Vietnam makes a superb holiday destination and there are plenty of excursion opportunities, even if you’re not stopping for long. With its vivid green mountains, diverse Indian and Chinese influences and characterful cities, it’s the perfect place for adventurous vacationers.

Anyone planning to make the most of Vietnam should set their alarm clock nice and early! Make sure you experience the bustle of capital Hanoi to the full, by taking a free tour with the ‘Hanoi Kids’ program; a student will give you the inside track on the city in exchange for a chance to practise their English.

There are also multiple opportunities for a cultural excursion around Ho Chi Minh City: discover the French colonial legacy via the church of Notre-Dame de Saigon, or spend a day weaving in and out of the street food stalls and fragrant restaurants. A good idea for a day trip is to hire one of the common motorcycle taxis, but be wary of scams and try to have a rough idea of where you’re going first.

Don’t miss out on the rural regions of this country either; north-eastern provinces like Ha Nam are only a short bus ride out from Hanoi but offer access to vast plains, remote agrarian villages and a taste of true Vietnamese life.

Whichever area you’re exploring, it pays to search online reviews and traveler’s tips to find out what the best excursions are and how to reach the attractions. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions once you’re out there; although Vietnamese people will not approach you if you look lost, they will be happy to help if asked.

Vietnam, Hanoi to Saigon
Image by Shinsuke Ikegame, used under Creative Comms license: