10 of the best things to do in Vietnam

Thứ ba - 06/08/2019 12:22

1. Light a lantern in Hoi An

Lanterns in Hoi An (Dreamstime)

Lanterns in Hoi An (Dreamstime)

Every Tết (Vietnamese New Year), Hoi An is transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour 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 colourful lanterns. Over 50 workshops take part in the event, each trying to create the prettiest lantern. The colours are bright and the designs are strictly traditional.

The heart of the festivities is in the old town, between the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Cau An Hoi Bridge. It’s crowded, chaotic and festive, with spontaneous singing and food stalls at every turn. It is as much a celebration for locals as it is for visitors. 

The most breathtaking sight is thousands of lanterns floating on the river; hire a sampan boat to get a closer look. For a small sum, you can buy a lantern and set it afloat too. 

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to Hoi An for New Year: smaller lantern festivals are held every full moon. In 2019, Vietnamese New Year falls on 5 February.

2. Visit Halong Bay’s equally spectacular neighbour

Halong Bay (Dreamstime)

Halong Bay (Dreamstime)

With 1,600 limestone towers rising from its turquoise waters, Halong Bay is rightly considered one of Vietnam’s most beautiful spots. As a result, it’s on every visitor's list – and hundreds of boats offer cruise trips every day. The bay is huge, but it can still feel crowded.

Bai Tu Long Bay, just a few miles away, offers the same jaw-dropping scenery but sees only a fraction of the visitors. Here you can explore uncrowded caves and tiny beaches, and feast on super-fresh succulent seafood.

Boat trips to Bai Tu Long Bay leave from the crowded dock at Halong City, just like the ones to Halong Bay. But you'll head off in the opposite direction, to where the islands are a little less taller and a little more spread out – but, according to locals, are just like what those in Halong Bay used to be like.

3. Cruise the Mekong Delta

Boat on the Mekong River (Dreamstime)

Boat on the Mekong River (Dreamstime)

After travelling over 4,000 kilometres from the Tibetan Himalaya, the Mekong hits Vietnam and slows down to a more languid pace. With islands, rice paddies, stilted villag