40 Vietnam Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Vietnam For First Timers

We will write about Vietnam travel tips and all the cool facts about Vietnam and things to know before visiting Vietnam. From first timers to seasoned travelers, this post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Vietnam and what awaits you from amazing places to visit, culture to delicious food to try in Vietnam.

Vietnam was previously colonized by the French that they brought in some of their influences which the Vietnamese people have adapted and modernized throughout the years. There are many historical churches and influence in food like the baguette.

Read here off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi, how to get from Hanoi airport to Old Quarter and Ho Chi Minh airport to city center.

Read here top Vietnam tourist sim card, backpacking guide to Vietnam, Saigon for Digital Nomads and instagrammable places in Vietnam!

Vietnam Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Vietnam For First Timers

1. IS IT SAFE VIETNAM?

Is it safe travel to Vietnam? Yeah you should know that Vietnam is one of the safest countries in the world. If you travel to Vietnam, safety won’t be a problem. You can feel safe everywhere, literally. Make sure that you keep your valuables with you in crowded places and that should be more than enough.

2. VISA IN VIETNAM

For your visa in Vietnam you can apply your E-Visa online. Applying for your visa online is easy and it costs $25 USDCheck out this link  to see if your country is one of the few that have 15 days of visa-free travel to Vietnam, like Spain and the UK. For visits of longer than 30 days citizens from United States and most of European countries you must get a e-visa.

3. CASH AND ATM IN VIETNAM

Cash is the king in Vietnam. US Dollars are accepted in local stores and businesses in Vietnam. But it’s still best if you can exchange your money into their currency which is Vietnamese Dong because of its convenience. $1 USD is around 23000 Vietnamese DongClick here to know the exact exchange rate.

4. BEST TIME TO VISIT VIETNAM

The best time to visit Vietnam is the spring which is in February to April or fall in August to October. January to August is dry season although you can also expect afternoon showers. From March to May, it’s quite clear and the skies can be seen clearly. Beaches on the south side are quite warm all year round too.

Check here the weather before visiting Vietnam!

5. HEALTH TRAVEL INSURANCE

Things to know before visiting Vietnam we recommend always to bring a travel insurance when traveling abroad just in case you have any problems. You can always have food Poisson, fever or any other kind of disease.

Just make sure you are ready since it can be really expensive if you get a big surgery or problem in Vietnam. You can check ours in this link where you can get covered starting from $40 USD per month.

FACTS ABOUT VIETNAM

6. VIETNAM IS SO CHEAP

If you have been traveling around Southeast Asia Thailand and the Philippines are so cheap and Vietnam has similar affordable prices. Especially for accommodation where is easy to find a room for less than $20 USD, alcohol is cheap and prices for food and transportation are so affordable. Keep reading below!

ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN VIETNAM

Budget accommodation in Vietnam is so cheap. Many places also throw in breakfast of banana pancakes as well included in the price for less than $10 USD. Many also include free beer for 1-hour everyday. There are also Airbnb options starting from $15 USD and be ready to have a local experience. Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!

Check here to get the best deals in Vietnam with Booking and Agoda!

FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN VIETNAM

food budget travel in Vietnam

Vietnamese food budget travel is so affordable. From street foods to the ones in the restaurants, Vietnamese cuisine is like having an adventure on a budget. For breakfast, you can have Pho for just $2 USD or less. Vietnamese Spring rolls or Cha gio can cost less than $1 USD. Bahn mi is only $2 USD. Ca phe sua da or Vietnamese iced coffee with milk is only $0.50 USD.

TOURS/ ENTRANCE FEES IN VIETNAM

budget travel in Vietnam

For tours and entrance fees in Vietnam the most expensive cruise is the 2-day Halong Bay Cruise for $70-90 USD. It’s also one of the best unmissable activity when you’re in Vietnam. Trekking in Sapa in the rice terraces with a local guide costs $20 USD per day. There are entrance fees in museums, parks and temples for $2-3 USD.

Click here to get a discount booking activities with Klook!

Travel tip: Make sure when booking tours to Halong Bay and Sapa that you can trust the agency since there are many complains about high prices and later they don´t deliver as much as they promise.

7. WI-FI AND INTERNET CONNECTION IN VIETNAM

Internet in Vietnam works great in big cities and you will have only problems to connect in off the beaten path destinations. You can access free WiFi at hostels and hotels and there are lots of restaurant that are offering free WiFi.

We advise in our Vietnam travel tips that you get a sim card in Vietnam if you need to catch up with some work online. Click here to book online your sim card in Vietnam with Klook

Read here if you want to be connected online when traveling the world!

8. ADAPTER IN VIETNAM

Switzerland Travel Tips, Things To Know Before Visiting Switzerland

In our Vietnam travel tips you should know they use 220 V and frequency 50Hz the European will fit. A few places make it possible to fit your American adapter in the plug because they provide adapters. If you are coming from American countries, we recommend you to bring an adapter to be able to charge everywhere.

9. LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN VIETNAM

For local transportation in Vietnam. You can get a bus for less than $1 USD inside the city center. If you want to have more comfort taxi or Grab should be $3-5 USD depending on the distance. You can rent a motorcycle around $5-7 USD and a bicycle rental is only $3 USD. You will see motorbikes everywhere in Vietnam.

For longer distances in Vietnam transportation sleeper night buses can go around $10-20 USD depending on your destination and trains are having similar price. Make sure you try to book them in advance especially in high season.

Click here to book online with 12 Go your transportation around Vietnam

TRAVELING BY MOTORBIKE IN VIETNAM

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You can travel Vietnam with a motorcycle. From North to South through a motorbike. There are many places where you can buy a motorbike secondhand for around $400-500 USD. You can get them even cheaper in backpacker places and shops in Vietnam. A trip all over Vietnam can last up to 3-4 weeks (or even more!) if you have time.

Traveling with a motorbike in Vietnam is a great way to discover the rural areas of the country. You can sell your motorbike in shops or other backpackers especially in big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.

10. SLEEPER BUS CHEAP AND COMFORTABLE

Sleeper buses in Vietnam are cheap and comfortable. We enjoyed traveling by sleeper bus at night. You can have your trip starting from $10-15 USD for around 10-12 hours. The buses have a Wi-Fi connection on board (good speed).

11. VIETNAM BORDER CROSSING

Easy border crossing to Vietnam from China, Cambodia and Laos. The borders are opened and you can get there by public transportation, train or bus. Or you can even get there hitchhiking as I did going to China and coming from Laos.

12. VISITING LOCAL MARKETS IN VIETNAM

off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi, Walking around alleys of Hanoi's Old quarters

You will find everywhere in Vietnam street food and local markets walking around. From street barber shops where you can have your hair cut for $1-2 USD to street food sellers who sell everything that you can imagine. There’s a lot to see and it’s my favorite!

13. VIETNAM WAS FRENCH COLONY

Vietnam was French Colony since 1880. You will find French influence in the architecture and food. You will find a few locals that can speak French and playing games like Petanque.

14. NIGHTLIFE WITH CURFEW IN VIETNAM

The nightlife in Vietnam has curfew in a few places closing all restaurants around 11 pm. You can only go to a few bars and clubs that they can stay opened longer time. It happened to us in Hanoi you will get surprised suddenly they close everything at that time.

FACTS ABOUT VIETNAM FOOD

When we talk about Vietnamese food you should know is so delicious and prices are affordable. We loved street food and a few local dishes to try plus you have to try the cheapest beer in the world and one of the best coffees.

15. BANH MI

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Banh Mi is a must to try in Vietnam. Banh Mi sandwiches are made of sliced grilled meats, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, chili sauce and local ingredients. You can choose your own Banh Mi and you can get as a vegetarian sandwich too if you like it. If you like street food in Southeast Asia, read our favorite dishes!

16. PHO

Off the Beaten Path experiences in Hanoi, pho

Pho is the most popular dish in Vietnam. You can find in local restaurants and street sellers. Pho is soup made of meat, vegetables with noodles. Pho is so delicious and prices are around $1-2 USD in Vietnam.

17. BUN CHA

Things to do in Hanoi, Places to visit in Hanoi, Food to try in Hanoi, Bun Cha
Image from Flickr – Vietnam Travel Tips

Bun Cha is a grilled pork and vermicelli noodles dish. Bun Cha is cooked over an open flame. The dish is also prepared with some fresh herbs, garlic, red chili and some pickled papaya. Prices are around $2 USD.

18. NEM CHUA BE (SPRING ROLLS)

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, NEM CHUA BE

Nem Chua Be or crab spring rolls is made with vermicelli noodles and is paired with sea crab then fried. It can be wrapped with vegetables and you can find for only $1 USD as street food in Vietnam.

19. CHA CA

Things to do in Hanoi, Places to visit in Hanoi, Food to try in Hanoi, Cha Ca
Image from Flickr – Vietnam Travel Tips

Cha Ca is a true Hanoi specialty made of turmeric with fish (usually snake-head fish or mudfish) and it is served on a sizzling pan. Cha Ca is a bowl of rice noodles, peanuts, spring onions, parsley, red chili and nuoc cham sauce (a classic Vietnamese dipping sauce).

20. BANH CUON

Things to do in Hanoi, Places to visit in Hanoi, Food to try in Hanoi, Banh Cuon
Image from Flickr – Vietnam Travel Tips

Banh Cuon is a dish made from a thin sheet of steamed rice that wraps ground meat (chicken, pork or shrimp), cha lua (Vietnamese ham), bean sprouts, cucumbers, onion and wood ear mushrooms into one solid snack. Banh Cuon can also be dipped in nuoc cham sauce and served with coriander and fried shallots on top.

21. BIA HOI


Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, BIA HOI
Image from Wikimedia – Vietnam Travel Tips

Bia Hoi is the cheapest beer in the world. The local beer in Hoi An only costs less than a dollar. Yeah! In fact, it became my favorite thing to do in the afternoons. You will find many local places at night serving glasses for so cheap!

22. VIETNAMESE COFFEE

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Vietnamese coffee is great served with sweetened condensed milk. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, and a lot of people have their own take on it. Rachel loves coffee and it’s always a good way to catch up with our online business while enjoying ourselves.

23. EGG COFFEE

Off the Beaten Path experiences in Hanoi, egg coffee

Have you ever heard of egg coffee? It was our first time trying this unique kind of coffee and we really loved it. Actually, we became quite addicted to it and drank some everyday in Hanoi! Egg coffee is incredibly creamy and really delicious. 

FESTIVALS IN VIETNAM

24. TET VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, Tet Vietnamese New Year

Tet Vietnamese New Year is a 3-day event. Tet falls on the month of January or February, and the first day of the festival is traditionally reserved for the nuclear family while the second day is in honor of friends and the third day is dedicated to teachers.

During Tet, children greet their elders and receive money placed in a red envelope that they can freely spend on toys and games. There are dragon dances and and many traditional performances during this time.

25. DONG DA FESTIVAL

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, Dong Da Festival

Dong Da Festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the first lunar month. Dong Da Festival is a celebration of Emperor Quang Trung’s victory over Qing (Chinese) troops in 1789. The battle took place at Dong Da Hill in Hanoi and is now where the procession from Khuong Thuong temple ends.

There is a reenactment of the battle scene where performers where traditional costumes. A Thang Long Fire Dragon is used in the procession as a symbol of victory. It would be a thrill to be a part of this historical event!

More Vietnam Travel Tips And Things To Know Before Visiting Vietnam For First Timers

Places To Visit

26. HANOI

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Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam a must-not-miss city for any tourist. Hanoi has a great nightlife until 11 pm the restaurants are opened and later you will have to move to bars or nightclubs. During the day you can explore street markets, lakes, temples and it can be a great base for trips to Sa Pa and Halong Bay. Read here things to do in Hanoi!

Click here to get a discount booking activities with Klook!

27. HUE

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, Hue

Hue is located in Central Vietnam and was one of the places where the Vietnamese War had the most casualties. You can visit in Hue the Forbidden City and breathe in the rich history and culture anywhere in Hue. Hue is great for renting a bicycle and going around the city is so idyllic and relaxing.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO HUE WITH BOOKING AND AGODA.

28. HOMESTAY AND TREKKING IN SA PA

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In Sa Pa you can spend 2-3 days hiking around the rice fields and supporting the local community sleeping in their homestays. Simple life and great views all around! There are night buses and trains from Hanoi. If you stay in a homestay you will have the opportunity to know how the local people live in Vietnam’s mountains and drink “happy water”.

29. CU CHI TUNNELS AND VINH MOC TUNNELS

Instagrammable Places in Vietnam, Cu Chi tunnels
Image from Flickr – Things To Know Before Visiting Vietnam

Cu Chi Tunnels is an interesting tourist attraction near Ho Chin Minh City around 70 kilometers far from the city. Cu Chi Tunnels is known for its underground tunnels that were built during the war against the French colonialists (1945-1954), used by the Vietcong (Vietnamist Communist) to attack targets.

Locals slept, ate, planned attacks, healed sick people and taught their young in the chambers of Cu Chi tunnels. Some even did their wedding and gave birth there. On the other hand, the Vinh Moc tunnels are located around Central Vietnam in the Demilitarized Zone. People used to live in those tunnels for 6 long years as bombs were being dropped all over Vietnam.

30. DA NANG

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, Da Nang

Da Nang is the fourth largest city in Vietnam. The local markets in Da Nang during the day and at night time the lights in the bridge is the best plan to do. You can also take a quick day trip to Da Nang from Hoi An.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO DA NANG WITH BOOKING AND AGODA.

31. HOI AN

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Hoi An is a truly beautiful place to visit, with rivers and canals all around. We loved the night market and going around Hoi An with our bicycle. You can stay at the beach during the day and walking around Hoi An. The best plan during the evening is the night market which is huge full of bars and restaurants. Read our things to do in Hoi An!

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO HOI AN WITH BOOKING AND AGODA.

32. HO CHI MINH

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Ho Chi Minh also Formerly known as Saigon is Vietnam’s largest city, though not its capital. Saigon can be considered the busiest part of Vietnam. There were a lot of motorbikes everywhere when we visited the city. You can visit churches, museums and street markets plus plenty of cute coffee shops. Read here tips for visiting Ho Chi Minh!

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO HO CHI MINH WITH BOOKING AND AGODA.

33. HALONG BAY

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay is located in Northern Vietnam, near the China-Vietnam border. We believe the best way to experience it is to stay overnight and appreciate the bay’s calm, misty mornings.Halong Bay is listed as one of the New7Wonders of Nature and UNESCO World  Heritage site. 

Cruising Halong Bay you can do kayaking, fishing, snorkeling and even visiting caves. You can go to Cat Island, rent your own kayak and spend the day exploring it. There are beautiful caves to visit and its amazing to see all the limestones and other natural beauties at Halong Bay.

34. NHA TRANG

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Nha Trang has stunning beach fronts, rolling hills, relaxing mud spas, cable cars and an overall beautiful tropical environment. We went and relaxed on the beach, visited the markets and enjoyed the nightlife all around the city. The beach is quite crowded in Nha Trang. We were quite surprised by how big the Russian community in Nha Trang.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO NHA TRANG WITH BOOKING AND AGODA.

35. MUI NE

Mui Ne is popular because of red and white sand dunes just 4 hours far from Saigon. Mui Nue is a town half-way between Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang. You can ride a hot air balloon in Mui Ne and relaxing on the beach. There are many restaurants and bars to choose from in Mui Ne to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO MUI NE WITH BOOKING AND AGODA.

36. DALAT

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, Dalat

Dalat is a popular destination in Vietnam at the mountains. If you prefer colder weather in Vietnam Dalat is a right place for you. Dalat is called the “City of Eternal Spring” and is the perfect place to go hiking. Renting a motorbike is also a good way to go around the mountains and waterfalls.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION BEFORE YOUR TRIP TO DALAT WITH BOOKING AND AGODA.

37. MEKONG DELTA

Vietnam travel tips, things to know before visiting Vietnam, facts about Vietnam, Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta is the popular route to and from Cambodia. You can rent a boat to cross the river and just gaze at the surrounding fauna and flora of Mekong Delta. The region located in South Vietnam also takes pride in its history and close association to Cambodian culture, making it different from the big cities in Vietnam.

38. VUNG TAU 

Vung Tau is close to Saigon (it’s only two hours away by bus, van or boat) and great selection of hotels and places to eat make it a great place to enjoy a weekend. Vung Tau is a perfect day trip to scape of the busy Ho Chi Minh!

39. PHU QUOC

Phu Quoc is the most popular island to visit in Vietnam. Phu Quoc is crowded in the weekend since locals and foreigners enjoy in their vacation. Prices for accommodation are affordable and you will feel Thailand or Philippines vibe in this island. Beaches are so beautiful!

40. MY SON

Instagrammable Places in Vietnam, My Son
Image from Flickr – Facts About Vietnam

Mỹ Sơn is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples in Vietnam built between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa. The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvara.

ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN VIETNAM

Budget accommodation is generally so affordable a night in a private double room in a low-end guest house costs $8-10 USD. Some places with more luxury the prices can starts at $30 USD. Check here to get the best deals in Vietnam with Booking and Agoda!

You can also try AirBnB in Vietnam with prices starting from $10 USD. Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!

Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.

Hope you liked our Vietnam travel tips. Let us know if we missed things to know before visiting Vietnam and facts about Vietnam in the comments below.

Feel free to use our links with discounts for Booking, Agoda, Airbnb and Klook. Using our links you will help us to continue with the maintenance of the website and it will not cost you anything. Thanks for the love guys 

Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. Now based in the Philippines!

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