Vacation, Trips and Holidays in Vietnam

From iconic rice paddies and cascading mountains to historic towns, frantic cities, national parks, and tropical islands, Vietnam offers peace, vibrancy, and a winning blend of incredible experiences, charming people, heart-stopping scenery, exquisite cuisine, and remarkable hospitality. The cultural and geographical treasures of this captivating country intrigue, inviting travelers to an adventure of a lifetime. If you are planning a trip here or your next family vacation, this guide will give every detail you will ever need right on your plate.

When to Visit Vietnam?

Those that have been here finally come to terms with the fact that any time is a great time to visit Vietnam! However, it is best to bear in mind the climate variations between the north and the south, especially if you wish to travel the length of the country. Generally speaking, anywhere between October and December is an excellent time to visit the north part of the island as the weather is perfect at that time of the year. If heading south, then prefer the months from November to March. Now, if you want to be part of any festivities that may take place around here, such as the Vietnamese New Year celebration (called TET), which is the biggest open-air party you will ever join, then do come January. In this case, though, book your flight tickets and accommodation in advance as hotels are booked quickly while restaurants, shops, and transport are usually closed for the holiday. Finally, to avoid too much rain and too much heat, better not travel to northern Vietnam from June to August it is scorching hot (around 40oC) with regular downpours on a daily basis. Also, stay away from the southern part of Vietnam between June and July as it is the season with the worst rains.

What is the Weather Like in Vietnam?

Vietnam is ruled by a tropical monsoon climate that diversifies every region on the island. For example, in southern Vietnam, the weather is hot year-round with rains coming between May and October while central Vietnam is hot and dry from January to August and rainy and warm between September and December. As for northern Vietnam, the weather is humid, hot, and rainy during May and October and dry and cold from November to April.

Visa Requirements

Depending on where you come from, you may or may not need a visa to enter Vietnam. You do NOT need a visa (and can apply for popular passport type with return tickets) if:
  • You live in a country member of the ASEAN, such as Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand (unless you visit Vietnam for more than 30 days or more than 21 if you are from the Philippines or 14 if you are from Myanmar or 15 if from Brunei).
  • You live in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, or Spain and are planning to stay in Vietnam for less than 15 days.
  • You are a passport holder from Russia, Japan, Korea, or the Scandinavian nations and you are going to stay in Vietnam for less than 15 days.
  • You are a citizen of France or Chile holding an official passport or valid diplomatic papers and will remain in the country for less than 90 days.
  • You are an APEC Business Travel Card holder from APEC member economies and will stay for less than 60 days.
  • Are Vietnamese or foreigner holding valid foreign passport and are entering the country via an international border to travel to Phu Quoc Island (as long as you don’t stay there for more than 15 days).
If you don’t belong in any of these categories, then you need to get a Vietnam entry visa before arriving here by visiting the Vietnamese Embassy in your country and providing information about your length of stay, among others. Alternatively, you can apply for an e-visa from or an invitation letter for a visa using a visa agency and receive your single-entry visa upon arrival after you show the letter, a passport photo, and your passport and pay the stamping fee at the airport. Note: It is a good idea to ensure you get a passport with a 6-month validity (at least).

What Languages Are Spoken in Vietnam?

Although the official language is, of course, Vietnamese, you may also hear many people (mainly older ones) speak French too (Vietnam was a French colony for many years). English is also widely spoken throughout the country, primarily the more developed and touristy areas. Don’t be surprised if you come across students in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi eager to speak to you to practice their English! Now, if you wish to have a conversation with a local of a rural or remote area, chances are it will be challenging as very few speak English.

How to Get Around Vietnam?

There are various ways to get from one region to another:
  • Train – The Vietnam railway line will take you from one end of the country to another. You may use the train to go to and from Hanoi, Danang, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nha Trang. You may also travel north to Lao Cai for Sapa, or east from Hanoi to Haiphong for Halong Bay. If you want to move in luxury, use the Orient Express Trains that ride from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Generally, there are four classes in Vietnam Railways, soft sleepers, hard sleepers, soft seats, and hard seats. Most of the time, trains also have food service and air-condition, and you can book your tickets online, at the station or through your hotel.
  • Internal Flights – You will find several domestic flights going to and from Phu Quoc, Dalat, Hue, Nha Trang, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi. The average flight time from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi is 2 hours (direct flight). Overall, the cost is meager, and the most popular airlines here are Vietnam Airlines, Air Asia, Vietjet, and Jet Star.
  • Boat – Taking the boat to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay will enable you to go past picturesque landscape as you go around the verdant Mekong Delta waterways. Or you can hop on a boat and go swimming or snorkeling at Phu Quoc, the Cham Islands, and Nha Trang, to name a few. Overnight cruises are also very common here.
  • Bus – The bus is the most cost-effective means of transport here. The bus network in Vietnam is quite extensive and you can purchase your tickets online, via your hotel or directly from the bus station. Pick any of the available ticket options, from fancy private tourist tickets to very cheap ones. If you are after extremely posh and comfortable bus rides, choose Mai Linh Express or The Sinh Tourist, as long as you are okay with the loud music and film playing on these buses. As for the most budget-friendly tickets, these belong to Open Tickets’ hop-on-hop-off buses. You can grab those from tour companies.
  • Motorbike – If you are an experienced driver, then do rent a bike. Otherwise, better avoid it as the traffic here can be overwhelming with very few bikers following traffic regulations. The roads are also challenging (most are narrow, dirt roads). To rent a motorcycle, you will need an International Driver’s Permit and insurance. Alternatively, you could co-ride with an experienced tour guide.

Are there any Health Concerns to Keep in Mind?

Before you travel to any foreign country, it is always advised to have a medical check-up and take out proper insurance. Provided that your routine boosters and vaccinations are all been taken care of on time, including measles-mumps-rubella and diphtheria-tetanus-polio, you will be fine. As an extra precaution, make sure you have also had vaccinations for Typhoid, Tetanus, and Hepatitis A. In the recommended list, one will probably find vaccinations against Japanese Encephalitis, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, and Rabies (if you are going to come into contact or work with animals). Finally, except for some rural areas and southern regions, Malaria is not at all common in Vietnam. What is present in the country, though, is Zika Virus and Dengue Fever so do take precautions to avoid bites (i.e., cover up in the evenings or use repellent, preferably with DEET) and seek medical help if you notice any symptoms, such as aching muscles, nausea, headache, or fever.

Vietnam Cuisine

Besides heart-stopping vistas and mind-blowing natural beauty, Vietnam is also renowned for its delicious food (see legendary fish sauce and top-quality locally-produced peppers) that surprises pleasantly with its price. The local cuisine is characterised by fresh spring rolls from locally-grown vegetables, meaty soups seasoned like there is no tomorrow, a beef noodle soup the locals call Pho, banana-flower salads, and French-influenced baguettes. If you head to the north, do not leave without having tasted some Bun Cha or a Banh Mi pork sandwich. And, you happen to be somewhere on the coast, ordering some seafood is a prerequisite, whether you are at a sea-side restaurant or a street market.

Vietnam Nightlife

The most action takes place in the big cities and the beachside towns. Hanoi is very famous for its lager-like draught (a locally-brewed type of beer) among the locals while the bars and clubs in Ho Chi Minh City (the Pham Ngu Lao district) are open until deep in the night. If you fancy a more relaxed nightlife scene, Phu Quoc is ideal. Plenty of beachfront clubs, vibrant nightclubs, restaurants that stay open until very late at night, wine lounges, and cocktail bars with elegant interiors will tick your boxes for a fun and laid back time out. If you are lucky, you may bump to a full-moon party or join the thrill of a sports event that becomes everybody’s business here! Or you could go straight to Duong Dong and buy some souvenirs and/or sample authentic local dishes at the Dinh Cau Night Market.

Main Highlights in Vietnam

The bustling capital of the country is Hanoi and like every other town of Northern Vietnam, it mesmerises with its French colonial architecture. Escape to Hoan Kiem Lake and watch the sun vanish behind the horizon (or do morning Yoga) or stroll the intricate streets of the Old Quarter. Also:
  • Traveling east will introduce you to the unique karst limestone landscape followed by the enchanting waters of Halong Bay.
  • As you move further north towards the border with Laos and China, you have rolling hills, lush valleys, imposing waterfalls, and beautiful rice terraces waiting for you around the town of Sapa.
  • Travelers to the central coast can expect pristine beaches with crystal clear waters and the charming town of Hoi An with its tree-lined streets and the fine shopping scene.
  • Follow the Perfume River as you move closer to inland, and it will lead you to the Imperial City, the former imperial capital of Hue, and the impressive Thien Mu Pagoda.
  • The coastal city of Nha Trang awaits further south, ready to accommodate your needs for a relaxing time. Offering great scuba diving, gorgeous sandy beaches, and an underwater world so enchanting; it will be hard to part.
  • Saigon, the largest city of Southern Vietnam, will greet you with historical landmarks and not only.
  • Not long after driving south, your eyes will land on the scenic Mekong Delta that the locals also call the rice bowl of Vietnam! Unsurpassable beauty and allure as you watch the floating markets.
  • Only a short flight separates you from the unbelievably romantic and idyllic beaches and landscapes of Phu Quoc Island overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.

Accommodation in Vietnam

Vietnam hosts a wide range of accommodation. You can find luxury hotels and chic resorts in the more central areas or on the coast offering accommodation at its finest. Others comprise an exceptional base from which to explore the most notable attractions and landmarks, including UNESCO World Heritage towns and sights. There are also options that provide further tranquillity along the coast or on the island of Phu Quoc, as well as lodgings cut to please those that wish for beachside retreats and bare-foot luxury, and stylish boutique hotels. Finally, some properties combine all that, such as La Veranda in Phu Quoc island that thrills with its colonial style and affluence. As for those into budget holidays, lodges and guesthouses are in abundance in Vietnam enabling them to explore the less-touristy regions and enjoy spellbinding views on the cheap.

Unique Must-Try Activities in Vietnam

When you are in Vietnam, you normally want to explore the gorgeous beaches and dive in the refreshing waters of the ocean. But, what if you wanted to get a different taste of what is available here? Here is a list of things that you could consider:
  • Journey like a local on the back of a Vespa.
  • Learn to fish like Vietnamese do.
  • Ride a buffalo cart through the central coast countryside.
  • Have morning Tai Chi.
  • Meet a Feng Shui master.
  • Trek from Sapa to Ta Giang Phinh.
  • Learn about the likes of Bahn tom and Cha Ca (deep-fried shrimp cakes and sautéed white fish respectively).
  • Attend a night market.
  • Drink tea at Hue city.
  • Dine in a romantic cave.
  • Go shopping at a floating market.
  • Join a local festival.
Vietnam is a blossoming flower, with many pedals that captivate and dazzle with their aromas and unique beauty. Grab this opportunity and see where this adventure will take you!