We spent 30 awesome days going from North to South in Vietnam. That’s a lot of time wandering around and experience all the country has to offer. Well, not all of it but a good chunk. 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 not to miss in Vietnam.
Let’s get to it.
1. Get Some Clothes Tailored
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.
Yes, you read that correctly. The beach. Jesse left to grab us some food and came back with food and $10 USD fitted button down shirt. 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. The Food
If you don’t eat your way through Vietnam and taste all their local delicacies, well then we’re just sad for you!
Below was some of our favorite dishes we had along the way.
To keep it short and sweet, we’ve bulleted them for you. Sure, we could have gone into greater detail but to be honest, you should just trust us and eat everything (thumbs up emoji)
- 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. Vietnamese Craft Beer
From small Bia Hoi kegs to craft beers, Vietnam has it all.
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 (Micro Brewery) – 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
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. We rented scooters from MotorVina Motorbike Rentals in Hue.
They have offices in Hue and Hoi so the pickup and drop off of our scooters was incredibly easy! Also, they will transport your luggage/packs for you to their Hoi An or Hue offices.
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?
Why is the trip worth it?! You can stop at beaches and waterfalls on your way and plus the views from the Hi Van Pass are nothing short of extraordinary! It took us about 6 – 7 hours and it was beyond worth it. Super easy drive and a great road trip!
If self-driving scares you or makes you a tad nervous. No worries, Easy Riders is a company that allows you to hop on the back of bike and be chauffeured from Hue to Hoi An over the Hi Van Pass.
5. Stay Overnight In Lan Ha Bay
The beautiful Lan Ha Bay should definitely be on your must see list. If you have time, we really recommend spending a night on the bay.
Staying on a “junk boat” is not luxurious by any standards, but comfortable for us.
We ate fresh seafood, slept on the top deck under the stars and went kayaking and swimming in the bay the next day. To say we absolutely loved it is an understatement!
If “Junk Boat Life” isn’t for you, there are also other companies that offer more luxury options if that’s what you’re interested in.
We booked our overnight trip in Lan Ha Bay once we were in Cat Ba through Asia Outdoors.
It was a great trip and something we can’t recommend enough. Read more about our overnight trip in Lan Ha Bay here.
6. Take A 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 was $35 (April 2017) and it was so worth it. The $35 includes hotel pickup and drop off plus your 5 meals. We loved it so much we wrote a separate post about our experience with Awesome Travel Cooking School. Be sure to give it a read.
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 quite 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 City Vespa Tour
As we were leaving Luang Prabang in Laos, we ran into a few expats that live in Ho Chi Mihn.
We got to talking and the one thing they told us not to miss when we get to Ho Chi Mihn was doing a Vespa Tour. Vespa Adventures is the company they recommended and who we ended up going with.
We booked a half day city 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.
Basically, you can do no wrong in Vietnam but by doing the above, it’ll guarantee an amazing time! We promise!
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)