When it comes to Vietnam, there’s much to see and do for the first-time visitor. From the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the stunning natural landscapes of Halong Bay and Sapa, Vietnam has something for everyone. With its rich culture and history, delicious food, and welcoming people, it’s no wonder that Vietnam is a popular tourist destination. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit.
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photo: Anh Nguyen
1. Do your research.
Vietnam is a country with a rich history and culture, and there is much to learn before you visit. Books and films can be a great way to learn about the country, but there is also a wealth of information available online. A good place to start your research is with Vietnam’s history. The country has a long and complex history, dating back thousands of years. You can read about the ancient kingdoms that once ruled Vietnam, the Chinese occupation, the centuries of struggle for independence, and the American War. Once you have a better understanding of Vietnam’s past, you can learn about its current affairs and culture. The country has undergone remarkable changes in recent years, and it is now one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. There is much to explore in Vietnam, from its bustling cities to its stunning natural scenery. With a bit of research, you can start to get an idea of what to expect on your trip to Vietnam.
2. Pack light.
When packing for a trip to Vietnam, it’s important to keep the hot and humid weather in mind. Heavy fabrics such as jeans will be uncomfortable to wear in the heat, so pack light clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton. loose, airy clothes are best as they’ll help you stay cool and comfortable. In addition, avoid wearing dark colors as they tend to absorb heat. If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to stay cool and comfortable during your time in Vietnam.
3. Bring cash.
photo: Frederick Warren
While Vietnam is gradually moving towards a cashless society, cash is still king here. Credit and debit cards are accepted at some larger hotels and restaurants, but it’s always a good idea to have cash on hand for smaller purchases and tips. In addition, many businesses in Vietnam only accept cash, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local currency (the Vietnamese dong) and make sure you have plenty of cash on hand. That said, Vietnam is slowly but surely moving towards a cashless future, and it’s not uncommon to see people using mobile apps to pay for everything from coffee to taxis. So while cash is still king in Vietnam, don’t be surprised if you see more and more people using electronic methods of payment in the years to come.
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4. Learn some basic Vietnamese.
English may be the language of international business and tourism, but in Vietnam, it’s mostly spoken in the major cities. Venture outside of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, and you’ll quickly find yourself in a Vietnamese-speaking world. While this can be daunting for travelers, it’s also an opportunity to learn a new language and connect with locals in a deeper way. And with a little effort, it’s not as hard as it might seem. Learning some basic Vietnamese phrases will go a long way in helping you communicate with locals and make the most of your trip. Start with greeting people with “xin chào” (hello), “cảm ơn” (thank you), and “không có gì” (you’re welcome). With these simple phrases, you’ll already be ahead of most tourists. Take the time to learn some more Vietnamese, and you’ll be rewarded with richer experiences and lasting memories from your trip to Vietnam.
5. Be respectful.
Travelling to a new country is always an exciting experience. There’s so much to see and do, and the opportunity to learn about different cultures is one of the best parts of any trip. However, it’s important to remember that each country has its own customs and traditions, and it’s crucial to be respectful of these when you’re a guest. In Vietnam, for example, it’s customary to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home or place of worship. It’s also important to dress modestly when out in public, especially if you’re visiting religious sites. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your trip to Vietnam is both enjoyable and respectful.
6. Try the local food.
photo: Dương Nhân
Vietnam is a country with a rich culinary tradition, and visitors can enjoy a wide variety of delicious dishes. From pho and banh mi to spring rolls and clay pot rice, there’s something to suit every taste. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of fresh Vietnamese iced coffee. So be sure to try as many different dishes as you can during your visit – you won’t be disappointed!
7. Bargaining is expected.
When shopping in Vietnam, remember that bargaining is expected. Whether you’re buying souvenirs at a market or negotiating a price for a taxi, it’s normal to haggle a bit but don’t do this everywhere you go as many places have set prices. Start with a lower offer than what you’re actually willing to pay, and be prepared to walk away if you can’t reach an agreement. Keep in mind that the seller may not take your first offer seriously, and may even start off with an artificially high price. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you can’t reach a fair agreement – there are plenty of other places to shop! And finally, remember to have fun! Bargaining can be a great way to interact with locals and get a good deal on authentic Vietnamese souvenirs.
8. Take your time.
Vietnam is often described as a fast-paced country, and it’s true that life here moves at a rapid clip. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be rushing through your visit. In fact, one of the best ways to enjoy Vietnam is to slow down and take your time. savor the experience. Whether you’re strolling through a bustling market or taking in the view from a scenic lookout, there’s no need to hurry. By slowing down and savoring the moment, you’ll get a more authentic and memorable experience of this unique country.
9. Have realistic expectations.
photo: Duy Pham
Vietnam is an incredible country with a rich history and culture, stunning scenery, and delicious food. However, it’s important to keep in mind that things may not always go according to plan. Transportation can be unpredictable, and you may not be able to see everything you want to. But that’s okay! Just roll with the punches and enjoy your time in Vietnam. You’ll create memories that will last a lifetime, even if they’re not exactly what you expected.
10. Have fun!
Vietnam is a country with an incredibly rich culture and history, and there is no shortage of things to see and do. However, it’s important to remember that the best way to experience Vietnam is to simply relax and have fun. There are few things more enjoyable than strolling through bustling markets, enjoying delicious food, and chatting with locals. Soak up the atmosphere and let yourself be swept up in the chaotic energy of Vietnam. And above all, don’t forget to take plenty of photos to capture your memories of this amazing country.
Travelling to a new place can be both exciting and daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Vietnam is no exception, with its rich culture and history, delicious food, and welcoming people. These tips will help you make the most of your visit and enjoy everything that this amazing country has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Vietnam!
I thought this was a great overview of the top things to do in Vietnam. I’ve been there before and enjoyed it, but I think this list will help me plan some new adventures while I’m there!
I’m going to Vietnam next month, and I’ve never been there before. This article is so helpful! Thanks for writing it!
These are all great tips and easy ones to remember. I think sometimes people get overwhelmed when they go somewhere new. I think planning a head is ideal.
Bargaining is something I never actually have done in Vietnam and I have come to realize through friends and family, that I overpaid on a number of items. Some people say they do this to people they know are not familiar with Vietnam to get an extra buck off them. I must have had a target on my face lol
@hanbin_fan It can be a lot of fun to do. I once did it with an older man and it was a good 20 minutes back and forth. He was not going to budge still so I started to walk off and he called me back over, smiled, thanked me for the experience and gave me the deal.