Hi guys! Welcome to our first instalment of articles running you through some amazing lifestyle topics that we LOVE here at S-kin. First up, following my trip back home & our Tet Folklore collection release, here is my top 10 places to visit in Vietnam! This is a list that is coming from my own personal experience as someone local that I hope you may find useful in planning your trip one day to Vietnam.
Starting from the North - and my home town, of course - is Hanoi. Full of culture and amazing historic sites to visit, with a very 'old school' vibe it's definitely for you if you like to experience culture, eat lots of delicious food, and do some serious walking. Try Old Quarter, the famous egg coffee, and my personal favourite - xoi (sticky rice). Take a tour to see the ancient turtle and the Hoan Kiem Lake, and if you're lucky enough to visit and experience Lunar New Year (Tet), see the peach blossoms throughout the city.
2. Hoi An
With an equally rich history, Hoi An is Vietnam's version of Osaka in Japan, where you'll find lots of shrines, beautiful old architecture that's picture worthy, and lots of shopping! Stay here for a few days and get your whole wardrobe sorted - from next day tailors, shoe makers, to vesting. Enjoy the night atmosphere with the whole city lit up in lanterns, and take a cooking class to experience Central Vietnam food to its fullest.
3. Ha Long Bay
Okay, if you're visiting Vietnam, it's worth it going to at least one of our famous UNESCO heritage sites. Ha Long Bay is famous for its naturally forming rocks - legend says the rocks are century old dragons fighting to protect the lands in Vietnam. Take a squid fishing tour, and hike one of the many mountains or kayak to a cave to take in the full experience.
4. Phu Quoc Island
Situated further in the south off of the coast of Vietnam, Phu Quoc is an ideallic island made for those who love sun, sand, and coconuts. Resorts dot the island and massages are cheap and ready, there's no other destination I would recommend to enjoy the beaches of Vietnam. Bonus tip - Phu Quoc stays hot all year round, so you don't need to time your trip for a beachy break! Try renting a motorbike (if you dare) and explore the island. It's also famous for its fish sauce and sun-dried seafood!
5. Da Lat
Situated in Central Vietnam, Da Lat is best visited in Spring (January to March) where flowers bloom across the city. The city is well known for its cooler climate, with lots of exotic fruit available. The Festival of Flowers also run every year, attracting many locals who like to take a more relaxed approach to their holidaying.
Hue is a favourite for those who is adventurous with their food! Also a very historical city, with lots of sightseeing to explore, Hue is magical and ancient in its own way - you'll fall in love when you stay here!
7. Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh City)
The city needs no mention - you'll love spending days here exploring the local culture, food, sightseeing, and shopping. It's the hustle and bustle, so expect a fair bit of motorbiking around on the back of Grab bikers. Be aware, there are wet and dry seasons, wet season being from May to November, so pack a raincoat if you are planning to visit during this time! Try visiting Ben Thanh Market, a historic local spot, with lots of local food vendors opening their doors after dark to serve you the best Vietnamese food you've ever eaten.
You may have heard of the mystical and wonderful mountains of Sapa - and to me - this destination is one of my favourites that hold the fondest memories for me as a child. Want to slow down and enjoy the cooler air? You've got it. Want to adventure out and do some epic hikes? You've got it. Want to experience culture, art and food from some of the 49 indigenous tribes? You've got it. Sapa is an incredible spot to visit during autumn/winter where nature is preparing for its renewal each year - you're guaranteed to get some epic photos!
9. Can Tho
Ever heard of the floating market? Cai Rang Market is located in Can Tho, further South in Vietnam, where you can hop on boats and experience markets like no other before. Here, people live on house boats, trade freely on canals; it's truly an experience that is incredulous and humbling to visit Can Tho.
10. Moc Chau
Another one of my favourites - you'll enjoy the endless green rice fields and beautiful mountains here. Try staying at a homestay or village to experience the full local lifestyle. There are lots of sightseeing too if you're up for some serious hiking - Ban On Caves and Dai Yem Waterfall are a few of my favourite spots.
There are sooo many other places left that this list would be way too long to write, so I've included some honourable mentions:
- Nha Trang
- Ninh Binh
- Cat Ba Island
- Tam Dao Mountains
- Thanh Hoa
- Cuc Phuong Rainforest
Are you planning to visit Vietnam in 2023? What are some of the above destinations you're planning to visit? I hope this list has been helpful for you in deciding where to go! Let us know where you'd like us to do a top 10 list next!