Postcard Press Picks: For Traveling to Vietnam

Featured Image - Painting of a Vietnamese Street

Postcard Press Picks:
For Traveling to Vietnam

A Southeast Asian gem, Vietnam has a complex and tragic history that has led to a wonderfully rich culture. With occupations by China, France, and (briefly) Japan, Vietnam has only recently emerged from the ravages of war and destruction to become a compelling destination for visitors from all over the world. With diversity among the people and the landscape, Vietnam offers a unique and immersive experience that’s sure to be unforgettable. If you’re looking for a truly cultural adventure, Postcard Press has picked some online guides to help you start planning your trip to Vietnam.

Travel guides are an excellent place to start, and with so many options out there, it’s important to find the one that works best for you. Lonely Planet is a reliable and popular choice, but consider heading to your local bookstore and look through the guides available for the one that fits your needs.

Don’t let this be your only guide. Be sure to do your research on the history, culture, and sites, so that you can create the best itinerary for your trip.

 

Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam

Must-See Attractions

While you absolutely should explore all that Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi have to offer, don’t forget that Vietnam has a diverse array of cities and towns that you should also visit if your schedule allows for it.

 

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Hidden Gems

Get off the beaten path for a truly immersive experience and see all that this diverse country has to offer.

 

Personal Recommendations

I traveled to Vietnam more than a decade ago, but it is still one of my favorite destinations, and I would love to return one day. Here are just a few of my favorite experiences:

Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre: You cannot go to Hanoi without setting aside time in your itinerary for this beautiful immersion into Vietnamese culture. This unique art form dates back to the 11th century and uses handcrafted and painted wooden puppets along with traditional music and song to act out Vietnamese folklore on a stage of water. This is an experience you won’t find anywhere else and is deep-rooted in the history of the country. There are multiple shows a day, so you’ll be able to find an option that fits your schedule.

Mekong Delta: Find a guided tour (your hostel or hotel in Ho Chi Minh should have options) or create your own plan. There are organized tours to fit any schedule, even if you only have a day—just be sure to research your options so that you get the most bang for your buck. This is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the daily life of the Vietnamese people, and a great opportunity to truly understand the culture. My day trip tour included a boat ride through the Mekong Delta floating market, alongside fishermen and sellers; a bicycle tour through the rice fields and orchards, with stops along the way where farmers work to make food and candy and where you’ll get samples; and an abundant lunch on the porch of a local home, where we were welcomed with fresh ingredients and home cooking. It’s an incredible experience that will stick with you long after you return home.

Phở: There is no shortage of restaurants serving this Vietnamese dish; you’ll find a place on almost every corner. Phở can be traced back to the early-20th century and, through both French and Cantonese influences, has developed into the flavorful soup we recognize today. Take advantage of the many options and be sure to try it at least once in both the north and the south parts of the country as each has their own distinctive styles for the national dish.

 

Street in Hanoi, Vietnam
Street in Hanoi, Vietnam

Practical Information

Researching practical travel tips is important before you even get on the plane so that you can be prepared once you arrive at your destination. Being an educated traveler will help make your trip more enjoyable.

When researching your trip, you may come across a blog post or two from popular travel sites that seem to discourage travel to this country and disparage the people of Vietnam. This is a disappointing take on this beautiful country. Of course, not everyone can have a wonderful experience all the time—and that’s okay—but don’t let someone else’s negative experience influence your travels. My experience in Vietnam could not have been more amazing. The people were generally warm, helpful, and happy to have you there. If you’re a respectful traveler and understand the history and idiosyncrasies of the region (e.g. that bargaining and price gouging throughout Asia—not just Vietnam—is common), then you shouldn’t worry about how you’ll be received in this country.

 

Have you ever been to Vietnam? If so, what are some of your personal recommendations or travel tips? Share in the comments to help your fellow travelers!

Are you planning a trip or want to fantasize about your next vacation? Let us know below where you are interested in traveling, and we may use that destination for our next resource guide.

 

Vietnam Pinterest Image - Painting of a Vietnamese Street

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