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How to Plan a Trip to Vietnam: Frequently Asked Questions

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Farmer with boat harvesting waterlilies on the Yen River in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Yen River in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s top travel destinations and these answers to common travel questions can help you plan your trip to the country with a travel specialist.

Vietnam is breathtaking, encompassing quiet villages and bustling megacities, where tradition and modernity collide. Street stalls rub shoulders with high-end boutiques, history and culture come to life in temples and museums, karst islands rise from the sea and rice paddies veil the northern hills. Enjoy them all stress-free as we help you plan every detail of your trip.

From the top places to visit to the best things to do, as well as ideas on how many days to spend on vacation, our Vietnam FAQ answers your questions.

  1. Where is Vietnam?
  2. When is the best time to visit Vietnam?
  3. How many days should I spend in Vietnam?
  4. What is Vietnam known for?
  5. What are the most popular destinations in Vietnam?
  6. What should I do on my trip to Vietnam?
  7. Does Vietnam have good beaches?
  8. Is Vietnam a good place for hiking?
  9. Where can I see wildlife in Vietnam?
  10. Is Vietnam a good place for cycling?
  11. What are accommodations like in Vietnam?
  12. How do I travel around Vietnam?
  13. Is Vietnam a good destinations for families?
  14. Is Vietnam suitable for senior travelers?
  15. Is Vietnam suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  16. What food should I try in Vietnam?
  17. Do I need a converter/adapter for Vietnam?
  18. Is Vietnam safe to visit?
  19. What religion do they practice in Vietnam?
  20. What should I not do in Vietnam?
  21. What language do they speak in Vietnam?
  22. What vaccinations do I need to travel to Vietnam?
  23. Which airports should I plan for?
  24. Should I tip in Vietnam?
  25. What currency does Vietnam use?
  26. How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Vietnam?
  27. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Where is Vietnam?

Vietnam is in Southeast Asia, bordering Cambodia and Laos to the west and China to the north. The country lies on the eastern edge of the Indochina peninsula, with its eastern coastline overlooking the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea.

Vietnam is one of the most popular destinations to feature on our Southeast Asia tours as it is accessible and a gateway to more of the region’s top countries. With Zicasso, you can explore more of Southeast Asia from Vietnam on multi-country trips found in our Thailand & Vietnam tours, Vietnam & Cambodia tours, and Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam tours.

When is the best time to visit Vietnam?

The best time to visit Vietnam is between November and March. These months have the most consistent weather because of the tropical climate in the country’s central and southern regions. It’s also the time of mild winters in northern Vietnam, outside the highlands.

The climate may vary depending on the region. The distance from the top to the bottom of the country is the same as that between New York City and Miami, resulting in three diverse weather systems. Central Vietnam can flood between September and November, but these months offer an excellent opportunity to visit Ha Long Bay and Ho Chi Minh City. In contrast, the wet season in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay occurs from May to September.

January and February are beautiful months in which to visit northern Vietnam, but the temperatures can be low and the weather unpredictable in the highlands. Finally, you can best enjoy the famous rice terraces and harvest of Sapa in the highlands between April and early October.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Vietnam

How many days should I spend in Vietnam?

We recommend you spend 10 days in Vietnam. Ten-day Vietnam itineraries allow you time to explore highlights like Hanoi’s Old Quarter and the capital’s neighboring villages, before transferring to Ho Chi Minh City to experience the Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta.

It is possible to visit Vietnam for less than 10 days, with one-week itineraries popular among travelers with limited time. Typically reserved for highlight trips, these take you to key destinations like Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, with fewer transfers to disrupt travel experiences.

For a more immersive Vietnamese vacation, you can spend upwards of two weeks exploring the country’s iconic cities, coastal resort towns, and far-flung northern hillsides. The length of your trip depends on the time you have available and how deeply you would like to experience Vietnam. We can help you customize your itinerary to your specifications.

Learn more: 1 Week Vietnam Itineraries10 Day Vietnam Itineraries2 Week North Vietnam Itineraries

What is Vietnam known for?

Vietnam is known for its emerald rice terraces, historic temple ruins, vibrant culinary scene, dynamic cities, and unspoiled wilderness. Travelers also adore the juxtaposition of Vietnam’s lively, high-octane cities and laidback coastal resort towns and traditional villages in the hills. Last but not least, Vietnamese culture and history take center stage on trips that reveal the country’s dramatic yet resilient past.

What are the most popular destinations in Vietnam?

From bustling cities with secret alleyways hiding sensational street food to the world’s most breathtaking karst islands rising from turquoise seas, these are Vietnam’s must-see destinations:

  • Hanoi
  • Ha Long Bay
  • Hue
  • Hoi An
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Mekong Delta
  • Sapa

Each destination is so different from the next, introducing you to the local spirit that floods the markets of megacities or allowing you opportunities to cruise the seas in privacy to secret beaches. Our best places to visit in Vietnam shares more about these recommendations, helping you narrow down your choice of where to go.

What should I do on my trip to Vietnam?

During your Vietnam tour, you can sail around famous karsts that soar out of the water or venture through tunnels used during the Vietnam War. You can also find stunning beaches, breathtaking mountain passes, ancient towns, and chic restaurants. The following list shares the best things to do on your trip:

  • Discover temples that date back to the 11th century and represent a rare example of traditional Vietnamese architecture
  • Witness reflective waters as locals practice t’ai chi, enjoy the sunset, and stroll around the elegant gateways and traditional pagodas
  • Indulge in traditional Vietnamese flavors and fusion street food at stalls in secluded alleys and bustling markets
  • Delight in an overnight luxury cruise as you wind around the epic karsts, lounge on secluded beaches, and witness stunning sunsets
  • Explore artistic representations of religion and culture in Vietnam’s museums and around landmarks that display silk paintings, folk art, and multicultural architecture
  • Wander within ancient and massive caves carving intricate underground networks between the Vietnamese hills, with rivers running through them
  • Uncover Vietnam’s dramatic history and learn about the resilience of the local people as you explore the Cu Chi Tunnels and war memorials
  • Cycle around the tranquil city lakes and wander ancient imperial citadels that display centuries of Vietnamese history

The list of things to do in Vietnam is long, with many unique environments, cities, and landmarks offering a variety of experiences. As you approach your departure or seek inspiration, view our top things to do in Vietnam to learn more about its highlights and how to curate an unforgettable vacation.

Does Vietnam have good beaches?

Thoughts of Southeast Asia’s beaches may conjure images of palmed shorelines in Thailand or private islands off Cambodia’s coastline. Still, Vietnam has a seemingly endless list of breathtaking beaches that rival the most popular in the region. From the coastlines of Hoi An to the castaway shores of Ha Long Bay, the following list represents the best beaches in Vietnam:

  • Con Dao Beach, Con Dao Island
  • Nha Trang Beach, Nha Trang
  • Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An
  • Mui Ne Beach, Mui Ne
  • Cat Ba Island Beach, Ha Long Bay
  • Danang Beach, Da Nang

Is Vietnam a good place for hiking?

From coastlines with great beach walks to jungle-clad hills with spectacular trails, many of Vietnam’s top travel destinations are excellent places for hiking. Hiking in Vietnam is suitable for all travelers, with casual strolls for senior tours and challenging treks for active adventurers. Below, we list some of the popular hiking routes and places to consider for your trip:

  • Sapa treks
  • Cat Tien National Park trails
  • Lang Bian Mountain treks
  • Ba Be National Park trails
  • Cat Ba National Park hikes
  • Ban Gioc waterfall hike
  • Phong Nha Ke-Bang National Park cave hike
  • Mount Fansipan trek

Where can I see wildlife in Vietnam?

While megacities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are popular places to visit, much of Vietnam is untouched, offering excellent wildlife experiences for active vacations. There are vast national parks and sprawling coastlines, home to endemic Indochinese wildlife and marine creatures. Below, we share the best places to see nature in Vietnam and what animals and marine life to be on the lookout for:

  • Cat Tien National Park, Asiatic black bears
  • Pu Mat National Park, Indochinese tigers
  • Yok Don National Park, gibbons
  • Cuc Phuong National Park, pangolins
  • Nam Cat Tien National Park, Siamese crocodiles
  • Hoi An, spinner dolphins
  • Pu Mat National Park, saola
  • Cao Bang, flying squirrels

Is Vietnam a good place for cycling?

Cycling in Vietnam is fantastic and accessible, with many trails suitable for peddling in nature and roads in the cities that give way to bicycles. We advise you to be careful when cycling in cities, however, as Vietnamese roads are incredibly busy. Instead, you can hire bikes when exploring gardens and lush parks like Hoan Kiem Lake. The best cycling in Vietnam is in the countryside, where you can race through jungles and cruise to mountain viewpoints.

What are accommodations like in Vietnam?

A range of accommodations is available to travelers visiting Vietnam, from lavish lodges in forested national parks to private resort bungalows in coastal towns. Accommodation options cater to travelers of all budgets and your Zicasso travel specialist can help you book suitable stays. Whether visiting with your family or for your honeymoon, you can enjoy the pleasures of a private island, a hotel in megacities, or an overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay.

How do I travel around Vietnam?

Beyond international flights that bring you to Vietnam and domestic flights that make transferring between cities efficient, you can catch taxis, buses, and other public transportation, hire rental cars, book private transfers, travel by train, and hop on and off boats, yachts, and catamarans.

As you plan your vacation, you can choose options that best suit you, whether catamarans for intimate sunset cruises or private transfers for informative tours of the cities. You can also explore Vietnam’s unique transportation options, such as xich lo and thuyen doc moc. Xich lo is a three-wheeled pedaled taxi that carries up to two people, perfect for couples, and thuyen doc moc is a traditional wooden boat made from monolithic trees.

While hiring a motorbike is popular in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian destinations, we recommend avoiding this option. Vietnamese roads are chaotic and drivers do not always observe road laws, making motorbikes a dangerous mode of transport. Instead, book reliable and safe transfers with the help of your travel expert.

Is Vietnam a good destinations for families?

Find fun for the entire family in Vietnam as water-puppet shows entertain travelers of all ages, caves guide you through the Earth’s crust, and kayaking leads you to coral reefs. The list of things to do as a family in Vietnam makes it one of the most appealing destinations in Southeast Asia for such a vacation.

You can trek along comfortable trails to view waterfalls where birds sing and the water crashes over epic landscapes, cruise between bays in old wooden boats reminiscent of pirate ships, and crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels on tours that are as educational as they are exhilarating.

Vietnam is an excellent destination for those with young children, older teens, or multi-generational families, as the experiences are diverse enough to satisfy the travel tastes of everyone.

Learn more: Top Things to Do in Vietnam with Family

Is Vietnam suitable for senior travelers?

You can trace Vietnam’s rich history in wartime museums and landmarks memorializing the lost cultures of ancient Asia, making it a surreal destination for senior travelers. Also, access to lavish accommodations and experienced guides familiar with arranging tours for travelers with mobility challenges makes it easy to experience the wonders of Vietnam without any stress.

Vietnam is a suitable destination for active senior travelers, with rolling hills covering the northern highlands, in which you can stumble upon traditional villages and coastal resort towns, combining Vietnam’s seaside beauty and cultural charms.

Our Vietnam tours for seniors offers ideas on organizing your travel itinerary. Completely customizable to cater to your preferences, you can use these as a foundation upon which to curate your unique trip design to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City or Hue and the Mekong Delta.

Learn more: Best Places to Visit in Vietnam for Seniors

Is Vietnam suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Glide past purple blooms on lakes, walk down rice terraces that glimmer gold and green in the sunshine, or explore the City of Eternal Spring in Vietnam, a romantic traveler's dream destination.

Couples planning to celebrate a milestone or honeymooners searching for a place to embrace intimacy need look no further than the beaches, bustling cities, and vast wilds of Vietnam. You can tuck into authentic dishes with your own personal chef as the sun sets beyond the Hoi An horizon, discover the breathtaking murals and sculptures in ancient citadels, or cruise across Ha Long Bay in a luxurious catamaran, with privacy at the heart of your voyage.

Vietnam honeymoon packages deliver an unrivaled sense of glamour as they show you sides of Vietnam to suit your romantic desires, whether the vibrant night markets of Hanoi and the historical tunnels of Cu Chi, or the dreamy beaches of Con Dao and sprawling hills of Sapa.

Learn more: Most Romantic Places in Vietnam for Couples

What food should I try in Vietnam?

The flavors of Vietnamese cuisine shine in Asian dishes that infuse French influence and tradition, tracing their origins to ancient empires spanning the Indochina region. Below, we share several of the top dishes to try in Vietnam:

  • Pho, Vietnamese rice noodle broth
  • Bahn Mi, French baguette stuffed with boiled pork sausage, pork liver pate, and pickled vegetables
  • Cao Lau, Udon noodles served with Chinese barbecued pork and crushed pork crackling
  • Nem Ran, Vietnamese fried spring rolls
  • Ca Phe Trung, Vietnamese egg coffee
  • Xoi Ga, sticky rice with chicken strips

Do I need a converter/adapter for Vietnam?

Vietnam uses 220V and a frequency of 50Hz. Unless you use electronic devices rated to 120V, you should not have too much trouble connecting chargers and devices in Vietnam. That said, Vietnam uses various plug types, including A, C, and F. Therefore, we recommend carrying a travel adapter with you.

Is Vietnam safe to visit?

Vietnam is a very safe country to visit.

You should have few concerns when traveling through Vietnam, especially with professional guides. That said, the country is not without crime and, as with most international travel destinations, petty theft is possible along the busy streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. You can avoid incidents by being vigilant in crowded areas and keeping your valuables safely stashed away. You should also be conscious of motorbikes, as accidents can and do occur on busy streets.

Mosquitos can be a problem in some regions of Vietnam. You should discuss your trip with a doctor or travel nurse before arriving in the country if traveling to areas known to have malaria or dengue fever.

Driving a motorbike or car in Southeast Asia is illegal if you do not have a driver’s license. Private drivers, taxis, guided Vespa tours, or other forms of transportation will ensure you remain safe.

What religion do they practice in Vietnam?

Buddhism is the predominant religion in Vietnam and more than half of the population identifies as Buddhist.

Some communities also practice Confucianism and Taoism, showcasing the Chinese cultural influences in Vietnam. These three religions are referred to collectively as tam giao. Thien Hau Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, and Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue are examples of spiritual complexes honoring the religions of Vietnam.

What should I not do in Vietnam?

When it comes to Vietnamese culture and etiquette, as well as your travel safety, there are several things we recommend not doing. Below, we highlight these:

  • Do not leave your knees and shoulders uncovered when visiting temples
  • Do not turn your back on altars in temples and people's homes
  • Do not carry your camera out wherever you go as ethnic villagers may consider these devices intrusive
  • Do not order food from street stalls that looks as though it has been left out for the day
  • Do not drink tap water. Buy bottled water or drink purified water from your hotel

What language do they speak in Vietnam?

Vietnam’s official language is Vietnamese.

While many speak Vietnamese and several communities speak French, Chinese, and Khmer, English has become widely spoken across the country. For this reason, you should be able to communicate during your travels, with guides to help you translate on day trips to traditional villages where locals speak other languages.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Vietnam?

Though you do not require vaccinations to enter Vietnam, your travel nurse or doctor may advise you to receive several depending on which parts of the country you visit. In addition, you can view a complete list of recommendations in the CDC Vietnam vaccination information.

Beyond consulting your Zicasso travel specialist, we suggest confirming with your practitioner which vaccinations to take before your trip.

Which airports should I plan for?

Several airports are available to international travelers arriving and departing Vietnam and taking domestic flights from one city to another. The best airports to fly in and out of are Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) and Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN).

Below is a list of the top airports to consider for international and domestic flights to, from, and within Vietnam:

  • Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), Hanoi
  • Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), Ho Chi Minh City
  • Da Nang International Airport (DAD), Da Nang
  • Cam Ranh International Airport (CXR), Cam Ranh
  • Phu Bai International Airport (HUI), Hue
  • Phu Quoc International Airport (PQC), Phu Quoc

Should I tip in Vietnam?

Tipping is not mandatory or expected in Vietnam, though service members are always appreciative of tips. If you are satisfied with your service at restaurants, on tours, or during cruises in Vietnam, then you may offer a tip of any amount at the end of your experience.

In a luxury restaurant, for example, leaving a tip can be seen as a sign of exceptional service. For guides or during cruises, a 10% gratuity can demonstrate great appreciation for the service.

What currency does Vietnam use?

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong.

Traveling with Vietnamese dong is ideal as it is the most widely accepted currency in the country. That said, you may be able to pay in US dollars at certain establishments in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Furthermore, some establishments in these major cities accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

We still recommend carrying Vietnamese dong in cash as you may need it at establishments without electronic payment facilities, to tip tour guides and others, or when visiting traditional villages in northern Vietnam.

How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Vietnam?

Working with a Zicasso travel specialist, you can plan your trip in detail with insight and guidance from our destination experts. You can explore Vietnam tours and vacations designed by our specialists for inspiration or customize those that match your idea of the perfect Vietnam vacation.

To start curating these itineraries or designing your own, complete a trip request in which you can provide more details, like the things you would like to do, how long you would like to travel, and what budget you would like to work with. After submitting your request, our Travel Care team will be in touch to discuss your trip and travel expectations.

Whether you wish to experience luxury Vietnam tours or travel with your family, our Travel Care team will match you with a destination expert who can help you curate your tour. Available for the duration of your trip, they can provide you with more information about Vietnam and assist you with questions or emergencies on your vacation. They will ensure you enjoy a worry-free and comfortable stay wherever and however you choose to explore Vietnam.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Colorful lanterns strewn across a narrow street in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

Vietnam is all about adventure and relaxation, possible on our Vietnam tours and vacations that share ideas for families, history buffs, couples, and senior travelers.

From tree-lined boulevards that reflect French influence to the culinary prowess of street vendors, trekking into evergreen hills, or winding along the Mekong River, you can find further inspiration for your trip in our Vietnam travel guide.

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