Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia that borders China, Laos and Cambodia. The Vietnamese population consists of the majority ethnic group, the Viet people (Kinh), as well as some 55 minority groups.
The capital city is Hanoi while its most populous city is Ho Chi Minh City with an estimated 8 million residents. Vietnam’s official language is Vietnamese but many of them speak English too which makes for easier travel if you want to explore off-the-beaten track destinations deep in rural areas or escape from crowds when exploring cities.
Vietnam is known for some seriously cool stuff- from great food, coffee culture, amazing history and more- all within an hour or two flight away. With so many things happening at once, it can be hard to know where to start with your trip planning – which is why we’re here for you!
Vietnam is known for it’s rich history and many sites of historical importance are scattered across the country. To get a good idea of what happened in Vietnam throughout history, it is worth visiting museums and learning about their tumultuous past.
A visit to the War Remnants Museum is an eye-opening experience that will provide information on how this 20th century war impacted them up until today.
Food is a big deal in Vietnam. Be sure to try the local delicacies such as pho, cha ca, banh mi and many more! Great places to eat can be found by wandering around markets and exploring back streets of cities and towns.
Be prepared for cheap eats too but do not expect amazing service. Food is meant to be eaten quickly and with no frills. Don’t forget to try Vietnamese coffee which is strong and flavorful and will keep you buzzing for the rest of the day!
Located in the north, Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital city and main transport hub. Here you can find big markets that sell everything you need for your trip as well as plenty of bars and cafes to enjoy after hours. It might not be the most attractive city but it has its charm for sure!
4. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and also serves as a transport hub. It has a laidback vibe compared to Hanoi but there are still plenty of modern skyscrapers which make for great skyline photos. There is always something going on here so be sure to explore outside of the main areas to find a real taste of the local life.
5. Cu Chi Tunnels
Located around 50km north of Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi Tunnels are an important historic site that played a vital role in defeating foreign invaders.
Here you can see hundreds of kilometers of tunnels with interesting tours to take that bring back stories from locals who were actually there during their use!
There are beautiful beaches all over Vietnam that are perfect for a nice day out.
One of the most popular is Mui Ne which has white sand and turquoise water with plenty of activities to enjoy! You can try things like horse riding or relaxing with a massage, there’s something for everyone here.
7. Mekong Delta
The Mekong River Delta is the most southern part of Vietnam where you will find lush green farmlands with plenty of canals.
This is a great place for visitors looking to relax with some fresh seafood and soak in the local culture.
8. Con Dao Islands
Located off the south-east coast, these islands offer an escape from busy city life with many activities to enjoy in a peaceful environment.
Snorkelling, diving and kayaking are popular here but if you feel more relaxed just lazing on the beach is great too!
A center of commerce in Vietnam, Hue has plenty of interesting markets to explore that sell goods from all over the country.
There are also some beautiful pagodas to admire along with the Imperial City which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10. Archaeological Sites
There are so many archaeological sites scattered all over Vietnam which bring fascinating stories of the past to life.
One of these includes My Son Sanctuary where you can see dozens of Hindu towers that are well-preserved and offer incredible views!
11. Halong Bay
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to countless limestone karsts and islands that are popular for kayaking around during the day.
With a bit of exploring, you will come across some hidden gems along the cliffsides so make sure you have your camera handy!
12. Vietnamese Coffee
Coffee is serious business in Vietnam! You will find coffee shops on every street corner here and the local people are always passionate about where to get the best brew.
No matter what your caffeine needs are, this country has got you covered so be sure to try as many as possible for a true Vietnamese experience
13. Sa Pa
Sapa is located in the north-west and is another popular place for visitors to relax with some fresh air!
There are also hills scattered all over the area that are great for hiking or just admiring the views. If you feel like getting active then you can go rafting, climbing or skiing!
14. The Tran Quoc Pagoda
Located on a small island off the coast, the Tran Quoc Pagoda is a huge structure with multiple levels to explore.
There are incredible views from up here and it’s well worth going inside for a look at the Buddhist statues too!
Riding a motorbike is a popular way to get around Vietnam as the roads are not the safest.
If you do opt for this method, just remember that it can be scary at times so make sure you go prepared and stick to travelling during the day.
16. Floating Markets
There are many floating markets all over Vietnam where you can buy fresh produce straight from the boats.
This is a great way to get up close with local people and enjoy some interesting dining experiences! Nga Bay floating market is one of the most popular ones to visit.
17. Hoi An
Hoi An is a popular destination for visitors to Vietnam who like the idea of an alternative style of life.
It’s well-known for its ancient town that has been preserved during the French occupation and offers plenty of great sights to enjoy too!
Vietnam has a diverse mix of Asian, French and Chinese cultures which make it such an interesting place to visit.
The Vietnamese people are very friendly and will be happy to answer any questions you might have about their country too!
*Wrap It Up
Vietnam is a fascinating country to visit with plenty of cultural diversity, natural landscapes and delicious food. This article has provided you with 18 things you should know before travelling here!
We hope that this list helps prepare for your trip to Vietnam so that when it comes time to explore the culture or immerse yourself in some local cuisine, you’ll be well-informed and ready to go.
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