Travel to Vietnam - Tips and informations
Travel to Vietnam from the tropical coral reefs of Nha Trang to the northern mountains of Sa Pa, travel to Vietnam is one of the most adventurous yet culturally empowering experiences you can have in the world.
One moment you will find yourself haggling for banh mi deep within Saigon and that afternoon you could be watching a breathtaking sunset from the Mekong Delta.
Vietnam is more than a country, it’s an experience. Street food vendors cooking up exotic cuisines such as pho, streets dedicated to selling suit and ties.
Cruising the waters of Halong Bay, while monkeys jump from island to island or you might find yourself trekking to the highest peak in Vietnam, Fansipan soaring to over 3,100 metres!
Not into adventure? Homestays are the perfect way to spend your day as the monsoon rains fall across the endless snaking rivers of the Mekong.
Vietnamese hospitality is unrivalled and is something that you should experience once in your life, so what are you waiting for? Say good morning Vietnam! And go get lost!
Vietnam Travel Guide
So we’ve convinced you to travel to Vietnam? Awesome! Now check out the basic information about the country in our Vietnam travel guide.
How to get to Vietnam
There are a number of different ways to travel to Vietnam, depending on where you are coming from and how you like to get around with transport.
There are a lot of different airlines that fly to Vietnam from all over the world. There are two major international airports in Vietnam; Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City in the south and Noi Bai Airpot (HAN) in Hanoi in the north.
In the centre of the country is Da Nang International Airport (DAD) in Da Nang, which receives a smaller number of international flights.
Direct flights to Vietnam from Australia, Europe and North America are still limited, but it is improving. You will most likely have to book a flight with a stopover in either Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul or Singapore.
There are many domestic airport scattered among the country. Vietnam Airlines is Vietnam’s national carrier.
We have flown with them several times and they are amazing. We find Google flights is a great search engine to find the cheapest flights on the web.
Europe to Vietnam will take you about 15 hours give or take. There is a lot more carriers flying to Vietnam direct now from major cities in Europe. Others you will have a stopover somewhere but the connections are better. For direct flights from Hanoi, do check out Vietnam Airlines which will fly direct to Paris, Frankfurt and London. For direct flights from HCMC, check out Vietnam Airlines and Air France as they have direct flights from Paris. For non direct flights, check out Thai Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, British Airlines, or Aeroflot. These airlines seem to have the shortest stopover times for flights heading to Hanoi or HCMC.
North America to Vietnam will take you around 16 hours. At this stage there are no direct flights to Vietnam from North America. Apparently there is talk about it for 2018 from either San Fransisco or Los Angeles, but lets wait and see. If you are flying from the United States or Canada, check out China Airlines, Emirates, Korean Airline, China Southern, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Qatar Airlines, Jin Air and Asiana Airline.
Australia to Vietnam will take you about between 8 – 14 hours depending on your route. For daily direct flights to Ho Chi Minh City, you can travel to Vietnam with Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar from Sydney or Melbourne. At this stage there does not seem to be any direct flights to Hanoi from any city in Australia. You will have a stopover either in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong or HCMC (if you are going with Vietnam Airlines). You can pick a great deal with Air Asia, Scoot or Jetstar but do beware that these are budget carriers and luggage may not be included.
Other countries in Asia You have a lot more options to travel to Vietnam. Flying direct and you can fly to smaller airports within Vietnam. Check out VietnamAirlines, Scoot.com, AirAsia.com, Vietjet.com and Jetstar.com for great deals. From major airports in Asia such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Beijing, you can get to Hanoi or HCMC for less than $50USD.
5 Interesting facts about Vietnam
Want to know some interesting facts about Vietnam?
Huong Tich Grotto is an enormous Buddhist temple within a cave is said to have Chinese characters scribed into the entry way that declare you are entering ‘the most beautiful temple in under the southern sky’
Banh mi is addictive. Yep, French style bread roll full of fried chicken or pork with vegetables and hot chilli sauce…so good!
Don’t expect to pay more than $1 to $2 for a serving of delicious street food anywhere you go in Vietnam!
French influence in Vietnam introduced Catholicism which caused tensions between Catholics and Buddhists.
The Perfume Pagoda Festival involves mass pilgrimage to the Yen River where Buddhist pagoda’s and shrines are visited.
Best time to travel to Vietnam
The best time to travel to Vietnam really depends on what you are looking for in terms of weather, scenery and budget. Peak season occurs from mid-December through to February but expect prices to double. Low season is perfect for those on a budget.
Low Season – April to June, September to November
Shoulder Season – December to March
High Season – July & August
Northern Vietnam – Best months to travel Northern Vietnam are April to May or September to October. There are mostly sunny days and the rain has stopped. The weather gets really cold from December to March and is not suited for hiking or sailing a junk boat in Halong Bay that time of year. Check out our post on motorbiking around Northern Vietnam.
Central Vietnam – Best months for Central Vietnam are January to June. Heavy rains are in October and November. Really hot months are from May to August.
Southern Vietnam – Best months to explore Southern Vietnam are January to April where conditions are beautiful. You really can travel the south anytime of the year in the south, just note that from May to November there are afternoon downpours. Check out our post about Southern Vietnam.
Top 5 places to travel to Vietnam
Mekong Delta – An extensive river system running through China, Laos, Cambodia and exiting through the south of Vietnam, the Mekong provides a unique experience for seeing floating market places.
Halong Bay – A collection of over 3,000 limestone islands providing endless kayaking opportunities. Take the time to relax aboard a boat or venture to Cat Ba National Park for mystical waterfalls!
Phong Nha – If you want adventure on your trip, this is the place to be. Surrounded by limestone mountains, tropical forest and underground rivers, this area is full of cave systems. Phong Nha is home to the world’s biggest cave.
My Son Temple – Ancient temples dating back 1,000 years gives a culture understanding into Vietnams past all while showing the scars of the so called ‘Vietnam War’ Read our article about My Son Vietnam.
Hoi An – One of the most breathtaking cities in Vietnam. Hoi An is the city of lanterns inspired by French colonisation. Tailor shops are very popular here.
Travel Experiences to Vietnam
Taking the overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa. Said to be one of the most eye opening train rides in the world, as you pass through lush forests, rice paddy fields on your way to the Vietnamese – Chinese border
Go hiking through the rice terraces of Sapa. Explore the area with the local hill tribes. Stay with them during your trek. Here’s our full post about trekking in Sapa.
Cruising the waters of the Mekong Delta. Probably one of the ‘must do’s’, The Mekong Delta is full of hidden gems including floating markets, friendly locals and late afternoon storms.
Go caving in Phong Nha. Caves that are can fit a 747 plane in it. They are massive and spectacular. This is an adventure you will never forget.
Riding a motorcycle. Yes, that’s right! Hiring a motorcycle or scooter is a must but maybe do it out on the country roads. Opt for the famous ride to the mountain village of Dalat, or the Hai Van Pass.
Food in Vietnam
When traveling to a foreign country one of the new and most exciting things you will experience is the food. There are so many amazing food when you travel to Vietnam and Vietnamese food is delicious. Here are a few of our favourites.
Goi Cuon – This is a rice paper packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced or shredded pork, shrimp or crab. It will be served with a sweet and sour sauce or a delicious homemade peanut sauce. Sometimes to make the experience even better, you get to hand roll them yourself. This was our favourite dish.
Banh Mi – With this one it will be different in every corner of Vietnam. This is a baguette sandwich which is filled with meat, greens, pata, picked vegetables, soy sauce, cilantro and sometime an omelette. The meat filling will be roasted pork belly, grilled pork lion, barbecue pork, boiled chicken, or a fried egg.
Coa Lau – Hoi An is the best (and only authentic) place to try this one. as the noodles are made using water from a special well in town. t is chewy rice flour noodles with Chinese barbecue pork, bean spouts, croutons and fresh herbs in a delicious pork-based gravy. We recommend the second eatery on Huyen Tran Cong Chua street near the Hoang Dieu Bridge.
Bun Cha – This is a Hanoi specialty and it is deliciously addictive. Bun Cha is served with grilled fatty pork over a plate of white rice noodle. It will be served with a sauce. It will all be served separately and you combined everything together. You can ask for some little fried spring rolls on top too. It is so delicious!
Pho (pronounced ‘fur’) – This flat rice noodle soup is either light beef or chicken broth flavoured with coriander and ginger with spring onions and bits of meat (chicken, pork or beef). It is a dish you can have any time of the day and is delicious, but it can be hit and miss in some places. If you have an average one, please do try it again. We ate pho a lot for breakfast and never got sick of it.