The Ultimate Vietnam Travel Guide: Attraction 2023
Vietnam is a beautiful and diverse country located in Southeast Asia. It offers a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re interested in exploring bustling cities, serene countryside, or breathtaking natural wonders, Vietnam has something to offer for everyone. Here is a Vietnam travel guide to help you plan your trip.
“Going to Vietnam for the first time was life-changing for sure… The food, culture, landscape, and smell; they’re all inseparable. It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go.”
Land of the Blue Dragon
Vietnam: Where motorbikes outnumber the people. For most travelers, this country is synonymous with three things: Frenetic cities, incredible outdoor adventures, and some of the best food on earth.
After my first visit to Vietnam when I traveled the entire length of the country on the Reunification Express, I told myself that, unlike the 97% of people who only visit once, I’d be back. Years later, I moved to Hanoi to work with an NGO – an experience I’ll never forget. I have more dear friends in Hanoi than almost any other city. Vietnam feels like a second home to me.
From the jagged peaks of Ha Giang to the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, the one thing Vietnam isn’t lacking is variety. Join the crush inside the canary yellow walls of Hoi An’s UNESCO Ancient Town, chase dragons in Hue, then find room to breathe in one of rural Northern Vietnam’s hidden oases.
Between the velvety rice terraces of Sapa and Mu Cang Chai and the prickly limestone karsts of Halong Bay and Ninh Binh, you’ll find sand dunes in Mui Ne, waterwheels in Pu Luong, tea fields in Thai Nguyen, and hundreds of sweet hamlets and fascinating small cities in between.
From rustic homestays to boutique apartments, sipping cocktails in a Saigon sky bar to knocking back a glass at a bia hoi in Hanoi. Vietnam might come off as a little aloof, but at the end of the day, she certainly knows how to treat her guests.
WHEN TO GO
The best time to visit Vietnam is from March to April when rainfall is low and temperatures are milder.
In a country more than 1,600 km (1,000 miles) long, the weather in Vietnam varies considerably as you go from north to south, from a temperate to a tropical climate.
When to visit North Vietnam (Sapa, Hanoi, Halong Bay)
The north of Vietnam experiences cold dry winters from December to February, where overnight temperatures can dip to 4°C (39°F). The summer months (May to August) are typically very hot and humid. The best time to visit northern Vietnam is during spring (March to April) and autumn (September to November), when days are generally warm and sunny.
When to visit Central Vietnam (Hue, Hoi An)
The coast of central Vietnam is often battered with typhoons during its wet season. It’s difficult to predict when these heavy rains and hurricane-like winds can hit coastal cities like Hoi An, but generally, typhoon seasons run from August to November. The rainy season usually subsides in February, when you can expect warmer temperatures and more sunshine. While travelers will experience pleasant weather in Central Vietnam any time between February and August, sunny 30°C (86°F) days are the norm in July and August.
When to visit South Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta)
South Vietnam experiences warm, pleasant temperatures year-round, making travel good at any time. The dry season generally runs from December to May and the rainy season runs from June through November. While flooding can occur, rain usually comes in short bursts and rarely impacts travel. In fact, the monsoon season is often the best time for photography as dramatic thunderheads float across the Mekong Delta and rice fields turn a vibrant emerald green. Some, however, might find temperatures unbearable from March to May, when the mercury regularly reaches 40°C (104°F).
HOW LONG IN VIETNAM?
3-4 full days for Hanoi; 2 weeks for the highlights; 3-4 weeks for a good overview.
Fly into Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh; bus from any neighboring country.
eVisa/VOA (single entry; 30 days) or visa-free for some.
Domestic flights (Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airways, Pacific Airlines, etc…); train; bus/minivan.
WHERE TO STAY
Family-run guesthouses, homestays, or hotels.
TOURS & EXPERIENCES
Food tours, history walks, and trekking.