Vietnam tours

Best tours in Vietnam

One has to admire Vietnam - despite its turbulent recent history, this resilient nation has bounced back to become a big-hitter on the Southeast Asian travel circuit. As one would expect from a country so long and slim, there’s plenty of variety on offer.

  1. Head to Ho Chi Minh City for a thrilling vespa tour
  2. Indulge in Vietnamese cuisine on a culinary tour
  3. Head to My Tho for a relaxing boat tour
  4. Explore the magnificent Cai Be Floating Market
  5. Take a Demilitarised Zone tour
  6. Enjoy adventure in Cat Ba
  7. Discover an exciting tour of Ha Long Bay
  8. Explore the Museum of Vietnamese Women

In Vietnam, visitors are met with warmth, curiosity and a seemingly irrepressible desire to connect. And what better way to meet the locals than to sign up to a tour? Cook up a storm in a culinary class, zip around Ho Chi Minh City, or enjoy a relaxing boat ride - Vietnam has plenty to offer.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Head to Ho Chi Minh City for a thrilling vespa tour

Vespa Adventures offers some great Vietnam tours. A vespa tour around Ho Chi Minh is up there with the most popular tours in the city. Each night a fleet of Vespas takes to the streets under the charge of charismatic locals. Meals, snacks, live music and rather a lot of alcohol are included in the approximate $93 price. There’s also plenty of booze on offer on the nightly craft-beer tour (around $89), though dry daytime options are available too.

Best for: A fun way to get around the city

Top tip: Take yourself on a tour of the Ben Thanh market. It’s a great place for souvenirs and food!

2. Indulge in Vietnamese cuisine on a culinary tour

Why not take some Vietnamese cooking skills home with you? In Ho Chi Minh City, you could start by trying the half-day classes with Saigon Cooking Class, which can cost around $45 and include a market visit and allow you to whip up three dishes and a dessert. Alternatively, visit the Vietnam Cookery Center, which runs two three-hour sessions each day for around $37 (or roughly $42 including a visit to the market for provisions), as well as twelve-dish three-session marathons for around $180.

Best for: Foodie travellers

Top tip: It’s also possible to go on culinary tours of the city: Saigon Streeteats does half-day trips from $35 per person.

3. Head to My Tho for a relaxing boat tour

Seventy kilometres out of Ho Chi Minh City lies My Tho, an amiable market town that nestles on the north bank of the Mekong River’s northernmost strand, the Tien Giang, or Upper River. The bulk of visitors to My Tho arrive on a tour from Ho Chi Minh City. These usually include the bus rides in and out, boat rides to some nearby islands, a village walk, lunch, and a boat trip to a sweet factory in the nearby Ben Tre area - figure on around 220,000đ/head, all in. Looking for Vietnam holidays? Note that the country has a tropical monsoon climate, dominated by the south or southwesterly monsoon from May to September, and the northeast monsoon from October to April.

Best for: An exciting boat tour

Top tip: In My Tho you can find the Vinh Trang Chua temple. It’s a famous spot which is home to three Buddha statues.

4. Explore the magnificent Cai Be Floating Market

Cai Be Floating Market has long been one of the most popular spots in the Mekong delta, and also the most distinctive because of its backdrop of a slender cathedral spire. Tours can give you a simple, charming view of trade being conducted from a sparse array of small boats.

Best for: A market tour

Top tip: One spot that’s rarely visited by foreigners is the Tuesday flower market at Coc Ly, 20km southwest of Bac Ha, where carefully selected flowers are sold.

5. Take a Demilitarised Zone tour

Most people opt to visit the DMZ on a guided tour - guides usually do a good job of relaying the essential historical information. Most tours come straight from Hue, usually costing around $15-20 per person and including visits to Doc Mieu Firebase, Hien Luong Bridge, the Vinh Moc tunnels, the Rockpile, Dakrong Bridge and Khe Sanh combat base. It’s a long day out starting at 6am and returning to Hue around 6pm, so an early night is needed the day before!

Best for: An unforgettable historical tour

Top tip: Hue has plenty of history museums. Visit the Hue Royal Museum of Antiquities, the oldest museum in the country.

6. Enjoy adventure in Cat Ba

Asia Outdoors pioneered rock climbing in Vietnam and it still remains the best operator for adventure activities (prices from around $58/day). They take climbers on a phenomenal network of routes and can incorporate boat trips (necessary to access some of the climbing sites), deep-water soloing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, trekking, and the occasional beach party into their highly recommended, tailor-made packages. Experienced climbers can also hire gear here. Cat Ba is certainly full of adventure.

Best for: A tour full of adventurous experiences

Top tip: For more adventure elsewhere, there are a number of excellent day and half-day bike routes around Da Lat.

7. Discover an exciting tour of Ha Long Bay

There is a wide variety of Ha Long Bay tours available, including day-trips, though since the bay is an eight-hour round trip from Hanoi these can feel very rushed. Most opt for a two-day, one-night tour, with the night spent at sea - this can be a delightful experience.

Best for: A memorable tour on the water

Top tip: If you can spare the time, opt for a three-day, two-night trip, which allows you at least one full day in the bay.

8. Explore the Museum of Vietnamese Women

The Museum of Vietnamese Women has undergone a complete overhaul and is now one of Hanoi’s most interesting attractions. There are good audio tours available as well as detailed video presentations on each floor about different aspects of the lives of Vietnamese women.

Best for: Learning about Vietnamese women

Top tip: Another wonderful museum in Hanoi is the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.

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