Vietnam has long been characterized by the infamous Vietnam War and the signature food as Pho or Banh Mi. More than widely known things, Vietnam is worth traveling around, and exploring this fast-paced country means experiencing the amazing things inside from the bustling delta to the incredible cuisine. To be ready for possible things and plan your itinerary, you can equip yourself with the following Vietnam travel information.
As an S-shaped country standing along the coast of the Indochina Peninsula, Vietnam is an easternmost country in Southeast Asia. The country shares its border with China to the North, Laos, and Cambodia to the West and the important South China Sea to the West. With a total area of 331,210 square km, Vietnam is a small and narrow country; Its most narrow part, in Central Vietnam, is just 50 km wide. However, it is blessed with a coastline of 3,260 km in length full of pristine beaches great for water activities like kitesurfing, scuba diving, jetskiing, and snorkeling.
The developed international airway makes your journey Vietnam easier than ever before. There are 11 international airports located throughout the country from the North to the South and even on the stunning remote island of Phu Quoc.
Refer to our guide on the travel time and taxi fares from major airports to the city centers in Vietnam.
The hub airports include Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) and Noi Bai Airport (HAN), others are also busy but have less international flights than the hub ones. Together with the airports, dependable airlines assist many people in coming to Vietnam by air. Besides the Vietnamese airways like Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, there are international airlines such as Eva Air, Quantas, and Cathay Pacific. They operate regular flights from many parts of the world to Vietnam. You have to double-check your necessary documents like passport, visa, and ticket prior to your departure in order not to confront unexpected cases.
Regarding the visa, you can check if you are from one of the countries eligible for visa exemption. You just need the passport and the ticket. Note that the duration of stay (less than 30 days) depends on the country and you have to conform to. Or if you are not eligible for visa exemption and you have to apply for a visa, e-visa can be really convenient besides applying directly at Vietnam Embassy and Consulate or visa agencies. Read more to know how to obtain a Vietnam Visa.
Another cheaper way to enter Vietnam is by the border crossings between Vietnam and Laos, Cambodia or China by bus. If you are traveling around the Indochina Peninsula of Southeast Asia, taking advantage of the border can help you save much money; bus or train are the main means of transportation. You have to complete the formalities and be checked by the customs officers. Going via border gates seems longer and more tiring, but you can be immersed in the natural scenes.
Many people choose to go to Vietnam via border crossings
Vietnam is affected by the monsoon climate, and the weather varies dramatically from the North to the South. As for the North, there are 4 distinct seasons, and it is cool both in spring, starting from late January to March and autumn, starting from July to September. It is hot, even scorching in summer and the temperature can rise to 40°C while cold in winter, between November and January. It even occasionally snows in some mountainous areas like Sapa, which attracts many locals for the breathtaking snowy view.
A cool spring day in Hanoi
Regarding Central Vietnam, the northern-central also experiences 4 different seasons like Northern Vietnam, but the central and the southern part have a dry and rainy seasons. The dry days are from February to early September with the temperature fluctuating around 30°C. The rainy season comes with high rainfall and is sometimes cold from October to the beginning of the new year. But you should note that some parts are often affected by typhoons and floods.
There are also dry season and rainy season in Southern Vietnam. The dry season runs from November to March with hot and humid weather, while the rainy one goes from April to October with lots of downpours, especially in the late afternoon.
You can see that it is impossible to choose only one perfect time to visit Vietnam but any time has its own advantage. And the days from November to March are regarded as the best with the pleasant weather if you want to go across the country. Also, special occasions like Tet Holiday or Christmas will grant you a great opportunity to discover amazing things in terms of culture and festivals.
There are must-do things you cannot miss when coming to Vietnam. Whether you go independently or be guided by professional travel tours, there will be many authentic things you can do.
Related Article: One-month Vietnam Itinerary
Vietnam is seen as a paradise for foodies. Signature foods like Pho, Banh Mi, Bun Cha are sold all around the country, especially in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, from restaurants to small eateries. Besides, you cannot miss the street food with flavorful Vietnamese snacks like goi cuon (summer roll), banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake), and banh trang tron (mixed rice paper). 3 regions of Vietnam have their own cuisine, and it is best if you can try their delicacies. To vegetarians, no worries as there are vegan restaurants in almost every city.
Besides foods, eating tropical fruits is also another compelling thing to do in Vietnam because there are many kinds of succulent fruits displayed in local markets or small vendors on the streets. Popular ones include rambutan, mango, mangosteen, durian, jackfruit, papaya and so on. Especially, trying fruits on vibrant floating markets in Mekong Delta is also a good idea.
Regarding drinking, you may have heard of beer when people, especially men, drink it a lot in daily meetings or ordinary meals. Apart from beer, cooling beverages like sugarcane juice, fresh coconut, herbal tea, and Vietnamese coffee are said to be must-try drinks when coming to Vietnam. You can also come to coffee shops to immerse yourself in a comfortable atmosphere with music and interesting decoration.
There are supermarkets, high-end malls and shopping stores in cities and you can find almost everything there, from basic appliances to clothing of such luxury brands in the world. On the other hand, the local markets will attract you in a different way with local goods and you can try bargaining with the merchants to make the best deals.
Read more for things to shop in Vietnam.
The wars left spiritual values and sacred historical sites for the Vietnamese, from brutal prisons and remnant museums to historical tunnels. For instance, you can pay a visit to famous sites such as Con Dao Prison on Con Dao Island, Khai Dinh Tomb in Hue, Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Bao Dai Summer Palace in Da Lat, and Temple of Literature in Hanoi. The ruins, the remnants, and the pictures with the image of brave soldiers and the loss of Vietnamese during and after the wars will be something really unforgettable to any of you.
There are more than 10 official religions in Vietnam. They are featured by pagodas, temples, and cathedrals established in many parts of Vietnam. Many famous pagodas and temples like Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Giac Lam Pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City, Ngoc Son Temple, Bai Dinh Pagoda, One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, and My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam Province are a small part of many religious sites in Vietnam.
Check out the best temples and pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City, or the best churches in Ho Chi Minh City.
The sandy beaches in Vietnam along its coastline are like a wonder to any tourist, with relaxing power and stunning views. The most popular ones include Nha Trang Beach in Nha Trang, Da Nang Beach in Da Nang, An Bang Beach in Da Nang, Star Beach, and Long Beach in Phu Quoc Island. Whether you love going to beaches with luxury services or off-the-beaten-track beaches, there will be ones reserved for you. Besides, going to the beaches involves many activities like watching the romantic sunrise, and sunset, getting to know the life of the fishermen and playing water sports such as snorkeling and kite surfing. If you just come to take a break and get away from a busy life, you can relax at the resorts; some beaches even have spas and hot springs inside.
Nha Trang Beach as one of the most popular ones in Vietnam
The national parks can be one dimension of Vietnam as they are nature reserves with efforts to protect the flora and fauna. Also, they attract tourists by the tranquility of the green views and interesting activities. To name some famous national parks, there are Cuc Phuong National Park, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Cat Tien National Park, and Cat Ba National Park. You will have a chance to see the tropical rainforests which are home to many kinds of animals, plants, even the endangered ones in the red list. There are some more things you can do like riding the boat across the rivers, biking or sightseeing around the cave system in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
The scenic beauty of the famous landscapes in Vietnam is something so special and authentic to foreigners. Places like Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Da Lat, and Ho Chi Minh City can impress you by just the way they are with people, food, and beautiful views. Besides the typical sights mentioned before, you can have a trip around Vietnam to visit many landscapes from the North and Central Highlands to the Southernmost of Vietnam. Fansipan, the Old Quarters, and Vietnamese pass to Mekong Delta, and many more await you ahead. One more thing you should bear in mind is that you should be careful of the traffic if you visit big cities.
Halong Bay is one of the top destinations in Vietnam
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
It is important that you carefully plan your itinerary so that your trip to Vietnam will be smooth and satisfying. Also, you need to prepare personal documents like your visa, passport, ID card and double-check the information required to avoid unexpected cases at the airport. Regarding the money, you can bring some cash or credit card, and you can exchange to Vietnamese Dong at banks (note that a passport is required), gold shops, authorized currency exchanges, or at airports. In addition, you should pack your bag with necessities like medicine, sunscreen, shampoo, charger, and suitable clothes with the weather condition of your destinations. And last but not least, it will be good to be equipped with some Vietnamese common words as you will need them in cases like shopping or hailing a taxi.
Read more about what you should bring to Vietnam.
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There is quite a lot of useful Vietnam travel information from when to go, where to go, and what to do. We hope the above information can help you have the best trip in the S-shaped country. And the most important thing may be your readiness to discover the amazing things there. To make your journey more complete, check our highly rated Vietnam travel guides to get to know more of what to expect and the necessary information for your travel.
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Thanks for the elaborated article