Below we have listed 10 must do things in Vietnam. It really is a stunning country with such friendly and warm people, also amazingly cheap! We have personally done each and every activity listed below and couldn’t recommend them highly enough! Even if you did a few of the things listed below you would still have an amazing time in Vietnam, it really is a trip of a lifetime! Enjoy…
Travel with the Easy riders!
The biggest must do in Vietnam is to experience Vietnam from a motorbike. If it’s no option to ride the bike yourself, or you think it’s not safe enough, then these easy riders are the solution! These experienced and knowledgeable guys can bring you, or join you on your way if you prefer. They know the beautiful views and the best local stops.
Sliding down the sand dunes in Mui Né
Mui Né is known for the pretty beaches and luxury resorts, make sure you don’t forget to visit the white and red sand dunes nearby. The dunes are high enough to slide down and enough locals offer you the opportunity to do so. At the white sand dunes, you can even rent a quad to drive yourself trough the sand dunes. Remember that the sand absorbs the heat so it can be extremely hot during the day. Make sure you’re on time to watch the sunset on the red sand dunes, which trust me, is stunning!
Trekking in Sapa
Staying at the Eco Palms House is one of the best places in Sapa. This hotel is located in the national park itself and it’s possible to do several tours straight from the hotel. They can arrange a local guide who knows the area very well. We did a small tour by ourselves and then a bigger climb up the mountain with a tour guide.
Walk through the Củ Chi tunnels
Unfortunately, a huge part of Vietnam’s recent history is the war. Nowadays it’s possible to visit a part of the immense network of connecting underground tunnels where the Viet Cong were located throughout the Vietnam War. It will give you a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948 and the battle they fought. You’re allowed to enter the tunnel yourself, there’s an exit every 10m. Try at least to get in and imagine how it must have felt for those soldiers, fighting each other and hiding in those tunnels. Impressive!
Drinks with a view in HCMC
Loads of restaurants and hotels offer you access to their rooftops. Go up a bit before sunset and see the darkness fall over the city. Experience the busyness from above without being in it. HCMC is beautiful with all the lights during nighttime.
Party boat Halong Bay
There are plenty of tour operators who provide boat tours in Halong Bay. But as a backpacker it’s probably most fun to go on a party boat! They are certainly less luxury than most of the other tour boats (for obvious reasons!) but you will meet loads of fun and interesting people and most importantly the drinks are for free! (at least to start with) We had a huge amount of fun with the other passengers on the boat, and it was a long night with many drinks!
Biking to the beach in Hoi An
Hoi An the city known for its tailor made suits, but what many people don’t know is that the beach is so nearby the town that you can bike here. Almost every hotel offers free bikes. Take those bikes and bike to the beach between the green fields and over the bridge. Bikes can be parked in a guarded bicycle parking at the beach. Keep in mind it can be very hot during the middle of the day. If biking is to sporty for you, you can always decide to rent a scooter.
Get lost in the old town of Hanoi
Hanoi is a typical Asian city, crowded and difficult to cross the street but extremely beautiful in a short of chaotic way. We loved to stay in Old town Hanoi, small streets, extremely crowded and everywhere shops who sell almost everything! Let yourself get lost, just walk around, look at all the beauty Vietnam has to offer and forget about that map! When you’re tired of walking around, sit down and just watch life go by. Watch some of the locals try to transport more on a bike than we will ever fit in any car! Impressive, always seriously entertaining!
Eat something you haven’t ever eaten before
This was some advice a local Vietnamese man gave me, and maybe this is something which you should do in every country you visit. We were in a local restaurant where they had ‘meat’ on the menu, things you certainly will never see on the menu in the Netherlands, and he said choose something you’ve never eaten before, and that’s what we did! I trust you do the same, you won’t regret it!
Visit the War Remnants Museum in HCMC
A museum you definitely can’t skip. This museum shows the other side of the Vietnam War compared to the Củ Chi tunnels. No other museum I can think of conveys the brutal effects of war on its civilian victims so powerfully. Be prepared to see some cruel footage, but it’s definitely worth visiting this museum to see the other side of the Vietnam War. If you have a weak stomach I would think twice, you have been warned!
There we have it, 10 things you must do when visiting the amazing country that is Vietnam!