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Jacey & Scott
Fort Collins

Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Phu Quoc

Must sees and general tips for 2 weeks in Vietnam

Hello!  We have booked at 2 week trip to Vietnam-visiting Saigon, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi, Halong Bay and Phu Quoc.  Any suggestions on must sees, foods, restaurants, or general tips?

9 Answers

top answer by
Jodi from Funchal

I'm based in Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon (just for a few more days though, sniff!) and for the Saigon portion, I'm going to disagree with Bến Thành Market recommendations here. It's incredibly touristy, it's overpriced, and while it's fun to wander around and get caught in the noise ("lady lady -- you want new purse?" or the like) if you really want to see a market, it's the last one I'd tell you to visit in town.

Instead, head to either: 

  • Binh Tay Market in Cho Lon (Chinatown) -- 57A Thap Moui, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City. Really interesting place, and far away from the tourist area, so it's as much of a sensory overload as you'll get! More info on the history of it here
  • Tan Dinh Market in D1 - 48 Ma Lo, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Centrally located, easy to walk from the hotels in District 1 and a textiles market, it is on the road that was the old highway leading in and out of town. It's got great market food in the morning, and different vendors at night, as well as fresh produce and a wet market component. Really a fave of mine.

Ben Thanh was a really important part of the city's history, and was Les Halles during the French times, but while beautiful and central it has descended primarily into tourist trap land.

For restaurants:

  • Bún Mắm - 22 phan boi chau, ho chi minh city - eat some bun mam soup just next to Ben Thanh. Great street stall, with a sweet sour fishy soup. Delicious.
  • L'USINE - Le Loi, ho chi minh city - Around the corner a cute cafe upstairs at L'Usine Le Loi.
  • For good reasonable restaurant in a really gorgeous colonial house, see May Restaurant, hoang sa street, ho chi minh ( - such good food. Order the zucchini blossoms among other things.
  • Head to one of the markets I suggested above for breakfast.

For the rest of the country, would recommend a few days in Hanoi, a short side trip to stay at a homestay in Ninh Binh, which is just a 2 hour trip away. A trip to Hue and Hoi An, and then a flight back to Saigon. 

Obviously I disagree with the other poster who did not enjoy Saigon because I chose to live here (and prefer it to Hanoi because I love the chaos!) but what makes Saigon so exciting too is that you can eat dishes from around the country but in one city. Any street stall you find with locals eating is yours to try; I have never ever gotten sick and I only eat street food here -- it's fabulous, and it's a culture that loves food.

For Hue, food here:

For Hoi An, food here:

Safe travels!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  2. Bến Thành Market (attraction)
  3. Binh Tay Market (attraction)
  4. Cho Lon (attraction)
  5. Tan Dinh Market (attraction)
  6. Bún Mắm (restaurant)
  7. L'USINE (restaurant)
  8. May Restaurant (attraction)
  9. Hanoi (city)
  10. Ninh Binh (city)
  11. Hue (city)
  12. Hoi An (city)
12 thankscomments (4)

answered by
Marnie from Conflans-sur-Anille

My husband and I spent two weeks in Vietnam in 2012 and loved Hoi An and Ha Long Bay most of all. We went to Da Nang, to the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay hotel instead of Phu Quoc, which had no rooms available where we wanted to stay, and did not regret it. The Six Senses is expensive, very, but really worth it, it's amazing totally.

We did not enjoy Saigon, loud and rough, but were charmed by Hanoi. In Hanoi, we stayed at the Hanoi Elegance Diamond hotel, one of the first on Tripadvisor, and it was absolutely excellent value for money.

In Hoi An we stayed in a the smaller Vila Hoa Su, not expensive and friendly. We didn't regret spending five full days there, cycling all over, browsing the shops, having some clothes made too.

In Halong bay, we took a private cruise on the Bhaya Legend 1, just for 2, via Far Eastour, for 2 nights, and it totally lived up to expectations. One piece of advice : pack very little, but take a big suitcase or two, as you will want to shop.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hoi An (city)
  2. Ha Long Bay (region)
  3. Da Nang (city)
  4. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay (hotel)
  5. Phu Quoc (attraction)
  6. Hanoi (city)
  7. Hanoi Elegance Diamond (hotel)
  8. Vila Hoa Su (hotel)
6 thanks

answered by

Hello, welcome to Vietnam.

I have some recommends for you and your partner. 

Firstly, In Hanoi, Hanoi is the city in Vietnam. It belongs the North area. Like other places, there are a lot interesting things must see, do and eat. For example: 

+ A round trip by cyclo to discover Hanoi's Old Quarter

+ Enjoy water puppet show for 1 hour at the theater

+ Have a full day or even more city tour to see famous destinations in Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hoan Kiem Lake, One Pilar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison, West Lake, 36 Old Streets, Dong Xuan Market, St Joseph Cathedral...

+ Have buffet dinner at Sen Tây Hồ, Quán Ăn Ngon 37 Phan Dinh Phung Str, Seasons of Hanoi 95B Quan Thanh Str, enjoy shrimps cake at Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây restaurant beside West Lake, grilled fish at Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant... so alot... yummy...


Secondly, In Ha Long Bay known as one of the seven natural world wonders.

+ Take a 6-hour boat trip to discover Ha Long Bay: see Surprising Caves, Virgin Cave,...

+ Have a sunny bath at Titop Island

+ Do kayak on the bay

+ Enjoy see foods in Halong

+ Have a leisure on board, enjoy Halong by night

+ Discover entertainment world in Tuan Chau island island.


Thirdly, In Saigon

+ Have a full day city tour to see: Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace / Reunification Palace, The Museum of Vietnamese History, Bến Thành Market or Chinese market.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hanoi (city)
  2. Hanoi's Old Quarter (attraction)
  3. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (attraction)
  4. Hoan Kiem Lake (attraction)
  5. One Pilar Pagoda (attraction)
  6. Temple of Literature (attraction)
  7. Hoa Lo Prison (attraction)
  8. West Lake (attraction)
  9. 36 Old Streets (attraction)
  10. Dong Xuan Market (attraction)
  11. St Joseph Cathedral (attraction)
  12. Sen Tây Hồ (attraction)
  13. Quán Ăn Ngon (attraction)
  14. Seasons of Hanoi (attraction)
  15. Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây (attraction)
  16. Cha Ca La Vong (attraction)
  17. Ha Long (city)
  18. Ha Long Bay (region)
  19. Surprising Caves (attraction)
  20. Virgin Cave (attraction)
  21. Titop Island (attraction)
  22. Tuan Chau island (attraction)
  23. Notre Dame Cathedral (attraction)
  24. Saigon Central Post Office (attraction)
  25. Independence Palace / Reunification Palace (attraction)
  26. The Museum of Vietnamese History (attraction)
  27. Bến Thành Market (attraction)
5 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Teresa from San Jose, California

To add on about Bến Thành Market, there is also a night market that sets up there in the evening. Great food!

Inside Ben Thanh market, try to find the stall that serves Bun Thit Nuong and get an order of the clams too. Fresh coconut juice is also a must :).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bến Thành Market (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Gio from Singapore

Take a trip to Cu Chi Tunnel and Cao Dai Temple while you are at Ho Chi Minh City. Although commercialized, it is still worth visiting. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cu Chi Tunnel (attraction)
  2. Cao Dai Temple (attraction)
  3. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
2 thanks

answered first by
Kevin from Austin (Texas)

In Hoi An we took a cooking class at Baby Mustard.  This is a restaurant/cooking school run by the super sweet young chef.  I highly recommend this as an activity there.   Also I ate at Bánh Mỳ Phượng 3 times while there because it was so good.  It is located adjacent to the main market and is the place that was featured on Anthony Bourdain's show.  Despite the notoriety of the show both locations are still very accessible and not over-crowded.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Baby Mustard (attraction)
  2. Bánh Mỳ Phượng (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
john from Houston

Bến Thành Market in Ho Chi Minh is an awesome market to visit to shop, eat and drink.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bến Thành Market (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Phương from Hanoi

Hi Jacey, I live in Hanoi and I would recommend you to try the sidewalk - food, you could find these in the Hanoi's Old Quarter. Otherwise, the list on this website is a good choice.

Hope you enjoy Hanoi and Vietnam as well!  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hanoi's Old Quarter (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Sophia from Hoi An

Ho Chi Minh:
Lots of amazing things to eat in Sai Gon. It's hardly to choose the best one.

Vietnamese broken rice (Cơm tấm) is ranked first of the list. I've lived in Ho Chi Minh for 2 years, I saw a lot of local people have this dish every day. The beautiful combination of rice and pork is truly a beautiful treat for me.

Secondly, Rice Paper Salad (Bánh tráng trộn) - a familiar snack for youngsters in Ho Chi Minh. It can be sold near schools where students come and eat Banh tranh tron after their school.

Lastly, Snails which are made in different ways is the most common food in Sai Gon, especially at night. There is a chain of restaurants selling snails in Nguyen Trai street.

Other top things to eat in Ho Chi minh and where to eat, check here.  

If you visit Hue, you can both explore the history of Viet Nam in Nguyen Dynasty and have beach dreams with Lang Co beach which is about 15 km away from the Hue Center.

Or you can also get to Da Nang city that has several beaches as Pham Van Dong beach. Then, head to Hoi An and enjoy a romantic view in the old quarter.
This is my itinerary in Hoi An and Da Nang, you can give it a view:

3 days in Da Nang
4 days in Hoi An
Good luck and have a nice trip!

1 thanks

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