travel guide

Vietnam Travel Guide

“Going to Vietnam the first time was life-changing for sure… The food, culture, landscape, and smell; they’re all inseparable. It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go.”

– Anthony Bourdain

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.

Land of the Blue Dragon

Vietnam: Where motorbikes outnumber the people. For most travellers, this country is synonymous with three things: Frenetic cities, incredible outdoor adventures, and some of the best food on earth.

After my first visit to Vietnam when I travelled the entire length of the country on the Reunification Express, I told myself that unlike the 97% of people who only visit once, I’d be back. Years later, I moved to Hanoi to work with an NGO – an experience I’ll never forget. I have more dear friends in Hanoi than almost any other city. Vietnam feels like a second home to me.

From the jagged peaks of Ha Giang to the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, the one thing Vietnam isn’t lacking is variety. Join the crush inside the canary yellow walls of Hoi An’s UNESCO Ancient Town, chase dragons in Hue, then find room to breathe in one of rural Northern Vietnam’s hidden oases.

Between the velvety rice terraces of Sapa and Mu Cang Chai and the prickly limestone karsts of Halong Bay and Ninh Binh, you’ll find sand dunes in Mui Ne, waterwheels in Pu Luong, tea fields in Thai Nguyen, and hundreds of sweet hamlets and fascinating small cities in between.

From rustic homestays to boutique apartments, sipping cocktails in a Saigon skybar to knocking back a glass at a bia hoi in Hanoi. Vietnam might come off as a little aloof, but at the end of the day, she certainly knows how to treat her guests.

Vietnam Travel Essentials

when to go

Late Feb-April (spring shoulder season).

how long?

3-4 full days for Hanoi; 2 weeks for the highlights; 3-4 weeks for a good overview.

getting there

Fly into Hanoi or Saigon, or bus from any neighbouring country.

Vietnam e-visa

eVisa/VOA (single entry; 30 days) or visa-free for many passports. Check your visa requirements for Vietnam.

Getting around

Domestic flights (Viet Jet, Jetstar), train or intercity bus/minivan.

Daily budget

~60 USD per person per day (mid-range hotel; restaurant meals; taxis; museum tickets).

Discover Hanoi

An insider’s guide to the capital.

Explore Vietnam

Food, cities & architecture.

Vietnam Adventures

Hikes, bikes & homestays.


Ta Phin village, Sapa.


A plate of Pho Cuon in Truc Bach followed by an iced coconut coffee from Cong.

local experience

Rolling up to Hanoi’s Long Bien produce market at 2am.


Propaganda posters from Hanoi & Hmong textiles.

Onward Travel

tripadvisor flickr americanexpress bandcamp basecamp behance bigcartel bitbucket blogger codepen compropago digg dribbble dropbox ello etsy eventbrite evernote facebook feedly github gitlab goodreads googleplus instagram kickstarter lastfm line linkedin mailchimp mastercard medium meetup messenger mixcloud paypal periscope pinterest quora reddit rss runkeeper shopify signal sinaweibo skype slack snapchat soundcloud sourceforge spotify stackoverflow stripe stumbleupon trello tumblr twitch twitter uber vimeo vine visa vsco wechat whatsapp wheniwork wordpress xero xing yelp youtube zerply zillow px aboutme airbnb amazon pencil envelope bubble magnifier cross menu arrow-up arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right envelope-o caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right