Travel Guide to South Vietnam

unrecognizable woman walking near meridian gate in vietnam
Photo by Son Tung Tran on

If you’ve never visited this southwestern part of Asia, you’re missing out on one of the most beautiful and diverse regions on Earth. South Vietnam is home to a multitude of cultural and natural attractions. From the Mekong Delta to the Nga Nam Floating Market, this region offers a unique combination of ancient culture and modern sophistication.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City in South Vietnam is the former Saigon, with a population of around nine million as of 2019. It covers an area of around 2,061 square kilometers and is centered around the Saigon River. The city has a rich history, and is a popular tourist destination for its cosmopolitan vibe and diverse culture.

One of the city’s most visited attractions is the War Remnants Museum, which draws nearly half a million visitors each year. This museum was started in 1975 as a way for the Vietnamese government to highlight the real horrors of war and its effects. The museum also features photographs and artifacts from the era.

The weather in Ho Chi Minh City is mostly pleasant all year round. The temperature ranges from warm to very warm, although it can be a little chilly in December and January. However, if you want to enjoy the city’s nightlife, the evenings are the best time to visit. Many sidewalk vendors are out in force during this time, and you’ll see locals gathering around dented metal tables for roadside feasts.

Cu Chi Tunnels: The Cu Chi Tunnels are a network of underground tunnels that connect Ho Chi Minh city to the Cambodian border. During the Vietnam War, Viet Cong soldiers used these tunnels to escape from the American forces. Today, the tunnels are an important site for Vietnamese people. The tunnels are dark and narrow, but they’re worth visiting.

Mekong Delta

There are a number of places to visit and things to do in the Mekong Delta. One of the highlights is the Cai Be Floating Market. Located near the Cau Cai Be 2 bridge, the market is a favorite stop for many travelers. You can take a boat ride to the floating market and see the sights for yourself.

On the full moon, the Khmer ethnic people celebrate the Ok Om Bok Festival. In addition to celebrating the harvest, the festival also pays homage to the moon goddess by holding boat races, dance performances and games. Each village hosts a smaller version of this festival. The Mekong Delta is also dotted with many small festivals. The lunar new year, or Tet, tends to fall in late January or early February. During this time, the surrounding area is illuminated with yellow lights and beautiful flowers.

The Mekong Delta is a must-see region in South Vietnam. This region is home to many provinces and is an agricultural powerhouse. This region has a unique geographical setting, with the Mekong River winding its way through six countries, draining silt into the East Sea. The delta forms a vast sediment bank in southwest Vietnam, which is just 3 hours from Ho Chi Minh City.

One of the best things to do in the Mekong Delta is to take a boat tour. This is a great way to see the unspoiled areas and learn more about local life. You can choose between day trips and multi-day tours. Most day trips last around eight hours, while multi-day tours typically last two or three days. The best way to reach the Mekong Delta is by booking a guided tour from Ho Chi Minh City. However, if you’d prefer to travel independently, you can catch a bus from Ben Thanh bus station to My Tho or Can Tho.

Nga Nam Floating Market

If you’re looking for a unique way to spend a day in South Vietnam, head to Nga Nam Floating Market. Located on floating boats, the market is a great way to experience the local cuisine. You can buy everything from fresh fish to rice noodles at reasonable prices. Locals also sell iced or hot coffee and orange juice. These local foods and the atmosphere make visitors feel good.

The Nga Nam floating market is especially vibrant during the Tet holiday. During the summer, the market is packed with brightly colored flowers from the Mekong Delta and dark green watermelon. Everything is sold on wooden boats. Most products are hung in front of the bow of the boat. The only product that isn’t hung is petrol.

The area was once a dense forest of mangroves. In the early nineteenth century, French colonists considered it an area of a risky region. However, they eventually began to develop a canal system that connected local areas. A total of five canals flow into Nga Nam, making it a unique place to visit.

The Nga Nam floating market is the oldest Mekong Delta floating market. It’s located about 60 km from the city of Soc Trang. You can get there from the city by taking National Highway 1A or TL 42. You can enjoy a wide variety of local food while you’re there. The vendors also serve fresh fruits and vegetables.


When in Sapa, you should definitely try the local dishes. The most popular dishes include the Black Chicken and the Yellow Cake. The black chicken is a specialty of the region because the meat and bones are black. The meat is firm, has low fat and is considered a health food in the local culture. Besides the meat, the chicken is also served in a sweet broth made of honey. It is sold at many restaurants in Sapa. Another local specialty is the Forest Mushrooms. You can find them in the markets.

Sapa is also a great place to shop. There are a variety of markets throughout the city. You can find everything from jewelry to clothing. One of the most popular markets is Bac Ha, which is held every Sunday. However, there are other markets as well. Here, you can browse through the wares of the locals and pick up some souvenirs for yourself.

Sapa is home to a number of ethnic minorities. Each one has its own culture and language. Taking a trekking tour or motorbike tour to the surrounding villages will allow you to experience this fascinating culture up close. You can also stay in a local hill tribe’s home, which is one of the most unique experiences in Sapa.

Tam Coc

There are many ways to enjoy Tam Coc. You can visit it as a day trip from Hanoi or Halong Bay, or you can stay for a few days. The latter option allows you to relax a bit more. You can also rent a motorbike and spend the day exploring the area.

There are regular buses that depart from Hanoi to Tam Coc. There is one departure every morning. However, it is best to book your ticket in advance, especially during high season. You can also find tour agencies offering package tours in Hanoi. There is also a train that goes from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, a two-and-a-half hour journey. The fare for a 2nd class sleeper ticket is about seven to twelve USD, but you can also get an unreserved seat for the same price.

While in Tam Coc, you can explore the limestone mountains, expansive rice fields, and small rivers. Most tours also include a stop at Hoa Lu, where you can see ruins of the Le and Dinh dynasties. If you have time, you can even take a bike ride through rice paddies. You can get a unique view of the countryside if you want to get up close to the locals.

Another place worth visiting while in Tam Coc is Thung Nam. It is a two or three-hour drive away and will take you about two hours to explore. Thung Nam has a wide variety of sites and attractions to visit, but is best known for its bird sanctuary. Its small islands make a great habitat for wild birds.


Haiphong is a bustling port city located in northeastern Vietnam. It lies across the bay from Cat Ba Island and is dotted with French colonial-era landmarks, including the Opera House and Queen of the Rosary cathedral. The city also boasts Du Hang Pagoda and a museum that explores the city’s history.

Haiphong is a strategic port city on the Red River delta, about 10 miles (16 km) from the Gulf of Tonkin. The city is connected to the sea by an access channel, which magnifies flooding. Developed as a seaport by the French in the 1870s, the city now serves as the third largest city in Vietnam and is an important part of the country’s economy.

While in Haiphong, make sure to check out the Opera House, a French-built hall that is modeled after the Palais Garnier in Paris. This venue played host to the first conflict of the First Indochina war, during which Viet Minh soldiers held off French troops for three days. Today, the Opera House presents Sino-Vietnamese hat tuong operas, Vietnamese hat cheo dramas, and cai luong folk musicals. In addition, the Haiphong Water Puppetry Troupe performs a weekly performance in the Opera House.

You can also visit the famous Cho Sat Market. This market offers handicrafts, silk products, and wood carving. The market also offers food items of high quality.

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