Other than the ways Vietnam is displayed in popular culture there is so much more that the country offers. Located in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is easily one of the most breathtaking countries in the world. For foreign nationals, especially those coming from the western world. For travellers, Vietnam has a list of tourist spots full of breezy islands, long coastlines, swarming cities, sleeping villages, several religious places and landscapes full of rice fields and forests. To add to the experience, the country also offers a rich Vietnamese war history, Vietnamese culture and heritage, Vietnamese cuisine and many other things.
The Vietnamese dong (VND) is the official currency. 1 Rupee = 286 VND (As of April 2023).
The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese.
70% of Vietnam’s population follows Buddhism. Other followed religions include Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism, Hao Hao and Cao Dai.
China, Laos and Cambodia.
Planning to visit Vietnam anytime soon? This Vietnam travel guide 2023 will help you figure things like best time to visit, best places to visit, things to do, what to eat, travel in and around Vietnam, visa requirements, accommodation, budget and other helpful tips and tricks.
Best Time To Visit (Climate in Vietnam)
Due to the geographical location of Vietnam and the fact that it is vertically long, different locations of Vietnam experience different weather conditions. So, you might experience varied climates on a single trip. Plan your trip accordingly.
The best months to travel to northern Vietnam are generally April to May or September to October. November to March is relatively cold and dry.
The best time to visit Central Vietnam is from January to June. October and November see heavy rains and May to August are really hot months.
Southern Vietnam is quite beautiful all year round. May to November sees some occasional downpours.
Best Places To Visit In Vietnam
1. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is not only a business and financial hub of Vietnam but also a place with a lot of history. The colonial architecture and many wartime museums here are a testament to the country’s rich war history. Explore the local markets and street food of this city for an indulgent experience.
2. Halong Bay
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay is the best place to visit in Vietnam. Take a junk boat tour or go on a kayaking expedition and check out towering limestone towers surrounded by emerald towers. Also do not miss scuba diving, rock climbing, hiking, etc. here.
The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, has to be on your Vietnam itinerary. With hints of South-East Asian, Chinese and French influences, Hanoi has many places for one to explore. Wander around the Old Quarter, visit temples like Bach Ma, check out the Đồng Xuân Market and enjoy Hanoi’s special street food.
4. Da Nang
The coastal city of Da Nang has some of the most inviting beaches in Vietnam. Also do not miss out on the Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hills and Hải Vân Pass.
5. Phú Quốc
Want to get the most tropical beach experience, Phú Quốc is your ideal destination. Along the palm-fringed beaches, you will see many resorts overlooking the turquoise waters. You can also find dense forests, mountains, hiking trails and wildlife to explore in Phú Quốc.
Things To Do In Vietnam
1. Trek In Sapa
Take a bus from Hanoi to Sapa and get ready to be greeted by an abundance of greenery. Full of hill tribes, lush vegetation, rice vegetation and beautiful hiking trails you can also spend time with small ethnic communities still living the traditional Vietnamese way. Camp, hike or bike to explore the area.
2. Touring the Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is one of the most important regions in Vietnam. Get on a boat tour or rent a bike so you can get an insight into rural Vietnamese culture. You will see small villages, pagodas, mangroves and orchards. Hop on a little boat for a ride through the floating markets and shop for some local stuff. Stay away from the city chaos and spend time in solitude here.
3. Get adventurous in Dalat
The Central Highlands of Dalat are seen as relaxing and filled with traditional tribal villages. But you can also get involved in various adventure sports like rock climbing, ziplining and rappelling around waterfalls.
4. Visiting Cuc Phuong National Park
Covering 222 sq. kms. Cuc Phuong National Park is Vietnam’s first national park. It has over 2,000 species of flora and fauna and is one of the places in Vietnam not overpacked with tourists. Entry fee for each person is nearly 50,000 VND.
5. Exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels
Take a tour to learn in detail about one of the Vietnam War remnants- the Cu Chi Tunnels. It’s a fully immersive experience as you get to crawl through tunnels and shoot at targets. Entry fee for each person is around 100,000 VND.
What To Eat
Vietnamese cuisine in itself is a marvellous wonder. Out of the many Asian cuisines, you shouldn’t miss out on the delectable and varied Vietnamese cuisine.
Phở is basically flat rice noodles, ginger and coriander flavour broth served with either beef or chicken and tofu and veggies for vegetarians.
Bánh Mì, also known as a Saigaon sandwich starts with a crispy French baguette filled with greens, pork, paté, tofu, fish and a moreish sweet sauce.
Goi Cuốn are traditional spring rolls, these are crispy and translucent and have a wide variety of fillings to offer, right from fruits, vegetables, pork, fish, shrimp, etc. Dunk these little flavour-filled rolls in peanut or fish sauce to elevate the experience.
Bánh Khọts are savoury pancakes flavoured with turmeric and other spices and packed with flavours of pork belly, shrimp, or other stir-fried vegetables.
Ca Phe Trung translates to Egg Coffee and is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee.
Cao Lau is a flavourful bowl full of almost Japanese-style thick rice noodles, bean sprouts and crispy pork-rind croutons hailing from Chinese influences served with Vietnamese noodle soup.
Bun Cha from street stalls and street kitchens is a lunchtime Hanoi speciality. A mix of flavourful charred pork served in a bed of cold rice noodles with veggies like carrots and papayas and seasoned with herbs.
Other than the ones mentioned above, Vietnamese cuisine also includes Banh Chung, Chè, Cha Ca, Mi vit tiem, Rau Muong, Banh Bao, Mi Quang, Com tam, etc.
What To Pack
Keep in mind that Vietnam is a tropical country. Before packing for the trip make sure to study the weather and carry stuff accordingly. This is a general list of things you will need to pack before your trip to Vietnam.
- For men: Some casual Tshirts, an active T-shirt, a nice shirt, shorts and pants.
- For women: Casual Tshirts, pants, dresses, jumpers, a cardigan or scarf (make sure your shoulders and knees are covered especially in religious places).
- Bathing suits, flipflops, sneakers, hiking boots, etc.
- Reefsafe sunscreen.
- Reusable cloth bag, reusable straw, reusable insulated water bottle.
- General medication and a small firstaid kit.
- Hand towels
In case you have forgotten something, it can be easily found in the cities of Vietnam. It is advised to pack light and not carry many valuable items.
Transportation Around Vietnam
All the main regions of Vietnam are well-connected via various modes of transportation. It is not even very difficult to access the rural parts of Vietnam, thanks to public transport. There are other transport options that will take you to remote places.
Bicycle, Bike Taxis or car Taxis
If you want to get around towns and cities, a bicycle rickshaw will cost you as much as 40,000 VND. A motorbike taxi is more popular to get around quicker. Their fares start at 15,000 VND but make sure to wear a helmet.
Trains can be a great way to commute and also see some parts of Vietnam. It’s also safe, comfortable and affordable with prices depending on the train class. A train journey between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi can cost up to 900,000 VND. While booking taxis make sure to negotiate the price for the distance beforehand.
Short as well as long-distance buses run through the lengths of Vietnam. Starting with Hanoi, buses stop in Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Mui Ne and end in Ho Chi Minh. You can hop on or off at any stop along the way.
If you don’t mind spending extra, flights are the best option. Domestic carriers like Vietjet and Vietnam Airlines can get you across the country within a few hours.
Travel To Vietnam
Though there are options to enter Vietnam by bus or car, flights are the best option for foreign travellers. Many airlines fly to Vietnam and their two major international airports are Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City in the south and Noi Bai Airport (HAN) in Hanoi in the north. The number of international flights to and from Vietnam are increasing consistently. To get the best deals and assured discounts, one should book flights to Vietnam in advance.
Vietnam Visa Requirements
Many foreign nationals are required to obtain a Vietnam Visa to be able to enter the country. For Indians, it is easier as they can apply for a Vietnam Visa online. An eVisa is easier and faster to obtain.
A Vietnam eVisa can be easily processed in 4-5 days and has a validity of 30 days. The Vietnam Visa cost for Indians starts at INR 2,499/-. Additionally, there are only two (2) documents required: a scanned colour copy of the first and last page of your passport and 2 scanned colour passport-sized photos according to the Vietnam Visa Photo Specifications.
Also Read: Vietnam Visa For Indians - All You Need To Know
Accommodation In Vietnam
Vietnam provides accommodation options for all kinds of budgets and requirements. Accommodation budgets can swing between INR 500 to up to INR 25,000 for one night's stay. It is better and safer to opt for hotels here as you can really get quite a luxurious experience by throwing in some extra bucks. From north to south of Vietnam, you can find many options for budget stays and great deals for hotel bookings in advance.
Typical Budget For Vietnam Trip
Vietnam is one of the few countries that is actually easy on the pocket and where the Indian rupee stands stronger. Right from a backpacker to someone looking for a luxurious vacation. To get an idea of your overall budget.
|Accommodation||Food||Transportation||Attractions/ Fun||Average Daily Cost|
|Backpacker||INR 400- 900||INR 100- 200||INR 250- INR 1000 ||INR 800- INR 1600||INR 2,500- INR 4000|
|Mid-Range||INR 1200- 1600||INR 1000- 1500||INR 800- 1300||INR 1200- 2500||INR 4500- INR 6500|
|Luxury||INR 3200 onwards||INR 2500 onwards||INR 2500 onwards||INR 3200 onwards||INR 12000 onwards|
This is a general estimation of your daily budget in Vietnam. The budget can vary easily depending on your choices for e.g. what activities or attractions you choose or whether you take a flight or train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Browse for all types of Vietnam Tour Packages and pick what suits you the best.
Also Read: Vietnam Trip From India Under Rs. 50,000
Language & Helpful Phrases
The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese. Learning a few Vietnamese phrases can really help you on your trip. Using these phrases can also be a way of learning and respecting Vietnamese culture.
Here are some general Vietnamese Phrases
- Hello = xin chào
- Thank you = Cám ơn
- Beer = bia
- Delicious = Thơm ngon
- Bathroom = Phòng tắm
- How much? = Bao nhiêu?
- Too expensive = Quá đắt
- Don’t want = Không muốn
- Goodbye = Chào
- Excuse me = Xin Lỗi
- Can you speak English? = Ban noi tieng anh duoc khong
- I don’t understand = Tôi không hiểu
Major Festivals In Vietnam
The truest way to experience a country is by being a part of its festivals. Vietnam celebrates many festivals. Taking part in these festivals will help you embrace the cultures and traditions of Vietnam personally.
Tet Nguyen Dan: This is the most important festival in Vietnam. It is the Vietnamese New Year and also marks the arrival of spring according to the Lunar calendar. It usually comes around late January or early February.
Hoi An Lantern Festival: Be in Hoi An during the full moon period to enjoy the lantern festival. The markets around are illuminated with many lanterns. Around 8 PM, locals and foreigners get together to light lanterns and watch them float.
Mid-Autumn Festival: Also known as Tết Trung Thu activities for this festival include eating moon-cake, celebrating family relationships, carrying carp-shaped lanterns and worshipping the God of Earth. The festival is going to be celebrated on 29th September 2023.
Vietnam Travel Tips (Do’s & Don’ts)
Since the Vietnamese are considerate of their culture and religion, it is important to respect them. These are some Vietnam travel tips regarding what can be done and what should be avoided while in Vietnam.
- Vietnamese prefer to save face rather than being called out and creating a scene causing embarrassment.
- Vietnamese prefer to dress modestly. Shoulders and knees are expected to be covered, especially while visiting religious and sacred places.
- Do not enter a local’s home or a religious place with footwear. Leave them outside the main entrance.
- You will be quoted a tourist’s price. It is fair to bargain for up to 50% of the original price. Your bargaining skills should be convincing for the seller.
- Do not engage in extreme public display of affection. Holding hands or hands over the shoulder is fine, anything more than that can be considered offensive.
- Do not flaunt your wealth. It can be considered rude as well as there are high chances of your wealth being stolen in big cities.
- While visiting religious places, cover your shoulders and knees, keep your voice low, keep your photography nonintrusive, don’t touch statues and do not point your feet towards them.
- Some places in Vietnam still have squat toilets and use water. It is advised to carry your toilet paper roll with you.
- Before clicking photos of people it is sensible to ask for permission. Do not click photos of military installations and equipment.
- Refrain from addressing opinions on the AmericanVietnam War.
- Don’t expect everyone to be polite all the time. You might not hear a ‘sorry’ or
- ‘Thank you’ most of the time.
- Carry your hotel’s business card with you to easily navigate the address.
- Vietnam can be hot and humid. Keep yourself hydrated with easily available
- bottled water.
Shopping in Vietnam
If you are visiting Vietnam, you have to bring along an empty bag because you are going to shop a lot. Shopping is an experience in Vietnam. One has many shopping options including shopping complexes, street-side markets, high-end showrooms or something as native as exploring the floating markets in Vietnam. Right from handicrafts, jewellery, textiles and art, you can get all these products at quite reasonable rates.
Some of the Unmissable Markets in Vietnam for Shoppers are
- Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City
- Hanoi Night Market, Hanoi
- Binh Tay Market, Ho Chi Minh City
- Quang Ba Flower Market, Hanoi
- Han Market, Danang
- An Dong Market, Ho Chi Minh City
- Cai Rang Floating Market, Mekong Delta
- Dong Ba Market, Hue
- Dam Market, Nha Trang
- Dinh Cau Night Market, Phu Quoc
There are many other shopping markets in Vietnam. Don’t forget to shop for a souvenir or two to commemorate the memories of your Vietnam trip.
Follow this Vietnam Travel Guide 2023 for a successful trip to Vietnam!
Moreover, from cheap flightstoVietnam, visa to accommodations,Vietnamtour packages and everything in between, we can handle it all.
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