Vietnam Travel Guide is regularly updated to provide more information for local people and foreigners about Vietnam destinations and many other useful information. Sincere thanks to the Authors of WhereToVietnam.com for contributing the content to this guide!
Places & Destinations
How to travel in Vietnam
How to go to Sapa from Hanoi?
Located between 1500 and 1650 meters above sea level, the gem of the province of Lao Cai is where thousands of people meet there each year to discover its breathtaking landscapes and its colorful villages of the Hmong, Tay, Red Dao… You have a plan to get to Sapa from Hanoi and do not know the route and the means available? With this article, we hope you can go there by motorbike, train, bus… which offers a whole range of choices for any budget.
How to get to Hoi An from Da Nang?
Most of the transportation to Hoi An comes from Da Nang City. It’s the largest city in central Vietnam and is widely known as Vietnam’s “ most liveiable city”. It is well organized for the many tourists who converge here – the majority of them having the tourist town of Hoi An on their agenda. In this article, we will choose Da Nang airport as the main departure point. Below is a detailed list of available transportation options to help you make the best choice to get from Da Nang to Hoi An.
How to Get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi?
Ninh Binh is still a must-see after visiting the capital of Vietnam. This province is located 95kms from Hanoi and it takes 1.5 to 2 hours to go from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. How do you go about it on your own? Here are some guidelines for finding your best way.
How to Get to Ha Giang from Hanoi?
The most remote region in northern Vietnam, Ha Giang promises an exciting hike over a few days mixing great nature and discovery. In this mountainous province shared by karst rocks and flowers, you walk the most winding paths, but also picturesque valleys, remote villages and colorful traditional markets. The first Vietnamese geological park recognized by Unesco, the karst plateau of Dong Van is itself worth a trek between breathtaking pass and mystical old quarter which does not end without meeting some of the Hmong groups, Giay , Lolo…
How can we appreciate this legendary land with its majestic nature and astonishing ethnic richness? First, draw our tips to better answer the question “How to get to Ha Giang from Hanoi?”
How to get to Dalat?
Dalat is a city in the highlands of central Vietnam. It’s well-known as a romantic city with the climate which never exceeds 25 degrees Celsius which is pleasant when temperatures start to rise in the rest of Vietnam. Below is a detailed list of available transportation options to help you make the best choice to get to Da Lat.
Foods & Drinks
Weather & Climate
This is the question you inevitably ask yourself before taking your tickets: Is this the right time to travel to Vietnam? Between monsoon period and dry season, climate in North Vietnam and climate in South Vietnam, it is sometimes difficult to navigate! So, we will try here to enlighten you on the subject by giving you our best advice to allow you to make the most of your stay in Vietnam.
Vietnam weather in January
With an average temperature between 14 and 28 ° C, the climate is very different depending on the region in January. It is very cold in the far north of the country, with occasional snow in the Sapa region, while temperatures are very pleasant in the center and in the south.
- This is the best time to treat yourself to a seaside holiday and enjoy the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of Phu Quoc, Mui Ne or Nha Trang.
- It is also the ideal time to go to Da Lat. It is indeed the moment of the Floralies, a festival that celebrates flowers as well as music and wine!
- Not to mention visiting the must-see places, such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay or the Mekong Delta.
Our advice: At this season, choose the south of the country, the only place in Vietnam where it is hot all year round.
Vietnam weather in February
In February, Vietnam benefits from favorable climatic conditions. It is already less cold in the north of the country. However, heat enthusiasts will have an interest in going down to the Center and the South of the country.
- It is the right period to discover the seaside resorts of Phu Quoc, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, …
- The month of February (or even the end of January depending on the year) welcomes the Tet festivities, the lunar New Year. It is the most important holiday of the year. Being in Vietnam during this period is a chance, but which can be accompanied by logistical complications, price increases, …
Our advice: Better to come to Vietnam two weeks before Tet because during Tet, many shops and tourist sites are closed, planes are overbooked, hotels are full and everything is more expensive! A few weeks before Tet, the streets are already very lively, the markets very colorful,… The Vietnamese are busy decorating their homes.
Vietnam weather in March
In March, temperatures start to rise in the North, and the weather is ideal in the Center and the South. This is the ideal period to make a combined tour from North to South!
- The Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival is the most anticipated event for coffee lovers in all its forms!
- Every year in Hoi An, on the 16th day of the 2nd lunar month, the traditional Fishermen’s Festival takes place.
- A week after Tet begins the pilgrimage to Huong pagoda (or “perfume pagoda”) not far from Hanoi. It is the ideal place to escape for a day in a truly enchanting setting. You can take a rowboat ride on the Yen River, and contemplate the temples and karst caves.
Our advice: This last excursion involves at least four hours of fairly sporty walking. If you are in good physical condition, it is better to go there from the end of March in order to avoid the crowds of priors.
Vietnam weather in April
It’s a great time to travel across the country! The weather is pleasant and the cultural program particularly rich. The cities of Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Halong, Ho Chi Minh City, as well as those of the Mekong Delta, are those that experience the most favorable climatic conditions in April.
- A big fireworks competition takes place in Da Nang during the last week of the month. The shores of Da Nang then light up with a thousand lights!
- The month of April also celebrates the Feast of Truong Yên in Hoa Lu, the former capital of Vietnam under the Dinh, Tien Le and Ly dynasties (10th and 11th centuries). This is the opportunity to explore the beautiful province of Ninh Binh, the terrestrial Halong Bay.
- Every two years the great Hue Festival is held, which celebrates the arts in all its forms: declamation of epic poems, mastery of calligraphers, court music, symphonic music, theater, foreign production cinema… punctuate the 7 days, festival to the delight of spectators.
Vietnam weather in May
In May, the days are warm, the skies are clear and tourist activity calmer. The north in particular is hot and humid, while the rains fall intermittently in the south.
- The Hue Festival continues and remains Vietnam’s biggest cultural event at this time of year.
- The famous “love market” in the Vietnamese mountains is also held in May at Khau Vai, Meo Vac and Ha Giang.
- Finally, if you can, attend the great Buddhist celebrations celebrating the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha: on the 15th day of the 4th moon, the streets are lively, and the pagodas of Bai Dinh (in Ninh Binh) and the Jade Emperor are adorned with beautiful decorations.
Our advice: Take advantage of the Labor Day holiday to explore Vietnam!
Vietnam weather in June
At this time of year, the humidity begins to be nerve-racking, especially as temperatures continue to rise. So plan a few days on the south coast, for example in Da Nang or Nha Trang, or in the far north of Vietnam, where the weather will be more pleasant.
- Attend the Sea Festival in Nha Trang. This bi-annual event aims to promote Vietnam’s coastal and island tourism, and in particular the beauty of Nha Trang Bay as well as its cultural traditions.
- It is the start of the rice season in the northern mountainous regions. In June, the northern regions have a beautiful green color. To admire the most beautiful rice terraces in Vietnam, go to Nghia Lo, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa, Bac Ha or Hoang Su Phi, in the province of Ha Giang. These exceptional landscapes are characteristic of an ancestral culture preserved by the mountain ethnic minorities of the region.
- The 1st week of June, Ho Chi Minh City hosts the annual Southern Fruit Festival, which honors local fruit producers, such as dragon fruit, Tu Quy, Hoa Lôc mangoes, grapefruits … Discovery and tasting revolve around floating markets, gastronomic fairs, but also dance, song and exhibition shows…
Our tip: This is a good time to visit the country, just before the peak tourist season.
Vietnam weather in July – August
It is the high tourist season. In the far north, the rains are heavy but often short. The rest of the time the sky is blue and sunny. It is a good period to make a circuit in the North and the Center of the country.
- Enjoy the beaches of Nha Trang during the dry season; the water is turquoise and translucent!
- Discover the rice terraces in the northwest of the country (Nghia Lo, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa, Bac Ha …)
- The month of August celebrates the Festival of Wandering Souls every year, the most important after Tet. In particular, food offerings are placed in pagodas for the spirits.
Our advice: Given the large influx of tourists (and locals) during this period, remember to book your plane tickets and tourist services well in advance!
Vietnam weather in SeptemberOn the weather side, September sees a slight drop in temperature and rainfall, which makes the climate more pleasant in most of the country. The weather is particularly good in the Center and the South, despite some rainfall.
- The whole country celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival (“Tet Trung Thu”), the most important holiday for children, who are given cakes in the shape of moons. Joyful torchlight processions and unicorn dances also enliven the event.
- September 02 is the national holiday in Vietnam. This date commemorates the obtaining of independence from Vietnam by Ho Chi Minh (September 2, 1945) and the surrender of the Japanese army.
- September is simply the best time to enjoy the magnificent landscapes of the rice fields of the North. The rice is ripening and the rice paddies turning yellow, just before the rice harvest in October.
Vietnam weather in OctoberThe sun is shining again in North and South Vietnam. The center of the country and the island of Phu Quoc on the other hand are subject to heavy rains during the day.
- October 10 is a holiday in Hanoi. On the same date in 1010, King Ly Cong Uan chose Hanoi as his capital. The city considers this date as the date of his birth.
- October 20 is Vietnamese Women’s Day.
- At the end of the month, the Khmer community of the Mekong Delta celebrates the Oc Bom Boc festival with picturesque boat races on the Soc Trang River.
- It is harvest time in the rice fields of the far north of Vietnam: the rice fields are particularly alive on this occasion.
Vietnam weather in NovemberThe cities and provinces of the North cool off, while the Center and the South keep temperatures high. November is a good month to visit Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta. The weather is hot and dry there.
- It is the Buckwheat Flower Festival in Ha Giang, right after the rice harvest. The yellow of the rice fields thus gives way to the pink of the buckwheat petals. An incredible spectacle!
- This is the ideal time for a seaside holiday in Phu Quoc.
- In Hanoi there is a big European Music Festival which welcomes bands from all over Europe. All styles of music are represented there, from classical to rock, including jazz and blues… Vietnamese artists are also in the spotlight.
Vietnam weather in DecemberAt this time of year, it is often cold in the North, especially in the mountains of the Northwest, such as Sa Pa, where it is not uncommon to see snow falling. In central Vietnam, the temperature continues to drop gradually, reaching a pleasant 22 ° C.
- Every two years at the end of December, the small town of Da Lat hosts its flower festival. The good climatic conditions during this period are also suitable for long walks or bicycle rides.
- It’s a perfect month to travel to the South. Whether on the beaches, in Ho Chi Minh City or in the Mekong Delta, the weather is nice and hot, but not too much (26 ° C on average), with low humidity.
- Christmas is celebrated by Catholics across the country. Attending midnight mass at Phat Diem is a privilege!
Ideas for Souvenir
Besides the joy of discovering a new culture, beautiful destinations and tasting the exotic flavors of the local cuisine, Vietnam is also a shopper’s paradise with a very wide choice for visitors in terms of souvenirs. We made a selection of local products to buy on site. Our list includes typical items that are already well-known and also new ideas to bring a little Vietnamese soul home - for your loved ones or yourself!
Conical hat (“nón lá”) is a circular cone made of bamboo cataphylls. Styles vary by region: Non la in Hue is slim and sleek, while Binh Dinh is thicker. Price: from 1$.
Long tunic (Ao dai)
Since the 18th century, the “áo dài” has been considered the national costume of Vietnam. This charming outfit has undergone tremendous changes throughout history before coming to its current form. The price of an ao dai varies depending on the quality of the fabrics and embroidery for at least 18$.
“Múa rối nước”, the art of “water puppetry”, was invented over a thousand years ago. Take home some of the magic of this unique fairy-tale spectacle by shopping for wooden dolls in downtown Hanoi and Saigon. Average price: 7$/pair of puppets.
Small musical instruments
The “sáo” – bamboo flutes (2$) and mini T’rungs – typical instrument of the minorities of Tay Nguyen (from 10$ to 40$) are very popular. You can find musical instrument shops at Le Loi Street (Saigon) and the old quarters in downtown Hanoi (Hang Manh Street, Hang Trong Street …).
“Lụa” – The silk is woven from the cocoons of silkworms. The price of Vietnamese silk is generally at least 3$/meter and more than 5$/meter for higher categories.
The work of this material has been part of the heritage for centuries. Craftsmen constantly improve their technique by embellishing objects with mother-of-pearl inlays, gold shells, or gold leaf. Prices start around 1$ for the smallest items and can go up to several hundred dollars for furniture. It also depends on the length of the process undergone by the object.
Vietnamese embroidery is renowned for its finesse and original patterns. You will find all kinds of embroidered objects: tablecloths, doilies, napkins and especially paintings. The Embroidery Museum in Dalat is the perfect place to learn about the technique. Price: from 4 – 5$ for simple creations.
The villages of Bat Trang (Hanoi), Phu Lang (Bac Ninh), Thanh Ha (Hoi An), Bau Truc (Binh Thuan), Bien Hoa (Dong Nai)… are renowned for their ceramics, the result of a tradition centuries old. Price: from 5 -10$ for small items.
Other local products
Each region of Vietnam has their traditional product which expresses typical cultural traits:
- Textile of ethnic minorities from the North: Price from 4$ and varies according to the type of product, size and quality.
- Dragonflies, butterflies, bamboo bees from Thach Xa village (Hanoi): An item costs around 1$.
- Hoi An Lanterns: The larger sizes will cost you around 7$.
- Phu Quoc pearls: A single rimless pearl can be around 10$. Prices increase depending on the work, decor and materials used for the frame.
- Bamboo and rattan: Price from 4$ and varies according to the type of product, size and quality.
- Stone products (statue, bracer …) from Non Nuoc (Da Nang): Price from 10$/product.
New style ceramics
The products from the villages mentioned above are just traditional models that have been around for many years. If you want to find new designs, creations of contemporary artists, note the following addresses:
- Hiên Vân Ceramics (8 Chan Cam Street, Hanoi): Inspired by pottery from medieval times, this ceramic brand was born after decades of research and creation. It is also possible to visit his workshop and the house of the founder – painter BUI Hoai Mai which is located in Hien Van, an ancient village in Bac Ninh.
- Sadec District (63 Xuan Thuy Street, Thao Dien, Saigon): Sadec District specializes in products inspired by the traditional style of villages along the Mekong River, with a reworked design for an elegant and contemporary look. Apart from ceramics, this brand offers product lines in wood, bamboo, and textiles.
- If you are in Hanoi, you can find style ceramics quite close to Sadec District but with a lower price at The Dreamers store (1A, Au Co Street, Hanoi).
Hang Quat Street, Hanoi and The Dreamers Shop, 1A Au Co Street, Hanoi: Ornamental patterned wooden molds are served to make cupcakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival. As these flower or fish patterns are very pretty, they can also be considered as a decorative object. Average price: 5-10$.
Personalized wooden stamps
Hang Quat Street and 2B Ta Hien Street, Hanoi: Small pieces of wood engraved with names or patterns according to customers’ request. Average price: 5$.
We suggest you support organizations that specialize in fair trade products, their production respects the environment and protects the local culture. The prices of these products are often higher, but it has a reassuring quality.
The indigenous blue fabrics of the minority ethnic group
The indigo tree is cultivated in vegetable gardens in mountain villages. They will be used in the manufacture of all kinds of sublime pieces: bags, clothes, scarves.
- Indigo Cat (46, Fansipan, Sapa).
- Indigo store (33A, Van Mieu Street, Hanoi).
- Nhat la da ong bo (67, alley 35, Dang Thai Mai Street, Hanoi)
Textiles and other souvenir products
- Craft-Link (43 Van Mieu Street, Hanoi): Woodwork, lacquered paintings, ceramics, products carved in buffalo horn …)
- Mekong Quilts (13 Hang Bac Street, Hanoi and 68 Le Loi Street, Saigon): Providing employment to more than 300 women in the Northern provinces through the production of quilts.
From Vietnamese culture, the production of rhamnoneuron (dó) paper is becoming rare and threatened with extinction. The social enterprise Zó Project keeps creating new products to retain its know-how and present it to the world.
- Zó project store (10 rue Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi): Stationery, decoration, accessories.
Bags and accessories, Tohe style stationery
The vibrant color products use paints from autistic children.
- Tohe style shop (14 Nha Chung Street, Hanoi)
The Oriberry project is helping residents and ethnic minorities in remote areas fight poverty by producing coffee and tea.
- Oriberry shop and café (25 Xuan Dieu Street and 36 Au Trieu Street)
The purpose of the activities of the Thuong Tra organization is with the peasants, to change the method of tea exploitation to ensure the best growth of plants, as well as the quality of the products. They also try to promote the art of tea tasting.
- Thuong Tra Shop and Tea Room (Room 301, 2 Tong Dan Street, Hanoi)
The staff at Le Chalet Cafe work with local artisans and producers, enabling them to maintain traditional craftsmanship while earning a reasonable income. In addition, they reinvest in social and environmental education projects.
- Le chalet café boutique (67B Hang Bong Street and 57 Xuan Dieu Street, Hanoi): Honey, coriander seed, pepper…