard of Bana Hills. Hopefully next year I’ll do a little Cambodia and Vietnam trip together as I’d love to visit there too. So many places to see, and so little time!

  14. Great post! I did visit Hanoi, Hoi An, Halong bay. Each city has own unique beauty. I love the peaceful atmosphere of Hoi An, love busy road in Hochiminh city. Next time we should have more time in this country. I also visit Nha Trang last month. It’s beautiful with beaches, temples, people and food. The sleeping bus was one of the most interesting things we did. We catch Sinhcafe bus from Hoi An to Nha Trang, price was 280,000 vnd. Here are some free activities you guys would love to do 🙂 http://justgola.com/blog/top-free-things-to-do-in-nha-trang-12

  15. Hi Vicky!
    Great job on the blog. There’s some really awesome content on here. Just wanted to let you know that the Halong Party Cruise is still in operation with bookings available online at http://halongpartycruises.com/ or at Central Backpackers in Hanoi. We’re glad that you enjoyed your cruise, but really would have loved to have you come along with us. If you’re ever back in the area be sure to let us know and we’ll show you a whole new side of Halong Bay!

  16. You travel bloggers are the worst people on this planet. Absolutely nothing to say, nothing of value, but you go on and on about your puny little existence as if it’s the most interesting thing everyone has to read about.

    And why don’t you just go to a country and see what happens. Follow the flow you know. This obscene preplanning makes want to puke.

    1. Nothing to say? Seriously?

      My articles on Vietnam (specifically this one: https://vickyflipfloptravels.com/two-week-itinerary-vietnam/) have helped people to travel the country independently for the last three years. My readers, and I, enjoy the pre planning as well as the travelling and like to make sure we know about the best things to do somewhere so we don’t miss out. I’ve been travelling non stop for the last two years, trust me, I’ve done my fair share of ‘see what happens’.

      If travel bloggers are the ‘worst people on this planet’ (read the news, doubt it) then don’t read travel blogs.

    1. I really want to! Would love to do a trip to all three some time in the future, in fact I probably will. Just need to find the time!

  17. Hi Vicky -if you do come back why not take one of our motorbike tours. I know its a shameless plug but we do offer the only disabled friendly tour in HCMC and we give a dollar for every tour booked to our charity partners DRD Vietnam. You can see more about that here – http://www.saigonbuddytours.com. we even do a craft beer tour now. Would love to host you on one of our tours if you come back out this way, thanks

    andy

  18. Great post, Halong Bay is my favourite, many different choices of the style of Halong Bay Tour you can take. Not everyone wants the drunk and debauchery kind, so the vastness of the cruises available is important. Shame its 4 hours from Hanoi 🙁 I might take the seaplane next time! :p

  19. Tip for next time you head in the direction of Halong Bay: the BEST FOOT MASSAGE you could EVER have is in the main town on Cat Ba Island. At Phuong Mai foot massage/motorbike rental. Best 5 dollars I ever spent, I swear.

    PS Please check out my blog when you have a moment.

    1. One more tip for whom planning to Halong: try one night on board to see an amazing sunrise in the next early morning. I do have one of that mornings that I could never forget. It is definitely different from what you see and feel on the shore.

    2. Ooo great, thanks. I’m in Vietnam again in January, but not sure if I’ll be in that direction. I’ll let you know if I make it there 🙂

  20. Pingback: Travel Vietnam: Our Top 10 Favorite Vietnam Travel Blogs - Vietcetera
  21. Thank you for great post. i was in vietnam 3 month ago. especially, mekong delta, hoian, halongbay, sapa.. all was amazing. ahh i really miss vietnam 🙂

  22. hello i will be in vietnam next month. and i have this trip idea for a long time. finally i do it.. im really so excited for vietnam so far. thank you for great sharing. its so useful.. 🙂

    1. Yay! Amazing. Hope you have an awesome time in Vietnam, and that my posts have helped. Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything I can do to help.

  23. Another great thing to do in Vietnam is enjoying stunning view from a seaplane. GORGEOUS
    If you are coming to Halong Bay, I highly recommend experiencing this.
    <3

    1. Ooo that sounds like a good idea. Definitely an idea for next time for me, or for others if they’re a bit short on time. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  24. I just love Vietnamese food! The more often, the better. To find out if what we get in Germany as so called “Vietnamese food” – and of course to learn about the country itself and its people – my friend and I travelled to Vietnam. Once arrived we found ourselves on a rollercoaster of emotions. This country is so special and diverse! On the one hand there is Hanoi, authentic but noisy, with romantic Hoi An you will fall in love after 1 second, and in Saigon you will sometimes feel like you’re in France due to the remains of the French colonial period

  25. Hi guys,
    If you are going to Viet Nam, don’t forget visit Hue.And If you have chance to come to Viet Nam again, i suggest that you can spend more time in Hue City. In here you can explore not only the beauty of historic tombs and towers but also the beauty of some amazing destination…Especially, Hue ‘s scenery at night is very romatic which you should not miss. Peace, nice scenery, friendly people in Hue will be nice memories in your trip. Beside that, local food in here is also great. You can taste Bun bo Hue, Banh Bot Loc, Banh Nam, Banh Khoai, Nem lui,… I hope you can get more great experiences in Hue city in the coming time.

    1. Totally agree! I only cycled through it and thought it looked awesome. I’d love to see more of Hue and maybe stay for a few weeks to really get in on the chilled out vibe down there. Next time I go to Vietnam this is probably where I’ll head to first.

  26. I am planning a trip to Vietnam in February and want to visit a tiny city near the Laos border called Dak Mil. Has anybody been there? I cant seem to find any information and I really need to know what the transportation would be. Any information would be appreciated!

  27. One of the best things to do while you’re in Vietnam aside from Shopping and visiting our tourist spot is to enroll yourself a private cooking lesson. You wouldn’t just get to know how tasty our foods are but you’ll also learn more about our culture while cooking it.

  28. Nice post. I think you had such a great time and memorable experience in Viet Nam. If you have a chance to comeback Viet Nam. I will highly recommend you a famous and friendly travel company: Indochina Travel services. Please feel free to contact them at http://itsvietnam.com/ for more travel packages. They provide a lot of cheap and interesting tour packages around South East Asia and bring really amazing experience. Besides, I would love to recommend you some landscape like the prison island ” Con Dao” where is so beautiful and peace and cover a thousand of war proofs and historical statues. Hope to welcome you visit Viet nam again. Thank you so much

  29. Thanks for a very detailed post. I love Vietnam, from my point of view, it is one of the must-sees countries in the world. Your post will be a very useful information for travelers who want to visit this country. Hope that you can give us more and more interesting blogs like this <3 Love

  30. Your post is just fantastic. In recent years, Da Nang is also one of the best places to visit in Vietnam, it has some of the most beautiful bridges.

    Thank you for sharing

  31. I have to admit that you have made a great contribution to everyone as well as to this blog. Hopefully, we will receive more contributions from you.
    In recent years there have been many blogs about this issue, but personally I feel this is a post I get a lot of valuable things. Thanks for sharing from you.
    You can visit my site it’s free. Maybe it will help something for you.

  32. HI Vicky,

    Thanks for sharing those valued info to the world.
    Just wondering how come this sharing got published June 20 2019 and got comments since 2013?

  33. Loved Vietnam so much I am still here after 8 years…so much to see and do its crazy. Saw a lot of it whilst backpacking but now married with Vietnamese wife and have a baby son…gradually going back and seeing everything with them too…happy days. Great blog Vicky.

  34. Hi there. As someone who lived 4 years in Vietnam I can say this article was spot on. One of the most complete Vietnam travel guides out there. Great work!

  35. Vietnam travel must go to the coastal city of Nha Trang, they are really beautiful and also the center of Vietnam’s sea tourism. Here are some suggestions for you when coming to Nha Trang:
    + Select hotels near Tran Phu beach, can range from 3 to 4 stars
    + Eating seafood in Nha Trang: fresh, sweet, cheap … You can also enjoy a lot of snacks selling sidewalk, ensuring delicious
    + Definitely join a 4-island tour or a 3-island tour for only $ 15 – the latest price in 2020, you can visit the most beautiful islands in Nha Trang Bay
    + It is possible to rent a motorbike for a walk around Nha Trang city and a few inner-city tourist attractions: Ponagar Tower, Church of the Mountain, Long Son Pagoda, Hon Chong …

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