Experience The Very Best of Vietnam - Top Things To Do

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The list of things to see and to do in Vietnam could be made endless and there are more than a hundred attractions to choose from. To make it easier we have picked out the Vietnam highlights for you. Enjoy!

Vietnam is definitely a country worth visiting. There is culture everywhere, amazing cuisine, thrill seeking activities, and history to be discovered in every corner of the country. Here are a few things to do in Vietnam that won’t make you disappointed.

1. Eat your way through Hanoi on a walking street food tour

Take advantage of your time in Hanoi to eat like a local and eat where the locals eat.

Travel wouldn’t be travel without street food. The two things that everyone seems to know about Vietnam are that the food is great and the food is (super) cheap. Vietnam is a food lover’s paradise and the capital city Hanoi is not a exception. With such overwhelming offers, it is not that easy to make a choice. That's why you might need a local to recommend a place to eat. If you wander away from tourist areas and join the locals for a meal, you’ll find that the food is even better and cheaper. After a day of visiting many tourist attractions, you may spend 3 hours taking a walking street food tour to discover exotic food of Hanoi. Eat and chat with your friends at the same time. This would be your wonderful memory in Hanoi.

2. Immerse in a hill tribe market in northern town of Sapa

Ethnic hill tribe market is a feast for the eyes.

Nothing beats learning about the history and culture of a country through its ethnic tribes. Perfect for outdoor activities and the best place to interact with the hill-tribe people of Vietnam, the town of Sapa is a favorite of backpackers from all over the world who are lured by its remoteness and breathtaking mountain landscape. The beautiful town is worth every single minute of the grueling travel you have to endure to reach the town. Weekly fair markets are the most colorful event of hill tribes. People from different groups: Flower HMong, Dao, Tay, Nung... come to the market not only to buy or sell but mainly to sip wine which is believed to symbolize for friendship and connection. This is truly a rendezvous for those who wish to experience more about tribe life and their activities. 

3. Watch a Water Puppet Show

It's a puppet show - performed on water! 

A visit to one of Vietnam’s unique water puppet shows is an entertaining way to get closer to the country’s culture and heritage. Scenes unfold from daily life of old as these adorable puppets dance on the water's surface to live music and singing. Swirling dragons, daring horse riders and demure maidens are only a few of the winsome characters in this special kind of drama that has won the hearts of people from all over the world. Certainly, it will be much great if tourists can directly watch these shows in popular tourist destinations like Hanoi, Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh City. 

4. Visit the Forbidden Purple City in Hue

There’s also a Forbidden Purple City in Vietnam.

Even if you’re not a mega-history geek, but you’re inquisitive and want to know more about Vietnam, Hue is worth the stop. With cultural significant and wealth, it’s no wonder that the Complex of Hue Monuments have made its way onto the UNESCO World Heritage list. And the Forbidden Purple City is more than just a tourist attraction, its living history. Put simply it was a private complex of buildings reserved exclusively for the ruling emperor, his family, court ladies and urchins housed inside the Imperial City. Being inside the main citadel and moat, plus behind high brick walls it was the safest place to live. Today much of the Purple Forbidden City is still an empty ruin, totally destroyed by the French bombs. On a rainy day, the ruination seems to add to the mystery. And exploring the outbuildings and forgotten corners of the complex, like these formal gardens, is a fascinating experience.

5. Crawl through the Cu Chi tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels is basically a huge war museum offering an insight of the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers.

Checking out a war site or museum in Vietnam, it may be like the most dreadful horror movie you've ever seen. The network of connecting underground tunnels at Cu Chi were one of the most important defensive weapons against the American forces. They were not just for hiding in – they housed entire villages, including hospitals, food and weapon storage rooms, kitchens, living quarters and command centers, with several layers of tunnels descending deep into the earth. US soldiers couldn't figure out how the Vietnamese were operating and delivering close, personal attacks. It's because they were right there, underground, using discarded coke cans and US rubbish to make weapons and bombs. Every traveler coming here all excited to try fitting their body through the little tunnels and check out how well-concealed they are on the earth's surface. If you want, you can also sample the food that was eaten during the war: tapioca. You'll understand how hard the life was in those days. It also instills in you an immense respect for the strong fighting spirit and ingenuity of Vietnamese guerrilla fighters who sacrified their lives for freedom of the country. Nowadays, when the war in Vietnam has been over for 40 years, the system of Cu Chi Tunnels is there to remind us how cruel (and nonsense) the wars are. 

6. Cruise the waterways of the Mekong Delta

Take a leisurely boat trip along the winding canals to reconnect with nature. 

Mekong Delta is another world on the waters of Vietnam. Venture out through this iconic landscape, visitors will discover riverbanks dotted with coconut palms swaying in the breeze and sprawling rice fields sparkling in the sun. One of the highlights of the region are the floating markets – the centerpiece of the haul is the local produce, fresh fruit and vegetables sourced from the nearby farm areas. Most popular option is to take a short sightseeing excursion which you 'll take a quiet canal ride and have the opportunity to visit family-run factories to learn about the region's cottage industries and indulge in delicious local delicacies. If you are curious about local culture, home stay in Mekong Delta is a more intimate way to get in touch with local people. While the accommodations may be simple, there is nothing more heartwarming than experiencing the overwhelming generosity of people. Stay with locals to understand them!

Happy Carol in her Mekong Delta Homestay Tour

7. Experience slow pace of life in Hoi An

Hoi An: where time stands still.

Hoi An is the quintessential example of old school charm – cars are banned, means of travel is by foot or on two wheels. Beautiful Hoi An is a feast for the eyes with its lantern-lit alleyways. It is wonderful to wander around the lanes and streets, passing ornate temples, well-preserved buildings and lively markets in this town where time seems to stand still. Colors. Lanterns. Soft flickering lights create an enigmatic atmosphere akin to a slower, softer pace of life. You may want to learn how to make an eye-catching silk lantern in a local workshop and take home your creation as a keepsake of your adventure. The romance of Hoi An is ever more compelling when you return to the river at night. Quaint at day, by night it transforms itself in to an enchanted scene from a fairy tale classic when the city lights were switched off, replaced by the lantern lights.

8. Sail Halong Bay

Hidden among the imposing rocky cliffs are secret beaches and caves that are waiting to be explored.

Indeed, Halong Bay is one of the most iconic places, not only in Vietnam but also throughout Southeast Asia. Thousands of karst islets and islands emerging precipitously from the waters forms a landscape of a mystic movie set or fantasy landscape art than any you've previously encountered. Simply put, the landscape is beautiful; it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rightly so. From the shore line you can just make out the beauty, but it is not until you are out and sailing amongst the limestone karsts that you really see it (expect to be treated like a king and queen!). In between the numerous things to do in Halong Bay, there’s ample time to bathe under the sun or get lost in a good book, if that’s your thing.

Of course the list is not exhaustive, there are definitely more things to do in Vietnam. Seeking epic adventures, unique experiences, mouth watering food and ancient historical sights, Vietnam is the place for you. So if Vietnam isn’t on your Southeast Asia travel list, add it now!

Xuyen

Image Sorces: Internet

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