Are you wondering about things to do in Vietnam? You may have booked a trip already or are perhaps considering visiting there on an upcoming vacation.
Lots of interesting things to do
Vietnam is an amazing place: a great mix of culture, cuisine, and relaxation, combined with an amazing history. The very distinctive intermingling of modernity and tradition, the great diversity of village and metropolis, mountains and beaches, rain forests and deserts, ancient ruins and stylish shopping malls ensure that there you won’t get bored of the many things to do in Vietnam.
The Old Quarter is a must-see in this respect. There you’ll see the legacy of the French who had controlled Vietnam for about 80 years before they left in 1954. The buildings and roads are very distinctive and French influenced. It is very lively, comprising nearly 40 streets. Each one is crammed with shops selling a variety of items, and the name of each street comes from the main good or service sold there. The French culture has become part of Vietnamese culture, for example, with baguettes being an ordinary staple in people’s daily eating habits.
Great Vietnamese Food
And we mustn’t leave the food aspect too quickly. Some people travel there specifically for it. Vietnam has some of the most unique and tasty food anywhere. It is a wonderful spicy mixture of Indian and Chinese cuisines, developed in its own way. Vietnamese food is becoming as popular as Thai food in places like New York or London or Paris, for example, and many other cities. For those that know it, there is a world of difference between the two. My own preference is definitely for Vietnamese Food.
One of the great things to do in Vietnam itself is to eat the fish at the Cha Ca La in Hanoi, which serves only one dish, a fish dish known as Cha Ca. You cook the dish at the table yourself, with pea shoots and noodles. Another is genuine Banh-Mi in Hoi An. It beats anything you can get outside of Vietnam.
Good Tourist Economy
Vietnam has a booming economy. It is located in one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world, with many interactions with Singapore, China, Japan, and Malaysia. It has recovered extremely well since the devastating war with the United States and earlier with France. The war ended over 30 years ago, and is definitely in the past, with relations between the US and Vietnam at an excellent level. (Ho Chi Minh City, however, does have a seedy bar called Apocalypse Now, which nevertheless has a hardcore clientele of expats and locals.)
Indeed, tourism is a vital part of the Vietnamese economy with 3.77 million visitors visiting every year. Tour operators, accordingly, are in the main well-experienced and organized, and it will be best to use the services of an experienced tour operator to get the most out of this diverse country.
South, Central, and North Regions
Vietnam is an “S” shaped country with three distinctive regions the South, Central, and North, each with its own characteristic attractions.
In the South, you can visit the Mekong River and its ferile delta which is the basis of its ancient rice-growing economy. One of the definite things to do in Vietnam is to take a boat trip here. There you will see the well-known floating markets of Cai Rang and Cai Be among others. Here, vendors will offer their wares from their boats jammed with produce, dangling their goods in the air from a long pole.
In Central Vietnam, you can find a wide range of environments, from plateaus, to beaches, to dunes, and to lagoons. This is where the ancient Imperial city of Hue is located. A definite item on your list of things to do here must include a cruise down the Perfume River and visiting to historic sights and monuments such as the Imperial Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, and the Palace of Supreme Peace.
Hoi An in Central Vietnam is a very interesting place as well. People come here for the reputation of its excellent tailors, its art galleries, and its narrow streets, which are populated by many tiny wooden cafes serving steaming coffee. The Chinese have an ancient presence here, through very old trading relationships that have continued unbroken (more or less) for centuries.
The north region has stunning apline-like peaks, along with plains regions. The Hmong people are a hill people from the Sapa region in north Vietnam, many of whom were resettled in the US during the Vietnam War. The north, as well, is where Hanoi is located, along with the picturesque Halong Bay.
Halong Bay is extremely beautiful and is designated as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The most stunning aspect are the roughly 2,000 – 3,000 limestone cliff islands that dramatically jut out of the water. Different ones will have caves, vegetation, or secluded beaches.
To get to them you can take a cruise in a “Junk” which is the Chinese name for ship. Indeed, navigation in the South China Sea has been extremely well developed for centuries, with many of its ancient technologies are well ahead of the West for most of human history. The name “Junk”, however, obviously does not have positive connotations for Westerners! You certainly have nothing to worry about, though.
You can also go kayaking in Halong Bay as well. While common throughout the country, kayaking is perhaps best here.
Nature Lovers, Shopping, Nightlife
Indeed, for nature lovers or, eco-tourists as they are known these days, there is no shortage of things to do in Vietnam. Wildlife surveying is exceptional. The Highlands and the rain forests are breathtaking and serene. Vietnam’s islands and beaches are perhaps the best in South Asia.
Things to do in Vietnam also include shopping and nightlife. Bars and nightclubs in Ho Chin Minh City are plentiful. Nha Trang is known for its nightlife, too. Tour guides can give you thier views on the happening spots of the moment, but pools, Discos, bars, clubs are commonplace. Even in the far-flung and remote mountainous regions you will find the infamous Karaoke bars, which are so popular in that part of the world.
If you go shopping in the market, make sure to have a guide so you don’t get ripped off too much with the prices. In any case, prices are still relatively cheap in Vietnam, so depending on where you are coming from, it will still be a bargain.
Dong Xuan in Hanoi is the most famous market to visit, and should be on your list of things to do. There you can find embroidery clothes, silk clothing, and many other textiles (it is an ancient art there). There are also many street food stalls with amazing food.
One of the most distinctive and memorable things about Vietnam is the sheer number of motorbikes. You should definitely try to write one when you run a period and put that on your list of things to do.
Quite different from motorcycles, and definitely more distinctive, is elephant riding. This is more common in Dalat at Tuyen Lake more than anywhere else. Make sure also to put that on your list of things to do in Vietnam if you get the chance.
Also, there is a special royal breed of horse unique to Vietnam, the Vietnamese Hmong Horse, which you should also take the opportunity to ride.
History lovers may be interested in the Vietnam War memorials and statues, like Hoa Lo prison (the “Hanoi Hilton” where John McCain was held prisoner) or the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, where the “Respected Uncle” Ho read the Vietnam Manifesto on 2 September 1945. There are always two guardmen dressed in white uniforms standing at the main entrance. Visitors also like to take with them Vietnam War Army watches and military clothing as souvenirs.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are also very popular. These were dug by the Viet Cong, and is basically an underground maze. It covers a mind-boggling 250km, and contains living quarters, command centres and ammunition stores. This must definitely be on the list of things to do in Vietnam for any war history buffs.
Ho Chi Minh has a War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace and the Revolution Museum.
For more ancient history, there are many tours you can take to see the old citadels, royal tombs, palaces and temples. Ho Chi Minh City is also well known for its very many temples and pagodas, which give a far more spiritual experience, as Buddhism is the dominant religion of Vietnam.
Lots of Things to Do in Vietnam – See For Yourself
There are lots of great things to do in Vietnam, and you should try to experience it for yourself. Best Singles Travel offers a great New years singles holidays vacation package. Click on the link to find out more and have a really exotic vacation.