Vietnam has always been a tourist hotspot that glowed on the global map. From tranquil and breathtaking scenery to sleepless and bustling cities, every traveller is bound to find something to enjoy here. Our exquisite cuisine, long history and ancient traditions make the perfect place to explore and make unforgettable experiences. This is the ultimate Vietnam travel guide that gives you the best tips on where to go and what to do to enjoy Vietnam to the fullest.
Since May 15 2022, Vietnam has reopened its border and lifted COVID-19 testing requirements for all international arrivals. This is great news for British tourists that want to travel from the UK to Vietnam. If you’re a British citizen visiting Vietnam for less than 15 days, a visa is not required. However, a visa is necessary for British Nationals who intend to stay for between 15 and 30 days. For many visa types, UK citizens can acquire a visa upon arrival. However, it’s best to prepare in advance to ensure a smooth entry into Vietnam*.
*The entry requirements can be amended by the Gov, visit here to see the most up to date information.
The easiest and quickest way is to apply online for an e-visa, which can be done 6 months before the trip. The e-visa grants you a maximum of 30 days in Vietnam with a limitation of 33 entry and exit ports. You can find the most up-to-date information about entry requirements to Vietnam on the UK Gov’s website.
In addition, we highly recommend you acquire travel insurance before your trip. Check carefully to make sure it covers important aspects such as coronavirus-related events and medical treatment. Refer to the UK Government’s Foreign travel insurance for more information.
Direct and non-stop flights from London to Hanoi will typically take a bit more than 11 hours. If you transit in Bangkok, Dubai, France, Qatar or Turkey, the travelling time will be around 16 hours. Meanwhile, travelling from London to Ho Chi Minh City including a stopover takes 15 hours and 5 minutes.
Airlines from the UK to Vietnam include Emirates, Vietnam Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. You can also take Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, China Southern, or Thai Airways. Affordable flights from the UK to Vietnam can be found using Skyscanner.
Every citizen, visitor and tourist in Vietnam must carry a photographic ID at all times. For emergency, dial 113 to reach the police, 114 for fire and 115 for ambulance.
Vietnam is considered a safe place for backpackers and travellers as violent crime is rare. However, iIn main tourist areas such as Halong Bay, beware of scamming and petty theft. Keep your valuables with you at all times and don’t leave them unattended.
The best apps to book hotels and accommodation in Vietnam are Airbnb, Booking.com, Agoda and Traveloka. If you intend to travel by motorbike, ensure that you have experience riding a motorbike and a good quality helmet. Be careful to hire a vehicle from a trusted organisation. Although motorbike scams are not common, take photos and videos of the vehicle when the vendor hands it to you. This will serve as a proof if the vendor tries to charge you for pre-existing damage of the rented vehicle.
Most importantly, you must have the correct international licence(s) and get your travel insurance to cover your Vietnam travel itinerary. The travel insurance will protect you against injury, illness, theft and cancellations. Without appropriate travel insurance, you will have to pay yourself if anything goes wrong, which could cost thousands of pounds.
So, with that set aside…
Our Vietnam travel guide starts with some of the best places in the North of Vietnam. The golden rice fields, spectacular mountains and stunning beaches should be on your bucket list.
Hanoi is a major tourist destination that should definitely be on your Vietnam travel itinerary. Home of well-preserved French colonial architecture, museums and historical landmarks of Vietnamese imperial periods, Hanoi is also famous for its food and is a great destination should you wish to explore nearby beautiful places such as taking a cruise around Halong Bay or go trekking in Sapa. The best time to visit Hanoi is in Autumn (around September to November) and Spring (March and April).
The city centre includes four main areas – Old Quarter, French Quarter, Ba Dinh and West Lake. While the Old Quarter is popular for an abundance of cheap, backpacker accommodation, you can find more four and five-star hotels at the French Quarter. Both are surrounded by the Hoan Kiem Lake and offer plenty of beautiful architecture, food options, shops and markets.
For those looking for a quieter place to stay and want to take a break from the city hustle, Ba Dinh and West Lake are ideal places. However, the surrounding area still has a lot of historical sites and places to eat.
Not only famous for its architecture and history, Hanoi is also well-known for its diverse and unique delicacies. Make sure to try these must-try dishes while you’re exploring Hanoi.
Halong Bay was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 for its universal and outstanding aesthetic value. At Halong Bay, you’ll be able to explore and immerse yourself in an amazing system of natural grottos and caves, stunning limestone mountains above beautiful emerald waters, secluded islands and ancient floating villages. The best time to visit the bay area is from October to December (Autumn).
Being an ecotourism site, in peak season, Halong Bay can be quite crowded. Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay are nearby areas that are worth travelling to. Regardless of the destination, booking a cruise trip is one of the best ways to visit these wonderful sites. You can visit Hanoi first, leave your heavy or excess luggage here and pack lightly to enjoy the journey.
A heaven for seafood lovers, some must-try specialties include mantis shrimp vermicelli, ‘xoi trang cha muc’ (sticky rice with grilled chopped squid), ‘banh cuon cha muc’ (pancakes with grilled chopped squid), ‘mon ngan’ (ngan dish), ‘sa sung’ (sipunculus), horseshoe crab and Hoanh Bo soaked wine rice. With fresh local ingredients and skillful hands, tourists will have a delightful culinary experience here.
The picturesque mountain town is nestled in the Northwest region of Vietnam. The town is well-known for its stunning mountain views and breathtaking beauty, making it one of the top destinations in Vietnam for adventurers and nature lovers. There are numerous attractions in this area including the terraced rice fields, the majestic Fansipan and Ham Rong Mountains, and lovely ethnic communities like Cau May, Cat Cat, and Ta Phin. The most suitable time to visit Sapa is Spring, which lasts from February to May. This time of the year, blossoms are at every corner of Sapa, from valleys, hillsides, town roads to mountain slopes.
The must-eats in Sapa – albeit can be strange and unusual, however tourists should try at least once are ‘thang co’ (horse meat, viscera and herbs soup), ‘thit trau gac bep’ (dried buffalo meat), and ‘ga den’ (black chicken). Other delicacies include ‘xoi bay mau’ (seven-colours sticky rice), grilled food, ‘com lam’ (bamboo sticky rice), salmon and sturgeon hotpot, ‘mam da’, ‘men men’ (steamed corn flake), ‘mac cop’ (Sapa’s wild pear) and Sapa wine (Assam Apple wine).
Located in the Northern region of Vietnam, Ninh Binh is a popular travel destination for both domestic and international visitors. It is a captivating location to visit because of its magnificent limestone karsts, magnificent temples and pagodas, and extraordinarily vast rice paddies.
The Trang An complex, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Mua Cave, and Bai Dinh Pagoda are a few of the must-see locations here. Ninh Binh is in its prime from late May to early June, or from September to October.
In addition to its stunning scenery, Ninh Binh is also famous for its mouthwatering specialties including baked rice crust, goat cheese, Ninh Binh goat meat, Nho Quan wine and mountain snails. The culinary culture of the region has been passed down from generation to generation, so it’s the perfect place to challenge your taste bud with these local specialities.
Located in the Southwest of Son La Province, Moc Chau is a well-known picturesque mountainous district with four distinct seasons. Also known as the green plateau of Son La, Moc Chau leaves travellers spellbound thanks to its breathtaking plum, apricot, cherry blossoms and stunning bright green tea plantations. Must-visit destinations are Ang Village pine forests, Moc Chau Tea Hill, the Mu Nau plum valley, Grassland 68, Chieng Khoa, Fairy and Dai Yem waterfalls, Pha Luong Peak, Bach Long (White Dragon) glass bridge, and sunflower gardens.
In January, February and March, most tourists flock to Moc Chau to enjoy the dreamy scenery full of flower blossoms. From April to June, you can take part in the plum-harvesting season with the locals. Meanwhile, October, November and December are great months for wild flowers blooming, especially white cauliflower blossoms.
The specialities that you should not miss during your trip in Moc Chau are ‘be chao Moc Chau’ (deep-fry calf or veal), Moc Chau cow milk, ‘ca suoi nuong’ (grilled spring fish), ‘thit trau gac bep Moc Chau’ (Moc Chau dried buffalo smoked-meat), salmon, ‘xoi ngu sac’ (five-colours sticky rice) and ‘ruou ngo Moc Chau’ (Moc Chau corn alcohol).
Ha Giang is the ideal location for biking or walking while taking in the breathtaking mountain vistas as you ascend the winding route that clings to the mountainside. The unique culturally diverse province is the home of numerous ethnic groups including the Hmong, Tay, and Dao people, who have passed down their traditional customs and beliefs over generations. The mountainous landscape looks magnificent all year round. However, avoid July and August if possible due to the possibility of heavy rain and landslides.
Explore the Ha Giang loop by motorbike to immerse yourself in the impressive mountain passes and roads. If you’re into trekking or exploring local minority villages, Hoang Su Phi is the perfect location. Lung Cu Flag Tower is also a great place to visit since it is the tallest flag tower in Vietnam signalling the most northern point in the country. What makes it even better is the spectacular mountain scenery on the way to Lung Cu.
When in Ha Giang, the top dishes that tourists must try include ‘banh cuon trung’ (steamed rice rolls with egg), multicoloured sticky rice, Au Tau porridge (a nutritious porridge made of sticky rice, green beans, and pork), ‘thang den’ (made from sticky rice flour which can be wrapped in bean paste or without filling), thang co’ (horse meat, viscera and herbs soup) and ‘Bac Me lam rice’ (Bac Me glutinous rice). Ha Giang is also famous for its tea, honey and medicine herbs which are harvested directly from the local hills and forests.
Being the geographic heart of the nation, the centre of Vietnam is well-known for its hospitality, smiling locals, historical sites, cultural interest and a bustling nightlife.
The charming ancient town named Hoi An is located in Central Vietnam, and it is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. The city is recognised for its vibrant nightlife in addition to its well-preserved historical architecture and cultural heritage.
As the sun goes down, tourists can indulge themselves in the vibrant and exciting nightlife filled with Hoi An night market, lantern-lit streets, music venues and live bars. Hoi An’s custom suit and tailor-made clothing is also something travellers adore due to the quality produced by the skillful hands of the locals. In addition, Cau Temple, Hoi An Silk Village, Hoi Quan Phuoc Kien, Old House of Tan Ky and Thanh Ha Pottery Village are also great places to visit.
Hoi An’s delicious and mouth-watering street food which include ‘Cao Lau’ (Hoi An’s noodle dish made of Cau Lau noodles, barbecue pork, pork crackling, bean sprouts, lettuce and herbs), Quang noodles, chicken rice, wontons, ‘banh bao banh vac’ (white rose dumplings), Hoi An chicken rice, Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Condensed Milk, ‘banh xeo’ (Vietnamese pancakes), ‘banh mi’ (Vietnamese sandwich) and ‘goi cuon’ (Vietnamese spring roll).
Coming to Danang, you’ll feel a slow pace of life with hospitable and lovely locals.Situated near several UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Hoi An Ancient town and the Cham ruins near My Son, Da Nang is the cleanest city in Vietnam with the largest Cham sculpture collection in the world. January to May is considered the best time to visit Da Nang thanks to minimal rain, sunny skies and less humidity.
The Golden Bridge, Han River Bridge, Dragon Bridge, Thuan Phuoc Bridge, and Love Bridge are just a few of the gorgeous bridges that Da Nang is home to. Visit Son Tra Peninsula, Ba Na Hills, Marble Mountains, the world cultural heritage My Son or Ghenh Bang for beautiful landscapes. Other poetic attractions include Non Nuoc Beach, My Khe Beach and Xuan Thieu Beach.
You should not skip ‘banh nam, banh bot loc’ (Vietnamese rice dumpling cakes with shrimp and pork fillings), ‘mi Quang’ (Quang noodles), sliced pork rolled with rice paper, duck porridge, ‘nem tre’ (fermented pork roll), ‘bun mam nem’ (vermicelli salad with pork and anchovy sauce), ‘banh mi’ (Vietnamese sandwich), grilled fish cake noodle, and ‘banh dap’ (steamed rice pancakes with an extra layer of grilled rice paper outside).
One of the top destinations in Vietnam, Nha Trang attracts tourists with its breathtaking scenery, a wealth of cultural attractions, and comfortable weather all year long. Between February and May is the best time to visit Nha Trang as the temperature is around 26 to 27 degrees. If you’re interested in diving, January and October is the peak diving season in Nha Trang.
Hon Tre Island, Doc Let Beach, Yang Bay Waterfall, Hon Mun Island, Diep Son Island, Van Phong Bay are just a few of the breath-taking scenery that can be found in this area. Other than the scenic beaches, you can also visit the National Oceanographic Museum, Nha Trang Cathedral, Ponagar Cham Towers, and Long Son Pagoda to learn more about the architectural and cultural landmarks.
Naturally, Nha Trang’s cuisine is all about the fresh and rich seafood. Some must-try dishes are grilled fish cake noodles, ‘nem nuong’ (grilled fermented pork rolls), ‘banh can’ (rice flour pancakes), jellyfish vermicelli, Binh Ba lobster, white sardine fish salad, squid pancakes and Dac seed sweet soup.
Representing the land of heritage, Hue is the religion, cultural and political heart of Vietnam that you won’t want to miss. From historical sites such as Hue Ancient Citadel Relic Complex, Truong Tien Bridge, Lap An Marsh Lagoon, Tam Giang Lagoon, Lang Co Bay, Ngu Binh Mountain to marvellous landscapes and ancient palaces, theatres, temples, pagodas and royal mausoleums.
UNESCO has recognised Hue’s traditional royal court music – ‘Nha Nhac Cung Dinh’ (or ‘Royal court’s refined music’) as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage in 2003. You can enjoy ‘Nha Nhac Cung Dinh’ at the Duyet Thi Duong Palace or on the boat on Huong River (Perfume River).
Arguably having the best dishes in the country, Hue’s cuisine leave tourists spellbound with its ‘bun bo Hue’ (Hue beef noodle soup), ‘bun hen’ (Hue mussels noodle), ‘banh khoai’ (Hue crispy pancakes’), ‘nem lui’ (lemongrass skewers pork), ‘bun thit nuong’ (grilled pork noodle) and numerous rice powder cakes such as ‘banh beo’, ‘banh nam’, ‘banh loc’, ‘ram it’.
The first thing that comes to mind when mentioning Quang Binh is its famous UNESCO-recognised World Natural Heritage – Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. With its lush forests, limestone mountains, and exotic beaches, it is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. Some of the most magnificent caverns in the world, including the well-known Son Doong Cave, can be found in Quang Binh. This is a fantastic choice for natural lovers to make unforgettable experiences. The best time to go to Quang Binh is around April and May as there is minimal chance of rainfalls but not too hot.
During your time here, pay a visit to Phong Nha Caves, Son Doong Cave, En Cave, Tien Cave, Thien Duong Cave (Paradise Cave), Hang Toi Cave (Dark Cave) and Phong Nha Botanic Garden.
Some Quang Binh’s specialties include ‘banh xeo Quang Hoa’ (Quang Hoa pancakes), ‘chat chat banh trang’ (rice paper with chat chat), ‘chao ca’ (fish porridge), ‘khoai deo’ (soft sweet potatoes), and ‘banh bot loc’ (shrimp and pork tapioca dumplings). With skillful hands, the local chefs in Quang Binh will surprise your taste buds with fresh seafood caught right in the area.
From bustling and sleepless cities, floating markets to natural beaches and islands, you’ll want to note it down on your Vietnam travel guide.
Our Vietnam travel guide wouldn’t be complete without Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. This is a bustling and fast-paced city that never sleeps, with exciting nightlife, vibrant culture, friendly people and exotic street food. Schedule your trip to come to Ho Chi Minh during December to March, as this is the dry season with less rain, cool temperature during the day and chilly atmosphere at night.
If you’re an architecture enthusiast, pay a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and Saigon Opera House (Municipal Theatre) to learn about the French influence on Vietnamese architecture during their colonisation from 1884 to 1954. To learn more about Vietnam’s heroic and triumphant history, explore historical sites such as the Independence Palace, Cu Chi Tunnels, War Remnants Museum and Nha Rong Wharf.
Meanwhile, Bui Vien Street and Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street are the top destinations for backpackers, promising endless fun and excitement. Other iconic landmarks include Bitexco Financial Tower, which has been named one of the 25 Great Skyscraper Icons of Construction by CNN, Ben Thanh Market and Tan Dinh Church – a unique pink architect that is open free for the public to sightsee.
Being the multi-cultural centre of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is where you can find all specialities from every part of the country. The best dishes that anyone should try are ‘com tam’ (steam broken rice), ‘banh mi’ (Vietnamese sandwich), ‘bun thit nuong’ (grilled pork noodle), boiled or grilled snails, ‘goi cuon’ (fresh spring rolls), ‘pho’ (noodle soup), ‘bun bo Hue’ (Hue beef noodle soup) and many more. Our street food and coffee culture – enjoyed by people from all backgrounds and ages is also something worth experiencing.
From Ho Chi Minh City, you can travel anywhere in Vietnam easily either by aeroplane, train, bus, or motorbike. Pack lightly and explore the beautiful country while leaving your valuables and luggages at Cube Self Storage. We offer secure, affordable and flexible self storage and mini storage services with door-to-door pickup and delivery assistance. Talk to our friendly storage specialists on 0834400185 and find out more about our luggage storage services today!
Phu Quoc Island is the largest of the 105 islands that form the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve protected by UNESCO. Stretching all the way from north to south, you can find lush tropical landscapes, unspoiled natural sand beaches with deep blue sea water and welcoming locals here. Best places to visit during your time on Phu Quoc Island include Ham Ninh Fishing Village, Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc National Park, Long Beach, Sao Beach and Phu Quoc Prison. You can enjoy diving, snorkelling to see the coral reefs, swimming in serene waterfalls, exploring mysterious national parks, and learning more about Vietnamese history.
The best time to sightsee and take part in tourism activities in Phu Quoc is from late October to April. During this period, there is less rain and the waves are smooth, perfect for water sports and exploration.
Considered some of the best fishing grounds in the southwestern region of Vietnam, the waters around the islands create the perfect conditions for squid and cuttlefish to thrive. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the specialties of Phu Quoc will be all about fresh and flavorful seafood. Some of the must-try dishes are ‘bun quay’ (stirring rice noodles made of all types of seafood), Ham Ninh blue crab, sea urchin, Phu Quoc herring salad, and sea cucumber soup.
Can Tho is the largest city in the Mekong Delta, which is the region that contributes over 50% of Vietnam’s rice production and 90% of rice exports. It is an important cultural, commercial, political and transportation centre that is renowned for its beautiful waterways, rich culture, fresh local cuisine and exotic tropical fruits.
You can visit the city between December and February when nights are cool and dry, suitable for walking and cycling. However, it is at its most fertile and alive in April, May and June, which is the rainy season when light rain makes the weather cooler and the tropical fruits are ripe and flavorful.
There is plenty to do to enjoy Can Tho to the fullest. Being one of the first cultural sites in the Mekong Delta region, Cai Rang Floating Market has been around for almost 100 years. It is the only Southeast Asian market that is featured in the world’s 19 must-visit food-hubs. The market opens early in the morning from 5 to 9 am, with hundreds of vendors and locals buying and selling fresh vegetables and fruits, dishes, handicrafts, and essential household goods. You can rent a sightseeing boat to explore the vibrant and hustle life along the waterways and be bewildered by the surrounding countless boats in different shapes, sizes and colours. Phong Dien floating market, Ninh Kieu Wharf, Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary, the 140-year-old Binh Thuy Ancient House and Ong Pagoda are also popular tourist attractions.
Coming here, you have to try the unique fish sauce hot pot. It might challenge the taste buds of people who have never tried fish sauce before, but it is definitely a rich and flavorful dish with over 40 ingredients including vegetables, meat and fresh seafood that you should try. In addition, Can Tho pancakes, grilled snakehead fish, ‘banh hoi Phong Dien’ (Phong Dien fine rice vermicelli), fried shrimp cake, ‘banh tet la cam’ (cylindric glutinous rice cake) and Sau Tia plum wine are must-try dishes here.
Con Dao Archipelago is a group of 16 mountainous islands and islets. The island is famous for its peaceful white beaches and crystal-clear blue seawater. Even during its peak season, Con Dao still remains calm and tranquil, making it a great destination for people looking to get away from the bustle and fast-paced city life.
Beach lovers should come to Con Dao between March and September when the sea waves are mellow and the sun is shining brightly. For watersports and activities such as snorkelling and diving, November to February is a good time. Adventurers will definitely adore trekking and hiking tours in Con Dao National Park in July. If you’re interested in the marine life around the islands, visit Hon Bay Canh Island between June and September to see sea turtles nesting. In addition, Con Dao night markets with an abundance of fresh local food such as freshly grilled seafood and souvenirs are everywhere.
Con Dao used to be called the Devil’s Island – or Hell on Earth due to the notorious “tiger cages” and brutal penal facilities that inflicted excruciating pain on 20,000 Vietnamese people from different generations in over 100 years during the French colonialism and American imperialism. Con Dao Prison (also known as Con Son Prison) and Con Dao Museum is where you’ll learn more about the patriotic and heroic past of the revolutionary fighters and prisoners through many artefacts and documents.
Chau Doc is a city located in one of the most beautiful provinces of the Mekong Delta called An Giang. It is well-known for being a border town with Cambodia, with bustling riverbanks, sacred temples, majestic mountains, mysterious wetlands and lush forests. The best time to visit Chau Doc and the Mekong Delta region in general is the floating season between September and December.
You can visit floating villages, go fishing in traditional wooden boats or have the best time cruising and immersing in the beauty of Tra Su forest. Additionally, you can learn about Cham culture in Chau Doc as the city is home to some of Vietnam’s largest Cham communities. On the slopes of Sam Mountain, there are around 200 large and small religious sites to sightsee. You can also witness how the locals make offerings at Mieu Ba Chua Xu, traverse the labyrinth of Chua Hang (Cave Pagoda), or enjoy Tay An Pagoda – a spiritual place filled with architecture and historical significance.
Being the home of many ethnic minorities such as Cham, Chinese, Khmer, etc. Chau Doc’s culinary culture is very rich and diverse. The dishes that you must try include ‘bun ca Chau Doc’ (Chau Doc fish noodle soup), ‘thot not’ fruit (sugar palm fruit), ‘banh bo thot not’ (Vietnamese steamed rice cake – cow cake), catfish hotpot and ‘mam’ (fermented fish).
With its poetic beauty, rich culture, welcoming locals and delectable cuisine, Vietnam is a paradise for travellers. Whether you’re a wanderer, backpacker, adventurer, holidaymaker or on a business trip, you can always create unforgettable experiences in this country. We hope that our Vietnam travel guide has inspired and gave you more information for your next trip to Vietnam. We can’t wait to see you!