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Vietnam Travel Guides

Visit Vietnam

1. What is the best time of year to visit Vietnam?

Generally, the peak tourist season falls between November and April when the weather is more moderate and dry throughout most of the country. However, this also means larger crowds and higher prices for accommodations and tours. I’d say visit in shoulder season to avoid crowds.

If you’re looking to explore the northern regions, such as Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Sapa, I’d recommend the best time to visit is from September to November or March to April when the weather is mild and dry. Conversely, for the southern regions like Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, the dry season from December to April is preferable.

For beach destinations like Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc, the peak season is from January to August, with the driest and sunniest weather experienced from February to April.

2. What are the must-visit destinations in Vietnam?

Some must-visit destinations in Vietnam include:

  • Cat Ba Island: Known for its stunning natural beauty, Cat Ba Island offers pristine beaches, lush forests, and opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and exploring hidden caves.
  • Hanoi: The capital city is a blend of ancient charm and modern vibrancy, with attractions like the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Temple of Literature.
  • Hoi An: Known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, lantern-lit streets, and vibrant culinary scene, Hoi An offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich history and culture.
  • Phong Nha National Park: Home to some of the world’s largest caves and stunning karst landscapes, Phong Nha National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a paradise for adventurers and nature lovers alike.
  • Sapa: Nestled in the northern mountains, Sapa is renowned for its terraced rice fields, ethnic minority villages, and trekking opportunities amidst stunning landscapes.

3. How much does it cost to travel in Vietnam?

Vietnam is often hailed as a budget-friendly destination, offering excellent value for money across various aspects of travel. Here’s a breakdown of estimated cost of travelling to Vietnam:

  • Accommodation: Budget hostels and guesthouses can range from $10 to $20 per night, while mid-range hotels typically cost between $35 to $80 per night. Luxury accommodations can range from $100 to $300 or more per night.
  • Food: Street food stalls and local eateries offer delicious and affordable meals for as little as $1 to $5 per dish. Dining at mid-range restaurants may cost $5 to $15 per meal, while upscale dining establishments can range from $20 to $50 or more.
  • Transportation: Public buses and trains are inexpensive options for long-distance travel, with fares typically ranging from $5 to $30 depending on the distance and class of service. Domestic flights between major cities can cost $50 to $150 or more, depending on the airline and time of booking.
  • Activities: Entrance fees to attractions and activities vary widely but generally range from $1 to $20 per person. Guided tours and excursions may cost $10 to $50 or more, depending on the duration and inclusions.

Overall, a budget traveler can comfortably explore Vietnam on around $35 to $50 per day, while mid-range travelers may budget $50 to $100 per day. Luxury travelers can expect to spend $100 or more per day, depending on their preferences and accommodations.

4. What are the traditional Vietnamese foods I should try as a vegetarian?

Always check for fish sauce or fish oil before ordering traditional vietnamese food. Always a safe side to visit a vegan restaurant. Some traditional Vietnamese vegetarian dishes to try include:

  • Pho Chay: A vegetarian version of Vietnam’s famous noodle soup, made with a fragrant broth, rice noodles, tofu, and an array of fresh herbs and vegetables.
  • Goi Cuon: Also known as fresh spring rolls, these are rice paper rolls filled with vermicelli noodles, lettuce, herbs, and tofu or mushrooms, often served with a peanut dipping sauce. (the sauce may contain fish sauce)
  • Banh Xeo: A savory Vietnamese pancake filled with bean sprouts, mushrooms, and sometimes tofu, folded in half and served with fresh herbs and a dipping sauce.
  • Com Chay: Vietnamese vegetarian rice plates typically include steamed rice served with stir-fried vegetables, tofu, and a side of pickled vegetables.
  • Bun Rieu Chay: A vegetarian version of bun rieu, a flavorful noodle soup made with a tomato-based broth, tofu, and rice noodles, topped with herbs and fried tofu.

5. What are the best ways to experience Vietnamese culture and traditions?

To truly immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture and traditions, consider these experiences:

  • Homestay with a Local Family: Stay with a Vietnamese family in a rural village or countryside location to learn about daily life, customs, and traditional cooking.
  • Attend a Cooking Class: Learn how to prepare authentic Vietnamese dishes by joining a cooking class, where you’ll visit local markets, select fresh ingredients, and cook alongside expert chefs.
  • Explore Temples and Pagodas: Visit Buddhist temples and pagodas throughout Vietnam to admire stunning architecture, participate in meditation sessions, and learn about Buddhist practices.
  • Attend Festivals and Celebrations: Experience the vibrancy of Vietnamese festivals such as Tet (Lunar New Year), Mid-Autumn Festival, and Hue Festival, where you can witness traditional rituals, performances, and cultural events.

6. Can I use my credit/debit card in Vietnam, or should I primarily use cash?

While major credit and debit cards are widely accepted in urban areas and tourist destinations, cash is still the preferred method of payment in many establishments, especially smaller shops, street vendors, and local markets. Therefore, it’s advisable to carry a combination of cash and cards for convenience.