Vietnam is known for many things, from its long history to its rich collection of culinary and its economic affordability. In the present day, this Southeast Asian country is one of the most favored destinations among international tourists!
As more travelers are planning their getaways to the country, some might still be wondering about what to prepare and do to turn their Vietnam trip into a reality – especially if it’s their first time visiting Vietnam.
Luckily, you are at the right place, because our article today will present a brief travel guide that encompasses all the essential bits you should know before visiting Vietnam: the country’s profile, the compact travel trips, and the recommended activities to do in Vietnam!
Vietnam: A Country with a Timeless Charm
Vietnam, a country with a timeless charm.
A fun fact before we start: Vietnam earned the epithet “The Land of the Ascending Dragon” due to its distinctive shape on the world map – a remarkable title for a country with many historic events on its records.
Having been unified since 1975, Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country that is home to more than 50 ethnic groups. The country, whose capital is Hanoi, is sandwiched by China in the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the East Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. As of 2023, Vietnam’s population is estimated to be 103.8 million, making it one of the top 20 most populated countries!
At present, Vietnam has become one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia. This growth has significantly impacted various sectors in the country, particularly the hospitality and tourism industry. After the pandemic ended, Vietnam emerged as a new favorite tourist hotspot in Asia! In the first half of 2023, Vietnam tourism welcomed over 5.5 million foreign visitors, bringing it closer to its goal of 8 million international tourists.
Vibrant cities, a plethora of natural wonders, fascinating landmarks, savory cuisines, and a rich history, tradition, and culture are some of the timeless charms of Vietnam that entice tourists to visit. As more international travelers are making their way to the country, others might be wondering what they should do before visiting Vietnam. Well, worry not, because we have compiled a list of things you should know before traveling to Vietnam!
Things to Know Before Visiting Vietnam (Travel Tips)
Planning a first-time trip to any foreign country can be a bit challenging, but Vietnam is a welcoming destination for newcomers. Hence, before embarking on your Vietnam tour, make sure to check our quick and informative travel guide prepared just for you!
1. Arrange Your Visa
Arrange your visa before visiting Vietnam.
The first and foremost step before visiting Vietnam (and other foreign countries) is to prepare your visa. Visas are granted by Vietnamese authorities, allowing foreign tourists to travel to and enter Vietnam. The good news is that starting on August 15, 2023, Vietnam has implemented a new electronic visa (e-visa) system for all nationalities, which means visiting Vietnam will be much easier for anyone. To apply for a visa to visit Vietnam, you can find it here!
2. Purchase a Flight Ticket
Purchase a flight ticket to Vietnam.
Remember to purchase your flight ticket to Vietnam! If you are looking for cheap flights to Vietnam, you may try to buy a ticket during the off-season months of April, May, October, and November since fewer tourists are visiting the country, making flight prices lower. Ho Chi Minh is your best bet for Vietnam’s cheapest city to fly into, and there are many airline options that offer direct flights to the country.
3. Pack Proper Outfits
Pack the right clothes for your Vietnam tour.
The next essential step is to pack your Vietnam trip clothes into your bag. However, you might want to take some notes about Vietnam’s weather to avoid bringing the wrong outfits! Generally, the best time to visit Vietnam is from November to April, when temperatures are mild, and rainfall is relatively low. If you are planning to travel to a specific region in Vietnam, such as Da Nang with its tropical climate or Halong Bay with its subtropical climate, be sure to do your research first!
4. Organize Your Budget
Organize your travel budget to Vietnam.
When visiting Vietnam, you will need to exchange currency for Vietnamese đồng (VND) to seamlessly organize your budget for the trip. Vietnam is known as one of the cheapest countries to travel to, so even with a moderate budget, it’s easy to enjoy a trip to Vietnam without worrying about running out of money. For your travel information, affordable accommodations like comfy Airbnbs (around $20-25 USD/night) and boutique hotels (about $30-40 USD/night) can be found all over the country. Food is quite inexpensive as well, with meals starting at around $2 USD!
5. Learn the Language
Last but not least, it’s important to get to know Vietnam as a country better. You can start by learning its language, Vietnamese. Although English is taught in Vietnamese schools, many people there do not speak English or have only basic proficiency. As a tourist, it’s best to learn common phrases to get around Vietnam, such as “xin chào” (which means “hello”) or “cảm ơn” (which means “thank you”). An additional pro tip is to learn about the local traditions and culture as well!
Things You Should Do on Your Vietnam Tour
Lots of fascinating things await travelers once they arrive in Vietnam. As exciting as it sounds, sometimes it can also be confusing for tourists about which places they should visit first, what food to try, and other things they should do during their Vietnam trip. Fortunately, there’s no need to feel lost because we have recommended a list of things you should do on your Vietnam tour!
1. Start with Hanoi
The Flag Tower in Hanoi, Vietnam.
For first-timers, consider Hanoi, Vietnam’s renowned capital, for the ideal starting point of your journey in the country! The city is a lively one where tourists can easily find inexpensive accommodations, world-class dining, and historic sights depicted in one place.
2. Tour the Mekong Delta
Tourists boating the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
A home to distinctive ecosystems and various unique communities, there are many reasons why a Mekong Delta tour should be on your list of things to do when visiting Vietnam. Here, travelers can take a boat trip through the Mekong Delta’s waterways, visit floating markets, and even explore the National Park with its more than 100 different bird species. During the trip, tourists will be treated to the scenery of rice fields and local villages all along!
3. Enjoy Hoi An Beaches
One of Hoi An beaches in Vietnam. (via Vinpearl)
Their tropical climates, idyllic backdrops, pristine soft sands, and magnificent turquoise shades of seawater are what make Hoi An beaches a magnet to travelers. Praised as one of the delightful destinations with the best beaches in Vietnam, Hoi An features plenty of natural and attractive beaches, including Cua Dai Beach and An Bang Beach!
4. Trek in Ha Giang
A sight in Ha Giang, Vietnam.
Looking for mountain scenery instead? Head to Ha Giang province, where you will be able to trek to minority villages and rice terraces! You can also ride a motorcycle over some of Vietnam’s most spectacular passes there, while taking photos on the winding mountain road between Dong Van and Meo Vac, two of Ha Giang’s towns.
5. Try the Local Culinary Delights
Banh mi, a signature food of Vietnam.
Visiting Vietnam is incomplete without indulging in its rich collection of local cuisines! There’s a plethora of delicious Vietnamese dishes to try, but some of the best recommendations include bun bo hue (a Vietnamese rice noodle dish with sliced beef), banh mi (a sandwich traditionally baked with broth and wheat, filled with various ingredients), and pho (a savory Vietnamese soup made with broth, noodles, beef, and more).
The diverse culture, traditions, historical cities, and alluring natural destinations, not to mention the affordability of everything in Vietnam, are what attract travelers from all around the globe to visit the Land of the Ascending Dragon. Moreover, the recent news of an easy e-visa system for all nationalities is making foreign tourists eager to take their trips to the country, thereby propelling Vietnam’s tourism into a period of rapid growth!
Now, Vietnam is a sea of exciting opportunities for anyone who is ready to take up the challenges – especially in its hospitality and tourism sector. If you are one of those people up for the challenges, RMC Asia will gladly assist you through our Cultural Exchange Programs!
“What are Cultural Exchange Programs?” might be the first thing that popped into your mind. To keep it short, Cultural Exchange Programs are our tailored hospitality internship and management training that take place across prestigious hotels and resorts across Asia’s best destinations, and Vietnam is one of them.
Being a participant in one of our Cultural Exchange Programs is more than just working in hotels or resorts. Our participants will get to experience firsthand the dynamic environment of the international hospitality and tourism industry; work with seasoned experts and fellow participants from all around the world, as well as immerse themselves in the beauty of program destinations!