Friday, December 16, 2011

30 cool things to do in Vietnam

The Scooterist | Coming to Vietnam & want to avoid the touristy stuff? Or coming back for a repeat visit & want to do something different? Here’s our list of 30 fun & non-touristy things to do in Vietnam

Photo by Qskulls (
1.Go to a rural wedding – you can’t beat rice wine shots at 6am
2. See Vietnam the way the locals do – from a motorbike or scooter.
3. Join the locals on a tiny plastic stool for Bia Hoi on the pavement in Hanoi
4. Spend a day relaxing & eating seafood at Bai Sao beach in Phu Quoc, the most stunning beach in the country

5. Think about swapping that internal flight or long road journey for a relaxing, scenic ride on Vietnam’s ramshackle but charming trains 
6. Get out of the tourist areas & visit some authentic wet markets, eg Tan Dinh in HCMC
7. Get up early & join the locals for morning exercises in a local park, or around Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi
8. Eat Ốc (shellfish/snails) on the street at night

9. Spend the night in an ethnic minority stilthouse in Mai Chau  
10.  Smile at everyone you meet – it really does work
11. Escape from the modern world at Jungle Beach, a hand-built eco resort on a private beach near Nha Trang
12. Befriend your hotel’s security guys – they’ll be your best friends if you have any problems with rogue taxi drivers
13. Do a cooking class on the beach at Mui Ne Cooking School, the most idyllic cooking class location in Vietnam
14. Go for a blind massage
15. Find & join in a game of da cau (shuttlecock) in a park – not as easy as it looks but it’s good fun
16. Act like Andrew Zimmern & try some bizarre food – minced snake, grilled scorpion & field rat are on many restaurant menus
17. Spend the night in a jungle lodge at Cat Tien National Park, home to many endangered species
18. Cross the road in Saigon or Hanoi – a real sense of achievement when you make it intact to the other side!
19. Ride a motorbike over the Hai Van Pass at 5am on a clear summer morning, and see sunrise at one of Vietnam’s most spectacular spots

20. Visit Cholon (Saigon’s historic Chinatown) by cyclo – vibrant markets, magnificent colonial buildings and great Chinese food
21. Try out your handicraft skills at a lantern-making workshop in Hoi An
22. Take a private blessing ceremony at a colourful Cao Dai temple
23. Go trekking in Con Dao’s national park to observe wild monkeys
24. Drive the spectacular coast road from Quy Nhon to Tuy Hoa
25. Enjoy a relaxing couple of hours at a local hairdresser for a haircut, hairwash and head massage – the whole lot will cost less than $2 in many places
26. Get some friends together & rent a private karaoke room with a couple of cases of beer
27. Try night fishing for squid off the coast of Phu Quoc
28. Visit Binh Thuy ancient house in Can Tho, where the film The Lover was shot – and contribute to its upkeep
29. Visit the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Cham Island near Hoi An – sail there on a traditional ghe nang boat, and stay in a village homestay

30. Get off the tourist trail in the Mekong Delta – avoid My Tho & Vinh Long, & try Ben Tre, Sa Dec or Tra Vinh instead



  1. Hi

    I'm a Singaporean and have been reading your blog. I myself ride a scooter too. 1978 sprint V... Was gonna plan myself a trip to viet nam. :] maybe you can show me around when I come...?


  2. Hi Nong,

    Sure, i'll take care of you. All vespa riders are welcome. Contact me when you're here. i live in Ho Chi Minh city.

    The Scooterist