18 Amazing Reasons to Travel to Vietnam at Least Once!

by Jackie
Published: Updated:
One of the top reasons to visit Vietnam is to see the gorgeous Halong Bay with the limestone karst and the opportunity to stay overnight on a junker boat.

Is Vietnam worth visiting? Yes, it is!!

There are many incredible reasons to visit Vietnam. This Southeast Asian country offers fun activities and experiences. Whether you’re a foodie, adventure seeker, landscape photographer, or history buff, Vietnam is an exciting country to travel to for a meaningful vacation.  

We suggest that you visit Vietnam while you can. The country is growing at a fast pace and focusing on expanding tourism. Yet, it still has pockets of charming cities, islands, and areas to explore. 

In this post, we’re sharing the 18 reasons why you should visit Vietnam at least once! You’ll be itching to travel to Vietnam after reading this post. 

After your first visit to Vietnam, you also may be inspired to move and live in Vietnam like what we did!

*Disclaimer: Visiting Vietnam? We have affiliate links in this post. If you click on the links and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. There is no cost to you. Appreciate the support.

1. Vietnam is one of the most affordable and cheapest places to travel in Southeast Asia. 

We’ve been to many Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, and we think Vietnam is the best place to travel to if you’re on a limited travel budget. What’s not to love about cheaper accommodations, transportation, food, and attractions?! You won’t break the bank whether you spend 1-2 weeks in Vietnam as it’s so cheap to travel through.

Here are some prices to consider:

  • Eating local foods is affordable at $1.50-$2 USD. You can enjoy a hot bowl of phở (noodle soup) at those prices.
  • Staying at guesthouses that come with a private or shared bathroom start at $10-$15 per night. 
  • Renting a motorbike can be $5-$6 per day. Riding a bicycle is even cheaper!
  • Many of the attractions charge an admission fee but the fees are so cheap! Expect to pay around $1-$2 for local attractions. 
  • Amusement parks cost more such as Sun World Ba Na Hills (to see the iconic Golden Hands Bridge) in Danang. Expect to pay around $30 per person. 
Two stone hands holding up a golden bridge at the Sun World Ba Na Hill Theme Park in Danang, Vietnam

Sun World Ba Na Hill’s Golden Bridge is one of the top landmarks to see in Vietnam.

2. Vietnam is a long country so you can explore different areas during your vacation.

Vietnam is 1,025 miles (1,650 kilometers) long so it does take some time to travel from place to place.

Most visitors tend to visit Vietnam in 2 weeks and travel from North to South Vietnam (or vice versa). It can be exhausting traveling from place to place so another option is to stay in one location such as South Vietnam. There are plenty of local attractions to visit on your South Vietnam itinerary in 2 weeks or hang out in Central Vietnam for a week.

If you have more time off from work or school, one month in Vietnam would be even better! 

What is great about Vietnam is that you can experience many different cultures, landscapes, food, and vibe as you travel from North to South. The opportunities are endless to explore. 

A woman in a blue Vietnamese outfit and wearing a conical hat row a boat through the Mekong Delta's forest area.

Riding a boat through the Mekong Delta is one of the top reasons to travel to Vietnam. Photo credit: Alyshia Turchyn via Scopio Photos

3. Transportation around Vietnam can be done on a budget.

If you’re wondering about transportation around Vietnam, it can be done on a budget! 

The local way of going from city to city is to either take the overnight sleeper bus or train. The sleeper buses are comfortable and allow you to recline your body and legs so you can rest. From Ho Chi Minh City to Dalat, it’ll take 5-6 hours and will only cost around $6-$7 one way! 

The trains are also another option and have comfortable seating or even a bed with air conditioning. Train tickets need to be booked in advance, especially around the holidays and Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

Read our overnight train guide here.  

For those short on time, taking a plane ride on a domestic airline between cities is another option. It’ll cost more yet you’ll get to your destination faster. For example, it’ll take only 2 hours between Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. 

Otherwise, you can take metered taxis or use a ride-hailing service, such as Grab or Go-Jek for shorter-distance car or motorbike rides.

Check out important Vietnam travel apps to download before your trip.

4. There are many beautiful places to visit in this country.

It’s hard to choose where to go in Vietnam. Here is a snapshot of the iconic places to visit in Vietnam.

  • Hanoi – As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a great introduction to Vietnam. With the preserved historic buildings and museums, you’ll get an insider view of the history of the country. Plus, the Old Quarter is fun, yet a bit chaotic, to walk through with the local restaurants and shops to browse through.
  • Sapa – This sleeper area is known for the breathtaking rice terraces and ethnic minority groups. You’ll need at least 3 days in Sapa. Top sightseeing activities include trekking for 2 days or hiking Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam. Check out our Sapa trekking guide here.
  • Halong Bay – As a well-known landmark in Asia and one of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, Halong Bay is a gorgeous area to see the limestone karst. It’s recommended to stay overnight on a junker (a boat). You’ll love the opportunity to snorkel, visit caves, eat fresh seafood, and see how life is like living on the water. 
  • Phong Nha – It’s known as the “Adventure Capital of Asia” with the limestone caves and numerous treks to caves. The Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. Check out fun caves such as Paradise Cave, Phong Nha Cave, Hang En Cave, or Son Doong Cave, the world’s largest cave in the world. Check out our Phong Nha itinerary here.
  • Hoi An – Tourists flock to Hoi An as it’s a walkable area with tons of shopping, cute cafes and restaurants, and local attractions, such as the Japanese bridge. In the evenings, the walking street along the river glows with colorful silk lanterns. 
  • Danang – Located in Central Vietnam, many visitors go to Danang for a beach getaway and non-stop sunshine. This city gained popularity after the installation of the Golden Bridge, two giant hands holding up a bridge, at the Sun World Ba Na Hills theme park. Read our 3 days in Danang itinerary here.
  • Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and is a fabulous place to spend a day or at least 3 days here. Even though it’s a bit crowded with people and motorbikes, there are so many good places to eat, shop, and also learn more about Vietnam history.  Read more about top things to do in Ho Chi Minh City here.

If you’re looking for less touristy cities, check out our post on the off the beaten path cities to visit in Vietnam.

Hoi An has a variety of silk lanterns for sale and they come in different patterns such as floral designs, and colors. Hoi An Ancient Town is a must visit UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam.

Visit Hoi An to see these beautiful silk lanterns light up in the evenings.

5. Vietnam has delicious street food.

If you’re a fan of eating affordable and delicious street food, then Vietnam needs to be on your travel list. 

What’s not to love with eating delicious hot noodle soup (phở or hủ tiếu) or a baguette with sliced meat, cilantro, daikon, and carrots (bánh mì). How about crispy, sizzling pancakes (bánh xèo) and wrapping your bánh xèo with herbs and lettuce? We also can’t forget about topping everything with fish sauce (nước mắm) with everything. 

For a more local experience, experience a meal on the squatty plastic chairs and tables and on the sidewalk. You’ll need to do some major stretching after sitting on the tiny chairs. 

Don’t worry. In the larger cities, such as in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam offers a variety of cuisines such as Japanese, Middle Eastern, Indian, Italian, burgers, and more if you need a break from Vietnamese food. There are delicious desserts too!

Bowl of beef pho (noodle soup) in Vietnam

When you’re traveling around Vietnam, try different kinds of pho such as beef and chicken.

6. Vietnam is the perfect place for vegans and vegetarians.

Many people practice Buddhism in Vietnam so it’s common to see vegetarian and vegan places in all of the cities. It’s easy to find vegetarian places as you need to find the word, “chay” in the signs. Depending on your budget, there are cheap to fancier vegetarian restaurants. 

A budget-friendly option is to find local restaurants selling rice plates with vegetarian items (cơm chay in Vietnamese). You get a plate of rice with tofu, faux meat, vegetables, and a side of soup for $1-$1.50. Although we’re not vegans, we love eating vegetarian food a couple of times a week. The rice plates are filling, healthy, and so cheap!

7. For coffee drinkers, Vietnamese coffee is out of this world!

Vietnam is known for its iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá). It’s one of the top reasons to go to Vietnam if you’re a huge coffee drinker! The robusta coffee flavor is stronger due to the use of a coffee phin to slow drop the coffee. You may get the jitters after drinking your coffee. 

Another fun variety of Vietnamese coffee is egg coffee (cà phê trứng) which has fresh chicken egg yolk mixed with condensed milk. We haven’t tried it yet. 

For a relaxing morning or afternoon, head to a local coffee shop, sit on the sidewalk (if this is an option), enjoy your coffee, and do some people watching. 

In Dalat, Vietnam, enjoy iced Vietnamese coffee in a coffee phin with a lake in the background.

Vietnamese coffee is a fantastic way to start off your vacation in Vietnam!

8. Vietnam is a safe place to visit. 

Despite what you hear about Vietnam, the country is safe to travel to. Remember to use common sense, trust your gut if something doesn’t seem right and stay positive. 

Owning firearms is illegal in the country. Therefore, the only thing that you need to worry about is petty theft

Here are some helpful tips to prevent petty theft:

  • Leave the fancy jewelry at home. 
  • Just be smart about your surroundings. Watch out where you put your smartphone, bags, and purses. Ladies, hold on to your handbags. 
  • Do not leave your phone on the table, especially if you’re sitting outside in a tourist area on plastic chairs and tables. 
  • If you are searching for a location on your smartphone, do not try to find it at the corner of the sidewalk where your phone can be easily snatched. 

If you’re a solo traveler, there isn’t any issue with traveling through Vietnam on your own. I’ve met several solo female travelers in Vietnam and they haven’t encountered major problems. 

There are some cases of women getting assaulted and groped while riding on Grab motorbikes. It’s rare, but it does occur so you have to be vigilant when that happens and report it to Grab (or the appropriate ride-sharing company) and the police. We’ve heard of some cases of cat-calling and bag theft targeting female solo travelers and even locals and expats.

Scams do occur especially when paying “touristy” prices for buying souvenirs, street food, and taxi rides. These incidents occur in the larger cities but can happen anywhere. It helps if you know pricing and some conversational Vietnamese to sort out the issues. 

9. Vietnam has many historical sites and museums to highlight the country’s history and tragedies

Each of the major cities has museums to learn more about Communism, Vietnam War (also known as the “American War” in Vietnam’s history), ethnic people, and more. It’s a fabulous way to gain more knowledge about the country’s history.

We’ve only been to a handful of museums in the country and would recommend the following:

  • HanoiMuseum of Ethnology to learn about the various ethnic groups in the country
  • DanangCham Museum to learn about the Cham ethnic group and see the various sculptures
  • Ho Chi Minh CityWar Remnants Museum to learn about the Vietnam War and the aftermaths
  • Con Dao IslandsCon Dao Museum to learn the island’s history and how the prisons were referred to as “Hell on Earth”
War Remnants Museum has old U.S. airplanes, helicopters, and tanks on display that were used during the Vietnam War.

War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is a popular museum to visit.

10. There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

If you have a bucket list of visiting UNESCO sites around the world, Vietnam has 8 sites to visit.

Read our UNESCO sites in Vietnam posts for more details about these places.

11. Vietnam has gorgeous architecture.

The French colonized Vietnam from the mid-19th century to 1940, so you’ll see many French influences in the building architecture. Vietnam has done a good job of preserving these buildings for locals and visitors to admire. 

In Ho Chi Minh City, the top places to see these types of architecture is the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and City Hall, at the end of Nguyen Hue Walking Street.

In Dalat, head to the Dalat Railway Station and Domaine de Marie, the pink church, to see the French architecture. 

The yellow and white Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is an important landmark to visit in the city.

Check out the architecture at the Central Post Office when you’re in Ho Chi Minh City.

12. Experience outdoor adventures in Vietnam.

Vietnam has a variety of adventures to experience during your itinerary. From hiking to riding a sampan boat to learning how to drive a motorbike, the opportunities are endless. 

We love to go hiking and Vietnam has incredible hiking opportunities. The popular overnight hiking trails are in the Lam Dong province in the Central Highlands. Due to the mountains, cooler weather, and vast forest area, it’s the perfect area to spend a few days exploring. We’ve done a two-day trek in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park and it was quite an experience. You can also head to Sapa to go trekking through the ethnic villages or Fansipan.

If you’re based in Ho Chi Minh City and need an idea for a day trip, check out our Chua Chan Mountain hiking guide. Other hiking spots include Ba Den Mountain and Dinh Mountain.

If you’re a fan of waterfalls, Vietnam has gorgeous waterfalls to experience. We love how Dalat in the Central Highlands has many waterfalls to see such as Pongour Waterfall, Elephant Waterfall, Tam Tham Waterfall, and Datanla. Read more about Vietnam waterfalls here.

Check out our Dalat 3 days itinerary to find out what to do here.

Justin Huynh and Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, is in front of the Pongour Waterfall in Dalat, Vietnam

Visiting Vietnam’s waterfalls is one of the top reasons to visit!

13. The islands are great for relaxing and beaches. 

How many islands does Vietnam have? According to this post, there are over 40 islands to visit in Vietnam! The islands are a great getaway if you need some time away from the major cities and want to experience beach life. 

The beach quality varies. Although some of the beaches are covered with garbage (the Vietnam infrastructure is lacking when it comes to garbage and recycling disposal), you can find some untouched beaches with clean waters and smooth sand. 

Check out our post on the best islands in Vietnam to visit. We’ve been to Phu Quoc, Con Dao Islands, Hon Tre, and Hon Tam Island in South Vietnam, and Ly Son Island in Central Vietnam. All have their charms with the island life. We also love eating fresh seafood on the islands. 

A group of women watch the plane fly over Dam Trau Beach in Con Dao Islands, Vietnam

Con Dao Islands has some of the cleanest beaches in Vietnam.

14. Not into islands? Head to beach cities.

Vietnam offers many beach towns for weekend getaways. Check out cities such as Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Danang, Quy Nhon, and Mui NeYou can stay overnight at a resort or an affordable guesthouse and spend all day long along the beach!

Check out our list of beach cities in Vietnam here.

15. See thousands of motorbikes on the road and somehow the cars, motorbikes, and bus traffic work with the various weaving.

Riding a motorbike is a way of life in Vietnam. When you’re in larger cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll witness thousands of motorbikes and cars on the road daily. The environment is a bit chaotic when vehicles need to turn. Yet, everyone knows when they need to yield and slow down.

Check out the video below to see what traffic is like:

16. Learn how to cross a busy intersection. 

Since you’ve seen the video above, you’ll learn how to cross the street with cars and motorbikes. It’s not as bad as you think it is. We’ve been in Ho Chi Minh City for over 2 years and haven’t had any issues with crossing.

Check out our post on crossing the streets in Vietnam here.

Below are quick tips on how you can successfully cross the street without any injuries.

  1. Before crossing the street, watch both ways to see if there are motorbike drivers in the opposite direction. 
  2. Slowly walk your way across the street and do not run and do not stop in the middle of the street. The motorbike drivers will go around you. You can also put your hand up in the air as an indicator of crossing the street.
  3. Slow down or stop when there are larger vehicles (ie: a bus or truck) drives towards you. They will not slow down for you!
  4. Congratulations! You reached the other side of the street! Now, you’re a pro!

17. Get affordable tailored clothes. 

If you have 1-2 weeks in your Vietnam itinerary, consider getting tailored clothes made such as suits, shirts, pants, and dresses. You choose your materials, colors, and have your clothes fit your body perfectly. Tailor quality and clothing pricing vary so it’s best to get quotes from various tailors.

Most people visit Hoi An in Central Vietnam to get tailored clothes made. However, you can visit any of the larger cities to get clothes made. 

We had suits made in Ho Chi Minh City and they turned out great. The suit was around $300. Even though we live in HCMC, we needed to go back every few days for a fitting and to make adjustments. 

One of the unique things to consider getting tailored is the traditional Vietnamese outfits (áo dài). In Vietnam, men and women wear áo dài  for formal occasions and also to the workplace. To remember your trip to Vietnam, you can get one made as a souvenir.

Read more: What to Pack for a Vietnam Trip

18. Get affordable massages often. 

Love getting massages? Consider getting a massage every day as you travel throughout VietnamYour body needs to relax after traveling for so long!

The massages are affordable as the nicer places are around 525,000 VND ($23) for a 90-minute body massage with hot stone. You can even get cheaper massages for $10 for an hour, but we haven’t tried any in that price range.

Final Thoughts On Traveling to Vietnam

Depending on how you want to enjoy your vacation to Vietnam, you’ll have many opportunities to explore the country. We hope this post gave you various reasons why you should book a trip to Vietnam in the future! 

If you’re in the Ho Chi Minh City area and want to meet up, please send us a note. We would love to meet you and share our favorite places to visit.

Have questions about traveling to Vietnam? Ask a question in the comment box below.

Like this post? Save it to your Asia Travel board on Pinterest.

One of the best reasons to visit Vietnam is to see pretty landmarks such as Halong Bay and stay overnight on a junker boat.

Featured photo & pin #1 photo credit: SimonDannhauer via Depositphotos.com

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Emma September 1, 2020 - 12:18 am

Vietnam is such an awesome place. I loved my time there. I agree with all of your points. I actually didn’t like coffee until I tried it in Vietnam. Their coffee is that good! Also as a vegetarian I found it way easier than I thought it would be to eat here

Jackie September 1, 2020 - 3:22 pm

Hi Emma. So happy to hear that you loved your time in Vietnam! Vietnamese coffee is still a bit strong for me so I drink more tea instead.

SHANY September 2, 2020 - 8:36 am

Vietnam is stunning! I love all of your points and would love to visit someday soon. I heard so many great things about this country. Thank you for sharing!!

Jackie September 7, 2020 - 4:48 pm

Thanks Shany! Hope you get a chance to visit Vietnam in the future. If you have any questions and/or need ideas on where to visit in Vietnam, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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