What to do in Vietnam
What to do in Vietnam
Our guide on the best things to do in Vietnam
Most visitors will begin their tours of Vietnam in one of the two principal cities: Hanoi to the north, or Ho Chi Minh City to the south. These breathless cities will be your first taste of Vietnam and advise that you just dive in! With our excellent guides to show you around, you’ll find yourselves totally absorbed with a wealth of heritage sightseeing, thrilling walking tours, and outstanding shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Secondary cities such as Hue, Hoi An, Ninh Binh, and Can Tho all have their own attractions– Hue is especially rich in UNESCO heritage sites – but are also excellent locations to take an extra day and explore the wider area. Hiking, cycling and mountain-biking, vintage jeep rides, caving, bird-watching, fishing trips, cooking classes, farm tours – our specialists have all of these experiences and more up their sleeves, ensuring you’ll experience Vietnam beyond the typical tourist trail.
No trip to Vietnam would be complete without time on the water. Halong Bay is Vietnam’s jewel in the crown, and our luxury small ship cruises are the best way to witness its staggering karst scenery. Neighbouring Lan Ha and Bai Tu Long bays are both equally stunning but see much lower visitor numbers. Meanwhile, deep down in the far south we can arrange short cruises or private overnight charters throughout the mesmeric waterways of the Mekong Delta – combining time on the boat with short walks or cycle rides through its alluring tropical scenery.
What we love best about Vietnam is that it has something for everyone. Honeymooners looking for an exclusive luxury escape? Talk to us about Ninh Vanh Bay and Con Dao. Sightseeing junkies wanting to gorge on history and culture? We’ll make sure your itinerary is bursting at the seams. Families seeking out an timeless trip with that perfect mix of adventure, cultural insight, and precious family time? Vietnam can provide endless combinations, adaptable for any holiday period year-round.
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Best activities in Vietnam
Below you’ll find a sample of guided tours and activities we offer across Vietnam. This is just the tip of the iceberg: using our first-hand experience and extensive local contacts we can cater for all manner of interests. Let us know what intrigues you most about Vietnam and we’ll map out the perfect itinerary.
Food & Drink
Search for Vietnam's best Pho in Hanoi
Pho – pronounced ‘fuh’ – is a Vietnamese staple. This simple, hearty dish is made of rice noodles, a protein (most commonly beef or chicken, but pork and veggie versions are also found) and most importantly a rich, luxurious stock. A selection of herbs, seasonings, and dressings are then added to taste. Pho is served everywhere from fine dining restaurants to street stalls, but arguably the best is found in Hanoi – the so-called ‘capital of pho’. Each eatery has its own version, making it fun to search out your favourite. The best restaurants will have been making their stock in the same urns for years – just think of the layer-upon-layer of flavour that’s been built up over time!
Luxury cruise through Halong Bay
A cruise on Halong Bay is a must when in Vietnam, a bucket-list destination with some 2,000 limestone karsts rising from crystal clear emerald-hued waters. You’ll be able to soak up the scenery while relaxing on the sundeck or take part in activities like swimming and snorkelling or even paddle in a kayak to caves with stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations. You should also ask our specialists about cruises to neighbouring bays Bai Tu Long and Lan Ha – equally stunning, but seeing much fewer visitors.
Enjoy an overnight cruise on Halong Bay on our Highlights of Vietnam example itinerary
Relax on Phu Quoc
The tropical island of Phu Quoc offers plenty of tranquillity, largely undeveloped with some of the country’s most stunning white beaches, dense forests and romantic sunsets, providing the ideal destination for those who want to escape the bustling cities. Kayak the bays, dive the vibrant reefs, or just lounge on the fine sands. All can be followed up with a fabulously fresh seafood dinner.
Visit Hoi An's world-famous tailors
One of Vietnam’s must-visit cities, Hoi An is effortlessly atmospheric, with a vehicle free centre and cobbled streets lit with lanterns and loaded with history. Explore on foot, enjoying the majestic architecture and centuries-old buildings, browsing enticing shops, including tailor shops with custom-made services at bargain prices. Don’t miss the Hoi An and Diep Dong museums, and the Japanese Covered Bridge. A must during any stay in Hoi An is visiting one of it’s excellent tailors, who can produce made-to-measure garments in just 24 hours, and at excellent prices. Ask your specialist for a recommendation!
Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels
This network of tunnels provides a sobering yet fascinating look at history, located near Ho Chi Minh City, initially dug in 1948 to assist the locals in their battle for independence against the French. They were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, and also served as supply and communication routes, weapon and food caches, and living quarters.
Marvel at the floating markets of the Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is a fertile agricultural region, sometimes called “Vietnam’s Rice Basket,” thanks to the maze of waterways fed by the Mekong River. Its blanketed with rice fields and mangroves while hosting the famous floating markets. They can be visited by hopping on a boat, providing a glimpse of local daily life while browsing offerings like mangoes, coconuts, turtles and snakes.
Experience the heart of the Mekong Delta on our Complete Vietnam example itinerary
Cycle around historical Hue
Located about midway between Ho Chi Min City and Hanoi along the Perfume River, Hue is the former imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty. The perfect place for a cycling tour, from Vong Canh Hill enjoy a panoramic view of the river and then ride to Tu Hieu, an enchanting pagoda nestled in a pine forest, before exploring the UNESCO-listed Imperial Citadel.
Hike across Cat Ba island
Located along the south-eastern edge of Lan Ha Bay in Northern Vietnam, Cat Ba island is breathtaking but has managed to remain unspoiled without having attracted the tourist masses just yet. A fantastic hiking destination, a 45-minute trek will bring you to Ngu Lam Peak, with your reward one of the best views of the island, a panorama of jagged emerald mountains.
Visit Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum in Hanoi
Reminders of the ‘American War’ are found throughout Vietnam, particularly in it’s larger cities Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City. In capital Hanoi, situated in central Ba Dinh Square, you’ll find the final resting place of ‘Uncle Ho’ – thought by many to be the father of modern Vietnam. His embalmed body is held in a glass case within the mausoleum and, although heavily guarded, can be easily visited during your time in the city.
Camp overnight in the world's largest cave
Central Vietnam’s central Phong Nga Ke Bang National Park is home to the world’s largest (Son Doong) and third-largest (Hang En) caves. Sitting within dense interior jungle just 20km from the border with Laos, the cave network was only discovered in 2009 and made open to the public in 2013. The caves have since been thoroughly explored and mapped by the British Cave Research Association who, with a network of experienced local adventurers, now run epic overnight adventure tours which culminate in a night under canvas inside the huge entrance chamber. In a few short years Phong Nga has gone from total tourism obscurity to its present status as ‘Asia’s Adventure Capital’.
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