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Vietnam is one of the most adventurous and exciting destinations in South East Asia. The country is packed with cultural highlights, amazing food, and a charming history that offers a unique perspective to travelers. Blessed with a stunning and insanely diverse landscape, you could be sightseeing in a UNESCO heritage town in the morning, taking a stroll down the beach by noon and sliding down sand dunes in the evening.
To help you plan the perfect itinerary and make the most of your trip, here’s a guide on the best things to do in Vietnam.
- Go on a Food Trip
Vietnamese food is known for its simplicity. Many of the country’s popular dishes can be prepared just as well on the street side as in a high-end restaurant. But it’s precisely this simplicity, fresh ingredients and the subtle variations by regions that keep pulling travelers for more. In addition, the food price is pretty cheap- you can get a fresh bahn mi sandwich or a bowl of noodle soup for less than a dollar.
During your visit, be sure to visit a traditional open-air market. Here, you’ll find cheap and finely crafted dishes passed from generation to generation.
- Attend Cooking Classes
The best way to become well-versed with Vietnamese cuisine is to join a cooking class. Participating in a cooking class helps you learn about valuable ingredients and techniques involved in local recipes and the ins and outs of cooking the country’s signature dishes.
What’s more, you’ll take home a precious invaluable travel souvenir – the ability to prepare some of the dishes you sampled on your trip.
- Buy/Rent a Motorbike and Travel from North to South
Hiring a motorcycle or scooter to explore the country is cheaper than taking local transportation due to the “tourist” price you get at the bus station. In addition, most motorbike tour companies offer guides to take you to the best attraction sites, food spots, and shopping centers. XO Tours is a great company to consider if you’re looking hop on the back of a motorbike and be shown the culture and food scene firsthand by a local guide. In addition to the guides, the company has security guards that accompany tourists on their trips to guarantee safe tours in Vietnam.
Some of the most beautiful mountain roads and routes you need to experience during your visit include the Hai Van Pass, Hà Giang Loop, QL34 – Cao Bằng Province, The Nam Ma River Route, Khe Sanh – Phong Nha and the mountain village of Dalat.
- Wander Around the Busy Cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi
Also known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is the business and financial hub of Vietnam with an extensive history dating back over 100 years ago. The city is a popular tourist destination thanks to its sleek skyscrapers, interesting culture, medieval French architecture, and ornate temples and pagodas. There are other things to explore including rooftop bars that overlook the city and beyond and upscale casual restaurants that serve Chinese, French and local Vietnamese cuisine.
Located on the right bank of the Red River, Hanoi is Vietnamese capital and one of the ancient capitals in the world. Here, you’ll find well-preserved ancient pagodas, colonial buildings, and incredible museums. The city is also famous for its multicultural community, vibrant nightlife, and delectable cuisine.
- Go on a Halong Bay Cruise
No trip to Vietnam is complete without experiencing the glorious seascape of Halong Bay on a cruise ship. This World Heritage-listed seascape is loved by travelers for its deep emerald waters, jungle-clad islands and islets, and jagged limestone pinnacles topped by rainforests. The bay is a great place for hiking, rock climbing, and scuba diving.
There are lots of things to do in Vietnam but these five activities will help you make the most of your vacation.