Things to do in Vietnam

Our top activities

Cruise around Halong Bay

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the world’s largest marine karst landscape. Set sail on a classic wooden junk, paddle into secluded caves and admire the sunset over the karsts from the deck of your boat.
Visit the surrounding fishing villages and a floating school – or take a trip out with a local fisherman and learn to catch crustaceans off the coast.

Get a taste of old Vietnam in Hoi An

Provincial and pretty, this ancient port town is deserving of its UNESCO status. In place of traffic, skilled tailor shops fill the lantern-lined streets, along with traditional wooden houses, pagodas and temples. But you don’t need to just stand back and watch; Hoi An has a wealth of workshops for all ages to get involved in, from fabricating decorative lanterns to paddling out in a basket with a local fisherman and learning to cook the delicious regional cuisine. If you’d rather be cooked for, try the central market food hall – or the Streets Restaurant, staffed by former homeless and disadvantaged children, now trained to an incredible standard.

If that’s not enough, some of Vietnam’s best beaches are just a short moto ride away – with their empty stretches of sand, rustic-luxury lodges, surf breaks and scrumptious seafood.

Meander along the Mekong

Mekong quote
"You’ll be interacting and stopping in communities and markets, seeing life as it is, whereas if you’re traveling by road you’re actually bypassing places. So it means there are lots of places to stop off and there are a lot of really interesting cottage industries down there. It’s also really nice for families.” - Lesley Schofield, from our supplier All Points East, on her favourite things to do in Vietnam.

Get stuck into the culture

Mrs Vo Thi Bich Ha from our supplier Haivenu, is Vietnamese and has lived and travelled all over her home country. She shares her favourite things to do in Vietnam: “You always read about the main tourist attractions. But there are a lot of other places that are so special, and a lot more authentic. Around Sapa there’s a colourful culture that’s remained intact from the outside world. It feels special and real and spiritual. You just have to make a bit of effort – the roads are bumpy, it can be a full day’s trip just to get to a market, but it’s so rewarding. It’s not just about what you see, but you can sit down and interact with people. It gives you long-lasting memories. The way they dress, the colours of the clothes, all the jewellery, what they sell, what they eat, the culture... and the markets. There are hardly any brochures that highlight those. Yet there are over 50 ethnic minority groups, each with their own culture, and a lot of them have their own spoken and written languages. And it’s something I would like people to know about when they are going to Vietnam.”

Photo credits: [Floating school: brianfagan] [Hoi An: Loi Nguyen Duc] [Mekong: Everjean] [Sapa culture : Ellen Munro]
Written by Vicki Brown
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