The Vietnam Travel Guide

phongnguyenhuy / Pixabay

Planning your trip: Weather:
Best time to visit North Vietnam: May-Nov
Best time to visit North-Central Vietnam: Feb-June
Best time to visit the Southeast Coast: Jan-Aug
Perfect beach time (SE Coast): July-August; less people, not as muggy.
Best time to visit the Mekong Delta: Nov-April
Danang Riverfront festival: April
Monsoon Season: Differs greatly from region to region, but generally it is very wet November through January everywhere but the Mekong.


Northern Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam (7.1M people)

  • Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
  • Old Quarter
Night Markets in Hanoi judithscharnowski / Pixabay


Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

  • Ha Long Bay Kayak Exploring, Ha Long Bay
  • Ha Long multi-day cruise, Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam Oldjap / Pixabay


Cat Ba Island, Vietnam (Biggest island in Ha Long Bay)

  • Lan Ha Bay Kayak exploring, Cat Ba Island (small bay off Cat Ba sprinkled with 300 Karst islands and edged by white sand beaches throughout)
  • Hospital Cave, Cat Ba Island (secret, bomb proof cave used as hospital during American war – never discovered. Tours available)
  • Cat Co Cove, Cat Ba Island (10 minute walk SE of Cat Ba Town leads to three scenic white sand cove beaches)
Cat Ba Island, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam Thanh_Do / Pixabay


Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam (Bay east of Ha Long Bay, equally as scenic)


Ba Be National Park, Vietnam (high mountains, deep rivers, waterfalls, lakes and caves)


Mai Chau, Vietnam (idyllic valley, surrounded by lush rice paddies and gurgling irrigation streams)

Mai Chau, Vietnam cstrosing / Pixabay


Sapa (Sa Pa), Vietnam (mountain town, base for treks)

Sapa, Vietnam sasint / Pixabay


Bac Ha, Vietnam (northern mountain town with climate warmer than Sapa)


Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam (site of 1954 defeat of French, scenic town is undergoing a significant boom, even has daily direct flights to Hanoi now)



North-Central Vietnam

Ninh Binh, Vietnam

  • Sao Khe River Boat Trip, Ninh Binh, Vietnam (relaxing trip through caves along river)
  • Tam Coc Boat Trip, Ninh Binh (Halong Bay on land)
Ninh Binh, Vietnam phongnguyenhuy / Pixabay
Tam Coc River Boat Trip, Vietnam Thanh_Do / Pixabay


Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam (Country’s first NP, known for wildlife, can trek to 1,000 year old tree.

  • Endangered Primate Rescue Center, Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam
  • Turtle Conservation Center, Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam


Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam (UNESCO, oldest Karst mountains in Asia riddled with cave systems)

  • Hang Son Doong (Mountain River) Cave, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
  • Hang En, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
  • Tu Lan Cave, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
  • Hang Toi (Dark Cave), Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
  • Paradise Cave, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
  • Phong Nha Cave & Boat Trip, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam


Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Vietnam

  • Vinh Moc Tunnels, Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Vietnam (Tour tunnels from the American war, very tight entrances)



South-Central Vietnam

Hue, Vietnam (Palaces, pagodas, tombs, temples, fortified city center)

Royal Palace, Old town of Hue, Vietnam


Danang, Vietnam (Modern city, with upscale amenities attracting expats and global corporations. Upsacale condos are a great value to rent or own; less than an hours drive to Hoi Ann)

  • Non Nuoc Beach, Danang
Danang, Vietnam Free-Photos / Pixabay


Xisha Island archipelago (Parcel Islands) (may part of China?)


Hoi An, Vietnam (UNESCO old quarter)

  • An Bang Beach, Hoi An (Arguably Vietnam’s best beach, and considered in the top 100 worldwide; area with expat beach bars/cafes with gentle waves and white sand)
  • Cham Islands (Breathtaking cluster of granite islands. March – Sept; Great snorkeling, nice corals – 135 different varieties)
  • My Son Archaeological Ruins (UNESCO)
Hoi An, Vietnam ngd3 / Pixabay



Southeast Coast Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

  • Ifugao beach, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang, Vietnam vitieubao / Pixabay


Mui Ne, Vietnam (Beautiful beach with string of resorts)

Mui Ne, Vietnam fxxu / Pixabay


Bai Xep, Vietnam (Isolated fishing village on pretty bay emerging backpacker destination)


DaLat, Vietnam (spring-like cool weather, dotted with elegant French-colonial villas, farms are thick with strawberries and flowers, but not rice)

  • Cat Tien National Park, DaLat, Vietnam (UNESCO, elephants)
DaLat, Vietnam Quangpraha / Pixabay


Saigon (Ho Chi Mihn City), Vietnam (Modern city of 7.4M people)

Saigon, Vietnam otrotrangian / Pixabay



Mekong Delta

Vinh Long, Vietnam


Vung Tau, Vietnam (oldest seaside resort in country)

Vung Tau, Vietnam trinhkien91 / Pixabay


Can Tho, Vietnam (1.25M people; political and economic hub of the Mekong)


Chau Doc, Vietnam (Popular border crossing into Cambodia, charming town on banks of Bassac River)


Ha Tien, Vietnam (On Gulf of Thailand, with dramatic limestone formations)


Mekong Delta River Trip, Vietnam


Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (Direct flights from Saigon and Bangkok into brand new international airport. Lots of development planned, similar vibe to Thai islands. Get here fast before its overdeveloped)

  • Long Beach, Phu Quoc (One of Vietnam’s best beaches and considered a top 100 beach on the world by many)
  • Bai Dai Beach, Phu Quoc
  • An Thoi archipelago, Vietnam – 15 scattered islands near Phu Quoc with stellar beaches.
  • Hai Tac Island (Pirate Island), Vietnam: Boat trip from Phu Quoc.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam pduyma / Pixabay
Phu Quoc, Vietnam Quangpraha / Pixabay
Phu Quoc, Vietnam Quangpraha / Pixabay


Nam Du archipelago, Vietnam (19 islands; 3 islands connect to mainland by ferry)

  • Hon Son Island (1.5hr ferry from mainland; 21 islands)
  • Nam Du Island


Con Dao Island, Con Dao archipelago, Vietnam – 16 islands (1hr flight from HCMC is expensive at $180 one-way, or you can take the 2.5hr Superdong ferry for $13. Part is of island is Con Dao National Park. Only inhabited island of the chain. Sheer granite cliffs border beaches and crystal clear water. Island has western priced resorts and the archipelago is known for its sandy beaches, coral reefs and marine life. Possibly the most scenic part of Vietnam, but still of the beaten path. Expect to pay hundreds a night for a nice upscale room)

  • Bay Canh Island: view endangered hawksbill turtles during nesting season (May-Sept)
Con Dao, Vietnam pasja1000 / Pixabay

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