VietnamActivities & AttractionsAn Introduction to Vietnam: Top Tours in Vietnam for First-time Travelers

An Introduction to Vietnam: Top Tours in Vietnam for First-time Travelers

With mouth-watering local cuisines and enchanting landscapes, Vietnam has gained a significant reputation on the world’s travel map. It could be overwhelming for new travelers to choose which tourist attractions are the must-sees. We have narrowed down the essential top tours in Vietnam to experience the country’s beauty.

Ho Chi Minh City Tour

Top tours in vietnam ho chi minh city
The Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh

Formerly known as Saigon, the original “Pearl of the Orient” is Vietnam’s most vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis. This melting pot of culture with a dynamic and high-energy lifestyle can mesmerize tourists with endless entertainment options. Nevertheless, the beautiful traditions and history of the city are still preserved through religious temples and historical landmarks, such as the Independent Palace, the Dragon Harbor, and various museums.

For a quality, safety-first, off-the-beaten-track experience that is personally tailored to suit your budget, check out our top private tours in Ho Chi Minh City.

Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Top tours in vietnam ho chi minh city
Explore Cu Chi Tunnels

Do you want to learn more about the Vietnam War? Want to personally experience the struggle and hardship of Vietnamese soldiers to survive during wartime? Dig through the Cu Chi Tunnels, one of the top tours in Vietnam recommended for history enthusiasts. This unique underground network reaches 10 meters below surface level, with complex cobwebs extending to nearly 250 kilometers.

Hunching over while navigating around this dark, narrow space, you will be amazed by the soldiers’ perseverance, bravery, and resourcefulness. As the visit ends, you can practice your shooting skills at the firing range or purchase handcrafted souvenirs from bullet shells and bamboo.

Located 60 kilometers northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, you can get here by motorbike or bus. The most convenient way to visit the tunnels is to take a private guided tour.

Note that there are two tunnels, the tourist-packed Ben Dinh Tunnels and the Ben Duoc Tunnels, which are 30 minutes further away but can offer travelers a more authentic experience as there are fewer altered original sights. It is recommended that you should visit Cu Chi Tunnels during the dry season from November to April. The entrance fee is VND 110,000/person.

Hoi An Ancient Town Tour

Top tours in vietnam ho chi minh city
Hoi An market

As one of the top destinations in Vietnam, Hoi An remains ancient and taciturn thanks to its excellent maintenance. Its unique architecture combines Japanese, Chinese, and European influences with the indigenous culture. Nowadays, there are still over 1,000 well-preserved houses with traditional motifs, along with architectural monuments like pagodas, churches, family ancestor worship houses, and bridges.

When traveling to Hoi An, you will feel as if you’re inside an artistic, abstract folk painting. From the Japanese Covered Bridge, Phuc Kien, Trieu Chau, and Quang Dong Assembly Hall to Hoi An Museum of History and Culture and Hoi An Art Craft manufacturing workshop, those are just a few essential attractions you shouldn’t miss. Hoi An also preserves its oral and intangible heritage through culture, customs, costumes, festivals, and exquisite local cuisine like Cao Lau, Mi Quang, Banh Bao, Banh Vac, signature rice chicken, and so much more.

The best time to visit Hoi An is between February and April, when the climate is mild. There will be lots of rain from October to November. If you visit Hoi An on the 14th day of the lunar calendar every month, you can participate in the Hoi An Lunar Festival. Beautiful, bright red lanterns will light every street and corner. People also drop floating candle lantern ships down the river for good fortune. A day trip to Hoi An from Da Nang is one of the top tours in Vietnam.

Check out buses to Hoi An

Hue, the Former Imperial Capital

Top tours in vietnam ho chi minh city
Hue Imperial Citadel

Located right in the center of Vietnam, this was the old capital of South Vietnam in 1802 and the main base of operation for the Nguyen Dynasty until 1945. The number one thing to cross off your travel bucket list in Hue is, without a doubt, the Imperial Citadel. Even though the citadel is now just a shadow of its former glory due to the Vietnam War, the fantastic architecture, historical artifacts, and its sheer massive size are enough to give you a glimpse into Vietnam’s feudal past.

Another must-see attraction is the Thien Mu Pagoda. This seven-story pagoda is the home of many monks and the subject of folk rhymes and songs about Hue. Thien Mu Pagoda also provides the perfect view of Ha Khe Hill and the famous, picturesque Perfume River. You can rent a motorbike or bicycle to go on a leisure ride to see the lush rice paddies. Treat yourself like royalty and book a royal banquet dinner where you can dress like Vietnamese royalty, enjoy traditional music, and feast on intricately carved dishes.

Check out travel options to Hue

Hanoi, the Capital of Vietnam

Top tours in vietnam ho chi minh city
Hanoi’s Flag Tower

The fascinating contrast between the old and new lifestyles makes Hanoi stand out in the list of top tours in Vietnam for first-timers. Hanoi is full of scenic lakes, with spectacular leafy boulevards where ancient pagodas and monuments stand alongside modern high rises and contemporary villas. The essential must-see tourist attractions list includes world-famous sites like Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and One Pillar Pagoda.

Check out flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi

Ha Long Bay Cruise

Top tours in vietnam ho chi minh city
Magnificent view of Ha Long ocean and mountains

Often regarded as the pride jewel of Vietnam’s scenic crown, Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders. Discover thousands of limestone peaks and isles covered with green trees rising magnificently from the ocean. Blend in with kind, peaceful, welcoming locals in beautiful fishing villages to understand their way of living on floating houses. Experience the life of a fisherman for a day and learn how to catch fish and squid. If Lady Fortune smiles upon you, you can feast on your freshly caught achievement.

Lastly, your adventure to Ha Long Bay couldn’t be completed without a visit to the world-famous, spectacular limestone karst caves filled with beautifully shaped stalactites. The top 5 most well-known and worth-visiting caves are Sung Sot Cave, Dau Go Cave, Hon Trong Cave, Day and Night Cave, and Luon Cave. Some tours even include a romantic and memorable dining experience inside the cavern. With so many sights and activities, it’s no wonder that Ha Long is among the top tours in Vietnam.

Get bus tickets from Hanoi to Ha Long

Sa Pa City of Cloud

Top tours in vietnam ho chi minh city
The charming town hid in the mist

Located in the highland region of Lao Cai Province, over 300 kilometers from Hanoi, this humble town holds many heart-stopping natural wonders. Lying 1,600 meters above the seawater level, Sa Pa offers a fresh atmosphere, with an average temperature of around 15 – 18°C and even a chance of winter snow.

Make sure you visit Sa Pa’s market to buy beautiful handicrafts, jewelry, and fabric as a souvenir.

Other essential tourist attractions are The Silver Waterfall, The Sky Gate, Rattan Bridge, Lao Chai, Cat Cat, and Ta Phin Village. You can meet friendly local ethnic minorities (the Hmong, Dao, Ra Glay, etc.) and participate in their local festivals. Adventurous travelers can also use this opportunity to conquer Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam at 3,143 meters above sea level. Sa Pa’s specialty cuisines include various kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables; freshly caught river fish; free-range pig, horse, and cow meat; the unique black chicken; and local special wine and siracha to purchase as a gift.

Get bus tickets from Hanoi to Sa Pa

Conclusion on Top Tours in Vietnam

You should check out These top tours in Vietnam when visiting this S-shaped country. These tours will provide you with an authentic insight into Vietnamese culture, tradition, and history. They will also satisfy anyone’s curiosity for adventure to see all the beauty in the world and create lasting memories that will stay with you forever.

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