Vietnam Top 10

Vietnam Top 10

If you really want to experience Vietnam, these are the can’t miss places and activities you need to take part in.

  1. Tailors of Hoi An. While you take in the historic city, great restaurants and unique nightlife, a local will be working away on custom suits, dresses, shirts or even shoes for you.  Ready within one day with world renown quality, there is nothing like getting an Italian wool suit for less than $150 or shoes that bear your name.  See things to do in Hoi An here.
  2. The “War Remnants Museum,” formerly “The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government of South Vietnam.”  The name was recently the “Museum of American War Crimes,” and as recently as 1993 known as the “War Crimes Museum.”  As the former names suggest, this museum is dedicated to the other side of the war and the atrocities committed during the Vietnam War.  Every American should visit this to consider if our actions abroad are in line with our national values.  Learn about the the devastation caused by the Vietnam War or “The American War of Aggression” depending on which side you were on…
  3. Crossing the street, or walking on the sidewalk. Both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are rivals for adventurous street crossing.  The beauty is that if you walk at a steady rate, you will get your own Moses moment as the traffic parts for you.  Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Street Crossing.
  4. Bia Hoi. Nothing beats a cold beer except for a $0.25 cold beer on the streets of Hanoi.  Called “fresh beer” this was traditionally homebrewed beer, but these days can be mass produced keg beer.  You will make friends and enjoy watching the locals work their way through traffic and possibly around your seat in the street.  Find out more about bia hoi and things to do in 36 Hours in Hanoi.
  5. The river markets of the Mekong Delta. The mighty Mekong River dominates life in the south of Vietnam with transport and trade occurring on the water.  Hop on a boat to visit the floating markets and eat breakfast that you purchase from vendors rowing your way.  Want to see the Mekong yourself?  Here’s the tour we took and here are some photos of the amazing floating markets.
  6. Halong Bay. The other end of the country from the Mekong Delta lies the hallowed Halong Bay.  As the locals say, you can’t say you’ve been to Vietnam unless you’ve been to Halong Bay.  From gorgeous views of sheer limestone cliffs, to tranquil waters of the shallow bay, to the indigenous floating villages, Halong Bay earned its reputation as a must see.  See how we had an island to ourselves for one night.
  7. Beach bumming. If you want resorts, big waves and parties, Nha Trang is your place.  Mui Ne Beach is for those seeking a quiet refuge, blue skies or wind surfing.  These two towns couldn’t be further apart in experience, but both offer great beaches and a chance to sun yourself.  If golfing and beaches are what you want, look no further than Da Nang with it’s international resorts including a Greg Norman golf course.
  8. Sapa. Sweeping vistas of rice steppes and unique local hill tribes await those willing to trek into the hills of Sapa.  Even if it is raining and muddy you won’t be disappointed by the scenes and people you can see nowhere else in the world.  If it is muddy though, bring your boots and waterproof pants…you will need them.  Witness the amazing hill tribe market in Bac Ha.
  9. Eating on the street. Literally.  Don’t waste your time in restaurants, grab a seat from a street vendor that sells what you are looking for.  Anything from fried chicken to Pho to snake and dog, if you want it a street vendor has it.  Unlike street vendors in many other places, Vietnamese vendors often have tables, chairs and running water in their stalls.  The food and cleanliness is equal to many inexpensive restaurants, which is either a testament to good habits of the street vendors or poor hygiene of inexpensive restaurants.
  10. National Celebrations. When 90 million people seemingly hit the streets at the same time for national celebrations, the result is traffic snarls and masses of humanity that will surprise people from but a few mega-cities around the world.  When a national celebration such as New Years or Tet is happening, make sure you are in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi to join the masses.  Read One Country, Two New Years about our experiences during Vietnam’s two New Years.


SEE MORE PHOTOS OF VIETNAM

Learn how to visit Vietnam yourself with our tips, costs and highlights.  Read the Vietnam Travel Guide.

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    Comments

    » bka :
    Mar 31, 2011

    can only imagine the/your top 10 expereinces over all……..great writing and great suggestions…..be safe…..love bka

    » Sharon :
    Oct 5, 2011

    Love this entry! My husband got a beautiful jacket made for $100, and they delivered it to our hotel! War Remnants Museum was an extraordinary experience, and crossing the street and having the Moses moment … perfectly described!

    thinkCHUA Reply:

    Sharon, when was this? Has the jacket held up? I was wondering about the quality, if you have any tailor recommendations please post them here!

    » Amber :
    May 19, 2013

    I can’t wait to return next month! Just reading this makes me drool for street food, pho, drip coffee and bia hoi!

    LOCAVORista Reply:

    Amber, Vietnam doesn’t disappoint with food or cheap beer, enjoy! It probably won’t rival your 24 hour Singapore food binge (sounds amazingly delicious), but it’s still pretty tasty.

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    thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

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