Vietnam Travel Guide : The Ultimate Guide

Vietnam Travel Guide


Traveling to Vietnam is the ultimate gift that you give yourself. The beauty of Vietnam is not just in its landscape, but also in its people and its rich history. A Vietnam travel will leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul - it's a place that you'll never forget. This ultimate travel guide to Vietnam will answer all the questions which you might be having while planning your Vietnam Itinerary. 

Vietnam is a country that has something for everyone – whether you’re a history buff, foodie, beach lover, or adventure seeker. So if you are planning to travel to Vietnam, don’t worry you will find something in Vietnam which will connect with your soul.


Read on to get all your answers on Travelling to Vietnam and get detailed information that will make your travel to Vietnam more exciting. In the end, we have also given a Vietnam Itinerary which we followed while traveling to Vietnam.



    Why Travel to Vietnam 

    Wondering why you should travel to Vietnam? Then stop thinking and book your flight to Vietnam.
    Vietnam has to offer something for all kinds of travelers. It will ignite your mind, heart, and senses.

    If you are a history buff then Vietnam has a rich and diverse culture that has been shaped by its history. Visiting the heritage sites to learn about the country's past like the Imperial City of Hue and the Cu Chi Tunnels, will give you a deeper insight into the life of Vietnamese people and also will help you to understand the geopolitics a little better. You can also experience traditional Vietnamese culture through activities like attending a water puppet show or visiting a pagoda.

    Travel to Vietnam


    Vietnam is home to a wide range of natural landscapes, from the mountains and forests of the north to the beaches and islands of the south. Travelers can enjoy activities in Vietnam like trekking, rock climbing, and scuba diving in these beautiful surroundings.

    Vietnamese cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients, complex flavors, and balance of spicy, sour, and sweet. Travelers can enjoy dishes like pho, banh mi, and bun cha in local markets, street food stalls, and restaurants.

    The best part of traveling to Vietnam is it is a budget-friendly destination, with cheap accommodation, transportation, and food options. Traveling to Vietnam will not break the bank for sure.

    Vietnamese people are known for their warm and friendly nature, and visitors can expect to receive a warm welcome wherever they go. This can make traveling in Vietnam a particularly enjoyable and enriching experience.

    After traveling to Vietnam, you will come back richer for sure.

    why travel to Vietnam




    Where to Travel in Vietnam



    Vietnam is a diverse country and making a travel itinerary for Vietnam might confuse you in terms of places where you want to travel to Vietnam. To make your choice easy I have not only included an itinerary for Vietnam at the end, but here I am sharing what you can expect from each place. 

    Hanoi

    The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is a bustling metropolis with a rich history and culture. Don't miss the Old Quarter, the Temple of Literature, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
    From Hanoi, you can go for exciting day trips like Bat Trang ceramic Village, Incense Village, Trang An, Bah Dinh Pagoda, and Marble Mountains.

    Ba Dinh Pagoda Hanoi Vietnam



    I took the services of Hanoi Explore Travel who are extremely well known for planning the perfect trip at a reasonable cost to make your travel interesting. You can check the details below :


    Halong Bay


    This stunning natural wonder is located in the Gulf of Tonkin and is home to thousands of limestone karsts and islets. Take a day cruise to explore the bay and visit some of the nearby caves and grottoes. 

    If you can and have the budget then experience 2 Days 1 Night Halong Bay cruise. This will set you back by approx. $130 upwards per person depending on the cruise type and what they are offering.


    Hoi An


    This ancient town is located on the central coast of Vietnam and is known for its well-preserved architecture and charming streets. Don't miss the old merchant houses, the Japanese Bridge, and the artisan markets. 
    Hoi An is also featured in the Top 10 Romantic cities in the world.


    Hoi An at Night



    From Hoi An you can go on various day trips to Ba Na Hills, Marble Mountains, and beaches near Danang.

    I traveled with GadtTravel to Ba Na hills and really loved the well-organized day trip. The day trip comes with a buffet lunch where you can try Vietnamese, Indian and Continental cuisine. You also get to taste a few exotic types of meat like frogs here. You can check the website of GadtTravel for more details.

    WebsiteGadtTravel


    Ba Na hills Vietnam Hands


    Sapa

    Located in the northwest of Vietnam, Sapa is a mountain town surrounded by stunning rice terraces. Take a trek to visit the local hill tribes, or relax in a homestay and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

    Ho Chi Minh City

    Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's largest city and a hub of commerce and culture. Don't miss the Notre Dame Cathedral, the War Remnants Museum, and the bustling markets

    Hue

    The former capital of Vietnam is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Citadel and the Perfume River.

    Phu Quoc

    A tropical island off the coast of southern Vietnam, known for its beautiful beaches and nature reserves.

    Mekong Delta

    A vast region in southern Vietnam, known for its floating markets, lush rice paddies, and unique culture.


    When to Travel to Vietnam


    The best time to visit Vietnam depends on your personal preferences and the specific region you plan to visit. 

    Here are a few things to consider when deciding when to travel to Vietnam:

    Weather in Vietnam

    Vietnam has a tropical climate with distinct dry and rainy seasons. The dry season, which runs from November to April, is generally the best time to visit. The weather is cooler and drier during this time, making it more comfortable for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The rainy season runs from May to October, and while it can be humid and hot during this time, it's also the time when the countryside is green and lush.

    However, note you can get rain in central Vietnam. I traveled during 1st week of December and it was raining in Hoi An. Luckily for the 4 days we stayed, we didn’t get any rainfall. However, on the day we were leaving Hoi An, it was raining heavily.

    Festivals and events in Vietnam

    Vietnam has a number of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Tet Holiday (Lunar New Year), which is celebrated in late January or early February. Other popular events include the Hoi An Lantern Festival, the Hue Festival, and the Hanoi Old Quarter Street Festival.

    Hoi An Lantern Festival



    Crowds

    Vietnam is a popular destination year-round, but the dry season (November to April) tends to be the busiest. If you want to avoid crowds, you may want to consider visiting during the shoulder season (May or October) or the rainy season (June to September).

    Overall, the best time to visit Vietnam will depend on your personal preferences and the type of experience you're looking for. If you're looking for comfortable weather and fewer crowds, the dry season (November to April) is a good time to visit. If you want to experience Vietnam's lush green countryside and avoid crowds, the rainy season (May to October) may be a good choice.

    What is the best way to travel around Vietnam?


    The best way to travel around Vietnam depends on your budget, time constraints, and personal preferences. 

    Best way to travel in Vietnam


    Traveling in Vietnam by bus

    This is a cheap and convenient way to travel around Vietnam, especially for shorter distances. There are many local and long-distance bus companies that offer regular services between major cities and towns.

    Traveling in Vietnam by train

    Vietnam's railway network is extensive and covers most of the country. Trains are a comfortable and relatively cheap way to travel between cities, but they may be slower than buses.

    Traveling in Vietnam by car rental

    If you have the budget and are comfortable driving in Vietnam, renting a car is a good way to explore the country at your own pace. However, be aware that traffic can be chaotic and roads can be in poor condition in some areas.

    Traveling in Vietnam by bike

    Many travelers choose to rent a motorbike or join a guided motorbike tour to explore Vietnam. This can be a fun and adventurous way to travel, but you should be confident in your motorbike skills and be prepared to face potential challenges such as poor road conditions and reckless drivers.

    travelling in vietnam by bike



    Traveling in Vietnam by plane/flight


    Vietnam's major cities are connected by a number of domestic flights, which can be a fast and convenient way to travel around the country. However, flights can be more expensive than other forms of transportation.

    CAUTION: One word caution if you are booking Vietjet flights, be ready for rescheduling and cancellation. My suggestion if possible AVOID VIETJET FLIGHTS.

    My two internal flights got rescheduled by approx. 8 hours due to which my planned itinerary went haywire. Instead of spending 1.5 days in Ho Chi Minh, I could spend only half a day.
    Also, Vietjet flights from India have been canceled altogether. This was making huge headlines as they had taken lots of bookings but couldn’t honor them and canceled the flights. The people who booked Vietjet are still waiting for their refund.

    Vietnam Airlines is far better than what I have heard from local people. The flights are not cheap but it is extremely reliable.

    Local Travel in Cities in Vietnam 

    Install Grab , and grab taxis are extremely cheap to travel in the cities and also for day trips. Grab Taxis are readily available and are extremely cheap and reliable.
    Grab is absolutely necessary if you want to travel easily in Vietnam.
    The other service is GoJek

    You can also opt for Hop on Hop Off buses in places like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh

    City tour Hanoi



    Vietnam Visa requirements for Indians


    To travel to Vietnam now you need an approved Visa to enter Vietnam. There is no option for Visa on Arrival for Vietnam,

    You have two main options to apply for a Vietnamese Visa.

    E Visa for Vietnam


    e-Visa for Vietnam is the easiest way to get Visa in Vietnam. Apply for a Vietnam visa online through the official Vietnam Immigration Department website.The process is simple and requires you to fill out an online application form and pay the visa fee. 

    You need to visit the official website: e VISA OFFICIAL WEBSITE for applying for the e Visa for Vietnam. The visa fees are $25 and there is no additional charge.

    Vietnam eVisa Official website



    CAUTION : If you do a Google search with eVisa for Vietnam you will get various website that claims to give you eVisa. Don’t fall for these websites as not only you will end up paying more than $50 + for an e-Visa for Vietnam but most of these websites are scam websites where they just provide you a letter with the money charged and you will end up paying $25 again at the airport.

    The processing of an e-visa for Vietnam takes approximately 3 days and you will receive the mail for an e-Visa from where you can download the e-visa.

    You will receive the visa approval letter via email, which you will need to present at the Vietnam airport upon arrival.

    Apply for Vietnam Visa at the Embassy


    Indian citizens can also apply for a Vietnam visa at the Vietnam embassy in New Delhi. 
    You can use the services of VFS Global for applying for the Visa. Visit the following website https://visa.vfsglobal.com/ind/en/vnm/ to get the details. You need to apply at least 20 working days before as VFS Global will take 14 working days to process your Visa.
    To do so, you will need to fill out an application form, provide your passport and other required documents, and pay the visa fee. The process may take longer than applying online, but it is a more traditional and secure way of obtaining a Vietnam visa.

    SIM Cards in Vietnam


    SIM cards are widely available for tourists in Vietnam and can be purchased at airports, phone stores, and convenience stores throughout the country. There are several mobile network operators in Vietnam, including Viettel, Mobifone, Vinaphone, and Vietnamobile, which offer prepaid SIM cards with different data and call plans.




    To purchase a SIM card, you will need to provide identification, such as a passport, and may need to fill out a registration form. Some SIM cards may come with a specific amount of data and call time already included, while others may offer top-up options to add more credit as needed.

    SIM Cards in Vietnam Mobile Network Coverage in Vietnam


    Viettel has the best network in Vietnam and the SIM card will cost you approximately $15 which will give you 4GB of 4G data every day along with unlimited calls to the Viettel network and 20 minutes of call to other networks ( note its local call and not international call).

    Before purchasing a SIM card, it is a good idea to research the different plans and providers to find the one that best meets your needs and budget. Additionally, make sure to check whether your phone is compatible with the local mobile network and, if necessary, unlock it before traveling to Vietnam.


    Food in Vietnam


    Vietnam is a country with a diverse and rich culinary culture. Vietnam is a paradise for non-vegetarians and meat lovers. The diversity of Vietnam reflects truly in the diverse food of Vietnam. It is said that people from Vietnam eat everything and the Vietnamese also flaunt it.

    Food in Vietnam



    You can find all kinds of food in Vietnam starting from pork, chicken, and beef to exotic meat like snails, frogs, semi-fertilized eggs, etc. You name it and surely you will find it as food in Vietnam.

    Below are some popular dishes from Vietnam that tourists may enjoy which is not exotic and can serve everyone’s food palate :

    Pho

    This is a type of rice noodle soup that is traditionally made with beef or chicken and a variety of herbs and spices. It is a popular breakfast dish in Vietnam.

    Banh Mi

    This is a type of sandwich made with a baguette filled with various types of meat, vegetables, and condiments such as pickled carrots, cucumbers, and cilantro.




    Vietnamese Spring Rolls

    These are small, cylindrical rolls filled with a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, meat, or seafood, and then wrapped in rice paper or pastry and fried.

    Bun Cha

    This is a popular dish in Hanoi, consisting of grilled pork patties and pork belly served with vermicelli noodles and a variety of herbs and vegetables.




    Goi Cuon

    These are fresh spring rolls filled with a combination of ingredients such as cooked shrimp, pork, vermicelli noodles, and vegetables, and then wrapped in rice paper and served with a dipping sauce.

    Banh Xeo

    This is a type of savory, crispy pancake made with rice flour and filled with shrimp, pork, and beansprouts.

    Com Tam

    This is a popular dish in southern Vietnam, consisting of broken rice served with grilled pork, a fried egg, and various vegetables.

    Egg Coffee 

    This is an offbeat coffee that you will find mainly in Hanoi and also in a few other places. But egg coffee is famous in Hanoi in Vietnam. The coffee is prepared with egg and its tastes delicious.

    These are a few delicious foods in Vietnam that you may try but if you are courageous to try exotic meat, go ahead, food in Vietnam will leave you mesmerized.


    Currency Exchange in Vietnam

    In Vietnam, the official currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND).

    Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, currency exchange offices, jewelry shops, souvenir shops, day trip offices, and at some hotels. It is recommended to exchange money at a bank or currency exchange office as they tend to offer better exchange rates compared to hotels. 




    Some popular foreign currencies that can be easily exchanged in Vietnam include the US Dollar, Euro, and Australian Dollar.

     It is advisable to carry some cash with you as not all places accept credit or debit cards. It is also a good idea to have some small denominations of VND for small purchases or tips. It is important to note that it is illegal to exchange money on the street or with private individuals.

    The currency notes in Vietnam are the 20000, 100000, 200000, and 500000 VND notes. The 20000 VND note is green and features a portrait of Ho Chi Minh, the founder of modern Vietnam. The 100000 VND note is red and features a portrait of Phan Dinh Phung, a Vietnamese military leader, and national hero. The 500000 VND note is blue and features a portrait of Nguyen Du, a famous Vietnamese poet. 

    TIP: Always count the number of Zeroes in the notes when you exchange or buy something as it is easy to get confused with similar denomination notes like 20000 and 200000.

    Staying options in Vietnam


    There are several staying options for tourists in Vietnam, including:

    Hotels in Vietnam  

    Vietnam has a range of hotels to choose from, including luxury 5-star hotels, mid-range 3-star hotels, and budget-friendly guesthouses. These are ideal for tourists who want a comfortable and convenient place to stay while exploring the country. Suggest booking a hotel as hotels in Vietnam is extremely cheap and the options are many. The amenities offered by hotels in Vietnam are excellent and often provide free breakfast. You can get an excellent budget hotel at approximately $40-50 per night.

    I stayed at Mulberry Silk Eco Hotel in Hoi An. I booked the room for USD 42 per night. Mulberry Silk Eco Hotel had all modern amenities like a swimming pool, free breakfast, and spa and for recreation, there was a billiards table and a foosball table.

    Where ever I saw it was green and laden with plants, truly emoting the word Eco. Once you enter Mulberry Silk Eco Hotel you will feel like you have entered a Green Paradise indeed.
    One of the best parts of the Mulberry Silk Eco Hotel was it was just 10 minute's walk from the Ancient Town of Hoi An.








    Homestays or AirBnB in Vietnam

    Homestays are a great option for tourists who want to experience local culture and live with a Vietnamese family. These are typically small and basic but offer an authentic experience of Vietnamese life.

    Hostels in Vietnam

    Hostels are a popular choice for backpackers and budget travelers, offering shared dormitory rooms and private rooms at affordable prices. These are often located in central areas, making it easy to explore the city.

    Resorts in Vietnam

    Vietnam has a number of beach resorts and luxury hotels, which offer a range of amenities and activities for tourists. These are ideal for those looking for a more relaxing and indulgent vacation. You will find good resorts in Danang and other beach locations. Finding a resort in cities like Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh is tough.

    Itinerary for Vietnam Travel


    This is an Itinerary for Vietnam which I made and followed when I traveled to Vietnam recently. This is a 12-day itinerary for Vietnam however if you want to travel for 10 days then you can do a Day Trip to Halong bay and instead of going to Mekong Delta and Cu Chi tunnel you can visit just the Cu Chi tunnel. This will save 2 days of your time.

    If you have any questions related to this Vietnam itinerary kindly put them in the comment section below and I will be happy to clarify.

    Day 1

    Arrive in Hanoi and explore the city, including visiting the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Temple of Literature.

    Day 2

    Take a day trip to the incense village of Quang Phu Cau Incense Village which is approximately 40 km from Hanoi, where you can see traditional incense-making techniques and shop for handmade incense products.
    Also, plan your day in Bat Trang Ceramic village to see the amazing ceramic work of the Vietnamese.

    In the evening head to Pub street or Train street and enjoy yourself at a café.

    Day 3

    Head for a day trip to Bah Dinh Pagoda and Trang An and Mua Cave.
    Bah Dinh Pagoda is one of the largest pagodas in Vietnam and it is a magnificent place, unless you experience it, it is difficult to explain.

    Trang An, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, for a boat tour through the beautiful limestone caves and rice paddies.

    Day 4 

    Take a 2 Days 1 Night cruise of Halong Bay. There are multiple cruise options from HoiAn from budget to uber luxury. You can check www.agoda.com for various cruise options.

    Day 5 

    Check out from the cruise and head back to your flight to Hoi An.

    Day 6

    Travel to Hoi An and spend the day exploring the charming old town, with its ancient buildings, temples, and colorful lanterns.
    Take a boat ride on the river filled with Lanterns or just sit back and relax and see the beautiful lantern town of Hoi An.

    Day 7

    Take a trip to the Ba Na Hills, a beautiful mountain resort with stunning views and a cable car ride to the top.
    The Ba Na hills cable car is the longest and largest cable car in the world and it will take approximately 20 minutes to reach the top of the hill.

    Day 8

    Spend the day at the Marble Mountains, a group of five marble and limestone hills with temples, pagodas, and caves to explore.

    Day 9

    Travel to Ho Chi Minh City and visit the War Remnants Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

    Day 10

    Take a boat tour of the Mekong Delta, where you can see floating markets, and traditional villages, and try local foods.

    Day 11

    Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

    TIP: If you are short of time then suggest doing the Cu Chi tunnel and taking a flight back home on the same day. The Cu Chi tunnel excursion will take approximately 4-5 hours and is a half-day tour.

    Day 12

    Spend the day exploring Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy your last night in Vietnam before returning home.


    Thank you for reading this Vietnam Travel Guide. If you have any questions related to travelling to Vietnam , kindly drop me your queries in the comment section below or you can mail me.
    For later read , you can pin the below Pinterest boards to Pinterest.

    Vietnam Travel Guide


    Vietnam Itinerary


    Kindly let me know your feedback regarding this Vietnam Travel Guide and details of travelling to Vietnam and if you have travelled to Vietnam following the itinerary of Vietnam kindly let me know, it feels special.




    Shoestring Travel

    1 comment:

    1. excellent Vietnam Travel guide.... got all my answer from this... Thanks a lot for putting this up so well for us.

      ReplyDelete

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