Travel Guide Vietnam: where to eat, sleep and what to do!

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

Two and a half weeks for Vietnam is short. Maybe too short. Nevertheless, last December we travelled from the south to the north of Vietnam in less than 17 days. You can find our itinerary and another recommended route here. As you can see, we haven’t seen all of Vietnam. But in these 17 days we have really enjoyed the nature, the delicious food, the lovely people and great hotels (and sometimes a little less great, I’m talking about you, bed-bugs hotel!). Here are my tips for overnight stays, restaurants and activities in Vietnam!

Where to eat or drink in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a true paradise for Food Lovers! The Vietnamese cuisine is incredibly versatile and they use many herbs and fresh vegetables. On every corner, you can enjoy delicious street food, but also visiting restaurants in Vietnam is a real celebration. Here is a small selection of nice restaurants/bars we visited.

Where to eat in Ho Chi Minh city

Bitexco Tower, a nice place to visit for a cup of coffee on a sunny day. It is the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City, and for € 15 you can enjoy the view from the highest point.

Above bar is a relaxed rooftop bar at the top of the Liberty Central Saigon hotel. In addition to tasty drinks, you can enjoy the swimming pool while looking out over Ho Chi Minh city.

Trung Nguyen Legend is a Vietnamese luxury coffee chain with very expensive coffee. However, they prepare the real Vietnamese coffee in an incredible way. Are you a coffee lover, then you have to try this at least once!

Furthermore, we didn’t really eat at any special places in Ho Chi Minh. Just lot’s of delicious street food.

Our favourite restaurants in Dalat

Hoa Sen is a vegetarian restaurant where you can eat sooo good. Since I am a vegetarian, I really loved this place, but Ries (who does occasionally eats meat) was also fond of it. Eating vegetarian is quite easy in Vietnam.

Dalat Nights Café is definitely worth a visit at the end of the afternoon. It is slightly outside the city to a somewhat higher plateau, from here you have a beautiful sunset. Great for a cup of coffee or a juice.

Cool eateries in Hoi An

Faifo Café is located in the middle of the old town and has a rooftop terrace where you can drink good Vietnamese coffee.

Banh Mi Phuong is a very famous Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette) place. Here you seem to be able to get the best Banh Mi from all over Hoi An, and we can confirm this, the richly laid baguettes are indeed the best we ever had in whole Vietnam.

Chef is another nice restaurant with a beautiful roof terrace. Nice to have a drink with a sunset.

Morning Glory is a well-known and good restaurant. Delicious Vietnamese food. Slightly more expensive than you might be used to in Vietnam, but the good food and the nice setting are more than worth it.

Nu Eatery is French and perfect for dinner. Absolutely keep some room left for a dessert since they are soo good!

Our favourite restaurants in Hanoi

Cong Caphe is the Starbucks of Vietnam, with a slight communist touch. We love their interior, go check it out!

Chops is a burger restaurant. Actually outrageous to put in between, but sometimes you just feel like western food, and wow, the burritos were so good here!

The Hanoi Social Club is a nice, bohemian restaurant with a casual atmosphere where you can order tasty salads, burgers and oriental dishes. It has a nice roof terrace where you can drink good cocktails!

Our favourite activities per city in Vietnam

Must do’s in Ho Chi Minh city

  • The famous Cu Chi tunnels are located one and a half hours outside Ho Chi Minh city. This tourist attraction paints a very realistic picture of how resistance fighters lived in underground tunnels during the Vietnam War. Tip: go by boat here, this is a bit more expensive, but so much more relaxing than waiting for hours in a traffic jam in a small van.
  • The War Remnants Museum is located in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. This museum is a must visit when you go to Vietnam. It gives a (slightly coloured) image of the Vietnam War and gave us more context to the things we experienced in Vietnam.

What to do in Dalat?

  • Dalat is located in the middle of a beautiful mountainous area. One of the coolest things you can do here is canoying. We booked a day with the guides of Viet Action Tours.
  • Visit The Crazy House. Yes, it is also a hotel, as we indicated above, but if you don’t sleep here, be sure to stop by. It is really a crazy place. A cross between Sagrada de Familia, Disney Land Paris and Parc Guel. A true “Must See”!
  • Motor tour with Easy Riders. A very cool activity in Dalat is a motorcycle tour through the area with an experienced motorcyclist behind. You see a lot of the landscape in this way and have an unique travel experience. Please note, due to the high popularity, there are many fake easy riders who approach you on the street. These can be recognized by the low price. Normally a day trip costs about € 75, when you get it offered for less, make sure they are real (with the use in Tripadvisor).

Awesome things to do in Hoi An

  • Stroll through the old centre and visit one of the many houses from the 16th century that are still completely intact. Hoi An is one of the few cities that have hardly changed. The old centre is known for its beautiful old houses and cosy lanterns. Take the time to look around and don’t forget to visit the Japanese bridge.
  • Hoi An is also known for its large amount of sewing workshops. For a fraction of the price in Europe, you can have a tailor-made suit here or have a chic evening dress designed. I have had a beautiful blouse made here and I am very satisfied with it. I can highly recommend the shop Kimmy.
  • Take a massage! We were spoiled by friends with a superb massage at Palmarosa Spa, and can definitely recommend the treatments here!

My favourite activities in Hanoi

  • Do a guided food tour. We have done this ourselves at A Taste of Hanoi and are very enthusiastic about this! Guide Brian will take you through the whole city in 4 hours and you will taste almost 30 different dishes. The most strange and delicious things you get to eat and every diet is taken into account. If you plan to do a food tour, plan this as early as possible in your trip, because afterwards, you will appreciate the Vietnamese Cuisine even more. Prices are from $ 40 per person and trust me, a tour with Brian is more than worth this amount!!
  • The old centre is beautiful, but if you are looking for more peace and quietness, take a walk through the French Quarter. It is full of beautiful French-looking buildings and sometimes you feel like you are in Paris instead of Hanoi. Also pay a visit to the Thong Nhat Park (Lenin Park), a large park with hardly any tourists.
  • Pay a visit to the Metropole hotel, the first five-star hotel in Hanoi. The walls are filled with photos of celebrities who have slept here.

Do not miss this in Sa Pa

  • You will visit Sa Pa to do trekking through the beautiful nature and rice fields. We did our trekking with organization Sapa o’Chau and walked in two days a nice route in the middle of the rice fields. Here we slept with local people, a nice experience. The costs were $ 50 per person. Curious about our experiences? Read our blog here (only in Dutch).

Where to sleep in Vietnam

Not all of our hotels/hostels I recommend you, but there are some hotels/hostels that you will probably love as much as we did!

Where to sleep in Ho Chi Minh city

Blue River Hotel
Simple but nice hotel with a delicious breakfast. It’s located very centrally. From € 25 per night (2pers).

My favourite hotels in Dalat

Mr Happy Homestay
This great fun hostel is run by the hyperactive Mr Happy. In addition to cooking a great breakfast, he organizes motorcycle tours, gives cooking lessons, and he takes you at the end of the day for a pub crawl. You can sleep here from € 12 per night (2pers)

The Crazy House  €€
Always wanted to sleep in a fairy tale? Then go here for a night. This great hotel looks like an amusement park and the rooms are really great! From € 29 per night (2pers)

Luxury hotel in Hoi An

Emerald Waters Hotel en Spa
This hotel is enormously luxurious. The breakfast is very extensive and the rooms are large, nice and super clean. Oh and you can rent bikes for free, there are a swimming pool and a small gym, what more could you desire? From € 25 per night (2pers)

Cool hotel in Hanoi

Oriental Suites & Spa hotel €€
Located in the middle of the busy old centre of Hanoi is this oasis of peace. It is a bit pricey compared to the rest of Vietnam, we got a night here as a gift from family. But staying there for a night was so nice, and breakfast the next morning was also great! From € 50 per night (2pers)

Nice accommodation in Sa Pa

Heart of Sapa €
A simple hotel with an incredibly sweet owner. From € 25 per night (2pers)

Here you will find all my articles about Vietnam

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