Looking for an epic Vietnam bucket list? Vietnam is massive and can be a bit overwhelming to try and figure out what to see and do. No worries though! Not only have we put together a 30-day itinerary for you but we also made a list of experiences in Vietnam not to miss
Let’s get to the ultimate things to try in Vietnam!
Experiences in Vietnam Not To Miss
1. Get Clothes Made in Hoi An
Needing a new suit? Some new shoes? Or just a beautiful dress or fitted shirt? Well then Hoi An is your place!
Now, you have a few options on where to go but first, you should think through what you’re wanting. Do you want something cheap and just to last you for a little bit? Well there are plenty of shops you can hop around to and bargain shop or even get some clothes tailored on the beach.
If you’re looking for a place that has something in between expensive and cheap options, like we were, head over to Bebe Tailor.
From picking out your own pattern and fabrics to adding in special textures and cuts you’re in control from start to finish. A word to the wise, allow 3-5 days for your clothes to be finished.
What did we get? Well, Lauren’s sister got a custom-made, tailored knee length coat for $100. Jesse got two tailored button downs for $35 and Lauren got custom made leather sandals for $40. Not too bad if you ask us.
2. Devour Vietnamese Food
One of the best cuisines in the world is Vietnamese food. Bold statement, we know, but the flavors are to die for. One of the best things you can do when visiting Vietnam is to devour their local delicacies that have made their cuisines famous around the world.
Below was some of our favorite Vietnamese dishes and plates we consider must haves when exploring Vietnam.
- Bún bò Huế – Beef and noodle soup local to Hue, Vietnam
- Cao Lầu – Pork and noodle soup local to Hoi An, Vietnam
- Phở – Noodle soup you can get this throughout Vietnam.
- Gỏi cuốn – Fresh Spring Rolls you can get this throughout Vietnam and to be honest, every city tends to do it a little different so it’s best to order often.
- Bánh mì – A Sandwich you can get throughout Vietnam and that’s exactly what you should do, get it throughout Vietnam.
- Cà Phê Trứng – A city special of Hanoi and one folks seek out is the special “egg coffee.” Dark coffee with a layer of foam on top of that is sweetened with condensed milk and mixed up with a raw egg.
- Bánh Vạc (White Rose) – One of Hoi An’s local specialties. Soft white dough shaped roses filled gently with minced shrimp or pork
- Nước chắm – Just go ahead and dip everything in it. Seriously.
- Nem Lụi – Grilled lemongrass pork. Simple BBQ at its most delicious.
- Chè Hẻm – Sweet soup. This one is an experience. When in Hue, head to Sweet Soup Alley and order it all. Best shared with friends.
3. Sample Vietnamese Beer
From small Bia Hoi kegs at Beer Corner in Hanoi to craft beers in Saigon, Vietnam has a good brew for you.
Bia Hoi (Beer Corner) – Hanoi, Vietnam
Head to Beer Corner in Hanoi and pull up a plastic table and chair and be prepared to hang out here all night.
Why? .13 cent beers, that’s why!
Beer Corner is several blocks worth of home brewed kegs that pump draft beer into pitchers or cups. You’ll be mingling with locals, expats and travelers all night. It’s a great place to sit and take in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Pasteur Street Brewing Company – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Craft Beer is on the up and up in Ho Chi Minh. Head to Pasteaur Street Brewing to sample IPA’s, Stout’s, Pale Ales. If you’ve been drinking light beer on your trip, this will be a welcome party for your taste buds.
4. Motorbike From Hue to Hoi An (Hai Van Pass)
Heading to Hoi An from Hue or vice versa? Make sure you scooter yourself there!
By far one of our favorite memories of Vietnam is the day we spent making our way from Hue to Hoi An. Rent scooters from MotorVina Motorbike Rentals in Hue.
MotorVina has offices in both Hue and Hoi An, making it convenient on travelers picking up scooters in one city and dropping them off in another.
Also, no need to worry about your luggage. MotorVina will also transport your luggage/packs for you. This is great service to take them up on so you don’t have to worry about schlepping your stuff with you on your day trip. Nice, eh?
Is the ride from Hue to Hoi An worth it?! Yes! Stop at beaches and waterfalls on your way and take in the breathtaking views from the Hai Van Pass. The ride will take around 6 – 7 hours and in our opinion beyond worth it.
Super easy drive and a great road trip!
If self-driving scares you or makes you a tad nervous. No worries, let an experienced driver take you. Hop on the back of bike and be chauffeured from Hue to Hoi An over the Hai Van Pass. Your hands are freed up for the plenty of pictures you’ll take.
5. Stay On A Junk Boat in Ha Long Bay
Spending a night on the beautiful Ha Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay should definitely be on your must see list when in Vietnam.
Staying on a junk boat is definitely an experience you won’t soon forget. Be it eating fresh seafood, sleeping under the stars or going kayaking and and swimming, you’re 2 day, 1 night in Ha Long Bay is a must have experience when in Vietnam.
Read more about our overnight trip in Lan Ha Bay here.
6. Take A Vietnamese Cooking Classes
We are cooking class feene’s! Pretty much every country we visited in Southeast Asia, we took a cooking class.
It’s such an amazing way to get a sense of local flavors and dishes. In Vietnam, we recommend taking AT LEAST one. For us, we took a cooking class with Vietnam Awesome Travel in Hanoi.
The cost around $35 and it was so worth it. The $35 includes hotel pickup and drop off, plus cooking your 5 meals and visitng a local market to collect your ingredients.
7. Experience Rural Life in Vietnam
Vietnam is filled with bustling cities, just make sure to get away from those every now and again to take in the rural parts of the country. The picturesque Vietnam everyone envisions is found in the north of the country. Rolling terraced rice fields and friendly Vietnam faces wearing cone shaped bamboo hats live here.
It’s important to experience the quiet village life of Vietnam.
Everyone flocks to Sapa but we are suggesting you taking a trip to Mai Chau or Pu Luong Nature Reserve. We spent three incredible nights in Mai Chau area and we have no regrets with not making the trip to Sapa.
8. Take A Vietnam City Vespa Tour
One of the best ways to explore any Asian city is by a scooter or a vespa. If you’re a history buff, looking to experience the country side or just wanting to sample the flavors of Vietnam, a vespa tour is for you!
Popular in the cities of Hanoi and Hoi Chi Minh, you can book a tour for whatever tickles your fancy.
For us, it was sightseeing in Ho Chi Minh. We have limited time in the southern Vietnam city, so we wanted to be sure we saw the best sites with the time we had.
We booked a half day city vespa tour and from 8:30 – 12:00pm we were cruising through Ho Chi Minh and taking in the sites.
The guides were fun, spoke great English and did a phenomenal job educating us on Vietnams past and present history. A great way to spend a few hours seeing the city of Ho Chi Minh.
9. Go Cliff Jumping & Canyoning in Da Lat
Any thrill seekers out there? Then canyoning in Da Lat is something that will definitely be of interest to you!
Da Lat is a city located in Southern Vietnam that is known for it’s cool climate and waterfalls. Da Lat’s winding river and terrain make it a perfect place to do a bit of cliff jumping and repelling.
Gear up and take the plunge as you spilsh and splash your way down waterfalls and cliff sides. A day of adventure is a day well spent if you ask us. Oh and if you couldn’t tell from the pictures below, we had a epic time!
10. Try Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Yes, egg coffee. An egg coffee is a Vietnamese traditional drink that is made with egg yolk, sugar, condensed milk and of course, coffee. A little sweet and very frothy, egg coffee is a hot drink that you will find in Hanoi.
Head to a cafe, order a cup and fuel up for your day of sightseeing. If you’re looking for the full experience, book a coffee tour.
11. See The Famous Hoi An Lanterns
Ancient and oh so pretty, that is the city of Hoi An, Vietnam. Known for it’s well preserved Ancient Quarter, meander the streets during the day, but make sure you stay for the night.
The old quarter is illuminated by traditional Vietnamese lanterns. Marvel at the colors and detail of each and get lost in the beauty. Whether you stay for a few days or a week, visiting Hoi An should be on everyone’s experiences in Vietnam list.
12. Watch The Sunset From The Mui Ne Sand Dunes
A lot of travelers and backpackers will head to Nha Trang for beach front accommodation and parties. Go the little less touristy route and visit Mui Ne instead.
Famous for it’s sand dunes and wind surfing, the small beach town of Mui Ne is a great pitstop during your trip in Vietnam. Catch a sunset at the Red Sand Dunes of Mui Ne and be reminded just how beautiful and diverse Vietnam is.
13. Take a Tam Coc (Ninh Binh) Boat Tour
Come see why travelers refer to Tam Coc / Ninh Binh as the hidden gem of Vietnam. Travelers and backpackers are in a hurry to head south or north, and unknowingly skip past a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Referred to as the inland Ha Long Bay, the river swerve through caves and the land giving you epic views from below as well as from above.
From hiking, to biking and boat tours, it doesn’t matter if you have a few hours (waiting for a night bus) or a few days, spend whatever time you can in Tam Coc / Ninh Binh.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)