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Must-do highlights of Vietnam

From cruising along the tranquil waters of Halong Bay and glamping on the shores of Lak Lake to visiting sacred temples in Hue and pedalling over the mountain-high Hon Giao Pass, there are many incredible things to see and do in Vietnam. Here are the must-do highlights.
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Eat Pho in Hanoi

Pho, pronounced ‘fuh’, is Vietnam’s national dish and the city of Hanoi practically runs on this delicious beef noodle soup. Typically eaten by locals for breakfast or as a late-night snack, head to one of the noodle bars in the historic French Quarter to pick up a steaming-hot bowl of this tasty broth and get stuck in.

Crawl through Cu Chi Tunnels

Pay respect to soldiers lost in the Vietnam War with a visit to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Experience the tiny, cramped conditions in which the Viet Cong troops lived in this real-life history lesson. Uncover a secret weapons bunker in the city’s backstreets and crawl through decommissioned underground Cu Chi Tunnels.

Walk the back alleys of Old Saigon

Duck behind the curtain of highrise buildings and bright lights to unearth the more traditional pathways of Ho Chi Minh City on a walking tour through Old Saigon’s back alleyways. Immerse yourself in the eclectic atmosphere and wander through a maze of narrow streets lined with bustling markets, fragrant florist stalls and enticing cafes.

Stay overnight on a junk boat in Halong Bay

Wake up to panoramas of towering karst islands and jade-green waters on an overnight junk boat cruise in Halong Bay. Glide along tranquil waters and kayak around the craggy islets of limestone cliffs jutting out of the water. Drop anchor near to a golden sand beach and dive into the glistening warm sea for a swim before enjoying a delicious lunch of fresh seafood onboard your boat.

Make paper lanterns in Hoi An

A key part of Vietnamese culture, traditional paper lanterns are often hung outside homes to bring happiness, wealth and luck to the local people. These elegant illuminations embellish every street corner, bringing lots of colour into the city. Join a lantern-making workshop in Hoi An to try your hand at crafting one of these beautiful beacons of light and take a little piece of Vietnam back home with you.

Cycle the Hon Giao Pass

Embark on an exhilarating bike ride up and down the Hon Giao Pass on a Vietnam cycling tour. Pedal through the hills of Langbiang Plateau and dig deep as you ascend through lush pine forests and towering mountain scenery. Enjoy magnificent views at the top and enjoy a thrilling, non-stop, 30km descent, through the valleys to a well-deserved lunch stop in Khanh Vinh.

Wake up in a tent overlooking Lak Lake

Spend a night in a tented lodge near the shores of Lak Lake on our Vietnam Explorer trip. Located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, the glassy waters of this serene and tranquil lake turn to gold as the sun sets behind the rolling mountains on the horizon. Get up early for a gentle boat cruise along the lake at sunrise and visit a nearby village to learn about its abundant crops of cacao and pottery crafts.

Tuck into Banh Mi in Hue

Vietnamese street food is a popular highlight of Vietnam, in particular, Banh Mi. Banh Mi is a variation of the French baguette - a ciabatta-style roll filled with meat and pickled vegetables, garnished with mayonnaise and spices, and washed down with a strong coffee. This have-on-the-go meal can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is a common sight in the backstreets of Hue.

Take an overnight train along the coast

With a bag full of snacks and a good sense of adventure, mingle with the locals as you take an overnight train journey from Hanoi and along Vietnam’s coastline. Relax with a good book, play cards with fellow travellers and gaze out of the window to watch the lush rural countryside glide past as you journey along the tracks towards Hue.

Walk across the Japanese footbridge in Hoi An

The beautiful Japanese Bridge of Hoi An is symbolic of the town’s UNESCO Heritage. First built in the late 16th century by the town’s Japanese inhabitants, this ornately carved bridge has been well preserved in its original design. Monkey and dog statues guard the entrances of this sacred overpass and temples for the weather gods are left to ward off earthquakes.

Catch fish in the Thu Bon River

A Thu Bon River cast-net fishing lesson is a must-do activity in Hoi An. An ancient tradition of Vietnam, local fishers show you how to fling their brightly coloured nets into the river and haul in your catch. Take the opportunity to climb onboard a bowl-shaped bamboo ‘basket boat’ on our Vietnam Explorer trip and have a go at rowing it through the calm waters. 

Cycle the tropical waterways of the Mekong Delta

For some of the best cycling in Vietnam, head to the Mekong Delta on our Cycle Vietnam and Cambodia trip. Renowned for its lively floating markets, lush mangrove forests and dwarfing pagodas, this hidden network of quiet trails is a joy to explore by bike. Pedal under a canopy of lush green palm trees, traverse rickety wooden bridges and greet friendly locals as you journey along the tropical waterways on this unique an exotic cycle ride.

Walk amongst the lush rice terraces of Pu Luong

Sapa’s quieter, lesser-known little brother in the north, the rice terraces of Pu Luong are among the very best in Vietnam. Trek through a myriad of lush-green galleries cascading down the hillside on the On Foot in Vietnam trip. Neatly cut into the valleys, the dewy landscape sparkles in the sunshine and a dramatic backdrop of forested mountains blankets the horizon.

Visit Hue’s ancient temples

A visit to Vietnam wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the country’s magnificent sacred temples. Discover ancient meditation practices passed down the generations in Hue’s temples on the banks of the Perfume River and immerse yourself in the spiritual calmness of Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest and most significant places of worship in the city.

 

Discover our Vietnam tours

Explore our range of small group and private Vietnam tours. Whether you're a solo traveller, a couple, group of friends or a family, we've got a trip for you. Choose from cultural Discovery tours, walking or cycling, each with an itinerary packed with unforgettable experiences. 
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