Vietnam, officially known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia. With a history spanning thousands of years, Vietnam is a land of remarkable diversity and cultural vibrancy. Apart from the rich culture, this country has a stunning landscape with plenty of famous landmarks along the country’s length.

Favored by natural wonders, Vietnam owns abundant rice terraces, dramatic mountain ranges, beautiful caves, and pristine white sandy beaches. Vietnamese people are also famous for their warm hospitality, resilience, and skillfulness, reflected through vibrant traditions, flavorful cuisine, and great arts. Nowadays, Vietnam is preserving and promoting traditional values, a destination that promises many attractive things to discover.  

To prepare for your future visit, the information and guidance in this article will help you have a smooth experience before going to Vietnam. Enjoy!

Show table of content

1. Visa and Vietnam travel tips
1.1 Visa Types and Application Process
1.2 Essential Travel Documents to Carry
2. Best Time to Visit Vietnam
2.1 Weather and Climate
2.2 Festivals and Events: Planning Around Cultural Celebrations
2.3 Local Sim Card
3. Health and Safety Considerations
3.1 Covid-19 in Vietnam 2023: Medical Declarations, Testing, and Isolation
3.2 Travel Insurance: Ensuring Coverage in Vietnam
3.3 Food Safety: Tips for Healthy Eating
4. Currency and Exchange Rates
4.1 Vietnamese Dong: Understanding the Local Currency
4.2 Exchanging Currency: Banks, ATMs, and Currency Exchange Centers
4.3 Credit Cards and Payment Options
5. Communication and Language
6. Transportation and Getting Around
6.1 Flights
6.2 Trains and Buses
6.3 Private Car
6.4 Taxis and Ride-Hailing Apps
6.5 Motorbikes and Cyclos
7. Experiencing the Festival in Vietnam
7.1 Hotels and Resorts
7.2 Homestays and Guesthouses: Authentic Local Experiences
7.3 Hostels and Budget Accommodations: Ideal for Backpackers
7.4 Tips for Booking Accommodations in Vietnam
8. Must-Visit Destinations in Vietnam
8.1 Hanoi – The Enchanting Capital City
8.2 Hue – Imperial History and Culture
8.3 Da Nang – Beaches and Bridges
8.4 Hoi An – Ancient Charm and Beauty
8.5 Ho Chi Minh City – Modern Vibrancy
9. Experience Vietnamese Cuisine
10. Vietnam’s cultures and traditions
10.1 History and Heritage
10.2 Temples and Pagodas
10.3 Traditional Arts and Performance
10.4 Local Markets
11. Outdoor Adventures and Natural Wonders
11.1 Trekking and Camping
11.2 Water Activities: Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Diving
11.3 National Parks and Natural Reserves
11.4 Caving and Cave Exploration
12. Shopping in Vietnam

1. Visa and Vietnam travel tips

1.1 Visa Types and Application Process

Most travelers to Vietnam are required to have a visa to enter the country. However, a convenient solution for travelers is an E-visa. This electronic travel authorization allows foreign citizens to enter and travel inside Vietnam for particular reasons, including tourism or business, without needing a traditional paper visa.

In July 2020, the E-Visa for Vietnam will be accessible to nationals of 80 countries, valid for 30 days, and is a single entry. However, starting from 15th August 2023, the E-visas validity is extended from 30 to incredible 90 days. After being granted an e-visa, a foreigner can enter and exit an unlimited number of times within 90 days without applying for a new visa procedure.
The applying E-visa process is simple, fast, and convenient. Here is step-by-step guidance and complete information for your E-visa for Vietnam application

1.2 Essential Travel Documents to Carry

Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months before leaving Vietnam. Bring the original passport as well as a photocopy of the information page.

Visa: Check your country’s visa requirements and secure the necessary visa before your journey. You can apply for a visa at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate or, if eligible, receive an e-visa.

Flight Tickets: Carry printed copies of your flight itinerary and tickets – the ticket information might ask at immigration checkpoints and valuable for reference during your trip.

Accommodation confirmation: Carry information about your hotel or accommodation bookings, including the addresses and contact numbers. This information may be required when filling out arrival forms.

International Driving Permit (IDP): If you intend to drive in Vietnam, you must get an IDP. Vietnamese authorities approve this permit.

2. Best Time to Visit Vietnam

2.1 Weather and Climate

Vietnam is a long coastline and diverse country; therefore, the ideal time for your journey to Vietnam depends on the region you plan to explore and the activities you wish to engage in during your trip. Vietnam has three main parts, the North, the Central, and the South, and the weather can vary from region to region.Taken as a whole, the ideal time to travel to the regions of Vietnam will fall in February, March, and April. Here is the detailed information for each weather region in Vietnam to help you have the smoothest possible trip.

2.2 Festivals and Events: Planning Around Cultural Celebrations

Vietnam is a country rich in cultural festivals and events throughout the year. Planning your trip around these celebrations can provide a unique and immersive experience of Vietnamese culture. Here are some of the major festivals and events in Vietnam:

Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan): This is Vietnam’s most important and widely celebrated festival, usually between late January and mid-February. You can witness colorful flower markets, visit local markets, and enjoy traditional foods during this period.

Hue Festival: Every two years in Hue, usually in April or May, the Hue Festival showcases the city’s rich heritage and imperial history. It features cultural events, including traditional music and dance performances, royal court games, food fairs, and a spectacular light show. 

Mid-Autumn Festival: Celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month (around September or October), the Mid-Autumn Festival is especially significant for children. Lantern processions, lion dances, and mooncake tastings are popular activities during this time. 

Hoi An Lantern Festival: Held on the 14th day of each lunar month in Hoi An’s Ancient Town, this monthly festival creates a magical atmosphere. Visitors can participate in cultural activities, enjoy traditional music performances, and release floating lanterns on the river.

These are just a few examples of the many festivals and events celebrated in Vietnam. It’s important to note that festivals and events dates vary each year based on the lunar calendar.

lantern festival in hoian
Lantern festival in hoian – Vietnam travel tips

2.3 Local Sim Card

How to get a local sim card in Vietnam? Is it easy to activate? The answer is yes! Visitors can easily buy a sim card at reasonable prices at the airport or any convenience store. The three largest mobile carriers in Vietnam include MobiFone, VinaPhone, and Viettel, so visitors can choose those suppliers to have the best quality services when accessing mobile networks in Vietnam. Also, you can buy sim cards in advance via reputable websites and receive them when you enter the airport.

3. Health and Safety Considerations

3.1 Covid-19 in Vietnam 2023: Medical Declarations, Testing, and Isolation

On 15th May 2022, the Ministry of Health lifted all the requirements related to Covid-19. Foreigners entering Vietnam no longer need to make medical declarations about Covid-19, temporarily suspending the requirement for SARS-CoV-2 testing before entry and not requiring isolation. Therefore, visitors can enter Vietnam without any worries about the issues of Covid-19.

3.2 Travel Insurance: Ensuring Coverage in Vietnam

Vietnam is a peaceful and safe country. However, obtaining unforeseen circumstances, travel insurance is essential to rest assured and enjoy a fantastic trip in Vietnam. It will cover motorbikes accidents, medical coverage, emergency evacuation, repatriation, baggage protection, personal cash, flight delay, or even trip cancellation. Choose a reliable and professional health insurance provider to purchase travel insurance for your trip to Vietnam.

3.3 Food Safety: Tips for Healthy Eating

Coming to Vietnam, you will be surely overwhelmed by the paradise of culinary with an abundance of delicious local food. How do you know if the food from the high-end restaurant or street food stalls is quality? Here are some vital tips to have food safety in Vietnam: 

Eat Cooked Foods: To minimize the risk of foodborne diseases, focus on consuming thoroughly cooked foods. Steaming, boiling, and grilling are safer than raw or undercooked dishes.

Avoid Street Food Risks: While street food is an integral part of Vietnamese cuisine, it’s essential to be cautious. Look for vendors with high clients, ensuring the ingredients are fresh and regularly replenished. 

Be Careful with Raw Fruits and Vegetables: Raw fruits and vegetables can be safe if properly washed and peeled. To be safe, choose fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself. 

Beware of Ice and Beverages: Reputable establishments serve ice with filtered water, which is safe to consume. However, it’s best to exercise caution with street vendors or smaller establishments. Consider choosing bottled or hot drinks prepared when ordering beverages.Carry an Antidiarrheal Medication: Lat but not least, it’s a good idea to have antidiarrheal medication in your travel medical kit.

4. Currency and Exchange Rates

4.1 Vietnamese Dong: Understanding the Local Currency

Understanding the local currency of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Dong (VND), is essential for travelers visiting the country. The Vietnamese Dong is available in banknotes. And usually, 1 USD is approximately 23,000 VND.

4.2 Exchanging Currency: Banks, ATMs, and Currency Exchange Centers

The exchange rate between the Vietnamese Dong and other currencies can fluctuate. It’s advisable to check the current exchange rates before your trip. Central banks, authorized money exchange booths, and hotels in Vietnam provide currency exchange services.

4.3 Credit Cards and Payment Options

Vietnam uses credit cards and other payment options, including transfer wire and QR code scanning, especially in larger cities and popular tourist areas. Here’s what you need to know about using credit cards and other payment methods in Vietnam:

Credit Cards: Major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and to a lesser extent, American Express are accepted in upscale hotels, restaurants, and large retail stores. However, it’s important to note that small local businesses, street vendors, and rural areas may not accept credit cards. It’s always wise to carry some cash for such situations.

Debit Cards: Debit cards linked to international networks like Visa or MasterCard can be used at ATMs to withdraw Vietnamese Dong. Debit cards are accepted at some establishments for payment, but their usage is less widespread than credit cards.

vietnam Currency
Vietnam Currency – Vietnam travel tips

5. Communication and Language

Vietnamese is the official language in this country. Learning a few key phrases is the easiest way to get close to culture and local people. They will be happy when you are trying to speak Vietnamese to show respect for them. They will appreciate your communication efforts and will often be willing to assist you. Here are some commonly Vietnamese phrases for you to learn by heart. Enjoy!

  • Hello – Xin chào
  • Goodbye – Tạm biệt
  • Thank you – Cảm ơn
  • Sorry – Xin lỗi
  • No problem! – Không sao!
  • Please help me! – Làm ơn giúp tôi!
  • How much is it? – Cái này giá bao nhiêu?
  • Nice to meet you! – Rất vui được gặp bạn!

English is spoken to some extent in larger cities and is typically used frequently at tourist areas, hotels, restaurants, and popular attractions.  However, the level of English proficiency can vary among individuals. Carrying a translation app to bridge language barriers is a good idea. 

If you’re visiting more remote areas or need assistance with communication, hiring a local tour guide or interpreter can be beneficial. They can help bridge the language gap, provide cultural insights, and enhance your overall experience.

vietnam culture
Discover local life of Vietnam people

6. Transportation and Getting Around

6.1 Flights

Vietnam has several domestic airlines that operate flights between major cities and tourist destinations. Vietnam has four leading airlines that serve domestic flights: Vietnam Airlines, Vietject Air, Jetstar Pacific, and Bamboo Airways. Flight is the fastest way to travel long distances within the country.

6.2 Trains and Buses

Vietnam has an extensive railway network that connects major cities and towns. The trains offer different classes, including sleeper cabins for overnight journeys. With the train, you can have the chance to experience the most beautiful railway trains in Vietnam. It is impossible not to mention the train from Hue to Da Nang and versa. The train route cross Lang Co Bay, one of the most breathtaking bays in the world, and Hai Van Pass, with magnificent scenery. 

Buses are a popular mode of transportation in Vietnam and serve both short and long distances. Different bus types are available, from local to luxury sleeper buses for overnight trips. It’s an affordable option, but travel times can be longer due to frequent stops.

6.3 Private Car

If you want to be more proactive and have a perfect trip in travel at beautiful Vietnam, hiring a private car here is the best option for you! With professional and modern car systems, with a team of skilled drivers, friendly and good at English, a private car brings you a fresh experience compared to other commuting services. A private car service lets you choose the places you want to visit without worrying about the limited time. You can control your time, go anywhere you wish, and ask for the driver to stop to snap a photo, have lunch, or take a short nap. This service will bring comfort and freedom in your journey to discover Vietnam.

vietnam car rental
Vietnam Car Rental with English Driver

6.4 Taxis and Ride-Hailing Apps

Taxis are widely available in urban areas. Make sure to choose reputable companies or use ride-hailing services like Grab, Be, and Gojek for convenience and transparency in pricing. However, this option is not always easy, as ordering rides in metropolitan areas during rush hours is relatively troublesome, and you must wait a long time.

6.5 Motorbikes and Cyclos

These traditional modes of transportation are mainly found in tourist areas and can be a unique way to explore the rich culture city, including Ha Noi, Hue, and Hoi An. The Cyclo Tour is ideal for traveling around the city streets in an ancient town like Hue. The Cyclo driver is passionate, and being a friendly tour guide will introduce the city to you through the journey.

7. Accommodation Options

7.1 Hotels and Resorts

Vietnam offers a diverse selection of hotels and resorts across the country. From the budget to four and five-star hotels, hotels in Vietnam vary in design styles. Vietnam also offers various resorts that cater to different budgets and preferences. The most beautiful resorts in Vietnam are at Da Nang and Phu Quoc, with long coastlines, golden sunshine, and white dunes. Hotels and resorts in Vietnam are “heaven” for people who like snapping photos to capture precious moments in Vietnam.

7.2 Homestays and Guesthouses: Authentic Local Experiences

Guest houses and homestays in Vietnam are popular options that give travelers unique opportunities to experience the country’s rich culture, warm hospitality, and authentic local lifestyle. These accommodations offer an alternative to traditional hotels and resorts. Homestays and guesthouses allow visitors to immerse themselves in the daily lives of Vietnamese families or communities.

7.3 Hostels and Budget Accommodations: Ideal for Backpackers

Vietnam has abundant affordable hostels and budget accommodations, making it an ideal backpacker destination. To reduce the budget for the trip, travelers will find a wide range of options to suit their needs, from the bustling streets of Hanoi to the pristine beaches of Da Nang. Hostels in Vietnam frequently offer comfortable dormitory beds, communal areas, and basic amenities at reasonable prices. These types of stays are also considered meeting points for travelers to exchange tips and experiences.

7.4 Tips for Booking Accommodations in Vietnam

When booking accommodations in Vietnam, consider the following tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:

Plan: Popular destinations in Vietnam can get busy, especially during peak seasons. Book your accommodations well in advance to secure the best options at affordable rates.

Read reviews: Check reviews from previous guests on platforms like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, or Agoda before booking. It will give you insights into the property’s quality, cleanliness, and overall experience.

Location matters: Consider the location of your accommodation. Stay close to major attractions or public transportation to save time and money commuting.

Check for additional charges: Double-check if there are any hidden fees or extra charges beyond the room rate, such as taxes or service fees.

With these tips, you can find suitable and budget-friendly accommodations that enhance your travel experience in Vietnam.

8. Must-Visit Destinations in Vietnam

Below are the best places to visit in Vietnam, from the North to the South this peaceful country:

8.1 Hanoi – The Enchanting Capital City

Hanoi is a charming city in Vietnam famous for combining ancientness and modern beauty. One of the most must-visit spots in the capital is 36 Old Street. Also, take advantage of walking in the serene atmosphere around Hoan Kiem Lake and admiring the Turtle Tower, iconic for the spirit and pride of the Hanoi people.

ha noi tours
Hanoi in Vietnam – Vietnam travel tips

8.2 Hue – Imperial History and Culture

Located in Central Vietnam, Hue is an ancient city famous for its long-lasting history and rich culture. Visiting this tranquil city to turn toward the glorious past of the last dynasty in Vietnam, release in the antique architecture of the Citadel, the majestic royal tombs, and plenty of sacred temples.

hue tours operator
Hue Imperial Citadel

8.3 Da Nang – Beaches and Bridges

In contrast to Hue City, Da Nang offers dynamic energy for visitors. Da Nang is next to the long coastline with blue beaches and a beautiful landscape. Da Nang is also dubbed the most liveable city in Vietnam. This city is home to “Golden Bridge” a grand design located in Ba Na Hills, becoming a new icon in the beautiful Da Nang.

8.4 Hoi An – Ancient Charm and Beauty

Hoi An is one of the most charming cities in the world. In the past, it was a bustling trade port between Vietnam, China, Japan, and some Europe countries. Visitors walking along the beautiful streets of the ancient town will be captivated by roof title houses close together and walls vibrant painted yellow. Also, Lantern Festivals is one of the appealing must-experience in Hoi An. 

8.5 Ho Chi Minh City – Modern Vibrancy

Ho Chi Minh City is also known as “the city that never sleeps”. This place is home to modern skyscrapers, including the tallest building in Vietnam, LandMark 81, and is the headquarters of many large corporations and famous brands. Besides, visitors can visit iconic attractions, including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace, and the War Remnants Museum.

hochiminh tour
Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam

9. Experience Vietnamese Cuisine

Vietnam offers diverse dishes with diverse flavors and textures. When visiting beautiful Vietnam, take advantage of trying Vietnamese mouthwatering dishes. Some highlight foods that must-try for your journey to tasting Vietnamese flavor include “Pho”, “Banh Mi”, “Bun Cha”, and “Bun Bo Hue” and the list seems to be never-ending. Besides the tasty food,  visitor must-try unique drinks in the S-shape country. It is impossible not to mention “Iced Milk Coffee”, “Coconut Coffee”, “Salt Coffee”, and “Sugar Cane Drink”. 

Apart from traditional cuisine, Vietnam Street Food is also varied and fascinating. Street food is also the heart and soul of Vietnam. Visitors walking along any street in Vietnam are likely captivated by delicious smells everywhere, from grilled meat, grilled rice paper to sweet soup and tofu bean curd. Take advantage of a chance to savor this authentic, affordable local food and release yourself in the bustling streets and the vibrant atmosphere of Vietnam.

vietnam local food
Vietnam local food – vietnam travel tips

10. Vietnam’s cultures and traditions

10.1 History and Heritage

Vietnam has a rich and diverse history, deeply intertwined with its vibrant cultural heritage. The country’s history spans over 4,000 years, with significant influences from various dynasties, cultures, and colonial powers. The Vietnam War, a keynote chapter in its modern history, further shaped the nation’s identity. Today, Vietnam takes immense pride in preserving its history and heritage. From the Complex of Hue Monuments to the Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the nation cherishes its past while embracing its present as a dynamic and culturally rich country.

10.2 Temples and Pagodas

Vietnam has many temples and pagodas with magnificent architecture, reflecting the significant culture and historical importance. The sacred structures are evidence of the nation’s spiritual heritage and architectural prowess.

Temples in Vietnam often blend elements of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, reflecting the country’s diverse spiritual traditions. Prominent examples include the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, dedicated to Confucius and Vietnam’s scholars, and the Perfume Pagoda, an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage site nestled in a stunning limestone cave. 
On the other hand, pagodas are distinguished by their multi-tiered towers and ornate facades. One iconic pagoda is the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, built on a single stone pillar resembling a lotus bloom. Also, it is impossible not to mention the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue, an elegant seven-story structure overlooking the poetic Perfume River.

thien mu pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda

10.3 Traditional Arts and Performance

Vietnam is proud to boast a vibrant cultural heritage, evident in its traditional arts and performances preserved and celebrated for centuries. Various art forms, including music, dance, and theatre, are deeply ingrained in the country’s identity.

The performing arts encompass vibrant dance forms like “Nhạc rối” (puppetry), “Chèo“, and “Cải lương” (reformed theater), each reflecting different regional influences and cultural nuances. Vietnam has unique and diverse traditional music with many genres. The well-known for this is “Nhã nhạc Cung Đình Huế” (elegant music of the Hue royalty), a traditional music performed in the Old Capital of Hue. UNESCO recognizes this genre of music as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

10.4 Local Markets

The market plays a vital role in the way of life in Vietnam. These markets offer a wide range of products, from fresh produce and local delicacies to handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs. From traditional wet markets and floating markets to the night market, each region in Vietnam has unique features reflecting the local traditions and specialties. Some famous traditional markets in three parts of Vietnam are Dong Xuan Market in Ha Noi, Dong Ba Market in Hue, and Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Also, do not pass out the Cai Rang Floating Market when visiting Can Tho.

dong ba market
Dong Ba Market – the local Market in Central vietnam

11. Outdoor Adventures and Natural Wonders

With spectacular landscapes from North to South, Vietnam provides thousand of appealing spots for authentic adventurers. 

11.1 Trekking and Camping

Trekking and camping is a fascinating opportunity to discover beautiful Vietnam’s majesty mountain regions or dense forests. Visitors can enjoy the jade green at Nho Que River in Ha Giang Loop or Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa on the trekking path and camping in the hills to get closer to the serene and poetic picturesque of northwestern Vietnam. 

11.2 Water Activities: Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Diving

Immerse yourself in the snorkeling and diving activities with the blue beaches with a range of the coral reef system at Cham Island in Quang Nam or Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Beach. Besides the pristine beaches, kayaking on the River is ideal for hot summer days. Imagine you are kayaking on the poetic Perfume River at Hue City and enjoying the beautiful landscape on both river banks.

vietnam Water Activities
Vietnam Water Activities

11.3 National Parks and Natural Reserves

Vietnam is home to several beautiful national parks and natural reserves that showcase the country’s diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity. These protected areas are essential for conservation efforts and offer opportunities for visitors to experience the natural beauty of Vietnam. Some notable national parks and natural reserves are Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh, Bach Ma National Park in Hue, and Pu Luong Natural Reserve in Thanh Hoa.

11.4 Caving and Cave Exploration

Regarding cave exploration in Vietnam, Quang Binh Province is the “golden star” in this field. Quang Binh is home to numerous caves, some of which are among the largest and most magnificent in the world. With vast chambers, underground rivers, and unique formations, Son Doong Cave is the world’s largest cave. Also, it is impossible not to mention other majesty caves, including Paradise Cave, Phong Nha Cave, and Hang En Cave in the beautiful Quang Binh.

12. Shopping in Vietnam

Vietnam is a paradise for shopping lovers for its diverse and affordable prices. From traditional markets to great commercial centers, Vietnam has various goods for visitors to bring gifts back home for their beloved ones. In recent years, travelers tend to tailor clothes at reputable in Hoi An Ancient Town. Moreover, visitors should buy silk in Vietnam for its high quality and diversity in texture and materials. Some famous Vietnamese silk villages where tourists can buy authentic silk are Van Phuc Silk Village and Hoi An Silk Village.

Above are valuable tips and information to know before going to Vietnam. For your journey to Vietnam, be sure you are well-prepared and knowledgeable with our helpful information from this article. Now, backpack up and start! Beautiful Vietnam is waiting for you to discover.