Vietnam can take a good month to go from north to south when you backpack it, but if you don’t have time on your side to truly explore this Asian nation, it pays to have a few tips under your hat in order to get the true flavor of this lovely country. Here are some things you should absolutely make time for, whether you’re going on an epic backpacking jaunt or simply flying into a city like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
Don’t miss out!
Look at the landmarks. Vietnam, like every place, has plenty of landmarks you’ve got to see. Some will be more interesting to you than others, but if your time is limited, do your homework and see which ones are closest to the cities you plan to stay in. There are many things you won’t want to miss depending on which part of Vietnam you go to. Try a cruise on Halong Bay or visit the floating markets on the Mekong Delta. Even the Hue Imperial City is a journey worth making.
And try your hand at bartering when you shop too. It’s all part of the culture.
Taste the street food. It’s cheap, convenient, and oh-so-delicious. And don’t ever forget to try pho, the most famous of Vietnam’s cuisine. Be mindful where you eat though, taking care to buy only from the busiest stalls where you can watch your food being prepared for you because tap water isn’t safe here and you don’t want to wind up on a Mekong Delta cruise with savage diarrhea.
Got the time?
Arrange a bike ride through the rice paddies, or hang out at the Beer Corner in Hanoi. Incidentally, Vietnam’s beer, Bia Hoi is incredibly budget-friendly not to mention delicious stuff. Sign up for a Vietnamese cooking class too, and you’ll be able to take everything you fall in love with in Vietnam back home with you.
Dare to be different!
Live on the edge by renting a motorcycle. It’s how the Vietnamese get around, and you can even head up to the border! But if you want a totally different wild ride, you can always ride a buffalo. Yes, really. Hoi An, Mai Chau, and Sapa are all places where you can find this activity.
Want to take a walk on the wild side? Then head to Vietnam for your next adventure!