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10 Most Exotic Things to do in Vietnam

A soul-soothing stretch of land in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is an absolute travel destination for globetrotters. With plenty of world-class attractions that include natural landscapes, stunning architecture, interesting historical sites, colonial beauties, citadels and a lot more, Vietnam leaves every visitor amazed. The sleepy serene villages by the coast or deep inside the mainland make for great outdoor ventures. The Vietnamese cuisine has also managed to find itself on the global menu and that’s why the country is loved even by foodies. Witness the real beauty of Vietnam, the exotic neighbour of Cambodia, Laos, and China, with these top things to do. Read on for more.

Top Things To Do In Vietnam

1. Try Vietnamese Cuisine

top things to do in Vietnam - Vietnamese Cuisine

The food in Vietnam is simply delightful. Most of the Vietnamese dishes are based on soup and have fish sauce, shrimp paste, fish herbs and vegetables as the main ingredients. However, all the delicacies have their own distinct flavour and taste. So, do stop by at an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in the cities and towns of Vietnam and dine on the lip-smacking Vietnamese food.

Average Cost: $4 per meal

Ideal Timings: 09:00 am to 09:00 pm

Pro Tip: The best places for street food in Vietnam include Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


2. Explore the Heavenly Phong Nha-Ke Bang Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

How about stepping into a kingdom that looks like a fairy-tale land? Well, Vietnam is full of gorgeous locations like Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is noted for its beautiful caves and grottos and of course, wonderful landscapes. Son Doong, which is one of the world’s largest natural caves, is also located here. Doesn’t it sound wonderful? Apart from cave expeditions, you can indulge in hiking, picnicking, boating, photography and more here.

Entry fee: $7 per person

($5 – $15 for the boat to access the caves)

Timings: 07:00 am to 04:00 pm

Pro Tip: Book a guided tour and they would take you through the best of hidden trails.


3. Lose Yourself at Nha Trang

Nha Trang

Nha Trang serves you the sand, the sea and amazing architecture and that’s why this coastal gem is frequented by thousands of travellers from around the country and beyond every year. Find it filled with all the coastal delights during summers as you lounge by the shoreline that extends for about 6 km. Hit the bars and try different kinds of cocktails. Take a swimming break and have some fun with your family in dedicated swimming areas. Also, try the gondola lift and explore cathedrals and temples.

Average Cost: $20 – $2 for a day in the city

Timings: Anytime

Pro Tip: There is also an excellent museum dedicated to the work of Alexandre Yersin. Do check it out!


4. Embrace the History of Hoi An

Hoi An

Lying on the central coast and one of the most notable and admired places in Vietnam, Hoi An is a great ancient town that reflects the country’s importance back in the day. Sail down its old canals or walk by French-colonial houses and you get to understand the magnificence this UNESCO-listed city held in the past. Explore the beautiful Japanese bridge or sit by the riverfront and gaze upon the old wooden quarters. Hoi An shares an insight into the prestigious times of Vietnam. It has equally striking markets and entertainment centres.

Entry fee: $5 per person

Timings: 08:30 am to 06:00 pm

Pro Tip: Do try the free bike tour here!


5. Walk the Old Streets of Hanoi

Hanoi

Hanoi is the pulse of Vietnam for it is the most important centre and also the capital city of Vietnam. A place that intrigues travelers as much as it charms them, Hanoi has different worlds to look out for. You have beautiful urban streets and roads and also colourful markets and infotainment complexes. You have ancient temples and citadels and great architecture and also lakes for some extra fun. Go out for a free walk in the streets of the Old Quarter and bump into a vibrant crowd to capture the unusual chaos it boasts of. The city also has some great museums to explore.

Average Cost: No entrance fee

Timings: 06:00 am to 06:00 pm

Pro Tip: Hanoi has a number of hidden cafes. Visit the Old Quarter here to come across a variety of them.

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6. Cruise Down the Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam is dotted with more than 1500 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sq km. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1994, this surrealistic place is like something right out of a fantasy movie. Located at an approx. 4-hour drive from Hanoi, it is too spectacular to miss. The region is home to different kinds of limestone caves such as phreatic caves, karstic foot caves, and marine notch caves. The major activities to indulge in here include exploring the cave formations, kayaking around rocky outcrops and observing wildlife.

Average Cost: $150 – $300 for luxury cruises

Ideal Timings: 06:00 am to 06:00 pm


7. Get Thrilled at Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels are an extensive tunnel network that was used during World War to allow troops to operate and communicate in the region surrounding Ho Chi Minh City. Hence, the place is of great cultural and historical significance today. It is an absolutely fascinating experience not just for those interested in Vietnam’s military but for all those who feel and live history. At some places, you would also be required to crawl to move ahead!

Entry fee: $5 per person

Timings: 07:00 am to 05:00 pm

Pro Tip: If you are a claustrophobia sufferer, then avoid visiting it.


8. Feel Royal in the Setting of Hue

Hue Vietnam

Hue is an ancient city in Vietnam that has a history dating back hundreds of years ago. Its imperial architecture, majestic corners, regal surroundings and that age-old aura in its streets – all together make this place worth exploring. However, its major attraction includes the relics from the rule of the 19th century Nguyen emperor. Check out the palace and explore the marvellous interior. Take a look at the Dien Tho Residence where the Queen Mothers used to live and a lot more. Hue takes you on a historic tour of Vietnam letting you understand the country’s glory.

Entry fee: $7 per person

Ideal Timings: 08:00 am to 05:30 pm

Pro Tip: Explore around late in the evening and witness the magical surroundings of the Perfume River.


9. Visit the Countryside Sapa

Sapa Vietnam

Surrounded by the staggering Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa nurtures deep valleys and a sleepy mountain town that wakes up to soothing mornings and enjoys colourful evenings every day. Though it can easily be claimed to be one of the most delightful places in Vietnam, it is predominantly offbeat and is visited by those who love exploring nature’s hidden trails. Take a look at its pleasing countryside lifestyle as the place houses numerous tribal groups reside. Get great sights of terrace fields and enjoy hiking, camping and more here.

Entry fee: No entrance fee

Ideal Timings: 06:00 am to 06:00 pm

Pro Tip: Sapa has a few beautiful spa centres. Try a massage session here.


10. Explore the Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta

This is a must-have experience while in Vietnam. Paddle across the Mekong Delta and meander your way up the waterways reaching the floodplains. Come across lush green fields and mangroves while exploring by boat. Sail under the shades of small trees and have a nice time reconnecting with nature. The waters here are also home to floating markets where you discover the wild yet beautiful chaos of Vietnam. No wonder it is one of the most interesting places to visit in Vietnam.

Average Cost: $8 – $10 per day per person including food and boating

Ideal Timings: 07:00 am to 05:00 pm

Pro Tip: Take boat trips from Ca Mau as en route to explore U Minh Mangrove Forest and Cau Mau Nature Reserve.

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