Wanderlust has listed 17 of the best things to do in Vietnam, such as visiting the coffee-making heartland - Buon Ma Thuot, searching for Vietnam’s best pho in Hanoi, understanding Vietnam’s wartime in Ho Chi Minh City, going to church in Vietnamese-style in Tay Ninh province, or cycling around Hue.
Light a lantern in Hoi An
Photo: Nhat Minh
Every Lunar New Year, Hoi An is transformed into a kaleidoscope of color and light for its Lantern Festival. The celebration lasts for seven days, with the road from Hoi An Bridge to the Hoai River Square adorned with thousands of colorful lanterns.
Visit Halong Bay and its equally spectacular adjacent seas
Halong Bay (Dreamstime)
Hike through Cat Ba Island
Ngu Lam Peak, the end point of a popular Cat Ba hiking trail (Shutterstock)
Cruise the Mekong Delta
The Mekong River's famous floating markets (Shutterstock)
Drop into the world’s largest cave in Phong Nha National Park
Hang Son Doong Cave (Photo: Duc Hung)
Quang Binh province is a wild region of barely penetrable jungle in Vietnam’s skinny middle, close to the border with Laos. The area is riddled with hundreds of deep caves, including one of the largest in the world – Hang Son Doong. It contains a cavern so tall that a Manhattan skyscraper could fit inside it.
Find romance at Sapa’s love market
H'mong women at a market in Sapa (Dreamstime)
Sail through the Tam Coc rice fields
The Ngo Dong River and rice fields in Ninh Binh (Shutterstock)
The Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex in the northern Vietnam's Ninh Binh province was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
Spot rare primates in Cat Tien National Park
Primates hanging out in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam (Shutterstock)
Cat Tien National Park in southern Vietnam is a wildlife lover’s dream: a 720 sq km biosphere reserve, comprised of botanical gardens and lowland forest, offering an abundance of rare creatures and birdlife, all kept safe and sheltered in a number of sanctuaries and rescue centres.
Marvel at Ban Gioc Waterfall
The magnificent Ban Gioc Waterfall (Shutterstock)
Ban Gioc is the name of not one, but two colliding waterfalls along the Quay Son River - an iconic way to mark the Vietnam-China border. Its sheer size (70m tall, and 208m wide) is marvel-worthy in itself, but the way the falls cascade down its rocky, limestone face is most eye-catching.
Admire the Golden Hands Bridge in Danang
The Golden Hands Bridge in the Ba Na Hills, Da Nang (Shutterstock)
The reality-warping structure was created to attract more visitors to the Danang region, and surely no-one can refute its social media success. There are well over 108,000 images of the bridge on the #GoldenBridge hashtag alone, according to Wanderlust.
Embrace tranquility on Phu Quoc Island
A peaceful beach on Phu Quoc Island (Shutterstock)
Wanderlust introduced Phu Quoc as a haven for travelers hoping to get away from the hustle and bustle of Vietnam’s cities. Wildlife lovers can head to Vinpearl Safari Care and Conservation Park, to meet, elephants, white Bengal tigers, macaques and silver langurs, among others; head out into nature, with a hike through the dense forests of Phu Quoc National Park, and admiring the gentle trickle of Suoi Tranh Waterfall,
Live with the locals in Mai Chau
A local in the Mai Chau Valley village of Lac (Shutterstock)
Wanderlust recommended the tourist should stay with a local, White Thai family in a homestay as it's time to appreciate the White Thai community's way of life. There are some activities to explore such as cycling through Mai Chau on a rented bike, or poping to the markets to purchase exquisitely-bright, locally-woven textiles, and visiting Hoa Binh Lake.