If you’ve never been to Southeast Asia, consider starting with a trip to Vietnam. With its glorious natural landscapes, friendly people, and well-documented history, Vietnam is definitely a great destination for first-time visitors to Asia.
We’ve covered how you can have an Unforgettable Journey through Vietnam, but since there’s so much to do and see, here are some of the other adventures you can embark on in this awesome country.
1. Enter a New World at the Son Doong Cave (Mountain River Cave)
This UNESCO World Heritage site stretches over 5.5 miles underground. With heights of 650 feet, Hang Son Doong is the world’s largest cave, and home to its own unique ecosystem, jungle, and even its own river. Only a few hundred tourists and researchers are allowed to enter this fragile ecosystem annually. Huffington Post writer Nick Vasser reports that this could soon change due to developmental plans. So if you’re planning to explore Hang Son Doong, book your trip now.
2. Try the Best Street Food in the World
Even the most experienced backpackers will be hard-pressed to find street food that’s better than what you can find in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other parts of Vietnam.
The stories of grilled oysters paired with more than 30 sauces, and authentic savory Pho noodles found at nearly every street corner are all true. This makes Vietnam an awesome place to start your Asian culinary adventure.
3. Witness the Everyday Brevity of the Residents at Hanoi’s Train Street
At either three in the afternoon or seven in the evening, you can bear witness to how the residents of Hanoi’s Train Street have adapted to the fact that they live right next to the train tracks. People are ushered indoors, clothes hung to dry are stashed, and canopies fold into the surrounding houses as residents move in unison to avoid the regular coming of the trains.
4. Get Hypnotized by the Thang Long Water Puppets
For 60,000-100,000 dong (USD $2.58 to $4.31), you can watch the performances of Hanoi’s Thang Long Water Puppets. The tradition of performing with puppets on water is typically done during religious ceremonies. Try not to get hypnotized, especially if you get the chance to see the unique show that’s performed at the end of harvest season.
5. Visit Hotel Casinos in the Area
While Macau is the most famous destination in Asia for casinos, Vietnam’s industry is currently flourishing. Writing about the country’s gaming industry, ExpatBets explains that the government of Vietnam is on its way to embracing gambling, with Vietnamese citizens now being allowed to enter casinos when certain conditions are met. Visiting a casino is fascinating way to see a new side of the country and experience the best of Vietnamese hospitality. From casino resorts to electronic gaming clubs, and built-in entertainment centers, you’ll find most of these in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.
6. Ho Chi Minh Museum
Dedicated to the father of modern Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Museum is home to 120,000 films, artifacts, and documents. This massive historical collection is dedicated to the life of former leader Ho Chi Minh. Open daily; tickets will cost you a meager 40,000 dong (USD $1.72).
7. Go Sandboarding at Mui Ne
Considered by many to be the country’s sports capital, Mui Ne is where you can find pristine sand dunes that are perfect for sandboarding. Apart from being a great place to hone your skills, Mui Ne is also home to several top-rated coastal resorts, as well as some of the most gorgeous, unspoiled beaches in Southeast Asia.
8. Witness the Dragon at Da Nang Port
Around 2,500 LED lights illuminate the metallic, 1,864-foot dragon bridge at Da Nang Port. Built to commemorate a pivotal event in Vietnamese history – the 38th year of the recovery of Da Nang Port – it now regularly breathes fire and sometimes spits water, much to the delight of tourists in the area. It’s a must-see for fans of innovative public art.
9. Hitchhike Across Vietnam to Discover Unique Destinations
It can be quite hard to hitchhike in Vietnam, seeing that Asians are not usually familiar with the concept. But if you succeed, this is your ticket to discovering Vietnam through the eyes of the locals. Be brave and trust your instincts – you’ll never know what you might chance upon and find with the help of some locals.
10. Plan Your Southeast Asian Adventure
From Vietnam, you’re already just a bus trip away from Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and Malaysia. This makes it a great gateway from which you can start your Southeast Asian adventure.