Vietnam is a country that has plenty to see and do, including incredible natural landscapes, war museums, unique untouched villages, ancient citadels, and colonial structures. There’s an almost endless amount of things to do in this beautiful country. From getting a taste of war at the War Remnants Museum to exploring your spiritual side with the My Son Sanctuary. It is personally one of my favorite countries to visit, and this is why I keep coming back
The colonial past of Vietnam also means that the millions of visitors who stay in the country’s hotels enjoy a unique blend of Asian and French architecture. Vietnam is a country that has so much rich history, and this is definitely one of my favorite aspects. That’s to say nothing of the top quality food. With all the unique and exciting things to enjoy in the country it can be a challenge to put together an itinerary. I’ve gone through and recounted my personal favorite things to do in Vietnam because I want people to get the same enjoyment that I did. We’ve put together a list of some of the most special and unique Vietnam activities for you to enjoy.
Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels
As you explore the Cu Chi tunnels you’ll learn more about their history from an experienced professional tour guide. You’ll also take in the beautiful and serene scenery of the surrounding Ho Chi Minh City and learn how the tunnels were used during the Vietnam War.
The tour takes around six hours in total with morning and afternoon tours available. No matter which tour you take, you can expect to finish in the stunning Ho Chi Minh City. The district of Cu Chi, around 60 kilometers away from the city, is considered to be heroic for the part it played during the Vietnam war. It has achieved legendary status for the 220-kilometer long tunnel system that remains a popular spot for tourists and even Vietnamese natives to visit and remember the horrors of war and the bravery of the Vietnamese people.
“It was an awe-inspiring experience for me, and it really gave me further context on the sacrifices of the Vietnamese people.”
Given the peaceful surroundings, including rice paddies resplendent with ducks and water buffalo, it’s hard to imagine that the area was so heavily damaged during the war. It was considered a “free Target Zone” and so saw plenty of mines and bombs. The area is one of the most fierce reminders of the battles that took place here. Visitors can even take the opportunity to fire off an AK-47 if they want to.
Those who take the tour say that the guide was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. The tunnels are a bit claustrophobic but the journey was definitely worth it. This is definitely a must-see if you are in the country.
Mekong Delta Pagoda and Rowing Boat
Take a trip to the Mekong Delta and the My Tho and Ben Tre Islands and take in the local fruit gardens. Enjoy a stunning ride down the Mekong river via motor boat and walk around the villages of the My Tho and Ben Tre islands. I loved the boat ride because of the views, and the relaxing river journey.
While the Mekong Delta is around an hour and a half away from Ho Chi Minh City the journey is packed full of beautiful rice fields and other natural scenery. I was left speechless at some of natural beauty which was on show. The morning continues with a trip along the Tien River to the Tortoise Islet (known locally as the Qui).
Walk among the unique villages of the islands and visit local fruit gardens where you can sample tropical fruit while listening to traditional folk music. Join in with the daily activities of the islanders and enjoy the natural countryside. Take a trip to the bee house before enjoying a prepared lunch in the orchard garden.
The cruise continues as you pass through the Bao Dinh canal and enter Ben Tre province. It’s here that you’ll see an example of the Vietnamese agricultural model “Garden – Pond – Age” before moving on to the candy shop. Once the boat ride is all said and done you’ll enjoy a bike ride around the island before the day comes to an end.
Keep in mind that you’ll be exposed to a lot of natural products, most of which are for sale. It’s easy to feel pressured into buying something and leaving tips. I recommend selecting a few products that you really need.
Phu Quoc 4 Islands Boat Tour
This tour will show you the absolute best of Phu Quoc. You’ll see four of the most beautiful islands in the region in a single day. Things start out with a beautiful cable car ride before you visit the islands in order – from Thom Island to Mong Tay Island to Gom ghi Island to May Rut Island.
Admire the stunning panoramic ocean views from the cable car and enjoy the sights of the different islands. This includes the Sun World Nature Park of Thom Island, the pristine coasts of May Rut island, and the crystal clear waters of Gam Ghi that are perfect for snorkeling.
Your journey begins with a pickup from your hotel. From there you are taken to the cable car station where you travel through the sky in spectacular fashion and enjoy the incredible views of the An Tho Archipelago and ocean. Keep an eye out for the remote villages, fishing boats, and floating houses dotting the water as you pass over.
The ride comes to an end on Thom Island, which is home to the Sun World Nature Park. Spend some time exploring the park and taking in the wonderful flora and fauna before returning to the boat and going back to exploring the islands. The first stop will be the Mong Tay Island, where you’ll have the chance to relax on the stunning sandy beaches and soak up the sunlight. I personally loved these beaches since the sand was so soft and the sea was so beautiful.
The next stop is Gam Chi Island where you can cool down with a refreshing dip in the clear ocean water. If you’re so inclined you can grab a snorkel and look for some stunning coral reefs or other beautiful marine life. By this point you’ve likely got quite an appetite, so prepare to enjoy lunch on the boat while taking in the stunning ocean views around you. There’s no better way to enjoy a meal.
When lunch is over it’s time to head to the May Rut Island, which is the last island you’ll visit. Here’s where you can stroll across the beach and take in the palm trees. Take advantage of the idyllic surroundings and let yourself go. Swim in the ocean or just take in the sun. When it’s all said and done you’ll have had one unforgettable journey.
Ha Long Bay and Monkey Island Cruise
This island cruise will show you the very best of Ha Long Bay and La Hay that takes you from Cat Ba to Monkey Island. You’ll enjoy a beautiful scenic cruise across the Lan Ha Bay, including visiting a floating village. The trip includes a kayaking journey through Bat Cave, Bright Cave, and Dark Cave.
It all begins with a trip to the Beo Pier, during which you’ll see stunning mountain scenery. Once you’re on the boat and the cruise begins, you’ll take the scenic route to La Han Bay. La Han Bay is one of the quieter areas of the ever-popular Ha Long Bay. During the cruise you can visit fishing villages and see how the Vietnamese fishermen spend their daily lives.
The cruise continues with a trip to the Ha Long Bay. You’ll have the chance to take in the incredible limestone formations including the Sailing Islet, Frog Islet, and Pen Islet. There’s also the chance for a quick dip in Cam Lagoon before going back to the boat for lunch. It can be fun to go for a swim and then head back for lunch.
After lunch things move on to Hang Ca, including a trip to a local fish farm. From there comes a kayak trip through Dark Cave, Bright Cave, and Bat Cave. This cruise takes you along the lesser-known sites so that you can see some of the most stunning and exotic scenery that Vietnam has to offer. When the kayak journey is over it’s time to visit a deserted boat for a snorkel, swim, or just a quick lie down and drink. This is also a great time to take some photographs to remember your day by. Before everything is said and done you go home, the cruise passes through Monkey Island. Monkey Island offers some of the most stunning views around and the hike to reach the best spots is more than worth it.
People who have taken this tour commend the quality of the tour guides and the food served. I can personally say that these guides know what they are talking about. The guides are all excellent English speakers and will be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Basket Boat Ride and Cooking Class in Hoi An
This is your chance to see what life is like in rural Vietnam. You’ll visit the local market, take a cruise along the Thu Bon river, and even take in a cooking class. Experience the hustle and bustle of the Hoi An morning market and explore the coconut palm forest in a bamboo boat.
The day starts with a pickup from the hotel. You’ll visit a Hoi An morning market where you can enjoy the latest seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs, meats, fish, and noodles on offer. Talk to the vendors and practice your haggling skills – and learn more about getting a bargain.
Take a journey along the Thu Bon River to see traditional fishing boats and nets up close. Take a journey along the water coconut palms from inside a bamboo basket boat and learn how to use a fishing net like a traditional fisherman. Listen to the folk songs and get some handmade souvenirs made using coconut leaves.
With the traditional cooking class you’ll learn how to prepare and make traditional Vietnamese food including papaya salad, spring rolls, and pork in clay pots.
Saigon Skydeck and Heineken Experience
Take a ride to the top of the Bitexco Financial Tower and see the Saigon Skydeck. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city below from the most iconic buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. While you’re up there, you can enjoy the Heineken Experience Interactive Tour including beer tasting and games.
The 49th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower offers stunning 360 degree views of Saigon complete with informative interactive displays. Learn more about the city and what you are looking at and use the binoculars to get a better view of things that stand out.
The journey continues with a visit to the World of Heineken where you’ll learn more about the long history of Heineken, which was founded all the way back in 1873. Explore the brewing process Heineken uses which includes barley, hopes, distilled water, and their proprietary A-yeast. The ingredients are “boiled” into beer and you can see the process for yourself in a stunning 4D movie. There’s also racing games to enjoy and you can learn the professional way to pour beer. Of course, there’s also plenty of beer on offer in the official Heineken bar if you feel like a drink after all of that.
Saigon City Motorbike Tour
The best way to see Saigon is undoubtedly on the back of a bike. You’ll be taken around the city by a guide who speaks excellent English and can drive just as well. Explore all of the different areas of the city from traditional tourist destinations to more local and rural areas. You’ll see seven districts of the city, all with their own unique history and all of which are known for different things.
District 1 of Saigon is home to the Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Nguyen Hue walking Street, the Central post Office, and the Student Bet park. It’s also home to some stunning French colonial architecture. District 3 is where you’ll learn more about the Venerable Thich Quang Duc Monument, which commemorates the Thich Quang Doc monk who burned himself to protest against the persecution of Buddhism in 1963. The district is home to the middle class and features a tranquil atmosphere.
Move on to district 10 to see the most beautiful flower market of Saigon. This is a must for flower lovers. There’s all manner of imported and local tropical flowers all available at reasonable prices. Districts 5 and 6 play home to the most active shopping districts and markets as well as China Town. This includes traditional Chinese medicine, bird markets, and fabric markets.
To put it simply; this tour shows you the real Saigon up close and personal. In my opinion, it is something not to be missed.
See What Vietnam Has to Offer
Vietnam is a very beautiful country with a lot to offer to visitors. From beautiful natural scenery to traditional markets to a rich history, there’s so much to see and do in Vietnam. These are just some of the things to do in Vietnam and is by no means a comprehensive list. Take a visit to the country for yourself and see what it has to offer. I am sad that I could not fit in everything to do, but I know that this list has all of the essentials covered. If you are in Vietnam, then these are some of the best things you can get up to.