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Top Trip Memories

  • A sailing cruise in Ha  Long  Bay, also known as “Bay of Descending Dragons.”
  • Explore the underground Cu Chi Tunnels cave which was once used as a hiding spot by Viet Cong Guerillas.
  • Seeing the rich rice fields of Mekong Delta.
  • If you are into kite and windsurfing activities then you do not want to miss Mui Ne; and a short distance from it leads to its famous sand dunes.
  • Relaxing in one of the largest island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc.
  • Walking down the winding lanes of  beautiful old town Hoi An, sometimes also knows as the “Venice of Vietnam.”
  • Visit to the tallest pagoda in Vietnam, Thien Mu Pagoda, built during 1601. The pagoda also overlooks the Perfume River. 
  • Experiencing a water puppet performance at the Thang Long puppet theatre in Hanoi
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Tour Tips

  • Vietnam, especially the South, is hot and quite humid year round so be sure to dress appropriately, bringing light layers suitable for temples and other religious sites. Also be sure to drink lots of bottled water while on your guided tour to prevent dehydration.
  • Public transportation (mainly by rail) is reliable, safe, and relatively fast throughout the country. It can be a great way to mingle with locals and see the countryside, so be sure to look at guided tours which include this option.
  • While it’s possible to see the highlights in a week or ten days, two weeks is really optimal to see both North and South Vietnam, with stops in between to cities like Danang, Hoi An, and Hue.
  • Travelers who have already seen the major cities or those simply with more time should consider a side tour to the Sapa region in Northeast Vietnam. Aside from escaping the lowland heat, this mountainous region offers a traditional view into many of Vietnam’s ethnic tribes, such as the Hmong, as well as touring the meticulously maintained rice terraces.
  • Aside from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the other ‘must see’ city is Hoi An. This UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its mix of French colonial, Japanese, and Chinese architectural influences. It’s also a shopper’s heaven, with custom clothes and shoes among the many items for sale by local shopkeepers.
  • Although slightly ‘touristy,’ a cyclo ride around the streets of Ho Chi Minh city or Hanoi is a great way to get your bearings and see life at street level.
  • Speaking of ‘street,’ don’t be afraid to try the local delicacies, which are often sold by merchants on the side of the road or walking with baskets full of baked goods. For food safety, it’s always a good idea to ask your tour leader to recommend a local vendor.
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Vietnam Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

3,340 Reviews

  • Excellent 2,676
  • Great 674
  • Average 13
  • Disappointing 4
  • Terrible 1

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Tour Reviews

Classic Vietnam & Cambodia - Awesome!

Classic Vietnam & Angkor

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Takes a while to get used to the frenetic pace of Vietnam (ie; confidence to cross the road!) People were so friendly. Halong Bay was magical, even though the weather wasn't brilliant and the kayak was worth it. At times it felt a bit rushed although that may be because most opted for the additional activities. Very little down time. I'm glad we finished with Cambodia and the temples as it felt slightly calmer. Wish we had one more day in Cambodia to do a bit more than the temples, ie; visit the food markets.
Halong Bay - cruising through the structures and the first glimpse of Angkor Wat. Both truly magical
Hoi An because it was a bit quieter and pedestrianized so easier to walk around and explore.
Street food tour in Hanoi.

Our group leader in Vietnam Mao was great. We were a large group of 16 and he did well to manage and accommodate us all. He had a lovely temperament and was always courteous and polite. He had a lot of knowledge to share and did well to keep us in check.
Our guide in Cambodia was also very good, but at times it felt as though other groups received more information. To be honest, we only had a few days with him so it was hard for him to build a relationship with us. However, the driver he organised for us was just so helpful keeping us supplied with water and cold wipes.

This is a full on trip - be warned there is not much down time.
Pools in most hotels, but little opportunity to use them.
The sunrise over Angkor Wat is worth it, but you will be sharing it with thousands of others.
If you get hit with D&V you can buy Cipro over the counter which worked for me.

The place was inundated with selfie sticks which was really annoying!
Don't do the buffet style meal in Cambodia - there must be better quality places to eat.
The litter in Vietnam is a real issue and takes something away as it's everywhere. For example, there is no way I would have swum in Halong Bay as the water is full of rubbish. Conversely Cambodia was relatively clean.

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Vietnam Food Adventure

Vietnam Food Adventure

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was my first time visiting Vietnam (visited March 2017) and based on my first experience I would definately visit again. I can honestly say the whole group of people were lovely. My group consists of two couples and seven solo travellers. One member of the group joined us from New Zealand.
The first day of my trip was truly inspirational in that it was a great way to start my holiday on a food tour of Hanoi the group walked around Hanoi tasting and experiencing different foods, most of which we had never tried before, the food was simply delicious. The boat stay in Halong Bay was amazing

Phuong our group leader - what a lovely man. So knowledgable about his country & very patient, the amount of times I enquired about cooking utensils and where I could purchase things was never too much trouble, he was like a family member.

Food adventure tours are simply great for solo travellers. You meet so many lovely people (food in general brings people together - this is the common bond for taking a food adventure vacation). Vietnam is a lovely country to visit.

Please Exodus more food adventure holidays.

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Vietnam Food Adventure

Vietnam Food Adventure

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Just come back from Vietnam.I had been there twice before and this trip proved to be a new way of looking at the country.
We loved walking through the markets in Hanoi and trying out different food. The three cooking classes were excellent and showed how varied the food is in different regions. We ate in local restaurants,including a roadside cafe on the way to the Mekong Delta where we were the only westerners. The meals on the boat in Halong Bay were wonderful and at the homestay. Everywhere, we saw how important food is to understanding more about Vietnamese culture.

Phoung was amazing.He showed us so much about the culture of his country. He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour.

Go there and enjoy it too.

A wonderful trip - Exodus should think about doing more food experiences - I think that they would be equally good.

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Trails of Vietnam

Trails of Vietnam

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was a wonderful trip - fully of varied activities - cycling, trekking, kayaking and sight seeing . Vietnam is a fascinating country, with so much variety between north and south and lots of interesting history. It is is the right time to go now, before the tourist industry really gets going, especially on the coast near Danang . The people are lovely - so friendly and welcoming - the food is great - very fresh and varied.
Hoi An was the loveliest town with its mixture of old France architecture, lots of street traders, great food, river estuary and good beaches. Get a silk dress or suit made overnight.
Cycling in the Mekong Delta was a great experience, but HOT. The home stay on an island in the Mekong river was our most peaceful place to stay.
Walking by rice fields in the north was great with the hills and mountains in the background. Halong Bay in the north was also beautiful - there are a lot of other boats , but you don't feel it is too touristy yet.

Amazing - Kien was the best leader I have ever had on Exodus. Full of interesting information about Vietnam , a great organiser, caring towards his group members and a great sense of humour.

Be prepared for the traffic in Hanoi and Saigon - it is manic - it does not stop - but don't panic - walk steadily in a straight line and they will weave round you - they are not agressive drivers, but there are a lot of motor bikes.

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We really enjoyed ourselves

Trails of Vietnam

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This is a very busy tour with lots of variety. Although a lot of time was spent travelling (as you'd expect from a tour covering 1500 miles in 14 days) a great many different things were packed into the holiday (eg 1000 years of history, food, shopping, cycling, kayaking, walking, boating, caves, puppet show.) Vietnam was more prosperous and sophisticated than I had imagined, with free wi-fi in every accommodation and restaurants. Everything was very clean and well organised. Things ran on time, including the 12 hour overnight train departed on time and arrived early. The people were friendly and smiling.
I found the Vietnames people very inspirational. It is only 40 years since there was almost total devastation in the war. People were very positive and enthusiastic and proud of Vietnam's achievements and that their economy is improving. We saw a lady making fashionable shoes on one the markets and she proudly told us that Vietnam used to import its shoes from China, but now they manufacture their own.

Trinh was excellent. One of the best leaders we've had. Very well organised and always went the extra mile to help and answer questions. He was also good fun.

The only thing I would mention that has not been covered by other reviewers or in the trip notes/advice is that it would have been a good idea to have a neck flap for the cycling. On one of our cycling days (Mekong) it was a sunny 35 degrees.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Classic Itineraries

Vietnam in 1 Week

Day 1-2, Ho Chi Minh City: Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, learn about the Cu Chi Tunnels from a local guide. In your free time take a walk through the open-aired market at Pham Ngu Lao Street.

Day 3, Danang to Hoi An: Drive from Danang to Hoi An passing beautiful scenery such as the Marble Mountains, and historically significant My Khe Beach.

Day 4, Hoi An: Discover Hoi An’s Old Town, with its many architectural influences from European to Chinese, explore Dong Ba Market in your free time.

Day 5, Hanoi: Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, enjoy the quiet nature of the city’s many lakes and green spaces.

Day 6-7, Halong Bay: Enjoy a day cruise through one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. Stay overnight on board ship.

Day 8, Hanoi: Return to Hanoi for the end of your trip

See All Vietnam in One Week Tours

Vietnam in 2 Weeks

Day 1, Ho Chi Minh City: Arrive in Vietnam. Take a walk through the open-aired market at Pham Ngu Lao Street.

Day 2-3, Mekong Delta: See the area know as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam. Take a boat ride to explore the canals on the Mekong River, stay overnight in a local home along the river. In the morning visit the Cai Be floating market.

Day 4, Ho Chi Minh City: Return to Ho Chi Minh City and take a tour with a local guide to see the Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, and see the Cu Chi Tunnels which were used by the Viet Cong during wartime. Take the train to Nha Trang.

Day 5, Nha Trang: Visit the picturesque beaches of Nha Trang, see the archaeological site at Po Nagar Cham Towers.

Day 6, Danang to Hoi An: Drive from Danang to Hoi An passing beautiful scenery such as the Marble Mountains, and historically significant My Khe Beach.

Day 7-8, Hoi An: Take a guided walking tour of this old port city which dates back to the mid-sixteenth century. My Son ruins, local markets, rent a bike and take an afternoon by the beach.

Day 9-10, Scenic Drive to Hue: Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Beach, visit the Imperial Citadel, cruise on a traditional dragon boat on the Perfume River, visit Thien Mu Pagoda.

Day 11-12, Hanoi: Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. Enjoy the quiet nature of the city’s many lakes and green spaces.

Day 13-14, Halong Bay: Enjoy a day cruise through one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. Stay overnight on board ship.

Day 15, Hanoi: Return to Hanoi and enjoy a local meal and souvenir shopping before heading home.

See All Vietnam in Two Weeks Itineraries

Culinary Tour of Vietnam

Day 1-2, Hanoi: Explore the city, with its calming atmosphere, and enjoy a local beer known as be bia hoi, at a traditional brew hall. The next day, tour Chau Long Market, sample local delicacies and coffee. Visit the Hanoi Cooking Centre.

Day 3-4, Halong Bay: Visit picturesque Halong Bay. Watch a demonstration of fishermen throwing nets, and learn how to do it yourself! Enjoy a dinner of fresh seafood and stay overnight in a traditional houseboat.

Day 5, Transfer to Hoi An: Take an overnight train or fly from Hanoi to Hoi An.

Day 6-7, Hoi An: by local ingredients at the markets to make traditional dishes. See the sights in Hoi An such as My Son ruins.

Day 8, Tra Que: A half day trip from Hoi An, Tra Que is a village known for its herb gardens. Bike ride out to the village and learn about various herbs and spices and how they feature in Vietnamese cuisine. Attend a cooking class.

Day 9-10, Ho Chi Minh City: Visit the bustling market of Ben Thanh for fresh produce and other souvenirs. Enjoy the French influenced cuisine of pastries and coffee.

See All Culinary Tours in Vietnam

Vietnam Trips & Tour Advice

For those whose impressions of Vietnam were formed in the wartime 1960's, a visit to this beautiful Southeast Asian country may yield some real surprises. With the vast majority of Vietnamese born after the war, it's largely ancient history here, and visitors (certainly including Americans) are warmly welcomed. There's much to explore, too, from stately Hanoi to bustling Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), gorgeous Halong Bay, the Mekong River (best seen by river boat), deep green rice paddies, golden sandy beaches, and some of Asia's best cuisine. Once you come to Vietnam, your impressions of it will never be the same. 

From South to North (or opposite)

Perhaps the best way to tour Vietnam is to start at either the southern hub of Ho Chi Minh, aka Saigon, or the northern capital city of Hanoi. If starting in HCMC, the first thing you might notice is the buzz of motorbikes all around you. To cross the street, just be brave and go against everything you were ever taught - slowly but purposefully, walk out into the street and maintain a steady pace. Amazingly, the motor bikes will swerve around you until you find yourself, harried but unscathed, on the other side of the street. Once you’ve mastered that, be sure to check out Ben Thanh market. At first, what looks like a glorified flea market opens up to reveal all sorts of Vietnamese culinary stalwarts like Pho. Go in the morning to escape the crowds (and the heat!).

Other highlights in HCMC include the War Remnants Museum, the exhibits of which might be offputting to many American travelers, Cu Chi tunnel system, and the various historic hotels in the city center.

Heading north, visit Nha Trang, which is a typical beach destination for tourists and locals alike. Enjoy a day-cruise where snorkeling and scuba diving are among the options for activities. Fresh seafood is the specialty in this city by the sea.

Next stop, Hoi An, and its labyrinth of ancient buildings and pathways. Historically rich, the city was influenced by the French, Japanese, and Chinese, which is apparent in the architecture and cuisine. Go in search of the famous Hoi An noodles, Cao Lau, which can only be authentically enjoyed in this town. Many different galleries and craft shops offer everything from custom-made shoes to vibrant oil paintings.

A short drive brings you to Hue, or the ‘imperial city’ as it was here that the Nguyen dynasty ruled from before ceding power to the French in 1945. Explore the old, walled citadel and also book a tour to visit the demilitarized zone (DMZ) for a bit of war history.

Last stop is the capital of Hanoi. With its beautiful urban lakes and government seat, Hanoi is calmer relative to HCMC, but still quite the urban center in its own right. For history buffs, a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must, where one can see the body of the former Vietnamese ruler lying in state. Also of interest is the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda.

Culinary Delights

If culinary travel is your thing, then Vietnam should be high on your list! From pho, to Cao Lau, to french baguettes that rival Parisian boulangeries, Vietnam has a plethora of spicy samples to tempt the foodie traveler. Street food is quite good and cheap, and can be found in night markets throughout the country. Or, just pull up a (short) stool at almost any roadside restaurant for an authentic taste of Vietnam. Specialities include Banh xeo, a crunchy shell containing bean sprouts, soy bean, prawns and pork, Banh bo - sweet rice cakes usually found in white, red and green, and of course, pho. For the more daring, sit down at a corner ‘bar’ to sample bia hoi, the local brew of choice. This unpasteurized but fresh beer is served on the street for basically a few cents per glass. You’ve been warned!  

Trips Farther Afield

Other guided tour options in Vietnam include Phu Quoc island, an idyllic spit of land off the coast of southern Vietnam. Also consider the mountainous Sapa region in the northeast or a River boat cruise along the Mekong River.

 

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