One of the most popular routes to travel in Vietnam is to either go from north and end in the south, or the other way around. I started my journey in Hanoi and went all the way to Vietnam’s biggest city Ho Chi Minh. Here are a few of the pit stops I think you should try to include on your journey down (or up), sights that I think are well worth your time and why they are a must-see.
The capital city of Vietnam is a great place to start at if you are flying in from somewhere international. The airport is big and everyday thousands of flights fly in so you can probably find pretty good deals. Hanoi is an international metropolitan city which has welcomed travelers from every corner of the world. Not only is it beautiful to look at, there is so much to do here as well. Wander around the Old Quarter and admire the architecture, eat in one of many street food stalls, go to museums, try the famous egg coffee, walk around the lake, enjoy Hanoi’s nightlife and go shopping in one the big malls. This capital has everything that you’d want from a big city so enjoy the days you have there.
2. Ninh Binh
On the way south you should make a pit stop at this underrated town called Ninh Binh. Come here if you love nature and want to escape the busy city life for a bit. Take a boat tour, sit back and relax. Hike up to a viewpoint that will blow your mind away and get to know a very different side of Vietnam.
This former capital city is a must see on your trip to Vietnam. Wander around amongst the breathtaking monuments and get a glimpse into Vietnam’s past. You can take a walk in the palace ground and see how the emperors used to live. It is quite a fascinating place, one that should not be missed. Another popular thing to do in Hue is to take a boat tour along the Perfume River where you can enjoy some stunning views.
4. Da Nang & Hoi An
Since the distance between these two places are so close to each other, you should try to visit them both. Da Nang usually serves as a gateway for going to Hoi An since you can fly there, but the city has a lot to offer as well. Once you have been there a few days, head over to the magical town of Hoi An, which lies 40 min away with a car. Hoi An is mostly known for its lanterns that are spread out over the city and for its architecture that has been influenced by the French, Chinese and Japanese. Another must see on your trip in Vietnam.
5. Mui Ne
Who knew that sand dunes existed in Asia? Well, they do. And Mui Ne is the place to go to if you want to see them. Spend a day on the beach before embarking on a sunrise tour to see the sun rise above the sand dunes.
6. Ho Chi Minh City
You have reached your destination! Get ready to see thousands of motorbikes on the roads. It might be overwhelming in the beginning but it is a real sight to see. Take a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels and learn about Vietnam’s tumultuous past. Go out in Bui Vien, arguably the city’s best street for partying. Like any other city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has incredible food and it will be difficult to choose which one to go to. You can find everything from traditional Vietnamese cuisine to more international such as pizza. There’s also some great vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the city. Try to stay here for a few days in order to see the city properly, it becomes incredible after you’ve gotten used to the rhythm of the city.
Do not forget to apply for a Vietnam Visa before you enter the country. This is especially important for those who are not on the Vietnam visa exempted list. Depending on the country you are from, you have three options to choose from: E-Visa (this is only available for certain countries so make sure yours is on the list if you want to apply for this), Visa on Arrival or go to your local or nearest Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in order to get your visa.