Plan an amazing trip to Vietnam
The past of Vietnam is tumultuous, and marked by war. Nowadays, visitors can discover a new nation that has managed to heal its wounds. Even if it's still is a little-known travel destination, the country is gradually opening up to tourism. Everywhere you look you can admire stunning landscapes, composed of lagoons and verdant valleys. During your trip to Vietnam, discover the warm hospitality of the Vietnamese people who will gladly help visitors feel comfortable everywhere.
Nguyet's tips, local guide
Best time to go to Vietnam
Vietnam is located in the monsoon region and offers a hot and humid climate, with significant regional differences between North and South. The best time to visit Vietnam is between February and April. August and September should to be avoided.
What to see and what to do in Vietnam
Nguyet answers your most frequently asked questions
We recommend staying at least 2 weeks in Vietnam to see the main points of interest. If you want to visit and immerse yourself more in the country, stay for 3 weeks or a month.
There are many possible itineraries (North to South or vice versa). A standard itinerary would be 6 days in the North, 4 days in the Center and 5 days in the South.
Driving in Vietnam (motorbike, car) can be very dangerous as traffic rules and driving habits are very different from what we are used to. To drive in Vietnam, it is required by law to apply for a Vietnamese driver’s license. However, there are many other transportation mode, for instance: driving services, or by train, bus, boat, bike, plane, or even helicopter and seaplane.
Vietnamese cuisine is influenced by China and is usually very healthy. Most dishes are low in fat and cooked with fresh vegetables and herbs. They are usually served with rice, which is also used to make their noodles. Apart from nem and Pho, each region has its own specialities like Thit trau gac bep (dried buffalo meat), Lon cap nach (roasted or simmered pork chops), Xoi ngu sac (five-color rice) or Ca nuong la chuoi (grilled fish in a banana leaf). The large variety of dishes has enabled Vietnam to rank among the world’s best culinary destinations.
The country has many water parks, national parks, and family-friendly activities (sliding down sand dunes, riding quads, taking a ride on a steam train from the Colonial era, handicraft activities).
Apart from rural areas, all regions have a working mobile phone and internet connection (wifi, 3G, 4G) allowing you to use a GPS if necessary. The main providers are Vinaphone, Mobifone and Viettel.
Each region and ethnic group have their own annual celebrations. Here is a list of a few of them to give you an idea of the richness of the Vietnamese culture:
•The biggest and most important celebration for most Vietnamese people is the Tet festival. It lasts for a whole week between late January and mid-February depending on the lunar calendar. This time is dedicated to reinforcing family bonds and friendships and to pay respect and show gratitude to their ancestors. It is also the time of year when people relax after a year of hard work.
During this period, most shops are closed, and prices tend to go up. However, it is a very interesting time to visit Vietnam if you want to learn more about their culture. There are many festivals and festive activities in villages and entertainment centres.
•The Perfume Pagoda Festival (lasts 3 months of the lunar calendar) it is the biggest festival of the country. The Perfume Pagoda is located in Huong Son, about 70km / 43mi from Hanoi and is composed of several pagodas. It is the most revered pilgrimage site in Vietnam with people coming from all over the country. People make wishes for happiness, prosperity, health for the coming year. Pilgrims come by boats and visit the surrounding caves.
•Khau Vai Market (26th or 27th day of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar) is a hundred years old Love market. Many Vietnamese and foreign tourists visit it every year. Many activities are available like traditional games, the rain praying ritual of the Lo Lo, goat and bull fighting competitions…
•Danang fireworks festival (April 28th-29th), the only contest open to foreign competitors.
•Hue festival (once every two years) where many artistic and cultural activities are available (the Royal ceremony, the Ao Dai walk, traditional clothing, musical performances, kite flying festival, street music…)
•Nui Ba spring festival, located 11km / 7mi from Tay Ninh, on the highest mountain in the south (996m / 3,268 ft). This festival occurs on the 18th and 19th day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar.
•Other festivals and celebrations: Giong Festival, Hung Kings’ Festival...
Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City is the ideal place to shop. Here, you can find anything from seafood to porcelain tea sets. You can also taste local specialities. If you are looking for local crafts and products, go visit nearby small villages. In Van Phuc, you will find the best lacquer silk in the country. In Bat Hang, you will find ceramic cups, pots and bowl to bring back as a souvenir. In the village of Dong ho, prints are made on wooden boards engraved with vegetable and mineral colours. To find the authentic conical hats that are specific to Vietnam, you will have to go to Phu Com.
- Travel times within the country can be quite long, you should organize your trip in terms of travel time, and not in terms of distances
- Tourists are often the main target of street vendors
- The growth of mass tourism
Vietnam is a relatively cheap travel destination in comparison to other Asian countries. In addition to that, it has countless amazing natural sites and historical monuments.