Top 10 things to do in Vietnam

Here are the absolute can't-miss things to do in Vietnam. Make sure you don't leave this stunning country without...
A floating market, Vietnam.
Things to do in Vietnam: Visit a floating market – but get there early!

Here are the absolute can't-miss things to do in Vietnam. Make sure you don't leave this stunning country without...

1. Sipping a sundowner in Hanoi

As the sun sets in Hanoi, make your way to the Summit Lounge atop the Sofitel Plaza for knockout views across Truc Bach and West Lake. Spend three nights in Hanoi admiring the sunset on Insight Guides' Luxury Vietnam trip.  

2. Trekking around Sapa

In the far north, the majesty of the mountains is elevated by the colours of the hill people who call them home. Take a trek from Sapa itself or, even better, head out to the Topas Ecolodge, located 20km (12.4 miles) from town, and enjoy the mountain air away from the crowds. 

"Don't leave Vietnam without hiking in Sapa!" says Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker. "Located in northwestern Vietnam, just a few kilometres from the border with China, this little town is a great place for trekkers. Multi-day hikes depart from Sapa and take you on an incredibly scenic journey through the rice terraces of the Muong Hoa Valley. You can also arrange for family homestays so you get to experience a day in the life of a local around these parts."

Trekking in the hills of Sapa.The stunning hills around Sapa. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Seeing Hoi An before the crowds

The Old Town of Hoi An is almost impossibly pretty and, as a result, it attracts hordes of tourists. Visit Hoi An on Insight Guides' Very Vietnam trip; beat the masses and see the old streets populated by just the locals with a pre-breakfast amble. 

4. Visiting the War Remnants Museum

It’s a hard-hitting place to visit, but to get a handle on what Vietnam has been through in terms of conflict, this Ho Chi Minh City museum is a must. Add a visit here to Insight Guides' Ancient Meets Modern itinerary. 

The War Remnants Museum.The War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Shutterstock

5. Eating my quang and cau lau

In Da Nang, seek out a bowl of my quang; and in Hoi An, don’t miss the local speciality of cau lau – two of the country’s finest street food classics. Taste Vietnam's speciality dishes on Insight Guides' Vietnam Culinary Discovery.

Looking to get swept away in the magic of Vietnam? Explore private, tailor-made trips now.

Cau Lau, a street-food classic.Cau-Lau, a popular Vietnamese street food dish. Photo: Shutterstock 

6. Strolling around Hoan Kiem

In the early morning or evening, Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi is thronged with walkers young and old, while games of street badminton strike up and laughing yoga groups come out in force. Be sure to check it out for a true taste of capital living. Take in the ambience on Insight Guides' Vietnam - Hanoi to Halong trip.

Tai chi near Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi.Tai Chi, near Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi. Photo: Shutterstock

7. Cruising Halong Bay

Set sail among the thousands of limestone outcrops that rear up from the emerald waters of Halong Bay on a traditional wooden junk. Enjoy a night on board under the stars and sunrise on board on Insight Guides' Indochina's Unique Unesco Treasures. 

8. Seeing sunset on the Mui Ne dunes

The Sahara-like red sand dunes of Mui Ne take on an extra level of magic come sundown, when the hue of the sand becomes more intense the deeper the sun dips, providing some of the best photo opportunities in the land. Add a stop here to any of Insight Guides' Vietnam itineraries.

The Mui Ne dunes.Walking on the Mui Ne dunes. Photo: Shutterstock

9. Discovering the Delta’s floating markets

Explore the working waters of the Mekong Delta by boat and see the flurry of activity at the morning floating markets. Get out early on Insight Guides' Discover Vietnam trip to see the best of the action. 

10. Exploring royal tombs

Spend a day around the imperial city of Hue soaking in the grandeur of the royal mausoleums before enjoying the city’s famed cuisine, which was created for the palates of past emperors. Discover both on Insight Guides' Vietnam Culinary Experience trip.  

This article was originally published on 2nd April, 2016

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