Vietnam vacation guide

Our travel experts will show you …

  • Where to eat and what to do
  • Packing tips and travel reminders
  • How to use your phone in Vietnam

 

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why vietnam

Why choose Vietnam?

Vietnam is a must-visit destination for a multitude of reasons.

 

The rich history and culture of Vietnam are clear in its architecture, from ancient temples to French colonial buildings, providing a journey through time. The country’s cuisine is another highlight, offering a blend of flavors and dishes like Pho, Banh Mi, and fresh spring rolls, loved by food enthusiasts worldwide.

 

Vietnam’s climate is tropical in the south and cooler up north, making it perfect for all kinds of adventures, from city exploration to beach relaxation.

 

Vietnam’s the kind of place where one minute you could be checking out some ancient temples and the next chilling at a hip café or market. The people? Super friendly. Vietnam’s got this unique charm that just keeps you wanting more.

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Planning your Vietnam vacation

• Visa: Since August 15, 2023, Vietnam offers e-visas to all countries for 90-day stays with multiple entries. Visitors from 25 countries, including Japan, South Korea, and several European nations, can enter without a visa for up to 45 days.

• Vaccinations: Recommended vaccines for Vietnam include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies, Cholera, and Tetanus.

• Flight Booking: Check out our flight booking tips to make sure you get the best value for your money.

• Currency: The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency. ATMs are widely available, and major credit cards are accepted in most places. It’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller transactions.

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Famous festivals in Vietnam

• Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan): This is the most important festival in Vietnam, marking the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Celebrated nationwide, it’s a time for family reunions, house decoration, special foods, and various customs like giving lucky money to children.

• Lim Festival: Located in Bac Ninh province, the Lim Festival is famous for “Quan Ho” singing, a traditional vocal art of Vietnam.

• Buddha’s Birthday (Phật Đản): This spiritual festival involves prayers, religious rituals, and colorful parades, especially significant in Buddhist temples across the country​.

• Mid-Autumn Festival (Tet Trung Thu): A festival focused on children, it’s celebrated with mooncakes, lanterns, lion dances, and family get-togethers.

• Hoi An Lantern Festival: Held monthly in the UNESCO-listed Ancient Town of Hoi An, this festival transforms the streets with beautiful lantern displays, cultural performances, and local food​.

Hạ Long bay, Vietnam

Can't-miss Vietnam attractions

• Hoi An: This charming city is known for its well-preserved merchant houses reflecting its history as a major trading port. The Japanese Bridge and the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation are key highlights in the old town.

• Phong Nha Caves: Located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, these caves are a must-visit, with Hang Son Doong being the most well-known.

• Mekong Delta: Known for its rice fields and floating markets, the Mekong Delta is a rich agricultural area that offers a unique view into rural Vietnamese life.

• My Son: A ruined Cham era temple city dating from the 4th century, My Son is surrounded by jungle-covered mountains and features around 20 temple structures still standing.

• Nha Trang: Vietnam’s most popular seaside resort town, Nha Trang offers beautiful beaches with fine, clean sand and clear ocean water. It’s also known as the scuba diving center of Vietnam.

 

food vietnam

Our favorite food in Vietnam

• Bánh Xèo: Originating from the Mekong Delta, Bánh Xèo is a crispy crepe made from rice flour and coconut milk, filled with boiled pork, minced pork, bean sprouts, and shrimp. It’s a savory pancake that’s served fresh off the skillet​.

• Bún Chả: A Hanoi specialty, Bún Chả are grilled pork patties served with cold rice vermicelli, fresh herbs, salad greens, and a fish sauce-based broth.

• Xôi: Vietnamese sticky rice, Xôi, can be savory or sweet. Xôi mặn, the savory version, is a popular breakfast, while Xôi ngọt offers a sweet alternative with over 20 variations featuring colorful layers using natural plant extracts​.

• Bánh Bèo: These steamed rice cakes from Hue are like Vietnamese tapas. Topped with mung bean paste and toasted shrimp, they’re a popular appetizer​.

• Cao Lau: A unique dish from Hoi An featuring thick, chewy noodles, crunchy crackers, pork, and broth.

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Cultural experiences in Vietnam

• Take a Boat Trip in Ha Long Bay: Imagine cruising through a sea dotted with giant rocky islands – that’s Ha Long Bay for you. It’s like a scene from a movie!

• Coffee Time with Locals: Vietnamese love their coffee, and what better way to understand their culture than by sharing a cup with someone local? It’s a great way to make new friends and hear interesting stories.

• Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels: Learn about Vietnam’s history by visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City, a network of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War.

• Discover the Imperial Citadel in Hue: This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hue was the political center of the Nguyen Dynasty. It’s like stepping back in time and seeing how kings and queens lived​.

• Homestay with a Local Family: Staying in a homestay allows you to experience Vietnamese culture firsthand, including traditional cooking over an open fire.

beach vietnam

Famous beaches in Vietnam

• My Khe in Da Nang: Super popular and really pretty, this beach is a big hit for its sandy shores and is right in Da Nang city. The beach area is modern and has lots of high-end resorts.

• Dai Lanh Beach in Khanh Hoa: A bit of a secret spot north of Nha Trang, this beach is surrounded by mountains and isn’t usually crowded.

• Mui Ne Beach in Phan Thiet: Close to Ho Chi Minh City, this fishing village turned beach spot is gaining popularity fast.

• Con Dao Islands: These islands are kind of off the beaten path and have some awesome beaches.

• Cham Islands near Hoi An: Just a boat ride from Hoi An, these islands are great for a day trip. They’ve got lovely beaches for swimming and snorkeling.

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How do I avoid Vietnam roaming charges?

Before international travel, you should always make a plan for how you’ll use your phone.

Vietnam roaming charges can add up quickly, and you don’t want to get stuck with a huge phone bill after an amazing vacation.

Carrier travel data packages are often expensive, with limited data and a lot of restrictions.

A budget-friendly way to avoid Thailand roaming charges is to download a Vietnam eSIM that comes with a prepaid Thailand data package.

Need data for your Vietnam vacation?

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Travel tips for your Vietnam vacation

vietnam itinerary

Vietnam itinerary suggestions

2-Week Itinerary:

• Begin in Ho Chi Minh City and spend a few days exploring its attractions.

• Move to Hoi An and enjoy its beautiful streets, shops, and famous tailor-made clothes.

• Next, travel to Hanoi for a few days, experiencing its historical sites.

• Venture to Sapa for a trekking adventure.

• Finish with a relaxing cruise in Halong Bay.

vietnam people

Vietnam phrases that will come in handy

Hello: “Xin chào” (sin chow)

Thank you: “Cảm ơn bạn” (gahm un ban)

Yes: “Vâng” (vung); No: “Không” (khome)

Excuse me/I’m sorry: “Xin lỗi” (seen loy)

Menu: “Thực đơn” (thook don)

I don’t understand: “Tôi không hiểu” (toy kong hyew)

How much?: “Bao nhiêu?” (bow nyew)

Can you help me?: “Bạn có thể giúp tôi được không?” (ban co te zoop toy duc kong?)

vietnam markets

Famous local markets in Vietnam

• Cai Rang Floating Market (Can Tho): One of the largest floating markets in the Mekong Delta, Cai Rang is famous for its trade in fruits and regional products. It’s a unique experience to see the market life on water, with vendors selling goods from their boats.

• Ben Thanh Market (Ho Chi Minh City): This market is a must-visit in Ho Chi Minh City. It offers food, clothing, and crafts.

• Dong Xuan Market (Hanoi): As one of the oldest markets in Hanoi, Dong Xuan Market offers everything from clothes and household items to traditional Vietnamese foods and souvenirs.

• Hanoi Weekend Night Market (Hanoi): Situated in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, this market transforms the streets into a hub for shopping, food, and performances every weekend. You’ll find a wide range of items, including clothing, souvenirs, and Vietnamese street food.

• Bac Ha Market (Lao Cai): Bac Ha Market is one of the largest in Northwest Vietnam, located in the mountains of Bac Ha district. It’s famous for being a trading hub for horses and buffaloes and a place to find unique items like traditional crafts.

shopping vietnam

Go on a Vietnam shopping spree!

• Bargaining: It’s quite common and almost expected in Vietnamese markets. Start by offering about half the asking price and negotiate from there.

• Shop for Unique Items: Vietnam is rich in crafts, and offers a variety of products like silk and jewelry. In Hoi An, apart from leather goods, you can also get custom-tailored clothing. Lanterns, Vietnamese tea, coffee, and paintings are other popular items to look out for​.

• Cash is King: While some larger stores and shopping centers accept credit cards, smaller markets and street vendors usually deal in cash.

• Silk Products: Vietnam’s silk is renowned for its quality. You can find clothing, accessories, and home decor items made of silk, especially in Hanoi’s Van Phuc Silk Village and Hoi An.

• Propaganda Posters: These posters from the Vietnam War era are unique memorabilia, available in various art galleries and markets, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Plan the perfect Vietnam vacation

January in Vietnam brings cool and comfortable weather, ideal for outdoor adventures. The temperatures typically range from 17-23°C (63-73°F), offering an escape for travelers from colder regions. Due to its great weather, it’s a pretty popular time to visit, so you might want to get your plans sorted early!

Vietnam in February enjoys mild and dry weather, with temperatures typically ranging from 18-26°C (64-79°F). It’s a great time to get outside and soak up some sun, especially with the festivities of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.

March brings a pleasant climate to Vietnam, with temperatures between 20-28°C (68-82°F). It’s an excellent time for exploring both the cities and the countryside, making it a great month for a well-rounded trip.

April brings warm and sunny weather in Vietnam, with temperatures around 22-30°C (72-86°F). This month is ideal for beach holidays and water sports. It’s also the time of the year to witness the beautiful blooming flowers, especially in the northern regions.

May in Vietnam is warm with temperatures ranging from 24-32°C (75-90°F), marking the beginning of the summer. Coastal areas are particularly attractive during this month.

June in Vietnam marks the start of the rainy season, with temperatures ranging from 25-33°C (77-91°F). The rainfall typically comes in quick bursts, still making it a viable time for travel. It’s a less crowded time, if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience.

Vietnam in July is hot and humid, with frequent rain, temperatures ranging from 26-34°C (79-93°F). It’s an ideal time for indoor activities and exploring the local culture and cuisine.

August continues with hot and humid weather, average temperatures between 26-34°C (79-93°F). Despite the occasional downpours, it’s a good time to enjoy the outdoors. Coastal destinations like Nha Trang can be particularly enjoyable.

The weather starts cooling down in September with temperatures around 24-31°C (75-88°F). The rainfall decreases during this month, which makes it a comfortable month for travel.

October offers cooler and drier weather, with temperatures ranging from 22-29°C (72-84°F). It’s an excellent time to visit Vietnam for comfortable exploration of its natural and cultural sites. The northern areas begin to show beautiful fall colours.

November in Vietnam brings mild weather with minimal rainfall, temperatures between 20-27°C (68-81°F). It’s a perfect month for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Vietnam in December is cool and dry, with temperatures typically around 18-26°C (64-79°F). The weather is pleasant for both city exploration and beach relaxation, making it a popular time for tourists.

How do I use my phone in Vietnam?

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Choose a data package

Start by deciding how much data you’ll need. Then choose a prepaid data package for your Vietnam vacation. If you need more, it’s easy to buy more Vietnam data.

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Install your eSIM

An eSIM is a downloadable SIM card, so you’ll install your eSIM on your phone or tablet. It takes less than two minutes, and then you will have a Vietnam eSIM on your phone.

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Activate your package

When you’re ready to start using your Vietnam eSIM you’ll activate your data package and make sure your device knows to use your Vietnam eSIM for all mobile data.

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