10 best experiences in Vietnam

Here are the absolute can’t-miss things to do in Vietnam! Make sure you don’t leave this stunning country without…

1. Sipping a sundowner in Hanoi

As the sun sets in Hanoi, make your way to the Summit Lounge atop the Sofitel Plaza for knockout views across Truc Bach and West Lake.

2. Trekking around Sapa

In the far north, the majesty of the mountains is elevated by the colours of the hill people who call them home. Take a trek from Sapa itself or, even better, head out to the Topas Ecolodge, located 20km (12.4 miles) from town, and enjoy the mountain air away from the crowds. 
“Don’t leave Vietnam without hiking in Sapa!” says Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. “Located in northwestern Vietnam, just a few kilometres from the border with China, this little town is a great place for trekkers. Multi-day hikes depart from Sapa and take you on an incredibly scenic journey through the rice terraces of the Muong Hoa Valley. You can also arrange for family homestays so you get to experience a day in the life of a local around these parts.”
Trekking around Sapa via Vietnamculturaltours.com

3. Seeing Hoi An before the crowds

The Old Town of Hoi An is almost impossibly pretty and, as a result, it attracts hordes of tourists. So beat the masses and see the old streets populated by just the locals with a pre-breakfast amble.

4. Visiting the War Remnants Museum

It’s a hard-hitting place to visit, but to get a handle on what Vietnam has been through in terms of conflict, this Ho Chi Minh City museum is a must.

5. Eating my quang and cau lau

In Da Nang, seek out a bowl of my quang; and in Hoi An, don’t miss the local speciality of cau lau – two of the country’s finest street food classics.

6. Strolling around Hoan Kiem

In the early morning or evening, Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi is thronged with walkers young and old, while games of street badminton strike up and laughing yoga groups come out in force. Be sure to check it out for a true taste of capital living.

7. Cruising Halong Bay

Set sail among the thousands of limestone outcrops that rear up from the emerald waters of Halong Bay on a traditional wooden junk. Enjoy a night on board under the stars and a sunrise tai chi session on deck. 
Seeing sunset on the Mui Ne dunes via Vietnamculturaltours.com

8. Seeing sunset on the Mui Ne dunes

The Sahara-like red sand dunes of Mui Ne take on an extra level of magic come sundown, when the hue of the sand becomes more intense the deeper the sun dips, providing some of the best photo opportunities in the land.

9. Discovering the Delta’s floating markets

Explore the working waters of the Mekong Delta by boat and see the flurry of activity at the morning floating markets. Get out as early as possible (at least before 8am) to see the best of the action. 

10. Exploring royal tombs

Spend a day around the imperial city of Hue soaking in the grandeur of the royal mausoleums before enjoying the city’s famed cuisine, which was created for the palates of past emperors.

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