Travel like a local in Vietnam and Hanoi

Vietnam Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Everything you need to travel in Vietnam

If you want to travel Vietnam and Hanoi like local, my Vietnam Travel Guide is for you. I’ve been in Hanoi for more than three years and have all the insider knowledge!

I have been based in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, for more than three years — since November 2016. Over this time, I have amassed quite extensive insider knowledge about the ins and outs of travelling — and living as an expat — in this amazing country.

This Vietnam Travel Guide brings together all this useful information, which will help to travel Vietnam with the minimum of fuss — and therefore mazimise your enjoyment.  The videos, photographs and podcast aim to inspire you to travel Vietnam if you haven’t already considered it.

If you have any questions about your trip to Vietnam, just reach out to me. I’ll be more than happy to answer your questions. I’ll also be adding more information to this Vietnam Travel Guide, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and you won’t miss future updates (and you’ll get 4 free travel resources).

Best Time to Travel to Vietnam

I’m often asked: when is the best time to travel to Vietnam? My answer is: it depends — where you go and when.

The north of Vietnam, where the capital of Hanoi is, there are four distinct seasons, and the weather is humid, even if it’s cold:

  • Winter is cold, and starts around the end of November until the end of February.
  • Summer is hot and humid, and long. It starts in April, and ends in November.
  • Spring (February/March) and autumn (October/November) are beautiful months, and are gone much too quickly.

In the south of Vietnam, where you’ll find Ho Chi Minh City (other than Dalat, which is in the southern highlands and cool), there are two seasons: hot, and hot and wet. Central Vietnam (Danang, Hue and Hoi An) have similar weather to Hanoi, but slightly cooler because it is near the ocean.

Currency of Vietnam

The currency is the Vietnamese Dong, but prices in USD are common. Vietnam does have credit cards, but you’ll be slugged at least 2% extra to use it. It’s essentially a cash economy. But don’t worry – there are ATMs everywhere.

How to get to Vietnam

My advice is fly into Vietnam via Hanoi or Danang. Ho Chi Minh City’s International Airport (Tan Son Nhat) is crazy busy, and if it’s your first time in this particularl airport, you’ll probably find it intimidating and confusing, particularly if you are catching another domestic flight. And the immigration queue is super long.

Immigration rules change quickly here, so make sure you use a reputable agent, or get your visa through the Vietnamese Embassy in your country. It will be more expensive, but at least you won’t be scammed. Visa scams are common here, because there is no official government site that processes tourist visa.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War (or the American War as it is called here) is always a hot topic for tourists and travellers — especially if you come from a country like America or Australia that sent soldiers to fight in the conflict.

As far as the Vietnamese are concerned, the war is “all in the past” and you will see a country that has survived and thrived in the aftermath. In fact, the Vietnamese love Americans, and they have better visa options than the rest of us — at the time of writing, a one year, multi-entry visa.

Maps of Vietnam

Because you can never have too many maps of Vietnam. I’ve included maps of the main cities of Hanoi, Saigon, Hue Danang and Hoi An — and also a map of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, which I always get lost in!

Map of Vietnam

Map of Hanoi

Map of Old Quarter Hanoi

Map of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Map of Danang

Map of Hoi An

Map of Hue

Vietnam Travel Guides

I have travelled around Vietnam, particularly in the north. I’m super familiar with Hanoi and happily share my tips and insider information with you here.

How to get around Hanoi like a local

Insider Guide to Hanoi

Like a local: the best vegetarian restaurants in Hanoi

Like a local: the best photography spots to Instagram Hanoi

Travel like a local in Hue and Danang

Being an expat in Hanoi

Moving to Vietnam is exciting and rewarding, but there are challenges, namely visas, work permits, temporary residence cards and — believe it or not — anxiety and depression.

How to move to Hanoi: a Insider Guide

Your first week living in Hanoi – what to expect

Stages of expat life in Hanoi

On expat anxiety and depression

How to be a freelancer in Vietnam

Podcast about travelling in Vietnam

I’m always up for chatting about my experiences, insight and — of course — offer  up my insider tips. In this podcast, I share the spotlight with Australian-Vietnamese chef, Luke Nguyen and winemaker Eddie MacDougall and genial, generous hosts Julia Zaetta and Ben Alcock.

Better Homes & Garden Tastebud Traveller — a Taste of Vietnam

Photographs and photo essays of Vietnam

Photos of Vietnam to get you inspired to travel here. Cao Bang is in the north near the Chinese border and is still relatively unspoiled. And Hanoi is beautiful during Tet!

Cao Bang

Lunar New Year (Tet) in Hanoi

Videos of Hanoi

Videos from my Travelling Homebody YouTube channel, stitched together from my photos.

Autumn: the best time to visit Hanoi, Vietnam

Ladies of the Flower Market

First vegan festival in Hanoi

Feature image of West Lake, Hanoi taken by me.

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