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  • Writer's pictureMatt B

The Top 10 Things to Do in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia, with an incredibly rich culture and history as well as stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re planning to visit Vietnam or are just researching it, these 10 things to do in Vietnam will help you get an idea of what makes this country so special.

1) Go-kart around Ho Chi Minh City

Tourists and locals alike can experience a taste of Vietnamese life when they take a ride on one of Ho Chi Minh City’s many go-kart tracks. The electric carts are fun, inexpensive and perfect for those who don’t have time to spend hours getting from place to place but still want to visit some of Ho Chi Minh City’s top attractions.

2) Kayak through Halong Bay

Located around two hours from Hanoi, Halong Bay is a beautiful archipelago filled with hundreds of small islands and boasting incredible limestone formations. This is a great place for kayaking—you can paddle between natural rock arches or just enjoy swimming in calmer waters. The scenery is truly breathtaking, especially at sunset when you take an evening cruise back to your port of call. It’s one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions, so be sure not to miss it!

3) Stay at an Eco resort

Natural, unspoiled beauty is just one of many perks of staying at an eco resort. Another: more environmentally friendly options for daily necessities like food and drink. From natural spa treatments, to home-cooked meals grown on site, these resorts use recycled materials and compost waste so that they don’t harm surrounding ecosystems.

4) Hike through Sapa's Mountains

Despite its relatively small size, Sapa is home to more than 20 different ethnic minority groups who live off of farming, growing rice and vegetables on a terraced landscape that is as breathtaking as it is alien. The best way to get a sense of Sapa's diverse population is by hiking through its mountains—and you can leave your guidebook at home: Each village has its own distinct traditions and culture.

5) Go Diving off Nha Trang

With a population of 1.7 million, Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s most famous beach towns, and its main claim to fame is not just its beautiful beaches but also its world-class diving locations. There are numerous dive shops on and around Hon Tre Island as well as others that run multiple boats every day for dives on nearby islands like Hon Mun and Hon Mot.

6) Swim with the Whale Sharks

Diving with whale sharks off of Southern Vietnam is a once-in-lifetime experience. Traveling there can be expensive, but it’s well worth it. Just make sure you go during whale shark season (from May to October). They can grow up to 40 feet long and weigh 30 tons, which is more than enough reason to swim nearby! Don’t miss out on these majestic creatures—it’s not something everyone gets a chance to do.

7) Eat street food (Vietnamese Pho bo and Bun cha)

Vietnamese food is a lot more diverse than pho and lemongrass chicken. Pho bo – beef noodle soup – is one of Vietnam’s national dishes, but it can be expensive. Street food stalls sell pho for a fraction of its cost at restaurants, so you get to try great Vietnamese cuisine at a discount. Bun cha features grilled pork, rice noodles, fresh herbs and greens with a piquant dipping sauce.

8) Party in Hoi An

The town of Hoi An is a sightseer’s delight. It contains a rich variety of attractions, and all are accessible on foot. We recommend that you plan at least two days for your visit here—and be sure to save some time for fun activities in each district. Here are our top picks: Party with a water puppet show : The ancient art of water puppetry is popular throughout Asia, but none more so than in Hoi An.

9) Cycle around Vung Tau Beach

Many travelers stop by Vung Tau Beach when they visit, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities for water activities like swimming, kayaking, and scuba diving. If you’re looking for a slightly more relaxed beach experience, then Vung Tau has a lot to offer. You can grab a coffee or some fresh seafood at one of many vendors lining this scenic shoreline. The ocean is clear here and makes for a beautiful view while you relax on your own beach chair!

10) Take a Cooking Class in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is a food lover’s paradise. Head to Ben Thanh Market for some local treats before checking out some cooking classes—either on your own or as part of a tour. Cooking schools are easy to find, and many offer a range of options from hands-on learning with a local chef (for about $10/hour) to set tours with meals included.

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