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Vietnam Travel Guide

Vietnam, with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, is a captivating destination for travellers. Let us embark on a journey through this enchanting Southeast Asian gem.

  • 11 Jul 2023
  • 5 min read

Vietnam, with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, is a captivating destination for travellers. From bustling cities to the serene countryside, Vietnam offers a diverse range of experiences. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a food lover, Vietnam has something for everyone.

In this comprehensive Vietnam travel guide, we will explore the places to visit in Vietnam, things to do, the best time to visit Vietnam, how to reach Vietnam from India, the visa process for Indians, top food in Vietnam, the Indian embassy in Vietnam, essential items to pack, and more. Let us embark on a journey through this enchanting Southeast Asian gem.

Top Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam, a captivating Southeast Asian country, offers a plethora of enchanting destinations and cultural experiences. With its rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cities, Vietnam entices travellers from all over the world. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the stunning Halong Bay, the list of places to visit in Vietnam is almost a never-ending one.

Whether you are seeking to soak in breathtaking natural beauty, experience serendipity in ancient temples, or enjoy delicious cuisine, Vietnam has it all. When it comes to the top places to visit in Vietnam, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay, Hoi An, and the Mekong Delta are just a few of the must-see attractions. These destinations showcase the unique charm and beauty of Vietnam, making them essential stops on any traveller's itinerary.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of top places to visit in Vietnam:

  1. Halong Bay: Explore the mesmerising karst seascape of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its thousands of limestone islands and breathtaking views.
  2. Ho Chi Minh City: Immerse yourself in the bustling city life of Ho Chi Minh City, known for its vibrant streets, cosmopolitan dining scene, and excellent shopping opportunities.
  3. Hue: Discover the historic town of Hue, home to the Imperial Enclosure and its beautiful landmarks, including the Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, and Halls of Mandarins.
  4. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: Embark on an adventure in this national park renowned for its stunning karst mountain formations, massive caves like the Paradise Cave, and the Phong Nha Caves.
  5. My Son: Visit the ancient temple city of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring well-preserved Hindu temple ruins dating back to the Cham era.
  6. Hoi An: Experience the charm of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its well-preserved merchant houses, Japanese Bridge, and Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation.
  7. Sapa Countryside: Explore the picturesque countryside surrounding Sapa, famous for its terraced rice fields, ethnic minority villages, and breathtaking mountain views.
  8. Hanoi: Dive into the vibrant city life of Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, and explore its old town quarter, visit museums like the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, and pay respects at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
  9. Nha Trang: Enjoy the sandy beaches of Nha Trang, perfect for swimming and sunbathing, and visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers and the Alexandre Yersin Museum.
  10. Cu Chi Tunnels: Discover the Cu Chi Tunnels, an extensive underground network used by the Viet Cong during the war, and gain insights into Vietnam's modern military history.
  11. Ba Be National Park: Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of Ba Be National Park, known for its interconnected lakes, karst peaks, and opportunities for boat trips, kayaking, and hiking.
  12. Mekong Delta: Explore the lush and vibrant region of the Mekong Delta, famous for its scenic waterways, floating markets, and the bustling town of Can Tho.
  13. Cat Ba Island: Experience some adrenaline-gushing adventure on Cat Ba Island, located in the stunning Lan Ha Bay, and enjoy activities like cruising, kayaking, hiking, and rock climbing.
  14. Ha Giang: Embark on a scenic road trip through Ha Giang Province, known for its breathtaking karst landscapes, mountain passes like Quan Ba Pass and Mai Pi Leng Pass, and vibrant local markets.
  15. Phu Quoc Island: Relax on the beautiful beaches of Phu Quoc Island, go snorkelling or diving in its crystal-clear waters, and enjoy panoramic views from the Phu Quoc cable car.

Vietnam offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, rich history, and cultural diversity, making it an ideal destination for travellers seeking unique experiences and memorable adventures.

Things to Do in Vietnam

Vietnam offers a plethora of exciting activities and experiences. Here are some notable things to do in Vietnam:

  1. Visit the historical sites in Hanoi, including the Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
  2. Take a cruise along the picturesque Halong Bay and explore its stunning limestone karsts.
  3. Discover the ancient town of Hoi An and wander through its well-preserved streets, visit traditional houses, and enjoy the vibrant lantern festival.
  4. Experience the bustling markets and vibrant street food scene in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
  5. Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, a complex underground network used during the Vietnam War.
  6. Trek through the scenic landscapes of Sapa and meet ethnic minority communities.
  7. Relax on the beautiful beaches of Nha Trang, Phu Quoc Island, or Da Nang.
  8. Visit the Mekong Delta and cruise along its winding waterways, observing the local way of life.
  9. Take a motorbike tour through the stunning Hai Van Pass, offering breathtaking coastal views.
  10. Taste the diverse flavours of Vietnamese cuisine, including dishes like pho, banh mi, and fresh seafood.

Best Time to Visit Vietnam

The best time to visit Vietnam depends on the region's climate. The country experiences intense monsoon seasons with heavy rains, floods, and mudslides. To have the best travel experience, travel during the dry season from December to February, which is Vietnam’s best time to visit. However, there are a few exceptions.

In the southern region, including Ho Chi Minh City, a tropical climate persists with high temperatures and humidity year-round. Visiting during the cooler months of December to February offers relief from the heat, with lower humidity and temperatures in the pleasant high 20s.

In contrast, northern areas like Hanoi and Sapa encounter a genuine winter. December and January bring mid- to high-teens temperatures in Hanoi, and during this period you can witness snowfall in Sapa.

For beach time in Danang or exploring Hoi An, February to May is the ideal period. During this time, air and water temperatures hover around 20° Celsius, creating perfect beach weather. It is advisable to avoid Danang during the rainy season, particularly in September and October, when heavy rainfall and strong windstorms are frequent along the coast.

By considering the diverse climates of Vietnam and the best time to visit Vietnam from India, travellers can plan their trips accordingly for a comfortable and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience in this captivating country.

How to Reach Vietnam from India

Reaching Vietnam from India is convenient, with several direct flights available from major Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The flight duration is around 4 to 6 hours, depending on the route.

Alternatively, you can also travel via connecting flights through other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, or Singapore. Let us understand how to reach Vietnam from India using both air and sea-

Reach Vietnam from India by air

  • Take a flight from Bangalore, Delhi, Cochin, Hyderabad, Amritsar, or Thiruvananthapuram
  • Flight duration is approximately 4 hours
  • Three international airports in Vietnam: Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi), Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City), and Da Nang International Airport (Da Nang)
  • Airports are close to city centres (40 minutes from Hanoi, 20 minutes from Ho Chi Minh City, 10 minutes from Da Nang)
  • Basic amenities available at airports (food, money exchange, ATMs)
  • Good domestic connectivity within Vietnam

Reach Vietnam from India by sea

  • No direct cruises from India to Vietnam
  • Choices for travel between Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City
  • Enjoy a leisurely sea voyage for about 9-10 days
  • Stops at different ports along the way
  • Relax aboard a luxurious ship with all needs taken care of

Also read:

Vietnam Visa Process for Indians

Indian citizens planning to visit Vietnam need a valid visa. The visa application process is straightforward, and there are two main options:

1. E-Visa

    • Apply for an e-visa through the official website of the Vietnam Immigration Department.
    • Completely and correctly fill out the application form and submit it with the necessary documents.
    • Pay the visa fee online.
    • Receive the e-visa within a few days via email.
    • Print the e-visa and carry it along with the passport during travel.

2. Embassy Application

    • Visit the Vietnamese embassy in India to apply for a visa.
    • Complete the visa application form and provide the necessary supporting documents.
    • Remit the visa fee according to the instructions provided by the embassy.
    • Wait for the visa processing time as informed by the embassy.
    • Collect the visa from the embassy once it is approved

Make sure that your passport remains valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned period of stay in Vietnam.

For more detailed information and the latest updates on the visa process, visit the official website of the Embassy of Vietnam.

Things to Pack for Your Vietnam Trip

When packing for your Vietnam trip, consider the following essentials:

  1. Lightweight clothing and comfortable shoes for exploring.
  2. Rain gear, as Vietnam experiences occasional rain showers throughout the year.
  3. Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the tropical sun.
  4. Insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes.
  5. Power adapter, as Vietnam uses Type A, C, and D sockets.
  6. Medications, including any necessary prescriptions.
  7. Travel insurance to cover medical emergencies and trip cancellations.
  8. A travel backpack or daypack for day trips and adventures.
  9. A photocopy of your passport and other important documents.

Indian Embassy in Vietnam

The Indian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam plays a crucial role in facilitating effective communication and fostering strong ties between the Indian Government and Vietnam.

  • The address of the Indian embassy in Vietnam is 58-60 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
  • The Consulate General of India is also located in Ho Chi Minh City. Both the embassy and consulate work towards strengthening the relationship between India and Vietnam through various events and initiatives.
  • For any consular services or assistance, including visa-related queries, contact the embassy directly.

Currency of Vietnam

  • The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam.
  • It is advisable to carry a combination of cash and cards for your trip. You will find several Automatic teller machines (ATMs) in prominent urban centres and popular tourist destinations.
  • Most hotels, restaurants, and shops accept credit cards but carrying some cash for smaller establishments and local markets is better.
  • Note that you can exchange foreign currencies at banks as well as authorised currency exchange counters.

Top Delicacies of Vietnam

Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its flavours and variety. Some top food in Vietnam include:

  1. Pho: A traditional noodle soup with fragrant broth, rice noodles, and your choice of meat or vegetables.
  2. Banh Mi: A delicious Vietnamese baguette sandwich filled with various ingredients like grilled meats, pickled vegetables, and herbs.
  3. Bun Cha: Grilled pork served with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a tangy dipping sauce.
  4. Fresh Spring Rolls: Rice paper rolls filled with shrimp, pork, vegetables, and herbs, served with peanut sauce.
  5. Banh Xeo: Crispy Vietnamese pancakes filled with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and herbs.

List of International Airports in Vietnam

Vietnam has several international airports, including:

  • Can Tho International Airport
  • Da Nang International Airport
  • Cat Bi International Airport
  • Noi Bai International Airport
  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport
  • Phu Bai International Airport
  • Cam Ranh International Airport
  • Phu Quoc International Airport
  • Van Don International Airport
  • Vinh International Airport

These airports offer domestic and international flights, connecting Vietnam to various destinations around the world.

Why Do You Need Travel Insurance for Vietnam?

Having travel insurance is essential when visiting Vietnam –

  • It provides financial protection and peace of mind in case of unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage.
  • Medical costs can be high, and having a robust travel insurance plan ensures that you receive proper care without worrying about expenses.
  • Additionally, travel insurance can cover trip interruptions, delays, and personal liability.
  • In the event of a serious medical emergency that requires evacuation or repatriation, travel insurance can cover the costs associated with these services.

Before purchasing travel insurance, carefully read the policy coverage, including any exclusions or limitations, to ensure it meets your needs.

By following this travel guide, you will be well-prepared to embark on an incredible journey through Vietnam, discovering its beauty, culture, and culinary delights.

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