Best cities in Vietnam!
Vietnam has so many places and hidden gems. I’ve got to explore the main cities during my first visit, and was lucky enough to be invited by the Vietnamese Embassy in Kuwait via HE The Ambassador in Kuwait, working with the board of tourism to visit Vietnam for the second time. In the second visit, I was able to extend my stay for a little bit longer to see more of Vietnam and experience more things. I liked it in both times and I wouldn’t mind visiting for a third time! Simply, I found the country affordable, the service is good (but slow as most of Far East countries), and people were very friendly and kind.
Vietnam enjoys three distinct climates in the north, center, and south. As such it can prove challenging to find a time that works for the entirety of the country. For example, while the south is warm and dry from December through February, the north can be quite cold at this time. Generally speaking, the best time to visit Vietnam and have good weather right across the country is during Spring, especially in March and April.
A country known for its flooding, there are certain times when you will want to avoid specific regions of Vietnam. In the center of Vietnam, typhoon season runs from August to November and flooding can be especially bad. In the north and south, the hot and humid weather is felt earlier in the year from May through October.
Hanoi is a small(ish) city in comparison to Ho Chi Minh. The main distinction that makes Hanoi interesting is the street food and culture. You can see more culture and more street food in Hanoi. If you’re a foodie and into trying tradition Vietnamese, Hanoi must be on your list.
Many flights fly into Hanoi, and from there you could fly around Vietnam to continue your trip.
- In my l last visit, I stayed at La Siesta Hotel – there is more than one La Siesta, I stayed in the one that’s in the old town, cute cosy rooms and a boutique hotel kind of hotel. I really also liked La Siesta Central (it has an amazing rooftop!)
The best time to consider visiting Hanoi is in spring. Spring from February to April and autumn from October-November is the best time to visit the city.
The traffic in Hanoi is interesting though. Stepping into the chaotic streets of Hanoi can be tricky. Wherever you are, motorbikes and cars are everywhere! Watch your step while crossing the roads and remember, they’ll most likely stop for you but stay alert.
When in Hanoi, you must try the typical dishes! One of things I liked trying was the Pho (Noodle Soup) – pronounced ‘Faa’. The local food scene here is pretty interesting. Each block has dozens of cafes, with diners spilling on to sidewalks littered with tiny plastic chairs representing every primary color of the rainbow and similarly sized tables. During the day, Old Quarter Hanoi street vendors sell fruit and sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves.
Try to look up some restaurants to try. Eitherway, here are a few restaurants that were good if you’d like to stick to things I’ve tried:
- HIGHWAY4 (VIETNAMESE)
- GREEN TANGERINE (FRENCH RESTAURANT)
- FRENCH GRILL (JW MARRIOT, FRENCH)
- HANOI SOCIAL CLUB (CAFE, SERVES BREAKFAST) – ASAHI SUSHI (JAPANESE)
- ATELIER COFFEE (CAFE)
- THE NOTE COFFEE (CAFE)
- DALCHEENI (INDIAN)
- BEIRUT, MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN & LOUNGE
- Traditional, but if you wanna try Pho in a local place: Pho Bat Dan or try chicken Pho at Pho Lam
Other food to try in Hanoi is Xoi (Sticky Rice). Sticky rice is my favorite when in Asia! It is usually served either for food or for dessert with mango. I also liked and recommend Banh Mi (Baguette Sandwich).
Sa Pa is closer to Hanoi. We drove for 4 hours per way to Sa Pa, and back to Hanoi when I visited. The time I was there, this was the best method to reach Sa Pa!
Sa Pa is a town in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains of northwestern Vietnam. A popular trekking base, it overlooks the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley, and is near the 3,143m-tall Phang Xi Pang peak, which is climbable via a steep, multiday guided walk. Hill tribes, such as the Hmong, Tay and Dao, make up much of the town’s local population. [wikipedia]
The two things that stood out for me in Sa Pa is the absolutely beautiful untouched nature, and the luxuriousness of MG Gallery Sofitel.
Sa Pa, is a village with very minimal ‘services’. Very local, very authentic and hilly. This area is for the hikes, and photography lovers. Portrait pictures of locals wearing local clothes in Cat Cat Village, drone shots of the rice terraces and the greenery are just beautiful.
So do not miss:
- Le Coupe MG Gallery Sofitel
- Cat Cat Village
This is my favorite city. I visited Vietnam twice and thought the same thing for the two times: Hoi An is my favorite!
Hội An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda. [Wikipeda]
To arrive to Hoi An from other destinations in Vietnam, you can fly into the nearby Da Nang International Airport. Once in Hoi An, you have the opportunity to explore the city and surrounding areas by private car, bicycle, scooter or foot. Da Nang is also a place to explore, known for its beautiful resorts and beaches.
A thing I would recommend trying out that could be fun (when the weather is not too hot) is riding a basket boat through river channels!
I would advise in Hoi An, to contact your hotel and organize with them your daily tours.
The dry season is from February until July. These months provide plenty of sunshine, with warm temperatures. Some feel the best time to visit HoiAn is between February and April, when rainfall is low and temperatures are comfortable. Others think it is best to wait a little longer, until May and June.
Theres so much beauty in Hoi An, I stayed 3 nights and I recommend 3-5 nights more or less. I stayed lately at the Four Seasons Nam Hai, one of the most beautiful Four Seasons resorts Ive seen. Beautiful, reflective of the culture and worth spending some time at the resort itself without going anywhere else!
Whenever I see lanterns, I remember Hoi An! ♡
Ha Long Bay
If you haven’t seen Ha Long Bay before, its totally worth a visit! If you have, then I wouldn’t suggest you repeat it unless something new is introduced as all the cruises are pretty much the same.
Hạ Long Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets. The region is popular for scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking, particularly in mountainous Cát Bà National Park. [wikipedia]
Recently I was on a cruise called Orchid Cruise and got a Suite Balcony! I highly recommend it. There are many companies and different cruises that cater to every budget. They are all in a way similar, but differ in rooming and accommodation. Usually, its a full board cruise where breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. My cruise had some activities on board as well such as morning workout/yoga.
The cruise usually runs for 2-3 nights. My advice, 2 nights is more than enough for those trips. Usually the cruises internet is really weak, so if you’re planning on getting work done (like I did..) forget it! Haha you’re most likely won’t have internet for those two days even.
October to December (Fall) is the best time to visit Halong Bay and peak season thanks to the pleasant weather and low chance of rain, though you can expect double the crowds. While June to September (Summer) is the low season and has a higher chance of storms and typhoon.
Photographers especially will enjoy this area as each of its rock formations is unique to itself. I was able to use my drone as well, managed to capture beautiful photos and videos on this cruise.
Some of the most popular activities in Halong Bay are swimming, fishing, snorkeling and kayaking, trekking and cycling. From the cruise, we would go on day trips to do activities and things. If it’s not humid, it’s totally enjoyable.
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh (pronounced Hoo Chee Min) is a big city as is also known as Saigon. It has alot of restaurants and alot of shops. I would not spend many nights in either city 2-3 nights in Ho Chi Minh/Hanoi is good to see top attractions. Unless you’d like to rest from hopping around Vietnam, then it does make sense to spend a bit more time in the city.
From Ho Chi Minh, I traveled to Phu Quoc .. A stunning island!
The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the drier months of December to March, when temperatures range between 21°C and 34°C. Many like to visit during the Tet Festival (Vietnamese New Year) in late January or early February.
During my last visit to Ho Chi Minh, I focused on coffee hopping! The cafes ive seen and tried were amazing in terms of design and atmosphere! I enjoyed all of them. This shot was taken in LOFT cafe.
Phu Quoc Island
This is what I call: A secret Paradise Island.
The Phu Quoc district is made of 28 islands, most of which are uninhabited while some are planned for development as private resorts.
The island enjoys an average temperature of around 27°C, with the hottest month being April when mercury levels reach 29°C, so Phu Quoc offers comfortable year-round warmth for heat-seekers!
Unspoiled beaches, soft sand, beach clubs and upcoming beautiful luxurious hotels. I stayed at the JW Marriot Phu Quoc which was stunning! The hotel alone provides multiple options and things to do, a cafe, beach , pool, spa and its huge! My room was beautiful and overlooked an amazing view.
This was hopefully some direction to help you decide when you decide to go to Vietnam. Safe travels ♡