Vietnam has an area of 331, 210 km, ranks fourth in Southeast Asia. The country is curved like an “s “ letter, with unique topography, hills and mountains account for 3/4, plain accounts for 1/4 the area. It has a history length of over 4,000 years with many ups and downs, leaving a precious physical and spiritual heritages. Traveling to Vietnam, you will discover many interesting things that you have never experienced. To help you have a perfect trip, we will give you Must things to know before traveling to Vietnam as follow.
***** Vietnam quick information – Must things to know before traveling Vietnam
*Visa: Compared to most countries, the visa regulations in Vietnam keep changing, so it is best to double-check with your embassy or on the government website to know any changes.
Since 2019, the following countries have been able to get a free visa for the prescribed number of days. If you want to stay longer, you will have to apply for a visa beforehand either through an agency or through the newly implemented e-visa program.
Visa-free for 30 days: Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore
Visa-free for 21 days: Philippines
Visa-free for 15 days: Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain
Visa-free for 14 days: Brunei, Myanmar
Please pay attention to that if you get a free visa on arrival, this is non-extendable — meaning you will have to fly out of the country if you wish to stay longer. If you’re planning on staying for 30 days or more, we recommend that you apply for a tourist visa at least 3 days in advance. However, as visa regulations change all the time, make sure you consult the government’s website to get an accurate idea of the regulations.
*Language: In big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, heaps of people speak a decent level of English making it a relatively easy place to travel. However, as with most places, as soon as you venture towards smaller towns and mountainous regions, the level of English drops. With this in mind, having a good grasp of a few basic Vietnamese words can go a long way. Words like petrol, hotel, and bathroom are definitely high up there on the list of must-know words. Check out our full Vietnamese for travelers’ guide for an overview of basic words and phrases to help you out.
*Transportation: The transport from one place to the next is fairly easy in Vietnam and is quite efficient. We recommend downloading the Skyscanner App and using Book away or 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time.
*Currency: The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It is used popularly everywhere; however, in some places, USD is also used.
*Electricity: 220V AC electricity. Power outlets are often compatible with either the standard US plug or the European one as well. In order to avoid the hassle of having to buy new adaptors for everywhere you go, we suggest picking up a Universal Travel Adaptor before you begin the journey.
*Safety: Generally speaking, Vietnam is a pretty safe country to travel to. Although there are a few scams to watch out for, the most common accident that happens is motorbike related. While driving a motorbike in Vietnam is something that we recommend you do, make sure that you have the proper license from your home country. Most travel insurance policies won’t cover you otherwise. We recommend checking out World Nomads for travel insurance, particularly if you plan to drive a motorbike. Another option to look at is Safety Wing.
1. Best Time to Go
You can go to Vietnam almost all-year-round. However, the best time to visit Vietnam is from February to April and August to October as the temperatures are not so high and the rainfall is also little.
Traveling Vietnam is cheap or expensive depending on you. The expenditure in Vietnam would be from $25 to 30 a day. If you eat just street food and stay just hostels, traveling Vietnam is extremely cheap, you’re always a millionaire in Vietnam.
Listed below are rough prices of basic costs:
Budget: $5-8 (dorm) $18-25 (private)
* Food budget icon
Food (Typical Meal For One)
Street food: $1-2
Very nice restaurant:$10++
Beer in a shop: $0.88
Beer in a bar: $1.32-$2.65
Open Bus Tickets (stops at all the major tourist destinations with a flexible schedule) $68-70
Buying motorcycle $250-300
Flights to domestic destinations (Vietnam airlines or Jetstar) $36-45
3. What to Pack for Traveling Vietnam
Similar to other Southeast Asian countries, you really don’t need to take a lot with you because you will also be able to buy things at the place where you come. Whatever you do, make sure you bring a few quick-dry clothes, a sturdy rain jacket (look at our recommendations on the best ones), as well as a good pair of hiking boots or trainers.
4. Best things to do in Vietnam
Being a big and diverse country, there are many incredible things to discover and experience.
*Go on a Food Trip
Like Thailand, Vietnam is my favorite place for street food in Southeast Asia. The best thing about it is the street food is extremely cheap, with a piping bowl of authentic pho only $1 price.
Recommended Food Tours
-Hanoi Guided Street Food Tour: You should look for an authentic guide to take you around some of the best street eating spots in Hanoi. The guide will take you to some pretty unique places. The tour is definitely cheerful.
-Ho Chi Minh Scooter Food Tour: If you to sample the best of Saigon’s street food and beer, the local guide will take you around on a scooter to 5 local food serving spots.
-Hoi An Night Food Tour: Hoi An is a beautiful city with numberless delicious food. Discover them all with a local guide to sample some of Hoi An’s specialty cuisine.
*Attend Cooking Classes
One of the interesting things that you can do when you come to Vietnam is jointing a cooking class. In this place, you get to make your own spring rolls, pho, and other awesome Vietnamese delicacies. It will be the perfect souvenir and be a fun alternative to the usual sightseeing activities.
*Buy a motorbike and travel from North to South
You can buy a motorbike and drive it throughout the length of Vietnam. You can see many incredible viewpoints and scenery along the way. In addition, the freedom of having your own transportation will make a huge difference to your entire experience. After the trip you can sell to a local person.
Besides being packed with so many cultural highlights, Vietnam also has heaps of adventurous things to do. A few of our recommended must-dos are trekking in Sapa, canyoning in Dalat, cycling in places like Hoi An or Hue, sliding down the sand dunes, and kitesurfing in Mui Ne.
*Go on trips
-Explore the City of Hanoi
On the other hand, Hanoi is a little bit more relaxed compared to Ho Chi Minh. Some of the best things to do in Hanoi are to go for a walk around the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake, Nha Tho Cathedral, and the Old Quarter. From Hanoi, you can also arrange trips to Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, and Sapa.
In Hanoi, beer is very cheap which makes for a few fun evenings. Although they have numberless trendy clubs and restaurants, if you want an authentic experience, sit down by the many curbside local Vietnamese BBQs and wash your food down with some cold beer on tap. There’s absolutely nothing like it and is what locals do on a daily basis.
-Go Hiking in Sapa
One of the best things to do in Vietnam is to go hiking in Sapa. You can opt for a two-day trek with a homestay experience or those bus/trekking combination tours which also take care of your transport, making the entire thing very convenient.
-Go on a Halong Bay Cruise
You can go on a Cruise watching Halong Bay. You would better be to aboard a junk ship that heads to Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay. As they are located further away, the waters are not as crowded and dirty, actually allowing you time to take in the beauty of these limestone cliffs.
You will foodie heaven while traveling around this country. So many professional chefs like Anthony Bourdain and even the former President of the US, Barack Obama have tried out popular signature dishes in Vietnam. here is what to eat in Vietnam.
-Explore Hoi An
Hoi An in Vietnam is one of the foreigners’ favorite areas, mainly due to the incredible food, vibe, and atmosphere that this UNESCO Heritage town has. Rent a bicycle and bike around the old town and to the beach. Stop by and get some tailor-made clothes (if you have room in your backpack!).
-Bask Along Beautiful Beaches
Besides bustling cities and incredible mountains, the beaches in Vietnam are a great place to relax and unwind for a few days. There are plenty of outdoor activities for you to do whether it’s the beaches in Mui Ne, Hoi An, Nha Trang, or Phu Quoc Island. You can go diving in Nha Trang and although it wasn’t the best location.
-Wander Around Ho Chi Minh,
Admittedly, in the cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are motorbikes come from every direction, very busy and chaotic. However, after you get over the chaos and the constant barrage, the two metropolitan cities of Vietnam can be pretty cool. With classy rooftop bars, a budding craft beer movement, and an incredible array of food options, spending a few days in these two cities is still worth doing.
In Ho Chi Minh, visit the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, and Notre Dame Cathedral for a quick taste of history and culture. Wander around and enjoy Khao San Road, Pham Ngu Lao for some cheap street food. The best part about Ho Chi Minh is its accessibility to day trips such as those to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong River.
5. Regional specialties
*Bun Cha Hanoi
Bun Cha Hanoi is a favorite food of many tourists. Essentially, this dish is grilled meat served over noodles, with a sweet but tangy broth that you pour over the noodles. Eaten with loads of herbs and other greens, this dish is delicious and is considered a must-try when in the country. As you can guess by the name, this dish originated in Hanoi but there are also different versions of it available in different parts of the country.
Undoubtedly, pho is one of the most popular dishes in Vietnam. Especially, the broth is usually very rich and full of flavor. While it is difficult to choose where to eat among the plenty stalls, a great tip that we’ve learned based on our years of traveling Asia is to always go to the places that are full of locals.
6. Places to stay in Vietnam
Generally speaking, accommodation is very affordable in Vietnam. In most tourist hotspots, you will find plenty of hostels as well as two and three-star hotels to choose from. We recommend checking sites like Booking.com and Agoda.
Read more about 40+ Tips to keep money safe when traveling in Vietnam