5 Useful Travel Tips For First-time Visitors When Travelling To Vietnam
If you have never been to Vietnam and it appears to be the next destination for your holidays, finding out what to prepare for this trip is important, especially when visiting some places for the first time.
Our 5 Useful information for first-time visitors when traveling to Vietnam will show you the newest updates, which are very helpful for your pocket tips before traveling.
- When To Travel: Recommended Time To Visit Vietnam
- Where to visit in Vietnam for the first time?
- Vietnam Currency & Money: Important Things To Know
- Passport & Visa: Vietnam’s Latest Policies
- What To Bring To Vietnam: Brief Guide For Newbies
Apart from the compelling history and culture, the natural beauty of Vietnam is reason enough to visit. As one of the most beautiful countries you could ever see, the country boasts many gorgeous sceneries that nature offers, from beaches to rice terraces to mountains and breathtaking landscapes.
Mother Nature has been very generous to this land, blessing it with some of the most stunning landscapes you could ever imagine.
Ignoring the opportunity to visit Vietnam is really a big mistake
When To Travel: Recommended Time To Visit Vietnam
The best time to travel to Vietnam for the best weather is Spring (March - April) and the months between Autumn and winter (October - December):
- Avoid storms in July and August that affect your trip negatively. Your trip may be canceled/ delayed due to bad weather).
- Avoid the super hot summer (from May to August), and the rainy season in the South (from May to October).
- Freezing and dry climate in the North and Center (from the end of December to January).
Choosing a suitable time for your trip might be the first thing you think about when you have days off and plan your journey. In Vietnam, there are 3 main parts of the country: the North, the Center, and the South, and the weather in these 3 areas is totally different.
However, though the remaining time is not as perfect as the time we recommend above, it's still ok to travel. Just choose the most suitable time to begin your Vietnam trip.
Best Time To Go To The North
With an average temperature of 24°C, North Vietnam has a monsoonal climate with 4 different seasons. The weather in the summer may be too hot for cold countries’ citizens, while the freezing atmosphere in the winter may not be preferable for some people living in the tropic zone. Therefore, the solution is to choose the 2 most pleasant seasons of the year - Spring (February to April) and Autumn (September to November).
- Spring (February to April): This time coincides with the flower season and the Vietnam Tet holiday, so you will have a chance to admire the beauty of numerous tropical flowers and learn more about the traditional culture of local people.
- Autumn (September to November): Such a wonderful time to visit remote hill-tribe villages! Exploring the mountainous areas this time of year, you can witness the breathtaking yellow rice terraced fields during the ripening rice season.
North Vietnam Weather
Best Time To Explore The Central
Unlike the North, Central Vietnam only has 2 seasons: Dry season and Rainy season. Due to the dry climate allowing various outdoor activities, traveling in the dry season from February to May is a wise choice. In addition, it’s highly recommended to avoid the rainy season from August to December, which usually causes heavy storms and floods.
Central Vietnam Weather
Best Time To Travel To The South
Like the climate of the Central, there are 2 main seasons in South Vietnam, including the dry season and the wet season. To explore the Mekong Delta and Sai Gon City under the most convenient weather, it’s obvious that you should travel to this region in the dry season (from December to April), unless you prefer experiencing the heavy rain and usual floods from June to August.
South Vietnam Weather
Where to visit in Vietnam for the first time?
Highlight Destination In Vietnam
Having a large area of more than 330,000 km2 and complicated terrain, there are so many destinations and attractions in Vietnam waiting for explorers. Below are the suggestions for first-time travelers:
Best Places To Enjoy In The North
- To witness local life and street food: Hanoi Old Quarter.
- For sightseeing: Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem), Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and Tran Quoc Pagoda.
- Ancient and handicraft villages: Duong Lam Ancient Village, Bat Trang Pottery Village, Dong Ho Painting Village, etc.
Being the heart of Vietnam, Hanoi is an important cultural and political center of the country with more than 1000 years of history. If anyone is fond of exploring deeper inside the authentic culture of Northern Vietnam and traveling back to the past of the country, Hanoi cannot be missed.
Try A New Experience On A Motorbike In Hanoi Old Quarter
- Hanoi Street food tour at night - From US $29 /pax
- Hanoi Half-day City by Motorbike - From US $64 /pax
- Duong Lam Ancient Village Full Day - From US $78 /pax
- Hanoi Cooking Class Half Day - From US $48 /pax
Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam – a world-known UNESCO Heritage with a unique charm that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. Millions of tourists visit Vietnam each year just to admire the one and only landscape of a Wonder of the World here.
The best way to explore Halong Bay and its beauty is by cruise. There are hundreds of cruises available from budget Halong cruises to 5-star cruises in Halong, always ready to serve tourists.
Enjoy The Magnificent Landscape of Halong Bay
- Mon Cheri Cruise 5* - Price from 170 USD/ person
- Scarlet Pearl Cruise 5* - Price from 173 USD/ person
- Hermes Cruise 5* - Price from 178 USD/ person
- Peony Cruise 4* - Price from 149 USD/ person
- Sena Cruises 4* - Price from 146 USD/ person
These years, the number of tourists who come to Ninh Binh has been increasing continuously. Trang An is the most popular attraction here, known as “Halong Bay on land” with a stunning unique landscape just like the UNESCO Heritage on the sea.
Hang Mua (Dancing Cave) - New Trend in Ninh Binh
For tourists who want some impressive selfie poses, Hang Mua (Dancing Cave) is the best choice for a trip to Ninh Binh. After climbing about 400 - 500 steps, the top of Hang Mua welcomes you with the most magnificent view of Trang An from above. Believe it or not, a pose at Hang Mua Peak can easily put your Instagram on heat!
The Northern mountainous area constantly challenges any tourists who seek an adventure here. For people who come to this area for the first time, Sapa is a good option as it can satisfy both leisure and adventure demands from tourists.
Go Trekking And Admire The Terrace Fields In Sapa
For adventurers, there are many trekking routes available in Sapa from short to long, easy to difficult, which lead through many beautiful viewpoints here and explore locals’ daily life in their villages like Cat Cat, Sin Chai, Ta Van, etc. For anyone who seeks a leisure trip, there are diverse choices for high-end accommodations with a lovely precinct, swimming pool, and many fancy services.
In addition, you can consider booking a tour to Fansipan Peak, which is called “The Roof of Indochina” on a cable car is also an interesting option for leisure tourists.
Best Places To See In The Central
- Go sightseeing: Hue Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda
- Experience local life and tropical fruits: Dong Ba market
- Take a cruise tour on the Huong River
Hue was Vietnam's Capital for more than 100 years. Besides Hanoi in the North, Hue is also a big center of Vietnam's history, culture, and cuisine. As there are so many attractions, a Hue city tour seems like a good choice for first-time tourists to get through the main sites with a knowledgeable tour guide who knows clearly about the story behind each attraction.
Pay A Visit To Thien Mu Pagoda
- For travelers who love beach relaxation: My Khe Beach
- For entertainment: Ba Na Hills complex
- For photographers and selfie lovers: Golden Bridge
This place is exactly the right choice for a beach holiday with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! As the top crowded city in Central Vietnam, Da Nang can satisfy the strictest guests.
Golden Bridge - A worth-visiting spots in Da Nang
This city has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world - My Khe Beach and promises to provide travelers with the best sun, pristine sand, and sea experience. Besides, Da Nang is also suitable for any family holiday with the Ba Na Hills complex that includes an amusement park, flower gardens, restaurants, hotels, and many good selfie points, especially the world-known Golden Bridge
- If you are an experience seeker, spending one day on a simple city tour in Hoi An to wander around the old town and visit its most famous attractions is strongly recommended.
- If you are a culture lover, exploring My Son Sanctuary is an excellent choice to learn about the Cham Pa Kingdom’s history.
- If you love experiencing new things, we suggest you should take a basket boat tour in Cam Thanh village.
- For anyone who is a gourmet, it’s no doubt that the suitable tour for them is Hoi An food tour.
Hoi An is a small town that stays nearby Da Nang City (just 45 minutes driving) and is the perfect place for a short, tranquil time after spending a few days in the hustle-bustle Da Nang. Although it is not so big, this town includes many interesting attractions inside. It can cost at least one day for a simple city tour in Hoi An, such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, Fujian Assembly Hall, many ancient houses, and long streets with colorful lantern stores.
Experience Basket Boat In Cam Thanh Village
Besides, a food tour is also a must-try experience as many local vendors provide delicious authentic Vietnamese dishes. Moreover, a short biking trip in Hoi An to nearby villages such as Cam Thanh and Tra Que is also a good choice as this is the chance for tourists to see the locals’ daily life and experience the life of farmers, like planting, fishing, and cooking.
Best Places To Experience In The South
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- Pay a visit to the main attractions by joining a Ho Chi Minh city tour:
- Go sightseeing at Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Saigon Central Post Office
- Learn more about Vietnam War at War Remnants Museum
- Witness local trade and try tasty street food at China Town
- Besides, for travelers who have time, a half-day tour to Cu Chi Tunnels is also a good choice to know more about the wartime of Vietnam
There is no doubt that Ho Chi Minh is the most hustle-bustle city in Vietnam as this is the most populated city and financial center of the country, offering tourists many exciting activities, from entertainment to relaxation.
For active travelers who want to enjoy as much as they can, food tours by foot, bike, or motorbike are always available, ready to help you travel throughout the city for the best local cuisine experience.
Wander Around And Witness The French Colonial Architecture Of Sai Gon
Besides, the nightlife in Saigon is the best in Vietnam, with many bars, pubs, and local beer restaurants available on every corner of the city. The most crowded one is Bui Vien Street which gathers most of the tourists here.
Not so far from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the Mekong Delta, less crowded than the financial center but still attractive in its own way. Mekong Delta has a different lifestyle from other parts of Vietnam as people here live on the Mekong River and earn their living from it.
Get On A Sampan To Explore The Mekong Delta
Your journey may include some attractions such as Cai Rang floating market, fruit gardens, specialties factories (bee farm, rice papers, etc.), paddy fields, and many villages by the river bank. You will have a chance to witness the life of people here and even take part in the process of making local products such as sedge mats and coconut candy.
Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc is the biggest island in Vietnam and is called “Pearl Island”. This place is a new trend in Vietnam and very popular among leisure tourists who want a totally relaxing holiday with sun, sand, and sea. There are many resorts, from budget to high-end ones, to serve the diverse needs of tourists.
Beautiful Pristine Beach In Phu Quoc
Some suggested attractions here are Ho Quoc Pagoda, Phu Quoc Prison, Phu Quoc National Park, Sao Beach, Duong Dong Night Market, black pepper gardens, fish sauce factory, pearl farm, and if it is a family holiday with kids, Vinpearl Land and Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc are the best choices!
- You should choose to stay at the resorts on Tran Hung Dao Road, near Duong Dong Town Center, as it is so convenient to get to a good bar, pub, or restaurant here, and most of these resorts have a private beach or are near the beach.
Vietnam Currency & Money: Important Things To Know
- The currency of Vietnam is Dong (Abbreviations is “đ” or “VND”)
- The newest update for the exchange rate is: 1 USD ~ 23,000 VND
Entering Vietnam, you can exchange money at the airport or banks. However, the bank will not accept or exchange it with lower rates from the store or the hotel, so you cannot make the payment with them. In order to avoid that, you should notice some important notes below:
- Please remember that after the payment, the note you receive must remain intact, not torn, and too dim.
- Additionally, with your dollars, you have to make sure one more thing that there is no stain or text on it.
In case you do not like using cash, you should still exchange a little because Vietnamese still prefer using cash.
- Only restaurants, hotels, and modern convenience stores have the POS for people who pay by card, but you have to pay a bank fee is 3 - 3.5% for using a credit card.
- Visa and Master Card are the most common type of cards in Vietnam. In addition, you can use Amex or JCB. Maestro, Cirrus, and Plus will be more difficult to make the payment.
- It is better if you can check with the seller before buying or using the service whether they accept credit cards or not and the exchange rates they will use.
Remember The Pattern Of Vietnam Banknotes
- You should ask for the price before buying anything or using any service such as taxi, street food, drinks, etc.
- Moreover, you should know about the average market price before traveling to avoid scams (For example, a cup of local coffee has a price of 45.000 VND (about $2).
Passport & Visa: Vietnam’s Latest Policies
A valid visa is required for citizens from most foreign countries to come to Vietnam for any purpose. Residents of some countries who have a visa exemption agreement with Vietnam do not need to get a visa to Vietnam for a certain period and with specific purposes. And not all travelers who require a visa to Vietnam are supported with the visa on arrival. Hence, make sure whether you need a visa to Vietnam or not and are supported with the visa on arrival.
- Your passport must still be valid for at least 06 months after the date you enter and have at least 2 blank pages for immigration stamps.
- There are two available ways to obtain a visa to Vietnam: apply for the visa at a Vietnam Embassy or apply for Visa on arrival.
- By applying for a Vietnam visa online with our help, you can have eVisa just by following our instructions, doing simple procedures, and saving time.
- A visa on arrival is more convenient and less time-consuming, but it is only applicable to those who travel to Vietnam by air. Therefore, you have to apply for a visa via the embassy if you visit Vietnam by land or boat.
- Foreign travelers who go to Phu Quoc Island directly will have visa exemption for less than a 30-day stay. For more information, please check our ultimate guide about Phu Quoc Visa Exemption.
What To Bring To Vietnam: Brief Guide For Newbies
To have a perfect trip to Vietnam and make sure everything will go smoothly without a hitch, preparing your luggage carefully is a must. Moreover, you should also know more about the do and don’t in Vietnam.
Things You May Need When Traveling To Vietnam
- Personal papers: Passport, Vietnam Visa (if required), travel assurance, flight tickets, all travel confirmation vouchers, photos of passport in a separate place, and last updated information for your trip.
- Clothing and luggage: Depending on the period time of travel, you can bring suitable clothes. A light jacket, comfortable shoes, and convenient clothes are recommended as you will explore different zones with different weather and temperature. Do not just bring shorts and too revealing clothes because they are not allowed at pagodas and temples here.
- Money: ATMs are available everywhere, so you do not need to bring too much cash. You can withdraw cash from them at a good exchange rate. Keep lots of pence in Dong to buy small things or pay for transportation.
- Personal items: Travel hairdryer, bath towel, shaving equipment, brush & toothpaste, etc. You can bring it from your home, or you can buy it from many convenient stores when you arrive in Vietnam. These things are often set up in most hotels/hostels in Vietnam. The good idea is to always carry toiletries in your daypack when you have an outside day.
- Electrical equipment: A smartphone or iPad is a must-have item. Internet connection and Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere (hotels, restaurants, coffee shop, etc.). Besides, in Vietnam, the voltage is 220V, so you have to bring an electrical adapter if your equipment uses a different voltage. Chargers and a pre-charged battery are essential when you have a long trip.
Vietnam is beautiful in its own way even though not yet to be a famous touristic destination all around the world. If you have a pretty vague concept about this country, contact us to plan your own holidays. Do not miss this treasure of Asia!
Let's plan a wonderful trip with our recommended Vietnam tours with BestPrice Travel - one of the reputation local tour operators in Vietnam.
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Questions & Answers (21)
hi, is it easy to book a taxi transfer from Noi Bai Airport to Hanoi Old Quater at 2 -3 a.m? thanks in advance
Yes there are some taxi available but sometime price will be very high. It is better you can book a car in advance.
Hello, I will travel to Vietnam in Feb, which coincides with the Tet Holiday. Will everything be closed during these days? Including restaurants and attractions? thank you so much
Hi! Most of the restaurants & some attractions close during the Tet holiday. Especially, for restaurants opening during this time, the services fee is super high.
Is travel insurance mandatory for travelers visiting Vietnam? thanks
Hi! No, you can enter without travel insurance.
Is it easy to find halal food in Vietnam?
Hi! Not really. You can only find some restaurants that serve Halal food in big cities like Hanoi & HCMC.
Bamboo Airways has cancelled our flight to Vietnam in Dec 2023. Is safe to book Vietjet Air or Vietnam Airlines instead?
Hi! We recommend Vietnam Airlines which is the most reputable Vietnamese airlines.