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Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi

Heading to Vietnam for two weeks next Friday

We will be in Saigon, Hue, Hoi An, and Hanoi.  Any advice/recommendations on a great travel experience we should partake in?  I've researched incessantly, but sometimes there is something that gets overlooked.   Also, if you gave a specific restaurant/street food experience that you've had that we should try, fire away!  Thanks!

9 Answers

top answer by
Julian from Australia

My suggestion is:

- Ho Chi Minh City: 2 days to visit Cu Chi Tunnels (by either bus or boat), Notre Dame Cathedral, The Independence Palace (Re-unification palace), Phạm Ngũ Lão str...

-Mekong Delta Travel: 2-3 days (At Can Tho: visit Cái Bè District or Cái Răng floating market)

-Hoi An: 2-3 days (walking around ancient town to visit famous sites, do shopping, enjoy local food, visit local market, My Son Sanctuary , some traditional villages like Tra Que Vegetable Village, Kim Bong Carpentry Village..., rent a bike to visit Cẩm Thanh village and do basket boat in water coconut forest)

- Hue: 2 days to visit tombs, citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, especially traveling on Hương river in the evening and listen to traditional song), enjoy local food, much much more delicious than in Hội An, visit Dong Ba marketmarket...

Note: If you take a motorbike or train from Hoi An/ Da Nang to Hue, you can go on Hai Van pass (one of 4 most famous passes in VN and capture the panorama of Lăng Cô - Chân mây bay - strongly recommend!!!

-Hanoi: 2-3 days to walk around HN Old Quarter, enjoy street food, cafe, local beer, do shopping, visit Vietnam Museum of EthnologyMuseum of Vietnamese HistoryVăn MiếuHo Chi Minh Mausoleum, local market, night market, flower market (in the early morning), see water puppet show...

-Halong Bay Vietnam or Cat Ba Island: 2 days (1 night on board), strongly recommend. All the time my friends come to VN to visit me and travel, we go there or Sapa. Beautiful at reasonable price. 

Good luck! If you need any further recommendations, I'm willing to share based on my travel experiences, 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  2. Cu Chi Tunnels (attraction)
  3. Notre Dame Cathedral (attraction)
  4. The Independence Palace (attraction)
  5. Phạm Ngũ Lão (attraction)
  6. Mekong Delta Travel (attraction)
  7. Can Tho (attraction)
  8. Cái Bè District (attraction)
  9. Cái Răng (attraction)
  10. Hoi An (city)
  11. My Son Sanctuary (attraction)
  12. Tra Que Vegetable Village (attraction)
  13. Kim Bong Carpentry Village (attraction)
  14. Cẩm Thanh (attraction)
  15. Hue (city)
  16. Thien Mu Pagoda (attraction)
  17. Dong Ba market (attraction)
  18. Da Nang (city)
  19. Lăng Cô - Chân mây (attraction)
  20. Hanoi (city)
  21. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (attraction)
  22. Museum of Vietnamese History (attraction)
  23. Văn Miếu (attraction)
  24. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (attraction)
  25. Halong Bay Vietnam (attraction)
  26. Cat Ba Island (hotel)
3 thanks

answered by
Denise from San Diego

When you go on the Halong Bay cruise, do the 2 night versus 1 and choose the bungalow for the second night instead of the hotel - if that's an option. The bungalows are really cool. 

I loved Hoi An. I spent a couple nights in town, but then also a couple nights at the beach. an bang beachwas less touristy and really nice and peaceful. 

Finally, my biggest regret was skipping Da Lat, everyone told me that Canyoning Dalat was really fun.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Da Lat (city)
  2. Canyoning Dalat (attraction)
  3. an bang beach (attraction)
2 thanks

answered first by
Justin from Phoenix

Huge fan of the Cu Chi Tunnels.  Very enlightening experience. There are all sorts of tours going there from HCMC - my best tip is pick one that travels there by boat. So much more fun than the bus! The Mekong Delta trips are OK.

In Hanoi, I spent a lot of time just walking around and loving it. I stumbled upon the Vietnam Military History Museum and really enjoyed it. There's also a natural history museum somewhere that I liked - can't remember the name. And the Old Quarter is just a lot of fun. You'll get hideously lost, but it's all fine. That's where you'll find some good food, too - somewhere around Hàng Điếu, there's this outdoor restaurant where you can pick all your own ingredients and cook a bunch of it at your table. If you see frogs, you're in the right place. And ask around about places that serve cha ca la vong (aka cha ca ha noi) - it's by far my new favorite Vietnamese food, and next to impossible to find in the U.S. If you wind up staying at the Hanoi Rendezvous Hotel, they'll have their own guide to local food (street and otherwise).

If you have time, get yourself up to Sa Pả. It's this weird mountain town that's chilly, foggy and rainy a lot of the time (great place to try some mulled wine, which is oddly popular there). Getting there required an overnight train ride on the Fanxipan Express to Lao Cai, which is a bit of an adventure itself. Then it's about an hour by van. Very worth it, though, because it's just so different from the rest of Vietnam. Great chance to meet some of the hill tribes. (Just don't buy any trinkets from anyone ... trust me on this.)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cu Chi Tunnels (attraction)
  2. Vietnam Military History Museum (attraction)
  3. Hàng Điếu (attraction)
  4. Hanoi Rendezvous Hotel (hotel)
  5. Sa Pả (attraction)
  6. Lao Cai (city)
2 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Alicia from Vancouver

I bet you're so excited to visit! I'd definitely recommend a trip to Cật Bawhich is basically the gateway island to Hạ Long and Lan Ha Bay. It's a pretty sleepy town but you can do boat tours around the cliffs, go kayaking, find monkeys, climb up the mountain on Cat Ba and mountain bike around the island. It's a lovely little place and only around 4/5 hours on a bus from Hanoi!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cật Ba (attraction)
  2. Hạ Long (attraction)
  3. Lan Ha Bay (attraction)
  4. Hanoi (city)
1 thanks

answered by

We stayed at the Saigon River Hotel and Daniel (front desk and all around great guy) made an excellent recommendation for street food "where the locals, not tourists, frequent." Take a chance on the locals for food recommendations.  

As far as what to see, we walked a lot and if something looked interesting we went to inside. What I didn't particularly care for was the night market. But I've been spoiled by Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai night markets. I was moved by the war museum. Have fun, learn a few words of Vietnamese, and try all the wonderful foods.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Saigon River (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Nguyen from Hanoi, Vietnam

In Saigon, try to take tour to Mekong Delta, Hue & Hoian food are delicious, walking around old quarter and taste local food. In Hanoi you can try street food tour and a Trung Nguyen Coffee, Halong Bay

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mekong Delta (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hoan Kiem Lake (attraction)
  2. Hanoi (city)
  3. Citadel Gate (attraction)
  4. Hoi An (city)

answered by
Trinh from Hanoi

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Nét Huế Restaurant (restaurant)
  2. Quán ăn ngon hà nội (restaurant)

answered by
Julian from Australia

By the way, if you visit Hue and love something special, different from mass tourism, you can spend 1 day to visit Tịnh Trúc Gia (a special house for physically and mentally disable children). I and my friend visited this place last month and can't forget it (you can search "responsible tour to the house of special childen")

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hue (city)
  2. Tịnh Trúc Gia (attraction)

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