Vietnam Travel Guide

Author: Crystal
Author: Crystal

“The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself.” - Wallace Stevens

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Are you traveling to Vietnam? Use our Travel Guide

Discover Vietnam’s rich history, vibrant beaches, efficient transportation, and delectable cuisine. Explore ancient temples in Hanoi and the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Unwind on Phu Quoc Island’s pristine shores and snorkel in Nha Trang’s crystal-clear waters. Efficient trains and buses connect major cities, while cyclos and motorbikes offer local charm.

Savour delicious pho, banh mi, and fresh seafood. Don’t miss the breathtaking Ha Long Bay and the cultural wonders of Hoi An. Experience the best of Vietnam’s diverse offerings in this unforgettable travel adventure.


Vietnam has a long and complex history that spans over thousands of years. The country’s history is characterized by a series of dynasties, occupations, and conflicts. It was under Chinese rule for nearly a millennium until gaining independence in the 10th century. In subsequent centuries, Vietnam flourished as an independent kingdom, reaching its height during the 14th and 15th centuries under the Tran and later the Le dynasty.

Colonial influence began in the 19th century when Vietnam fell under French rule, known as French Indochina. This period of colonization lasted until 1954 when Vietnam successfully fought for independence in the First Indochina War. This led to the division of the country into North and South Vietnam, which later resulted in the Vietnam War. The war ended in 1975 with the reunification of the country under communist rule.

Tu Duc tomb in Vietnam

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Vietnamese culture is a beautiful fusion of indigenous traditions, Chinese, and French influences. The people of Vietnam are known for their warm hospitality, strong community values, and deep respect for their ancestors. The country’s culture is deeply rooted in Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, which shape various aspects of daily life.

Vietnamese cuisine is renowned worldwide for its flavorful dishes, fresh ingredients, and regional specialties. Pho (noodle soup), Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), and Spring Rolls are just a few examples of the mouthwatering delicacies you can enjoy during your visit. Don’t forget to try traditional Vietnamese coffee, famous for its strong taste and unique brewing style.

Vietnamese lanterns

The arts and traditional performances also play a significant role in Vietnamese culture. Water puppetry, a form of puppet theater, is a must-see, where puppets are skillfully maneuvered on a water-filled stage. Vietnamese music, with its distinctive instruments like the dan bau (monochord), and the ao dai, the elegant national dress, are further expressions of the country’s cultural heritage.

Dining out Vietnam


Vietnam offers a wide range of attractions that cater to various interests. From the bustling streets of Hanoi, the capital city, to the enchanting limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay, the country is brimming with natural beauty. The historic city of Hoi An showcases a well-preserved ancient town with traditional architecture and colorful lanterns, while Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) offers a bustling urban experience with its dynamic energy and historic landmarks.

For history enthusiasts, visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City provides insight into the Vietnam War, offering a glimpse into the country’s wartime history. The imperial city of Hue, with its ancient citadel and royal tombs, offers a fascinating journey into Vietnam’s imperial past.

Vietnam’s diverse landscapes also provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as trekking in the mountainous regions of Sapa, exploring the Mekong Delta by boat, or relaxing on the pristine beaches of Da Nang and Nha Trang.

Rice fields on terraced in Northwest of Vietnam

Vietnam’s rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse landscapes make it a captivating destination for tourists. Whether you’re seeking historical sites, natural wonders, or delicious cuisine, Vietnam offers a unique and unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression.

Concept of airplane travel to exotic destination with shadow of commercial airplane flying above beautiful tropical beach. Beach holidays and travel.

Getting There:

To travel from Australia to Vietnam, you have several options. The most common and convenient way is to take a direct flight from major Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane to one of Vietnam’s main international airports, such as Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport or Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Multiple airlines offer direct flights between Australia and Vietnam, including Vietnam Airlines, Qantas, and Jetstar. The flight duration is approximately 8-9 hours.

How to Get Around Vietnam?

Once you arrive in Vietnam, there are several transportation options to get around the country:

Vietnam has a well-connected domestic flight network, making it easy to travel between major cities. Airlines like Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways operate frequent flights.

Vietnam’s railway system is extensive and offers a scenic way to travel. The Reunification Express runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping at several destinations along the way. You can choose between different classes of trains, including sleepers for longer journeys.

Buses are a popular and affordable mode of transportation in Vietnam. You’ll find both government-run and private bus companies offering routes to various cities and towns. Sleeper buses are available for overnight journeys.

Local prices vary the average fares start at $0.60 AUD for local journeys, while longer trips would be around $0.90 to $1.80 AUD or more.

Taxis are readily available in cities, and ride-hailing services like Grab are widely used. Ensure the meter is turned on or negotiate the fare in advance to avoid any issues.

Renting a motorbike is a common choice for exploring cities and rural areas. However, be aware that traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic, so exercise caution and make sure you have the necessary licenses and insurance.

Dining out Vietnam


Vietnam is renowned for its delicious cuisine. Here are some dining recommendations to savor the local flavors:

Top 5 Dining Recommendations:

PHO - Vietnamese Food


Try Vietnam's most famous dish, Pho, a flavorful noodle soup typically served with beef or chicken, fresh herbs, and lime.

Cơm tấm (Broken Rice)

Com Tam is a dish of broken rice served with grilled pork chops, shredded pork skin, a fried egg, and pickled vegetables.

Banh Mi

Banh Mi

Indulge in a Banh Mi, a Vietnamese baguette sandwich filled with a variety of ingredients like grilled meats, pickled vegetables, and pâté.

Bun Cha

Bun Cha

Try Bun Cha, a Hanoi specialty featuring grilled meat served with rice noodles, herbs, and a sweet and savory dipping sauce.


Fresh Seafood

If you're near the coast, don't miss the opportunity to savor fresh seafood dishes like grilled fish, prawns, or squid.

Best Beaches:

Vietnam is blessed with numerous beautiful beaches along its coastline. Here are eight of the top beaches in the country:

Here's a list of famous Beaches in Vietnam:

The Highlights

Vietnam is a diverse country with numerous attractions. Here are some highlights you shouldn’t miss:

River - Hội An - Quảng Nam - Vietnam

Hoi An Ancient Town

This UNESCO-listed town is known for its well-preserved architecture, charming lantern-lit streets, and vibrant cultural festivals. Don't miss the beautiful Japanese Covered Bridge and the colorful riverside markets.

Ho Chi Minh City

Formerly known as Saigon, this bustling metropolis offers a blend of modern skyscrapers and historic landmarks like the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum.


Vietnam's capital city is a fascinating mix of ancient temples, colonial architecture, and bustling street life. Visit the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and explore the vibrant Old Quarter.

Ha Long Bay - Vietnam

Ha Long Bay

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay is famous for its breathtaking limestone karsts, emerald waters, and scenic boat cruises.

Rice fields on terraced in Northwest of Vietnam

Sa Pa in Lào Cai Province

Located in the northwest region, Sa Pa is renowned for its stunning terraced rice fields, ethnic minority villages, and excellent trekking opportunities.

Things to do in vietnam

Apart from the highlights mentioned above, Vietnam offers a range of activities to make your trip memorable:

Cu Chi Tunnels Vietnam

Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels

Located near Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi Tunnels provide a glimpse into Vietnam's wartime history.

You can crawl through the underground network and learn about the Vietnam War.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a cultural gem in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This traditional art form showcases captivating puppet performances on water, accompanied by live music, creating a unique and mesmerizing experience for audiences worldwide.

Relax on Phu Quoc Island

Head to Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island, for pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. It offers a range of activities, from snorkeling and scuba diving to exploring dense forests and hiking trails. You can also enjoy snorkeling, sunbathing, and fresh seafood.

Mekong Delta Boat Tour

Take a boat tour through the intricate waterways of the Mekong Delta, where you can experience the vibrant floating markets, lush fruit orchards, and rural villages.

Rice fields on terraced in Northwest of Vietnam

Trek in the Northern Highlands

Embark on a trekking adventure in the picturesque landscapes of the northern highlands, such as the mountains of Sapa or Mai Chau. Experience the beauty of terraced rice fields and interact with ethnic minority communities.

Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hill - Vietnam - Da Nang

Golden Bridge, Da Nang

The Golden Bridge is a stunning architectural marvel located in Da Nang, Vietnam. It is a pedestrian bridge that stretches 150 meters in length and is supported by two gigantic stone hands emerging from the mountainside.

The bridge offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding lush hills and provides an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Markets Vietnam

Local customs:

Vietnam has customs and traditions that reflect the local culture. Respect for elders is shown through polite language and gestures. Hospitality is valued, with visitors welcomed warmly.

Gift-giving is common when visiting homes. Dining etiquette involves sharing meals and offering a toast. Being mindful of cultural differences and showing interest in the local culture enhances interactions. These customs in Vietnam allow visitors to appreciate the cultural heritage while fostering respect and appreciation. recommends that you should avoid hugging, holding hands, and especially kissing in public. Even touching a member of the opposite sex is looked down upon.

Modesty: It is important to keep your body covered. Avoid overly short shorts and revealing shirts.

Fishermen fishing in the sea at sunrise in Namdinh, Vietnam


Vietnam’s weather varies across regions. The country has a tropical monsoon climate, characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons.

Vietnams weather and seasons:

North Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay): The best time to visit is from October to April when the weather is cooler and drier. Summers (May to September) are hot and humid, while winters (December to February) can be chilly.

Central Vietnam (Hoi An, Hue, Da Nang): The dry season is from February to August, with pleasant temperatures. The rainy season lasts from September to January, with occasional typhoons.

The dry season is from December to April, with high temperatures. The wet season occurs from May to November, with short but heavy showers.

Ha Long Bay - Vietnam

Vietnam Tourist & Visa Information

As an Australian tourist, you need a visa to enter Vietnam. You can apply for a Vietnam tourist visa in two ways: online e-Visa or visa on arrival.

  • E-visa is a single-entry visa, valid for 30 days.
  • You can apply for e-visa through the official website of the Vietnamese Immigration Department.
  • The processing time for e-visa takes three working days, and the fee is 25 USD.
  • You should apply for an e-visa at least three days before your intended travel date.
  • Visa on arrival is a type of visa that you apply for when you arrive at the airport in Vietnam.
  • You need to apply for a visa approval letter from a Vietnamese travel agency before you depart from Australia.
  • The processing time for a visa approval letter is two working days, and the fee depends on the agency you choose.
  • Once you arrive at the airport in Vietnam, you need to present your visa approval letter, passport, two passport-sized photos, and pay the stamping fee to obtain your visa.

It’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses and other unforeseen circumstances.

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Vietnam.
  • Apply for your visa well in advance of your travel date to avoid any last-minute issues.
  • Check the Vietnamese embassy website in Australia for any updates or changes in the visa requirements.
  • Keep a copy of your visa approval letter and passport with you at all times during your travels.

Note: Please double-check the above links and requirements before submitting your application, as they are subject to change.

As of May 2023, tourists travelling to Vietnam from Australia are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Vietnamese government accepts all COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Vietnam National Regulatory Authority (NRA).

Here’s what you need to know about COVID vaccination requirements for tourists travelling to Vietnam from Australia:

1. Proof of vaccination:

  • You need to provide proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status before entering Vietnam.
  • You should bring your vaccination certificate or digital vaccination record with you.

2. Quarantine requirements:

Fully vaccinated travellers from Australia can avoid quarantine if they have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours before departure.

3. Health declaration form:

All travellers to Vietnam must complete a health declaration form, which includes information about their COVID-19 vaccination status.

4. Registration of vaccine status:

Currently, there is no requirement to register your vaccine status with the Vietnamese government.

Here are some useful links for COVID-19 vaccination requirements and information in Vietnam:

Please note that the COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving, and entry requirements may change without notice. It is important to check the latest requirements with the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in Australia before travelling.

Other important information:

While Vietnam is generally safe for tourists, it’s still important to take precautions to avoid theft and stay safe. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid walking alone at night, especially in less touristy areas. It’s also a good idea to carry cash in case credit cards aren’t accepted or there are issues with the card machines.


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