These days, people are looking for the “off the beaten track”, always trying to find something unexplored and new. But the tourist trail in Vietnam is actually one of the best in the world and is well-established. The trail runs from the northern parts of Vietnam, often starting in Hanoi going to Halong Bay, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, and ends in Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City, far in the south. Why you shouldn’t be afraid of following the tourist trail in Vietnam is because the trail already goes by some of the most stunning places in Vietnam and it would be truly a shame if one missed out on it. Here’s a few other reasons:
The public transportation runs frequently
For those who aren’t as comfortable sitting in front of a motorbike driving cross country for weeks, there’s the public transportation that works just fine. In fact, it works perfectly. You can take the train or bus that ticks off the main sites in the country. It’s very easy to get around in Vietnam by public transportation, especially if you’re following the trail. There’s also the opportunity to go by taxi, but this will be more costly.
Hanoi is amazing
The capital city of Vietnam is truly one of the most incredible cities in Asia and it wouldn’t be fair to give this city at least a few days. Whether you’re choosing to start or end your trip here, it’s a great destination to truly immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture and way of living. What makes Hanoi so interesting is that traditional meets modern here. The old town in Hanoi for example feels almost stuck in time, with its old French colonial buildings. It’s also here where you’ll find most travelers. But if you want to get away from the crowds, just take a tuk tuk to the neighboring streets or why not walk it yourself. When in Hanoi, go café hopping and try some of the most delicious coffee – some are even made with egg! The infamous egg coffee started in Hanoi and should thus be consumed here as well. It might sound strange, but it’s actually a fantastic drink that more than anything tastes like dessert. When night falls, hit the markets or go out in a pub where you will surely find live bands playing all night long. There’s always something to discover in Hanoi, the city that never sleeps.
Ho Chi Minh is equally so
The biggest city in Vietnam is also most likely the most modern city in the country, with its tall skyscrapers and shiny buildings. Although you can still find some old traditional buildings in the city, it’s definitely a more modern version of Hanoi. Still, this city is bustling 24/7 and there’s always events to attend. The restaurant and café scene here is incredible as well as the night life. The most touristy street is by far ‘Bui Vien’, which has been dubbed as the backpacker street. Although it can be worth going there for a night or so to check out the scene, there’s so much more to Ho Chi Minh City. The city is divided into districts and each of them has something to offer. It just depends on what you’re looking for.
Halong Bay is breathtaking
The beautiful Halong Bay is perhaps Vietnam’s most famous landmark. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can cruise along thousands of limestone islands and islets that was formed millions of years ago. The stunning bay is also home to white sand beaches where you can relax and unwind after traveling. The biggest island of Halong Bay is called Cat Ba and makes for an incredible getaway as well. Imagine sand beaches nestled in mountains – that’s a sight you’ll want to see.
Hoi An is romantic
There’s really no words to describe Hoi An because it simply has to be seen. This little town has become increasingly popular amongst travelers thanks to its colorful houses and lanterns, mesmerizing architecture, and charming ambience. The town is small enough for you to walk around all of it, but if you want to get outside of the ancient town, rent a bike and head to the beach.
Da Nang is calm and charming
What most people just associate with a pit stop before going to either Hue or Hoi An has now become a tourist destination of its own. Although the city is big, it still doesn’t feel like it. Life moves a bit slower here and everything’s more calm. Still, there’s plenty of things to do in Da Nang such as visiting the Marble Mountains, take a day trip to My Son, see the Dragon Bridge at night when it lights up and just sightsee around the city.
Hue is full of history
Hue used to be Vietnam’s capital city before Hanoi became it. Here lies the Imperial City with shrines and palaces. You can also visit the Forbidden Purple City which used to be the emperor’s home. Traveling in Hue is mostly to experience culture and history, but it’s also a beautiful city that’s lovely to visit for a day or two.
Mekong Delta is authentic
In the south of Vietnam, you’ll find the Mekong Delta with its vast maze of islands, rivers and swamps that is also home to floating markets, villages surrounded by rice paddies and Khmer pagodas. Since boats are the main means of transportation, you often start a tour in nearby Ho Chi Minh City or Can Tho, a town in the heart of the delta.