Booked a ticket to visit Vietnam? Got your Vietnam visa? Excellent choice, Vietnam is an amazing country with lots and lots of things to see and do. In fact, there are so many things to do, you may feel a little overwhelmed where to start planning your trip… Don’t worry, this post covers the top 10 things to do in Vietnam so you can make the most of your trip!


1- Explore The Streets of Hanoi

The first thing on your Hanoi itinerary should be the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum where you can see Mister Ho Chi Minh in his class coffin being honored by endless lines of Vietnamese. Next, visit the Temple of Literature, built around 1100 AD. In the past, many nobles traveled from far away places to study Confucianism here. Also, be sure to visit the Ngoc Son Temple which is located on a small island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. And finally, just wander the streets and see where you end up!

Top 10 Things To Do in Vietnam

2- Marvel At The Limestone Rocks of Tam Coc

Instead of cruising in Halong Bay, go to Tam Coc. Tam Coc is like Halong Bay, you’ll see lots of massive limestone cliffs. But instead of water, you’ll see bright green rice fields and it’s a gorgeous sight. The best way to explore is by renting a bike and cycle over the lonely sandy roads, not knowing where these trails will take you.

Top Things To Do in Vietnam

3- Travel By (Night) Train

To fully experience Vietnam, take a train. The night train is an experience in itself and allows you to save both time and accommodation (be sure to book a 4-person soft sleeper cabin). However, you’ll miss the beautiful scenery gliding during a train trip by daylight. Both options are a fantastic way of getting around in Vietnam, train travel is well-organized and inexpensive. (optional link to seat61)

4- Discover The Secrets of Hue, The Emperor City

Top Things To Do in Vietnam

The Emperor city Hue was home to the Nguyễn family who ruled from late 1700 until mid-1900. The most interesting places to visit are the Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City. The only people who could enter the Forbidden Purple City were the emperor, his concubines and the servants (all eunuchs).

5- Walk Around Historic Hoi An

Top Things To Do in Vietnam

The fact that it’s a UNESCO world heritage site says enough, Hoi An Old Town is a pretty town! Yes, it’s a little touristy lovely nonetheless. In the village center, you’ll find beautiful Chinese Assembly Halls, lots of excellent places to eat and countless colorful lantern. In the evening, the town looks like it came straight out of a fairytale!

6- Go Mountain Biking in Dalat

Top 10 Things To Do in Vietnam

Get off the beaten track and go to Dalat, a village in the mountains. Rent a mountain bike and cycle around Ho Xuan Huong Lake. Along the way, visit the Crazy House (think Hansel and Gretel meets Gaudi) and stop at the old train station of Dalat.

Top 10 Things To Do in Vietnam

Hop on a train to Trai Mat and check out the colorful decorations of the Linh Phuoc temple. If you still have energy, visit the Datanla Falls and the Lam Zen Pagoda, a serene monastery on a mountain.

7- Eat, Eat, Eat Your Way Around Vietnam

Vietnamese food is quite possibly my favorite food in the world: it’s super fresh, varied, delicious and healthy.

Top 10 Things To Do in Vietnam

My favorite dishes? Hard to choose, but I would say:

  1. A crispy Bahn Mi
  2. A steaming bowl of Pho Bo
  3. A basket of fresh spring rolls
  4. A heaping platter of Banh Xeo

8- Take a Cooking Class

To learn how to make delicious Vietnamese food by yourself, take a cooking class! I did mine in Hoi An, but you can find cooking classes everywhere in Vietnam. With many classes, you’ll visit the local market first to source the ingredients for the dishes you’ll be creating. Be sure to ask for a written recipe so you can recreate the dish back home!

Top Things To Do in Vietnam

9- Learn About The History of Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh city is the definition of organized chaos, over 8 million people and a gazillion people all milling about… And you, trying to navigate through the scooter traffic jam and narrow alleys. Anyway, the most important reason to visit Ho Chi Minh city is to learn about the history of Vietnam. Visit the War Remnant Museum and the Cu Chi tunnels (about 40 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City). There aren’t fun activities but necessary ones nonetheless. War is awful but when visiting a country, you should learn about it’s past. Here you can also see the top things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.

10- Rent a Scooter on Phu Quoc Island

Exploring this (yet) undiscovered island with a scooter! There are 3 worthwhile loops around the island: 

  • The Southern Loop (Ho Quoc Pagoda, Sao Beach, An Thoi village)
  • The Western Loop (Duong Dong, Dinh Cau Rock and Temple, Ganh Dau, jungle)
  • The Eastern Loop (Ham Ninh, Bai Thom)

Top Things To Do in Vietnam

Be warned, the road between Ham Ninh and Bai Thom is marked as ‘adventure road’. Which it is! Be prepared to cross rickety bamboo bridges and drive through dried up streams while dodging huge boulders.

That’s my top 10 things to do in Vietnam! Have a great trip and cảm ơn nhiều lắm for reading!

If you’re planning on a long trip to the country, check out my one month itinerary of Vietnam.

Lotte was born and raised in the Netherlands and she’s been trying to explore as much of the world as possible! Up until now she’s lived in Barcelona, London and Amsterdam and visited 38 countries. She’s a banker turned blogger and writes about her adventures on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog. It’s her mission to inspire other people to travel and help them plan their trips! In 2017, together with her husband, she’s making a round the world trip and they don’t know where they’ll end up and how long they’ll be traveling. “Probably until the money runs out”, says Lotte. ;-).

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5 Responses

  1. Arun

    Beautiful City, It is the capital city of Vietnam. I loved the pictures of your visit. Recently, I was reading about Vietnam struggle with U.S.A and how bravely Ho minh chi, their leader fought to establish a united nation. I would love to visit whole Vietnam.

  2. Elaine

    That covers Vietnam really well. There are a few things on this list I have yet to do; fortunately for me, I head back there next winter!


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