Things not to miss in Vietnam
#02 Temples and Pagodas
Vietnamese temples and pagodas reflect the country’s diverse range of religions: Long Son Pagoda in Nha Trang is a good example.
The most important festival in the Vietnamese calendar, Tet sees the New Year ushered in with colourful flower markets, spectacular fireworks and exuberant dragon dances.
#04 Cu Chi tunnels
Look out for the spiked booby traps that Vietnamese guides reveal for visitors to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Viet Cong tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City © ImaginativeGifts/Shutterstock
#05 Bia Hoi
Bia hoi bars are fun, friendly, cheap and a great way to mingle with the locals. Order a bia hoi (lager-like draught) in any of the back lanes in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
#06 The Citadel, Hué
The former capital’s historic citadel, mausoleums and gardens are idiosyncratic enough to impress even the most jaded traveller.
Enjoy a performance of mua roi nuoc, an art form developed in the Red River Delta around Hanoi.
#08 Express Silk Tailoring
Visit one of the many Hoi An tailors who can rustle up a made-to-measure silk dress or suit in just a few hours.
#09 Trekking around Sa Pa
Trek in the northern mountains around Sa Pa – a small market town perched on a plateau facing Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s highest peak.
#10 Lak Lake
Paddle the serene waters of Lak Lake in a dug-out canoe, ride on an elephant or take a guided trek into the surrounding forests before a sunset feast overlooking the water.
#11 Hoi An
With its rich cultural heritage, beautifully preserved merchants’ houses and slow pace of life, Hoi An is a captivating place to spend a few days.
#12 The Red River Delta
Slow the pace down with a trip to the countryside and experience a lifestyle little changed in centuries. For more information, see the section on Far North.
#13 The Mekong Delta
Putter through this fertile farming region, surrounded by classic Vietnamese scenery.
#14 Take a Cyclo Ride
The quintessential Vietnamese mode of transport gives you an up-close view of street life. For more information, see the section on local transport.
#15 A boat trip in Ha Long Bay
The thousands of limestone islands jutting out of these silent waters have been dubbed the eighth natural wonder of the world.
© VLADYSLAV DANILIN/Shutterstock
#16 Chill out on Phu Quoc
Unspoilt beaches lined with coconut trees circle the island. You can also sail south to the unspoilt An Thoi islands for fine snorkelling.
#17 Ride the Reunification Express
The legacy of French rule can be found in the impressive examples of colonial architecture, such as Hanoi’s Opera House.
#19 Traditional music
Music is the most important of all Vietnam’s performing arts and a traditional performance should feature on every itinerary. For more information, see the section on music and theatre.
#20 Browse the markets
Markets such as Binh Tay are good grazing grounds for snacks. Have a soup, spring roll, sticky rice cake – or even a baguette filled with pâte–to keep you going while you shop.
#21 Adventure sports
Rock-climbing, kitesurfing, kayaking and mountain biking are just a few of the heart-pumping activities awaiting thrill-seekers.
#22 Cao Dai Cathedral
Vietnam’s most charismatic indigenous religion goes in for exuberant architecture and ceremonies.
#23 Bahnar villages
Spend the night in a communal house (rong) where timeless ceremonies are performed and village decisions made.
#24 Street food
Soak up the atmosphere at a street kitchen and have your plate piled high with a selection of fresh food for next to nothing. For more information, see the section on street food.
#25 Nha Trang
Take a snorkelling trip in the emerald waters of the outlying islands around Nha Trang, or simply chill out on the beach.
Planning your trip to Vietnam
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
7 Unmissable things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
Irrepressible Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling hub of Vietnam’s south. You’ll often hear locals refer to it as Saigon, the name it went by when it served a…
4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track
4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track. The Vietnamese have a saying: “A day of travelling will bring a basketful of learning”. When it comes…
Video: 6 places you need to visit in Vietnam
Vietnam has long been a favoured haunt for backpackers – and it's little wonder. The fragrant food markets, leafy tea plantations and generous stretches of un…