Woman ladling bun nuoc leo into a bowl. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine

Some of the freshest, most flavorful, and most varied dishes in Southeast Asia belong to Vietnam. From Hanoi’s bun cha (grilled pork in fish sauce with noodles) to Hue’s bun bo (spicy beef noodle soup) or the dozens of southern meals unique to each small village and town, Vietnamese cuisine’s complex and irresistible flavors win over many a hungry traveler.

Inside the Dau Go Cave in Ha Long Bay. Photo © Nikolay Grachev/123rf.

Visiting Ha Long Bay’s Caves

Ha Long Bay is home to caves, islands, a few small beaches, and sleepy fishing villages. Since the bay is accessible only by boat tour, you’ll have little to no control of which sights you see once you’ve booked your trip. Here’s an overview of the caves visited on tours to ensure your trip includes those you’re most interested in.

Mosaic mural in Hanoi. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Vietnam and The Arts

Traditional Vietnamese musical and visual arts display an interesting variety of mediums and influences thanks to its past relationships with China and France, an influence that continues into modern artistic expression.

Rada Point, a popular trekking destination on Lang Biang Mountain. Photo © Dana Filek Gibson.

The Best of Vietnam’s National Parks

Vietnam counts 30 national parks to its credit. Several of the parks that welcome foreign visitors stand out from the bunch for their impressive landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unique outdoor adventures. From bird-watching to hiking to everything between, here are the best of Vietnam’s national parks.

Paddling through the Mekong Delta. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

4-Day Itinerary: The Mekong Delta via Ho Chi Minh City

Down in the far reaches of the south, the Mekong Delta is a more authentic, off-the-beaten-track part of Vietnam. Bookend a trip to Ho Chi Minh City with a long weekend in the delta. It’s an easy bus ride from there to Vinh Long, one of the delta’s northern towns.

Motorbikes are the most common form of transportation in Vietnam. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Taking a Xe Om in Vietnam

Xe om (motorbike taxis) are a popular and inexpensive means of transportation used throughout Vietnam. Before you hop on, read expert author Dana Filek-Gibson’s advice on fares, local customs, and staying safe.

Main gate at the Temple of Literature. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Travel Itinerary: A Long Weekend in Hanoi

While the thousand-year-old city holds plenty of history, the most captivating moment in Hanoi is the present. Follow this three-day itinerary to explore the storied past of the capital while experiencing the best of a modern-day Vietnamese metropolis at the same time.

The peaks and valleys of Sapa. Photo © Petr and Bara Ruzicka, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop

Venture into Vietnam’s far north and you’ll discover another world altogether, awash with rich green rice paddies and wide, flowing rivers that wind around the region’s many oversized landscapes. Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop by motorcycle or bicycle is an independent adventure on which you’ll find few to no English speakers, no high-end hotels, and not a Western meal to speak of.

Storefronts line the banks of the Co Chien River in Vinh Long. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Planning Your Time in the Mekong Delta

Exploring western Vietnam allows for more interaction with locals and a more authentic glimpse of daily life than many other destinations along the coast. Here’s how to effectively plan your time in the area, making the most of your explorations, along with a general overview of the area’s geography and population.