Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast

Things you need to know before traveling to Vietnam


6th Dec 2021 Travel

Things you need to know before traveling to Vietnam

When it comes to attractions in Vietnam, there's no shortage of options. Visitors may choose from breathtaking natural vistas to pristine islets, peaceful villages to war museums, colonial structures to wildlife reserves. 

Here are the things you should know before visiting this fascinating yet underrated Asian country.

Visa requirements for UK citizens

There are very few people who can enter Vietnam without a tourist visa. There is a 15-day visa exemption for UK passport holders. This means that British people do not need a visa if their stay is less than 15 days, and they provide documentation of forwarding travels.

In addition, a travel visa is required if you intend to visit Vietnam more than once during a period of 15 days or more. Therefore, British people must obtain a visa for extended visits to Vietnam, much like many other nationalities. Check out visa requirements Vietnam UK citizens.

Best places to visit in Vietnam

Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An Ancient Town is a stunning blend of beautiful Chinese temples, a Japanese-designed bridge, wooden shop-houses, French colonial residences, and historic canals. There are innumerable tailors, souvenir stores, art galleries, restaurants/cafes, and other businesses geared toward tourists in the area, which the United Nations designated as a World Heritage Site in 1999. Hoi An Ancient Town, six points of interest, and street entertainment are included in a single ticket that costs VND 120,000 for foreign tourists and VND 80,000 for locals (folk dancing, singing, and traditional games).

Ha Long Bay

There are 1,600 limestone islands and islets in Ha Long Bay, which encompasses an area of more than 1,500 square kilometers in northern Vietnam. In 1994, UNESCO declared this spot a world heritage site, and many people say it is like something out of a movie. Additionally, the area is home to various limestone caves, including phreatic caves, karstic foot caves, and marine notches. It is around four hours away from Hanoi's downtown center. In addition to kayaking around rocky outcrops and observing wildlife, visitors can explore the different cave formations.

Cruise the Mekong Delta

In Vietnam, the Mekong slows down after having traveled more than 4,000 miles from the Tibetan Himalayas. It's as if the river wants to relax and take in the scenery, what with the islands, rice paddies, stilted towns, and a way of life that hasn't changed in decades. Just hop on a cargo boat and do precisely that. Put your hammock up in a shady area as your boat, laden with sacks of fruit and grains, makes its way down the treacly brown river. Take a commercial river trip on one of the numerous available options. A night on the river can be had on a sail from Cai Be to Can Tho. The Mang Thit River, which connects Tien Giang and Bassac provinces, narrows to such a point that riverside stilted houses may be seen.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Quang Binh province is a densely forested area in the centre of Vietnam, close to the Laos border. There are hundreds of deep caverns in the area, including Hang Son Doong, which is the largest in the world. A skyscraper might fit inside its enormous cavern. The UNESCO-listed Phong Nha Cave, located in the small hamlet of Phong Nha, is a must-see for anybody interested in cave exploration. You can also rent the equipment and guides you'll need to explore the caves. If diving underground isn't your thing, the area is well-known for its hiking trails. Beautiful waterfalls dot the surrounding jungle, which is also home to a thriving population of monkeys and flying foxes.

Ho Chi Minh City

Most of Vietnam's population was born after the war ended in 1975, making up more than 60% of the country's total. The country's turbulent past is not, however, forgotten. Although the country has gone on, the sacrifices made by all sides in the war are still recognized across Vietnam, particularly in the capital city of Ho Chi Minh City. At the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, visitors can learn about Vietnam's tragic past through exhibit galleries filled with historical images, artifacts, and memorabilia. In a pretty ironic twist, it's situated in the Gia Long Palace, where Ngo Dinh Diem spent his final hours in power before being assassinated in 1963.

Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.


This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit