On this comprehensive trip from south to north, you will encounter authentic Vietnam. From Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, you’ll pass through dynamic cities, tranquil backwaters, imperial ruins, faded colonial elegance, and picture-perfect landscapes dotted with historical relics. Discover the best of Vietnam by exploring the narrow cobbled streets of Hoi An’s Old Town, fossilised coral shelves in Hang Rai, and whizzing through the back streets of Hue.
Why Will You Enjoy This Trip?
Homestays in the Mekong Delta and Da Bac allow you to experience local life. Meet local families, take part in their activities, and enjoy a home-cooked meal.
Visit both prevalent and lesser-known locations in Vietnam, such as tourist places such as Halong Bay and treasures like Da Bac.
Explore Vietnam via a diverse range of modes of transportation, such as motorcycle, rubber dinghy, useless stuff boat, bus, and train.
Phong Nha and Thien Duong Caves are mind-boggling. During the Vietnam/American War, these mazelike systems have been used to shelter civilians.
Spend a day in Hue, riding a motorbike around the city and eating lunch at a serene nunnery.
Explore Hang Rai’s fossilized coral formations, which appear to float in the water at times.
Is This Trip Appropriate For You?
There will be several long days of travel on this trip, and you will be sitting on a bus for so many hours or even days. Nevertheless, road trips frequently provide the great view, and most personal buses include wi-fi.
- This trip covers a lot of ground, including overnight trains. The accommodations and accommodations are decided to share and basic, but the perception of hobnobbing with the locals is priceless.
- This trip includes a lot of walking, both on city walking tours and on the hike in Da Bac. While being on your feet can be exhausting, it is the best way to truly get to know a place.
- On this trip, you’ll spend two nights with local families. While the accommodations are shared and basic, this is an excellent opportunity to meet locals (and eat great home-cooked meals!).
- Vietnam’s climate is affected by both tropical monsoons and its wide range of altitudes and latitudes. Temperatures can range from a cool 4°C (39°F) in the northern mountains in winter to a hot and humid 36°C (97°F) in Ho Chi Minh within the middle of the summer months.
Best of Vietnam
1. In Hoi An, Light A Lantern
Hoi An is transformed into a kaleidoscope of color and light for the Lantern Festival every Tt (Vietnamese New Year). The festival lasts seven days, with thousands of colorful lanterns adorning the road from Hoi An Bridge to Hoai River Square.
Over 50 workshops participate in the event, each attempting to create the most beautiful lantern. The colors are vibrant, and the designs are traditional.
The festivities are concentrated in the old town, between the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Cau An Hoi Bridge. It’s crowded, chaotic, and festive, with spontaneous singing and food stalls everywhere you look. It is a celebration for both locals and visitors.
The most spectacular sight is the thousands of floating lanterns on the river; hire a sampan boat to get a closer look. You can purchase a lantern and placed it afloat for a small fee.
If you can’t make it to Hoi An for New Year’s, don’t worry: relatively small lantern festival that takes place every full moon.
2. Best of Vietnam- Visiting Halong Bay
BEST OF VIETNAMHalong Bay is rightly considered one of Vietnam’s most beautiful spots, with 1,600 limestone towers rising from its turquoise waters. As a result, it’s on everyone’s bucket list, and hundreds of boats offer daily cruises. The bay is vast, but it can still feel congested.
Bai Tu Long Bay, a few miles away, has the same breathtaking scenery but only a fraction of the visitors. Explore uncrowded caves and tiny beaches while feasting on super-fresh succulent seafood.
Sailings to Bai Tu Long Bay, like those to Halong Bay, depart from the congested dock in Halong City. But you’ll go in the reverse direction, to where the archipelago are a little lower and more spread out – but, as according locals, look exactly like those in Halong Bay.
3. Hike through Cat Ba Island
A trip to Cat Ba Island cannot go wrong. The views are breathtaking, and the nearby Lan Ha Bay is a fantastic Halong alternative – another breathtakingly beautiful bay without the crowds.
What makes it unique? The hiking, according to Wanderlust’s Rosie Fitzgerald. Enjoy trekking through the vast national park’s pristine rainforest. The Lookout Tower Trail is a well-known and relatively easy hike. Walk uphill for about an hour until you reach a rusted shelter, from which you can see how untouched Cat Ba truly is.
If you want to go even higher, you can reach the stunning Ngu Lam Peak. It’s worthwhile to make the effort to gaze out over the jagged, green mountains that fade into the distance.
For a more difficult challenge, hire a guide and hike the Cang Viet Hai Trail, an 18-kilometer, undulating trail that requires good fitness. Prepare to scramble over thick knots of tree routes that block the path and climb steep, slippery paths.
4. Cruise the Mekong Delta
You can do exactly that if you hitch a ride on a cargo boat. Simply find a shady spot to hang your hammock and gaze out at distant riverbanks while your boat, laden with fruit and rice sacks, ploughs the treacherous brown flow.
Alternatively, take one of the many commercial cruises that run along the river. A cruise from Cai Be to Can Tho is an excellent way to spend a night on the river. The Mang Thit River, which connects the Tien Giang and Bassac systems, becomes so narrow that you can peer into the riverbank’s rickety stilted houses as you travel south.
5. Visit Phong Nha National Park
Quang Binh province is an adventurous region of barely permeable jungle in Vietnam’s skinny middle, near the Laotian border. Hundreds of deep caves dot the landscape, including one of the world’s largest, Hang Son Doong. It has a cavern that is so large that a tall building could fit inside of it.
The tiny village of Phong Nha is the epicenter of the region’s caving adventures, and its eponymous cave is another UNESCO-listed wonder worth visiting. You can hire both guides and the equipment needed to descend into the caves here.
If tunnelling does not appeal to you, the area is also well-known for trekking. The surrounding jungle is full of beautiful waterfalls and a thriving (and noisy) demography of chimpanzees and gliding foxes.
6. Visit Buon Me Thuat To Enjoy Coffee
Buon Ma Thuot is the provincial capital of Vietnam’s central highlands, a stunning area of deafening geysers and traditional Ede villages. Look for stilted structures with carved breasts that can be reached via a ladder. They is only used by the women of the house in this ferociously matrilineal area.
Buon Ma Thuot also is the epicenter of Vietnam’s growing coffee industry. The Trung Nguyen coffee company is the big player here, and their logo can be found on every paddy field and industrial zone in the area.