The best experience in Vietnam – Top 10 things to do

If you ever come to Vietnam, there are lots of must-experience in Vietnam with top things to do. I would like to list the best experiences in Vietnam

Eating phở, shopping in common market, singing karaoke and exploring Son Doong cave are top of the favorite lists of expatriates in Vietnam.

Differs with the way local tourists feel about their country, expatriates find its hidden charm in an original way.

Best experience in Vietnam that you shouldn’t miss.

1. Taking photographs of buildings in the Old Quarter.

experiences in vietnam

Hanoi market in the old town

The hundred-year-old Old Quarter located in the centre of Hanoi is one of the top favorite place for expatriates. Contrary to the common belief of local tourists which the Old Quarter’s texture is not homogeneous, the foreigners are interested in it.

The blend of French style buildings and wooden old traditional houses as well as a busy but also peaceful life here make the streets attractive.

2. Cruise on Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long bay swimming

Swimming in Bai Tu Long bay

A cruise on Bai Tu Long Bay is less popular to local tourists as the cost is very high but it is the most well-known Northern tour in foreign tourism websites. This bay with thousands of different sized strange shapes attracts many tourists. The yatch takes tourists on a tour around the bay, passing small islands. Some tours allow tourists to land on islands, camp and hold BBQ parties.

3. Homestay at Sapa

Sapa homestays

Playing card in Sapa

Similar to Ha Long Bay, from Hanoi, tourists can take a short day tour (2-3 days) to a beautiful mountainous town. The tourists can see terraced fields which are a beautiful ripe yellow in the right season and they can communicate with locals. The terraced fields are quite strange to foreigners so they often feel interested in them.

Locals at Sapa have an original way of living but they are very open-hearted towards foreigners. Tourists can integrate into H’Mong ethnic area to visit and explore. However, Sapa tourism has recently been commercialized, making the town lose their beauty.

4. Enjoying a cup of coffee

Vietnamese coffee

Drinking a sip of coffee in Hanoi Old Quarter

To those have passion for coffee, Vietnam is really an ideal producer of worldwide renowned high-class coffee. Instead of making up coffee with fresh milk, Vietnamese often make up with condensed milk to create a rich sweet taste.

Sitting on street sides, watching crossing lines of people and enjoying a cup of coffee with the egg whipped on top is an unforgettable experience.

5. Eating beef phở

Vietnamese noddle soup

Eating noodle soup in Vietnam is a must

Tourists can enjoy phở on every corner of Vietnam with a variety of types. Menus of Vietnamese restaurants all over the world never miss the beef phở. The tasty stock simmered from beef bones, cardamom and cinnamon is served with noodles and cooked or uncooked beef, depending on the customer’s taste. This dish is not complicated but can customize the most fastidious eaters.

6. Shopping in the common market

Vietnamese market

Vietnamese wet market

You will wonder why those used to living clean as Westerners, are interested in ‘huddling’ into a common market. To them, traveling is exploring and to know how life in one city is, visit the markets there. Almost food here is fresh, processed and sold at cheap price, differs with frozen food found in the supermarket in developed countries. Furthermore, visitors can try the terrifying food like balut (duck eggs that have been incubated until the fetus are all feathery and beaky, and then boiled alive) and pupa.

7. Dating in Hoi An

Hoian dating

Dating in Hoian

Hoi An Old Town is always of great interest to tourists, except during the rainy season. Many tourists know this town since it was recognized as a World Culture Heritage in 1999. The peaceful traditional life and the professional services make tourists wish to come back one day.

The favorite activity is riding around the town and adjacent areas, having áo dài freshlymade or releasing a float lantern on the Hoai river on full-moon days.

8. Exploring Mekong River Delta

Mekong Delta

Exploring Mekong Delta is really cool to do

Not far from Ho Chi Minh City is the fruitful and well-off Mekong River Delta. With a tour package of $70, tourists can easily visit this place. Not only visiting fruitful gardens, traveling on Mekong head-waters by junk or visiting floating markets in the West, but tourists also have the chance to enjoy and listen to đờn ca tài tử (a musical art that has both scholarly and folk roots) – a specialty here.

9. Sing karaoke in Sai Gon

Saigon Karaoke

Sing karaoke in Saigon

Locals’ activities are what expatriates want to experience. Saigon, like Bangkok and Hongkong, is a sleepless city with all night entertainment activities. Drinking beer or chatting with friends on Tay Bui Vien street, wandering around the night market and singing karaoke are the top popular activities spread on forums.

10. Exploring Son Doong cave

Son Doong cave

Son Doong is the world largest cave

With a tour package of a very high price at about 3,000USD, this tour is absolutely reserved for foreign tourists only.

The cave is 150m in width, 200m in height, 5km in length and able to contain a 40 store building. The fauna and flora in the cave are various and rich. Many hundreds of meters high trees can be found here and this place is home to nearly extinct rare animals. There are only 4 tours each month.

What to do in Vietnam in two weeks (suggested itinerary)

Two weeks is enough to see highlights of Vietnam with top attractions. See the following details below

Hanoi city : 2 days

Halong Bay : 2 days

Sapa : 3 days 2 nights

Hue – Hoi an : 4 days 3 nights 

Ho Chi Minh city : 1 days 

Mekong delta: 2 day 

Where to stay in Vietnam

There is a wide range of accommodation in Vietnam from hostels, guests houses to comfort hotel, bases on your budget. 

With 5 bucks per night, you have your own bed at the hostels but to be honest with you, I have never slept in those places like that. I usually sleep in a hotel around $25 USD per night with clean toilet, hot showers.  

With 10 year experiences in tourism industry, I would like to recommend a list of hotels from 3 stars to 5 stars hotel


3 stars hotel : Essense, Noble boutique, Hanoi Emerald Waters Hotel Trendy, The Chi boutique

4 stars hotel : Hanoi Pearl, Dan Vostro, Sithpath, Oriental Jade, The Lapis, Lasieta Premium Hang Be

5 stars hotel : Sofitel Metropole, Intercontinental, Sheraton, Marriot, Hilton Opera

Ha Long Bay cruise

5 stars cruise : Paradise, Aphrodite, Heritage cruise, Scalet Pearl, Genesis Luxury Regal, Athena royal cruise

4 stars cruise : Ancora, Oasis bay party cruise, Uni charm cruise, Victory cruise

3 stars cruise : L’Azalee cruise, Majestic Halong, Sunlight Legend, Cozy bay classic cruise

Ninh Binh

3 stars hotel : Tam Coc Condeluz boutique, Le Clos Du Fil, Golden Season 

4 stars hotel : Hidden Charm, Ninh Binh Legend,  Tam Coc La Montagne Resort & Spa, Tam Coc garden resort, The Reed hotel

5 stars hotel : Emeralda resort,


Da Nang:

Hoi An:

Nha Trang:

Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City:

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Read more : Ultimate Hanoi Itinearary

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