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14 Things to Do in Vietnam from North to South That You Can't Visit Vietnam Without

Vietnam is a long coastal nation with various brilliant tourism in Southeast Asia- cultural immersion, natural exploration, and beach relaxation.

When reminded of Vietnam, what will you think?

Is it the unforgotten rice terraces in Sapa? The fashionable city of Saigon? A relaxing Vietnam Cruise in Halong Bay? Or a wonderful taste of Vietnamese food?

Let us walk into every Vietnam adventure through this article.

You can’t say you’d been on a Vietnam tour without the excellent 14 things to do in Vietnam, from North to South.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Cruising Halong Bay with its Stunning Limestone Mountains and Emerald Waters

Halong Bay

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam, is a must-visit travel destination in Quảng Ninh province. A luxury Halong Bay cruise is best to tour around the Bay with the admiring emerald waters on the board.

Halong Bay owns the most stunning limestone mountains in Vietnam. Halong Bay has three caves: remnants of old phreatic caves, old karstic foot caves, and marine notch caves. You can cruise to these different caves to explore the mystery of Caves. Sung Sot Cave and Trinh Lu Cave are popular sites.

There’s the evergreen rainforest for adventure lovers to have natural trekking. Visitors can learn from various plant and animal species.

Cruising around Halong Bay, except for the wonderful cave tours, you can visit the Cua Van Floating Village. Residents there mostly live on small boats and rafts supported by tires and plastic pots to facilitate fishing and farming. You can live in the floating village with the full enjoyment of fresh seafood to experience the unique isolated life.

Halong Bay is near Hanoi, it just spends 2 – 3 hours from Hanoi. Your 24/7 Halong Bay Cruise could be arranged after a Hanoi city tour.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Exploring the Interesting & Exciting Train Street in Hanoi

When you arrive in Hanoi, it’s a loss for you if you miss the interesting and exciting Train Street in Hanoi.

Train Street

Train Street is a narrow alley attraction nestled in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. You can sit beside little cafes and sip on the traditional Vietnamese egg coffee (ca phe trung) while waiting for the train to pass by.

Photograph for the running train!

A 1 – 2 hours tour in Train Street is enough. After punching in the hot Hanoi attraction, you can enjoy your Vietnam street food tour in the Old Quarter and join the locals or tourists to enjoy a Bia Hoi Junction (sipping beer on the street with groups of people).

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Watching the Ancient and Traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet Show

The ancient and traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet Show is an ancient performance for entertainment in Vietnam.

Water Puppet Show

The Water Puppet Show, as its name presents, is performed on the water. The performers operate after soaking in the water for a long time. Using their strong arms and skillful rope control techniques, they made puppets and other props make corresponding movements, presenting a perfect performance that was vivid and appropriate.

Hanoi has a long history of Water Puppetry. It’s the origin of the Water Puppet Show. So you can see the most authentic show in Hanoi. One of the best things to do in Hanoi!

Several theaters provide you with amazing examples of ancient art. There is the most popular theater recommended for you:

Thang Long Theater (Open daily)

Location: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hang Bac Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Show Timing: General 7 showing time

(01:45 pm, 03:00 pm, 04:10 pm, 05:20 pm, 06:30 pm, 08:00 pm, 09:15 pm)

Show: One show including 17 short sketches within one hour

Ticket fee: VND 100,000 – 200,000 per person

(Additional fee for camera or video)

After a Water Puppet Show, you can buy a puppet for the Vietnam culture tour as a souvenir.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Trekking over Rice Terraces & Exploring the Hill-tribe Village in Asian Alps - Sapa

To polish your Vietnam tour, travel to Sapa to have a trekking tour with the exploration of hill-tribe villages.

Sapa Trekking

Sapa is known for its beautiful rice terraces and mix of ethnic people. The spreading rice terraces are a perfectly natural picture to satisfy your eyes, and also, the camera. September to November is the best time for the rice terraces. Whether emerald green, golden, or gradient color, you can get the most enjoyment in this period. With Sapa trekking, you can breathe fresh air at a comfortable temperature in Muong Hoa Valley.

Sapa is home to various ethnic minority groups, including the Hmong, Dao, Tay, and Giay. You can visit the local village, such as Cat Cat Village to learn about the local culture. And consider exploring the largest ethnic market- Bac Ha Market to witness the vibrant local trading activities, but only on Sunday.

Sapa is the best site for natural views near Hanoi. You can drive from Hanoi on the road for 4 to 5 hours. Or you can also choose the overnight train to observe the passing scenery or if you want at a budget.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Sailing past the Golden Rice Fields in Tam Coc

Tam Coc, located in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, is also known as the “Halong Bay on land”. It is known for its stunning limestone karsts, winding rivers, and vast rice fields.

Golden Rice Fields

If it’s said that Sapa is the best for rice terraces, Ninh Binh is the best for golden rice fields. The Golden Rice Fields is a mesmerizing natural attraction adorned with golden-yellow rice crops. You can take a sampan boat along the Ngo Dong River to appreciate the golden rice paddies and tower limestone karsts. During the Vietnam boat tour, you can enjoy your precious time and admire the Vietnamese traditional folk music played by the boatman.

Romance and local feeling to the voyage!

Exploring the Golden Rice Fields on a bicycle or through a trekking tour is also a popular choice. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and take the unique photography under the stunning backdrop of gorgeous sunlight. And you can combine your rice field journey with a pagoda visit in the nearby Bich Dong Pagoda. The pagoda offers the best panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Climbing Mt. Fansipan via the Most Extended Three-line Cable Car System in the World

Mt. Fansipan is located in Lao Cai Province in Northwestern Vietnam, surrounded by magnificent natural scenery- dense virgin forests, lush valleys, and clear blue skies. Known as the “Roof of Indochina”, the mountain is the highest peak in Vietnam and the entire Indochina region (at an elevation of 3,143 meters).

Climbing and trekking the mountain is a challenge (within several days) but also a rewarding adventure. You can meet mist-filled gorges and view rare plant and animal species. But the most vital thing to do in Fansipan Mountain is climb the mountain via cable car.

Cable car

Mt. Fansipan owns the most extended three-line cable car system in the world. The cable car system consists of three separate lines with a total length of approximately 6.3 kilometers. The journey from the base to the summit typically takes around 15-20 minutes.

You can drive from Hanoi city to the foot of the mountain, and then choose to entirely take the cable car or select one or two lines to the top. And even no cable car if you want an absolutely rewarding adventure to the “Roof of Indochina”. 

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Adventuring to the World’s Largest Cave - Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Vibrant caves lighten the tour to Halong Bay. But you also have to go to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park to witness the world’s largest cave.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Quảng Bình Province, the North Central Coast region of Vietnam. It covers 300 different grottoes and caves. You can observe the karst formation, the long underground river, the high and long cave, the broad and beautiful fine sand beaches inside the caves, and the spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. No matter whether a cave lover, a natural beauty follower, or a natural science lover, you can see all you want in the national park. It’s also a brilliant choice for kids to broaden their horizons.

The Phong NhaKe Bang National Park is certainly the optimal site to increase the understanding of the region's geologic, geomorphic, and geo-chronological history.  

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Making Vietnamese Lanterns & Taking a Cooking Class in Hoi An

Hoi An is a beautiful and historic ancient town with fantastic Hoi An Attractions and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam. Dating from the 15th to the 19th century, the ancient town is used as a Southeast Asian trading port.

Nowadays, you can still involve in the blend of indigenous and foreign influences and visit the Japanese Bridge across the Thu Bon River. You can have a kayak and motorboat ride along the River to tour the ancient town and see the characteristic scenery.

Make Vietnamese Lanterns

Hoi An is also known for its excellent traditional Vietnamese lanterns. You can learn to make your Vietnamese lanterns and join in the Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival happening on the 14th day of each lunar month.

A cooking Class is another must-try activity in Hoi An. You can learn to make the traditional Vietnamese food of Hoi An- Cao Lau, a braised spiced pork noodle of Hoi An. You can learn the cooking procedure and have a magical local market experience.

And also, you can travel to the nearby islands and beaches to relax with the various water sports and see the crystal-like water. You can go to An Bang Beach to enjoy the wonderful sunset with a laid-back atmosphere.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Uncovering the Vietnamese Imperial City & Tasting the Empire’s Food in Hue

Hue is a historically rich city recording the variety of Vietnam. It served as the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945.

The Imperial City of Hue, the third UNESCO World Heritage site in this article, is of well-preserved architectural treasures, vibrant culture, and scenic beauty. Visit the Imperial enclosure, pace the Forbidden Purple City, and immerse in the royal palaces, temples, and gardens, you can have a glimpse into Vietnam’s imperial past and architectural marvels.

Hue Royal Cuisine treatment

Have a unique empire’s food enjoyment of Hue tour with a royal experience. Don't miss the opportunity to try specialties like bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup), banh khoai (Hue-style savory pancakes), and other local delicacies.

Otherwise, you can take a dragon boat in Hue to witness the beauty along the Perfume River and visit Hue attractions along the river, like one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Hue- Thien Mu Pagoda, and other tombs.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Strolling through the Golden Bridge in Da Nang

The Golden Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in Ba Na Hills resort, near Da Nang. The 150-meter-long bridge connects the cable car station with the gardens.

The Golden Bridge

The Golden Bridge is supported by two giant stone hands, constructed of fiberglass and wire mesh, which makes the bridge a special attraction. You can stroll through the bridge to have a wonderful scenic overlook and photograph the super sunrise or sunset picture.

You can also visit the French-style town of Ba Na Hill and the old French church. There’s also a never-miss cable car- Ba Na Cable Car. It holds the world record for the longest non-stop single-track cable car at 5,801 meters in length. You can gasp an overview sight of Ba Na Hill in the cable car.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Tasting Pure Vietnamese Coffee at 42 Nguyen Hue Street in Saigon

Saigon is a metropolitan in Vietnam giving you fashion and modern enjoyment. 42 Nguyen Hue Street is a popular street that you should never miss. You can satisfy your taste bud in the Cocochin Food Court to try the various delicacies of even all nations. You can walk and shop in the street, and see the colorful night of Saigon to find the things to do in Saigon.

The Coffee Apartment

Moreover, there is a hot site for you to check in- 42 Nguyen Hue Coffee Apartment. As a once-abandoned old building, its old appearance hides a fashionable and rich trend culture-coffee culture. Except for the first floor of the bookstore, the rest floors are café in different styles and actually in a collection of styles from all over the world. You can enter the second floor “Saigon Vieux” to embrace the Japanese atmosphere, the third floor “Mango Tree” with abundant desserts, and the fourth-floor “Thinker & Dreamer” of Korean style, etc.

This coffee apartment is a blend of time marks and modern culture and leads you to a new wonderland.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Experiencing the Daily Bustle of the Biggest Floating Market in the Mekong Delta

If you come to Vietnam, your tour cannot finish without a Mekong River Cruise in the Mekong Delta.

A floating market is a characteristic thing in Mekong Delta, so Indochina Tour advises you to have a boat cruise to experience the daily bustle of the biggest floating market- Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho.

Bustling floating market

Cruise in the Cai Rang River, you can see the local vendors gather in boats to sell various fresh produce, goods, and local specialties. You can interact with the vendors and purchase goods directly from their boats. You can savor regional specialties like HU Tieu (noodle soup), Banh Xeo (pancake), Dragon Fruit, Mango, etc.

Traveling the floating market in the dawn and memorizing your Mekong River tour with the rising sun illuminating the market.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Reviewing Vietnam War Bloody History in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam War, a major conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, is of extreme importance in Vietnam’s history. As the former capital of South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City witnessed several pivotal events during the war. You can still review the bloody history of the Vietnam War.

Cu Chi Tunnels

You can visit the Reunification symbolizing the end of the war, War Remnants Museum providing educational experiences, and the Former U.S. Embassy. The vital stronghold and communication network for the Viet Cong, Cu Chi Tunnels is the most popular historical site of the Vietnam War. After the Vietnam War Tour, you can gain a deeper understanding of the war’s impact on Vietnam and its people.

Can’t Visit Vietnam without Discovering the Nature Charm of Sunset Sanato Beach with Your Beloved

As one of the most famous beaches in Phu Quoc, Sunset Sanato Beach is known for its wide beach, shining water, and especially the wonderful sunset.

Sunset Sanato Beach

Sitting or strolling on the beach with the soft sea breeze, you can see the amazing picture- the sky is painted orange and purple afterglow during the sunset. Such an excellent romance enjoyment and natural charm in Phu Quoc!

You can also swim in the warm water, or select various water sports like surfing, diving, and boating.

Fully throw on the ocean funny time!

Moreover, you can visit the nearby Phu Quoc National Park to hike for nature reserve adventure, and take a safari tour in Vinpearl Safari to learn about various animals, etc.

What to Do in Vietnam for Week for First Timers?

If you do want to travel the country for the week for first-timers, follow the 14 things to explore Vietnam from North to South. And there are some theme tours for you:

The Classic 7 Days Tour From North to South:

Start your tour from the capital city of Hanoi. Your guide will lead you to the top attractions for a City Hanoi tour. Travel to Halong Bay to enjoy a luxury cruise. Then move to Hoi An to explore the ancient town and view the romantic scenery along the Huai River. End your trip to Saigon to discover the history of Vietnam.

If you are a beach lover, refer to this beach relaxing tour:

Along the 7 days beach route, you’ll visit the beaches, islands, and city scenery in Hoi An, Nha Trang, Saigon, and Can Tho. You’ll be provided with beautiful sandy beaches, and stunning islands to immerse yourself in the sea relaxation. Cultural and Natural blended joy is greatly shown in the tour.

Actually, the week is not enough to fully cover the attractions in Vietnam. But it’s enough for you to have a simple learning of Vietnam


Before you tour, there’s a notice:

Apply for your Vietnam Visa in advance if you don’t have one and make sure your passport is valid.


So do you get what best things to do in Vietnam? If you have other interesting sites except for the 14 things you can’t visit Vietnam without, contact us at Indochina Tour. The professional agency can tailor your best Vietnam Tour for you.

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