Top 15 Must-try experiences in Vietnam

Vietnam boasts abundant natural beauty and captivating cultural encounters, catering to the diverse interests of its visitors. Whether one seeks to immerse oneself in the vibrant city life, uncover hidden gems in the countryside, or venture off the beaten path, Vietnam offers it all and more. Below are top 15 must-try experiences in Vietnam that will enhance your journey and leave you with unforgettable memories.

1. Visit Halong Bay and its equally spectacular neighbor

Visit Halong Bay
Visit Ha Long Bay

Halong Bay is a picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northern Vietnam. Its stunning limestone karsts rise from the emerald-green waters, creating an unforgettable landscape. Venture off to Lan Ha Bay, just south of Halong Bay, and visit secluded beaches surrounded by lush greenery for an even more tranquil experience. You can explore the area on a boat tour and experience local life, visit hidden caves or just laze in the sun.

2. Check Out Vietnam On a Motorbike

Check Out Vietnam On a Motorbike
Game of Thrones Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on a motorbike in Vietnam. Photo: Ngô Chí Dũng - Tienphong

Experience Vietnam’s vibrant culture and stunning scenery like a local by taking to the roads on two wheels. Rent a motorbike and explore cities and villages, or take a road trip along the coast. Enjoy winding roads surrounded by lush green mountains in the north, or cruise along the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Stop at roadside cafes for a delicious bowl of Pho or head to the beach and relax with a cold Bia Hanoi.

3. Learn About the Local Culture

Learn Local Culture
Must-try experiences in Vietnam -learn about the local culture

Vietnam’s culture is quite different than what you may be used to in the West. To truly understand and appreciate Vietnamese culture, consider participating in a local cooking class or visiting a temple. Take part in traditional activities like attending an outdoor market or listening to live music at a Bia Hoi (a local pub). Try some of the local street food, or take a night tour of the city and explore the local cuisine. Maybe you can learn some useful Vietnamese words and phrases to get closer to the people here and even make your trip easier. With so much to learn about Vietnamese culture, it’s sure to be an enlightening experience.

4. Cruise Along the Mekong Delta

Cruise Along the Mekong Delta
Cruise along the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is a stunning area in the south of Vietnam. Spend a day or two cruising along its winding waterways and explore the vibrant floating markets. Visit local villages, rice paddies and plantations, and enjoy a variety of freshly-prepared local dishes on board the boat. Stop at islands such as Thoi Son Island, where you can sample tropical fruit and traditional delicacies. This will definitely be a unique adventure you won’t forget!

5. Sandboard Down the Sand Dunes in Mui Ne

Mui Ne is a stunning beach town in Vietnam’s south-central coast. Take a trip to the nearby sand dunes and experience an exciting adventure as you sandboard down them. This activity is suitable for all ages, and perfect for those wanting to get their adrenaline pumping! If sandboarding isn’t your thing, consider taking a jeep tour of the sand dunes instead. Whichever way you choose to explore them, it’s sure to be an unforgettable memory!

6. Walk the Streets & Light a lantern in Hoi An Ancient Town

Must-try experiences in  Vietnam: explore Hoi An
Must-try experiences in Vietnam - Explore Hoi An

Hoi An is an ancient town in Vietnam with a picturesque old quarter, filled with narrow cobbled streets and colorful lanterns.

Take a stroll through the streets at night, when it’s lit up by glowing paper lanterns. You can even buy one of these beautiful handmade creations for yourself or as a gift for someone special! This magical experience is definitely one not to be missed.

7. Relax on the Stunning Beaches

Vietnam is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Southeast Asia. Take a trip to Nha Trang for white sands, crystal clear waters and plenty of activities for those looking for adventure. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling and even diving if you’re feeling brave! Or just relax on the beach with a good book and a refreshing fruit shake. For an even better experience, stay overnight at one of the beachside resorts and enjoy the sunset on your balcony!

8. Search for Vietnam’s best pho in Hanoi

Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle dish that can be found all over the country. But the best pho in Vietnam is said to be found in Hanoi. Visit the city’s iconic street vendors and try some of their delicious recipes! Whether you like it with beef, chicken or vegetarian, there’s something for everyone. With so many vendors to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect bowl of pho for your tastes!

9. Have Coffee With a Local

Have Coffee With a Local
Have coffee with a local

If you really want to get to know the locals and learn about their culture, why not meet up for a cup of Vietnamese coffee? Experience the laid-back atmosphere of Vietnam’s many cafes and chat with some locals. Learn about their daily life, and share stories of your own travels. This is sure to be an interesting experience that will help you gain a deeper understanding of the country and its people.

10. Enjoy Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City from a Rooftop

Get a spectacular view of Vietnam’s biggest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, from the rooftops. Both cities offer incredible skyline views if you make your way up to one of their many rooftop bars or terraces. Have some drinks and watch the sun set over these vibrant metropolises - it’s sure to be a memorable experience!

11. Cycle around & Taste the Old Empire’s food in Hue

hue food
Try Royal style foods in Hue

Hue is home to one of Vietnam’s oldest imperial cities. Take a cycling tour around the city and explore its history and culture. Visit historic temples, ancient tombs and lively markets as you pedal through this picturesque area. And don’t forget to sample some of the old empire’s delicious food! From street food to fine dining restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Hue.

12. Embrace tranquility on Phu Quoc Island

explore Phu Quoc
Discover Phu Quoc island

Phu Quoc Island is the perfect place to escape and unwind. This tranquil island has some of Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches, with white sands, crystal clear waters and plenty of activities for those looking for adventure. Relax by taking a stroll on the beach, or explore its lush forests, fishing villages and waterfalls. Whatever you decide to do, you’re sure to leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated!

13. Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels Outside of HCMC

Must-try experiences in Vietnam: Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels
Must-visit in Saigon - Visit Cu Chi tunnel

Take a trip to the Cu Chi tunnels, just outside of Ho Chi Minh City. This is an incredible network of underground tunnels that were used by the Vietnamese during their war against the Americans. Tourists can explore these historic sites and learn about the history of this amazing country. It’s sure to be a fascinating adventure!

14. Take a Boat Ride Down Trang An in Ninh Binh

Must-try experiences in Vietnam: take abote in Trang An
Must-try experiences in Vietnam -explore Trang An in Ninh Binh

One of the most peaceful and beautiful areas in Vietnam is Trang An, located near Ninh Binh. Enjoy a boat ride down the river and admire its stunning natural scenery, including limestone karsts, caves and mysterious mountains. This is an experience like no other – so take your time and enjoy it!

15. Admire the Golden Hands Bridge in Da Nang

Golden Hands  Bridge in Da Nang
Must-try experiences in Vietnam -visit the Golden Hands Bridge in Da Nang

The Golden Hands Bridge in Da Nang is a must-see for any traveler. This iconic bridge was designed by an Italian architect and is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Take a stroll across the bridge and admire its beautiful design while enjoying views of the ocean and nearby islands.

From bustling cities to sleepy islands, Vietnam has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there are plenty of experiences to be had in this beautiful country. From exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels outside of Ho Chi Minh City to taking a boat ride down Trang An in Ninh Binh, there are plenty of unique experiences that are worth giving a try. Whatever you do, rest assured that it will be an unforgettable experience!

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