Vietnam, a country of spectacular nature and excellent cuisine. Throughout the last decades, Vietnam has proven to become one of the more popular destinations for traveling in Southeast Asia. In this guide, we’re going to show you the A to Z of how to have an unforgettable experience during your Vietnam trip.

How to get there

a plane flying to hanoi vietnam trip

Vietnam sits in the Southeast of the Indochina peninsula. The most common way to reach the country is via aeroplane, but it’s also possible to do so via automobile if you’re traveling from neighboring countries. Vietnam has 3 main international airports in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). We recommend booking your flight to Vietnam at least 3 weeks in advance to get below-average prices.

The best time to travel to Vietnam is from March to April. If you’re planning to visit the North, it’s best to avoid the winter (November to early March). You can be less wary of the weather when it comes to visiting the South, as temperatures are quite constant throughout the year in this region.

As for Central Vietnam, it’s best to steer clear of the flooding months. This generally happens during the rainy season, from May to October every year, though it doesn’t happen annually.

Where to stay

bungalow boutique hotel vietnam trip

Vietnam is famous for its hospitality industry. Across the country, you will find different types of accommodations, from low-cost hostels to five-star resorts. Most notably, prices for accommodation are very affordable for tourists, which adds to the charm of this country. It’s also good to know that Vietnam is large by length, so your hotel options will vary depending on which region you stay in.

If you’re landing in Hanoi, check out the Somerset West Point hotel for a luxurious experience in the Vietnamese capital. Or, check out the Mia Resort Nha Trang along the Bai Dong beach, with stunning views and an in-house spa.

But by far the most iconic hotel is the New World Saigon. Situated in the heart of the city, this hotel is a stone’s throw away from multiple museums and places of cultural interest. The hotel has a sophisticated Chinese restaurant and a vibrant lounge for late-night enjoyment.

If you’re planning to solo-travel Southeast Asia and looking for more flexible solutions, there are many affordable hotels to choose from. Visit the cheeky Capsule Hotel in Da Nang, for a pleasant hostel experience and reasonable prices. On the other hand, the OYO, a popular hostel chain in Vietnam, has beds and rooms starting from just $10 a night.

Where to eat

summer rolls traditional vietnamese cuisine

Vietnamese foods have made their way into the hearts of people, and into their dictionary. New words such as “pho” and “banh mi” have been added to the knowledge base of mankind due to their uniqueness in look and taste. But these are just the tip of the iceberg. Across the country, you will find countless food trucks and pop-up street food restaurants off the beaten path.

If you’re looking for a verified good meal, visit Anan Saigon (Eat, Eat). The owner and head chef Peter Cuong Franklin incorporates the food of his upbringing with the culinary techniques that he learned during his training at Le Cordon Bleu. Best of all, the restaurant bar is called “Nhau Nhau” (Drink, Drink), a popular after work activity for Vietnamese people. Anan Saigon was featured in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list of 2021, and Time World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2021.

Up north, be sure to visit Bun Cha Huong Lien, the Hanoi restaurant that hosted former President Obama and Anthony Bourdain in 2016. Its celebrity status aside, the restaurant has some of the best bun chas, aka noodle salads, you’ll ever have. Be sure to get the authentic Saigon beer to go with your meal, and you’re all set for a good dinner.

Bonus: Top Pho restaurants in the country

pho vietnam with condiments and chopsticks

This guide wouldn’t be complete without a recommendation of the best pho restaurants in the country. Here’s some of the must-try pho in Vietnam:

  • Pho Bat Dan: Serving traditional pho since 1960, this restaurant is the pinnacle of gastronomy.
  • Pho Lien: Loved by locals, Pho Lien is a staple in the restaurant scene in Central Vietnam. They also serve banh mi chien (fried bread) as a side dish.
  • Pho Hoa: Herby, meaty, and tasty, the pho you get in this restaurant is nothing short of magic. Although the prices here are a bit higher than the rest on the list, they’re still definitely worth a try.

There are so many things to try in the city that it can get overwhelming. Instead, go on a food tour, and try all of the delicacies in one go!

What to see and do

water puppets in traditional vietnamese show

Vietnam is rich in things to see and do, so there’s never a dull moment while you’re here. Visit the floating market of the Southwest, in which agile boaters conduct commerce on the vast water of the Mekong delta. Alternatively, slide down one of the most impressive man-made underground infrastructures, the Cu Chi tunnels. A remnant of the Vietnam war, this structure stands as a testimony to the incredibly enduring nature of the Vietnamese people.

Go further up to the Central region, and visit a visually stunning city, the former citadel of Hue. Let colorful lanterns guide your way around a mystical city of former dynasties. Experience the way the Vietnamese used to conduct their daily life, such as going to a water puppet show, paying respect to the Gods at a pagoda, etc.

A must-see during your Vietnam trip is HaLong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage. HaLong Bay consists of over 1600 islands and islets, mostly uninhabited by humans. Its unique point, recognized by UNESCO, is the limestone karsts that host a large amount of biodiversity. Just close by, in the Northwest of the country, are vast rice paddies that are arranged in a staircase shape. Visit an exquisite part of South East Asia, and leave with a heart full of good memories.

Since the Vietnamese generally don’t speak English, and you probably won’t have time to learn the local language, let a local guide you through the cities. Wherever you are, make sure to experience navigating the busy streets on a motorcycle. Another activity to try is sightseeing on a “cyclo”, a rickshaw which was used as a means of transportation for the wealthy in the past.

It can get overwhelming to visit Vietnam, especially if this is your first time in Asia. Skip the confusion and book yourself an all-inclusive tour, showcasing dedicated destinations and highlights.

Vietnam is a destination worth visiting once in your life. We hope that this guide provides you with the best tips and tricks for an amazing time in Vietnam. Book your flight to Vietnam today, and start exploring Indochina’s jewel.