Travelling Vietnam is fast becoming one of the favourite destinations within the South East Asia backpacking loop and I completely see why. It has it all… landscapes that’ll take your breath away, food that tantalises your tastebuds, locals that make you go all gooey inside and a fascinating history that can be seen and felt through each place you visit.
What Vietnam also has, is some pretty insane cities with each one having something very different to offer – and I’m not even a city gal!
Whether you’re looking to experience the chaotic Asian street scene, get lost in the country’s war torn history or simply relax on white sandy beaches, each city in Vietnam is unique in its very own way.
Sticking to the usual Vietnam backpacking route of this long and narrow country, let me give you a sneaky peak of 5 amazing cities you’ll want to visit while travelling Vietnam and a couple of ideas on what you should do in each one! 🤩
The capital city of this incredible country does not disappoint. With most people travelling Vietnam from North to South, Hanoi is the perfect place to immerse yourself within the Vietnamese way of life.
FAMOUS FOR: Egg coffee and the legend itself “Phõ” (AKA the most famous dish in Vietnam) 🍜
ABSOLUTE MUST DO: Head to beer street on an evening; Grab a plastic stool amongst the locals, drink cheap beer and see where this crazy city takes you!
Located South of Hanoi, the next major city you’ll visit (after an overnight stay in HaLong Bay and an adventure in the natural region of Ninh Binh of course) is Hue! Hue was in fact the capital of Vietnam between 1802 – 1945 so as you can imagine, it’s a city packed with history with so much to explore!
FAMOUS FOR: Home to the last kings of Vietnam & the Imperial City
ABSOLUTE MUST DO: Join the iconic and beautiful Hai Van Pass; A 21km stretch of road up into the mountains from Hue to Hoi An with the most breathtaking views! A great way to experience it is in open top jeeps with the wind in your hair!
3) Hoi An
Without hesitation… the backpackers’ favourite! With an aura you just can’t quite describe, this quaint, beautiful city found South of Hue is one place I guarantee you’ll fall in love with! Located along the river but only 15 minutes from the beach, Hoi An is bursting with culture, history, nightlife and some seriously tasty street food!
FAMOUS FOR: Colourful lanterns & irresistible charm
ABSOLUTE MUST DO: Learn how to cook up a storm of delicious, authentic Vietnamese flavours with a cooking class on the river!
4) Nha Trang
A short internal flight from Hoi An can have you arriving in the popular beach city of Nha Trang. You heard it, Vietnam has pretty beaches too! Home to stunning coastlines and quirky experiences, adventuring around this region of Vietnam is always great fun. Don’t be afraid of travelling a little further out either, some smaller fishing towns like Mui Ne are amazing for sandboarding in Sahara-like dunes!
FAMOUS FOR: Relaxing on white sandy beaches & insane diving spots
ABSOLUTE MUST DO: Bathe in the weird & wonderful mineral mud baths… Trust me, it’s such good fun and great for your skin!
5) Ho Chi Minh
Down in the south, you’ve never seen so many motorbikes! This bustling, economical hub of Vietnam, formerly known as Saigon, is thriving with everything you’d expect from a South East Asian city and the young travellers absolutely love it! Whether you’re learning about life as it used to be in Vietnam or enjoying a cocktail or two in it’s now trendy, rooftop bar scene… it’s a great place to finish your Vietnam adventure and say goodbye to this incredible country!
FAMOUS FOR: The deeply moving national war museum & one hell of a night out!
ABSOLUTE MUST DO: Visit the fascinating and very, very small cu chi tunnels; An underground network of tunnels where the Viet Cong soldiers lived during the war. If you’re brave enough you can even try and squeeze in them yourself!
And guys, that’s just the cities! 😱