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Top 7 Things to Do in Vietnam

Written by 

  • 10 June 2024
Incense Drying Incense Drying

From the south to the north, Vietnam has something to offer for everybody. Ancient temples, bustling cities, mouthwatering food, fascinating history and serene landscapes are a few of the highlights of this Southeast Asian gem.

Here are the top 7 things to do during your holiday in Vietnam.

 1. Learn about the Vietnam War in Ho Chi Minh City 

Llama Travel’s Vietnam holidays always start in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon. The city has a colourful past; from being the former capital of French Indochina, to the capital of South Vietnam supported by the United States during the War.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum min 4 11zon

Hoi Chi Minh Mausoleum 

Cu Chi Tunnels

For insight into the Viet Cong guerrilla warfare, visit the Cu Chi tunnels north of Ho Chi Minh City. This is a small part of the vast underground network built by the Viet Cong during the War. You can even squeeze through the tunnels yourself to get a feel for what life was like underground.

You can visit the Cu Chi Tunnels on our optional Vietnam War Tunnels excursion, available on all our Vietnam holidays.


War Remnants Museum

This poignant museum is an essential visit to Ho Chi Minh City. Its exhibitions and graphic war photography contextualise the devastating impact of war on the Vietnamese people.


2. Eat!

In between the sightseeing, you must try Vietnam’s delicious street food. From street-side vendors to high-end restaurants, Vietnamese food is some of the best in Southeast Asia.



Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) is a noodle soup that can be eaten at any time of day but is primarily eaten at breakfast. Pho consists of a beef or chicken broth flavoured with coriander and ginger, accompanied by rice noodles, meat and spring onions. Originating in northern Vietnam, Pho can be found on almost every menu all over the country.

Pho 7 11zon


Banh mi

Banh mi is one of the most popular street foods in Vietnam. The baguette was first introduced to Vietnam by the French in the mid-19th century and in turn, became a popular street food known as the Saigon sandwich. Banh mi is filled with a fusion of Vietnamese meats and vegetables and condiments from French cuisine such as pâté and mayonnaise.


Banh mi min 1 11zon        Bhan Mi 



3. Explore the imperial capital of Hue

Hue was Vietnam’s capital from 1802 until 1945, and the city remained in the centre of Vietnam geographically and politically during its turbulent modern history. The final emperor of the Nguyen dynasty abdicated at the Meridian Gate, the main gate to the Imperial City, in 1945. After the end of the monarchy, the city suffered heavy damage during the Vietnam War until it was eventually recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

The Imperial City is home to impressive temples and royal tombs, as well as carefully restored gardens and ornate palaces. Travel back in time as you learn about the fascinating history of the royal court.

Our optional Imperial City excursion includes a guided tour, available on all our Vietnam holidays.


Hue Imperial City 1 11zon

      Hue Imperial City 


4.  Take a boat ride in Hoi An

Hoi An is undoubtedly one of Vietnam’s most picturesque cities. Explore the Old Town with its old, yellow-painted traditional houses, lantern-lit streets and bustling market stalls. Every night, the entire Old Town is converted into a night-walking street market illuminated with colourful lanterns.

When the sun sets, head to the river to see wooden boats cruise across the river running through the Old Town. Admire the glowing paper lanterns floating through the peaceful water, best seen from the water on a boat ride.


Hoi An 3 11zonHoi An boat ride


5. Try Vietnamese coffee

Coffee was first introduced in Vietnam during the mid-19th century by French missionaries. Nowadays, countless coffee shops line the urban streets of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Vietnamese-style coffee is very different to other coffee cultures. Coffee is served with condensed milk, rather than fresh milk, to sweeten the coffee and offset the bold flavour. Vietnamese drip coffee is also often accompanied by a cup of iced tea to cleanse your palate.

For ardent coffee lovers, try Egg Coffee or Salt Coffee – you will not regret it!


6. Wander through the Old Quarter in Hanoi

Hanoi is a patchwork of its eras of French colonialism, wartime and socialism, and has been Vietnam’s capital since the reunification in 1976. The Old Quarter is famous for its market streets, and the streets are named after what they used to sell. For example, Hang Bạc is packed with jewellery shops, while Han Gai is famous for its silk and tailoring.

Hoan Kiem Lake is the beating heart of the city, where locals come to chat, exercise and relax daily. In the centre of the lake is the Turtle Tower. Here you can learn about the legends of Le Loi who revolted against the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century, with his all-powerful sword given to him by the Golden Turtle God.


7. Cruise through Lan Ha Bay

Off the northeastern coast of Vietnam, Lan Ha Bay is the lesser-known neighbour of Ha Long Bay and is great for an escape from the crowds. Lan Ha is best explored on an overnight cruise through the many islands. Being on the water allows you to get a feel for the scale of the dramatic limestone cliffs, and it is possible to kayak out to explore.

All our Vietnam holidays include time in all the locations described above, with optional guided tours and free time to explore independently.


Click here to find out more about our Vietnam holidays, or order a free brochure.

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