a pretty diverse country. On the one hand you have some chaotic cities that are not only
overcrowded but things such as crossing the road are a life and death situation and on
the other you have some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery in the world.
Due to the scope of Vietnam – it might look incredibly thin but it is very, very long – it
can be difficult to whittle down 5 attractions as the very best so we have tried to
incorporate a few different activities in this list.
If you are thinking of visiting Vietnam then these are 5 things that you simply must do
whilst you are there.
Drink Bia Hoi
Drinking beer? Surely you can do that anywhere? What makes it so special in Vietnam?
Bia Hoi is a unique affair that is sure to leave a lasting impression. First of all it is cheap.
Go along any road in the country – even the smaller country roads in the middle of
nowhere – and you are going to see the Bia Hoi sign coupled with some of those tiny
stools you need to crouch down to even sit on. Bia Hoi doesn’t contain preservatives
and it is designed to be drunk the day after it has been made hence why it costs about
10 – 20 cents per glass.
Sit on a street corner, drink Bia Hoi and watch the world go past – it is a must do when
Experience Some Propaganda
Vietnam is still very much a country with little freedom. It might appear on the outside as
if it is converting to capitalism with the numerous references to Apple on every street but
it is still under the stranglehold of ‘the party’ hence why just about every museum has a
strongly pro-Vietnamese/Ho Chi Minh slant.
The revered leader has many museums dedicated to him throughout the country and
while it may not be on the same level as the way which North Korea worships their
leaders it is still highly propagandistic. Any military museum or one dedicated to Ho Chi
Minh and the American War as it is known will not give you an accurate picture however
the dodgy English translations of promoting their version of history are great to read.
Go To Sa Pa
Located near the Chinese border in the very north of Vietnam, the small town of Sa Pa
is one of the only places in the country where you can experience snow. It is also home
to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region.
The town might be heavily focused on tourists these days however if you venture on
one of the trails outside you can visit some small traditional villages where the residents
are still very much doing the same work as they have for generations. In fact you can
sleep over at a homestay and experience ‘happy water’ (vodka) and ‘happy smoke’ –
we’ll leave the last one up to your imagination but it does grow naturally there given that
hemp products are the main trade of the area after tourism.
Sail On Halong Bay
Along with Sa Pa, Halong Bay is the other main attraction on our list that will be found at
the front of pretty much every travel guide. There is a reason for this – it is a fantastic
place to visit.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the bay is tranquil, beautiful and gets you out of the
chaos of the cities. A 4 hour bus ride from Hanoi you can book a 2 or 3 day tour which
includes sleeping on a boat and visiting some of the islets that are located there. Google
the place because some of it looks as if it was created with CGI and if you are going to
Vietnam then this really is a must visit.
Get A Massage
OK, Vietnam doesn’t exactly have the same reputation as Thailand when it comes to
this kind of thing and massages are generally kept above board.
If you are travelling or backpacking then a traditional Vietnamese massage is the
perfect way to unwind and relax. You can find them pretty much in every place in the
country but just outside Hoi An city center is a blind massage parlor. It might sound a bit
strange but these guys know what they are doing and not only will you feel renewed but
the proceeds go to helping blind people in the area.
Vietnam is a country of contradictions.
We didn’t even mention the fact that you need to visit a karaoke joint at least once as
well – the country goes mad for it. That being said, these 5 things are must do’s on your
trip to the South-East Asian country and will give you an insight into how crazy but
spectacularly beautiful the place really is.
Jess is a writer for securethoughts who produces a guide on how to watch Netflix while
overseas. She loves to write travelling tips and sharing experiences in different places.