Vietnam travel guide for beginners

Vietnam travel guide for beginners

Vietnam is a true paradise for backpackers. From the natural beauty of Sam Mountain and Halong Bay to the man-made art of sacred temples and pagodas and the rice terraces and beaches, this country has a lot to offer. And not to forget, the incredibly delicious food

Vietnam travel tips

Vietnam is very well connected and developed. If you want to travel a bit slower, we recommend you to travel by train.

For shorter distances, a bicycle rickshaw or a motorcycle cab is a good option, both are very cheap.

The currency is the Vietnamese Dong. 1 EUR is about 28.038.92 Dong

Day 1& 2 : Hanoi

Hanoi at sunset

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and known for its striking architecture and culture. Also, the city is a great destination for good food.

It's always worth learning a little history of the country you're visiting. Your lesson in Vietnamese history starts in Hanoi. While exploring Hanoi, visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the first communist leader of Vietnam and is often referred to as Uncle Ho by the locals.

Hanoi is all about food!

French colonial history at your fingertips

Remnants of the French colonial era

Experience the sunset at Hoan Kiem

The best experience in Hanoi is food! You can take food tours around the city to get an idea of the variety of food.

You can also take a break at Hoan Kiem or Turtle Pond to see the sunrise or sunset.

Walking through the old town of Ba Dinh, you can admire the remnants of French colonial architecture.

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Day 3 : Ninh Binh

Panoramic view of Ninh Binh surrounded by water

Ninh Binh is a popular day trip from Hanoi. You can easily get here by train or bus. It is not necessarily on the radar of most tourists, however, the place is known for beautiful rivers, caves and pagodas.

You can take a boat through Trang An (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) or sail through Tam Coc. Tam Coc is quieter than Trang An and therefore a better destination for a relaxing trip.

A boat tour Trang An Vietnam. In the background you can see green overgrown slopes and in the foreground you can see several typical Vietnamese boats with colorful fabrics

Another place you should not miss is Bich Dong Pagoda. The pagoda nestles in the jungle and is surrounded by a sea of water lilies.

If you have a little more time, climb to the Mau Caves for a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

Day 4 : Halong Bay

View of Halong Bay with emerald water, green slopes and white boats on the water

Your next destination is Halong Bay. There is a good bus connection here from Hanoi. Locally, you can book a night cruise across the emerald green waters. Enjoy Vietnamese food on board and participate in water activities. Halong Bay is the perfect place for a dive or a tour by kayak.

If you need more inspiration for a dive, check out our article " The 10 best dive spots in the world " and decide where to go next.

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Day 5 & 6 : Huế

Hue, Vietnam with an old buildings with Vietnamese flag against blue sky

Huế is just a night train ride away from Hanoi. Huế was once the capital of Vietnam and is home to the Huế Monuments complex. This wonder of urban planning was built in 1802 and you should definitely visit it.

A visit to the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda is also worthwhile. You can also just take a boat tour on the Perfume River or ride a bike through the surrounding villages and rice paddies if you need a short break from traveling.

Day 7 & 8: Hoi An

Hoi An, Vietnam with boats on a river

Now you are on your way to the ancient city of Hoi An. Spend your day strolling around the city and visit the Japanese covered bridge.

Hoi An is the perfect place to buy souvenirs like paper lanterns and silk.

Another popular activity is buying a handmade scarf in one of the boutiques in Hoi An.

Lantern festival with colorful lanterns on dark water

If you're planning to visit Hoi An during the 14. If you are in the city on the second day of the lunar month, you will experience a real spectacle here. In Hoi An, the Lantern Festival is held, where people light lanterns and place them on the Thu Bồn River to wish for good luck.

If you're visiting the Lantern Festival, be sure to check out our festival packing list here to be perfectly prepared.

Quick stop: Just a short cab ride away, the Golden Bridge (Hand Bridge) in the Ba Na Hills awaits you. The bridge was recently opened by the government and is a popular spot for Instagrammers and photographers. You should definitely check them out from up close if the weather is good, so you can also get an incredible view of the surrounding area.

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Day 9 & 10: Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at sunset. you can see the skyline and the Mekong River in the foreground

Your last stop is Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. Once in the city, you can visit Cha Tam Church, Bến ThAnh Market and the War Museum to learn more about Vietnamese culture and the war.

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