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Explore the Southern Charms: A Dreamy Getaway in South Vietnam

Posted By: Jennie Brent / Vietnam Travel Guides
South Vietnam vacation refers to a holiday or leisure trip taken in the southern region of Vietnam. It offers an opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and historical landmarks of this part of the country. From vibrant cities like Ho Chi Minh City to picturesque coastal towns and stunning landscapes, a South Vietnam vacation promises a memorable experience filled with adventure, relaxation, and immersive cultural encounters.

Best time to visit Southern Vietnam

south vietnam vacation: Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) City

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) City - (Source: Collected)

Southern Vietnam, with its tropical climate, can be visited year-round. However, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During this time, the weather is hot and dry, with clear skies and little rainfall. The temperatures range from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploration.

The rainy season

The rainy season in Southern Vietnam is from May to October. During this time, the region experiences heavy rainfall and occasional typhoons. While the rain can make travel more challenging, it also brings lush greenery and vibrant landscapes. Visitors can still enjoy their trip during the rainy season, but should be prepared for occasional showers and plan indoor activities accordingly.

Festivals and events

Southern Vietnam is known for its vibrant festivals and events. One of the most popular events is the Tet Festival, which celebrates the Lunar New Year. This festival usually takes place in January or February and is characterized by colorful parades, traditional performances, and delicious food. Other festivals to look out for include the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Reunification Day, and the Southern Folk Cake Festival.

Where to go in South Vietnam: Top 5 destinations

South Vietnam is home to several must-visit destinations that offer a diverse range of experiences. From historical sites to stunning natural landscapes, here are the top 5 destinations to explore:


Hue, located in the central part of South Vietnam, is a city known for its rich history and imperial architecture. The Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit attraction in Hue. The city is also famous for its royal tombs and pagodas, such as the Tomb of Minh Mang and Thien Mu Pagoda. Additionally, Hue is known for its delicious cuisine, including the famous bun bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup).

Hoi An

Hoi An, a charming town on the central coast of Vietnam, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its well-preserved ancient town is filled with traditional wooden houses, narrow streets, and colorful lanterns. Hoi An is famous for its tailor-made clothing, where visitors can have custom-made suits, dresses, and shoes. The town is also known for its delicious street food, including banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) and cao lau (Hoi An-style noodles).

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam and a bustling metropolis. The city offers a mix of old-world charm and modernity, with French colonial architecture juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers. Top attractions in Ho Chi Minh City include the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, the historic Cu Chi Tunnels, and the vibrant Ben Thanh Market. Visitors can also explore the city's vibrant street food scene and enjoy dishes such as pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and banh xeo (Vietnamese savory pancake).

Other notable destinations in South Vietnam include the Mekong Delta, a picturesque region known for its floating markets and lush rice paddies, and Phu Quoc Island, a tropical paradise famous for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Budget tips for traveling to Vietnam

Vietnam is a popular destination for budget travelers, as it offers a wide range of affordable accommodation, transportation, and dining options. Here are some budget tips for traveling to Vietnam:

Choosing budget accommodations

There are plenty of budget accommodations available in Vietnam, ranging from hostels and guesthouses to budget hotels. It's worth comparing prices and reading reviews before booking to find the best option for your budget. Additionally, consider staying in local guesthouses or homestays for a more authentic experience and to support local communities.

Eating street food

One of the highlights of traveling in Vietnam is trying the delicious street food. Street food stalls and markets offer a wide variety of affordable and flavorful dishes. Be adventurous and try local specialties such as pho, banh mi, and fresh spring rolls. Eating street food not only saves money but also allows you to experience the local culinary scene.

Using public transportation

Public transportation, such as buses and trains, is a cost-effective way to travel around Vietnam. Buses are the most common mode of transportation for long distances, while trains are a great option for scenic journeys. For shorter distances, consider renting a motorbike or using ride-hailing services like Grab. It's important to negotiate and agree on the price before getting in a taxi or on a motorbike taxi (xe om).

Booking tours through local travel companies

When planning tours and excursions, consider booking through local travel companies. Not only will this support the local economy, but it can also be more affordable compared to international tour operators. There are many reliable and reputable Vietnam travel companies that offer a range of tour packages tailored to different budgets and interests.

By following these budget tips and planning ahead, you can enjoy a memorable and affordable trip to Vietnam, experiencing its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine.

Can Tho

Can Tho is a vibrant city located in the heart of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam. Known for its stunning landscapes, bustling markets, and delicious cuisine, Can Tho offers a unique and authentic experience for travelers.

Exploring the Floating Markets

One of the highlights of visiting Can Tho is exploring its famous floating markets, such as Cai Rang and Phong Dien. These markets are a vibrant display of local life, where boats filled with fresh produce, flowers, and handmade crafts navigate the maze of waterways. Visitors can hop on a boat tour to witness the colorful chaos and even try bargaining for some local goodies.

Visiting the Can Tho Museum

To delve deeper into the history and culture of Can Tho, a visit to the Can Tho Museum is a must. The museum showcases a wide range of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that depict the city's rich heritage, including its agricultural practices, traditional crafts, and wartime history. It's a great place to gain insights into the local way of life.

Sampling Local Delicacies

While in Can Tho, food lovers shouldn't miss the opportunity to try the city's distinctive dishes. From fragrant rice noodles with fish to crispy pancakes stuffed with shrimp and bean sprouts, the local cuisine offers bursts of flavors. Don't forget to try the famous "bun rieu cua" (crab noodle soup) and "banh xeo" (Vietnamese pancake). Wander through the bustling food stalls of the Night Market to savor these delightful treats.

Phu Quoc Island

south vietnam vacation: Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc Island is a tropical paradise known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush landscapes. Whether you're seeking relaxation or adventure, Phu Quoc has something for everyone.

Exploring the Beaches

Phu Quoc Island boasts some of Vietnam's most beautiful beaches. From the popular Long Beach with its golden sands and calm waters to the secluded Ong Lang Beach surrounded by lush vegetation, beach lovers will find their slice of paradise here. Grab a beach chair, soak up the sun, and take a dip in the turquoise waters.

Discovering Local Marine Life

Phu Quoc is renowned for its diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. Explore the vibrant coral reefs and swim among colorful tropical fish in the area's clear waters. Tour companies offer guided snorkeling trips to popular spots like Turtle Island and Fingernail Island, providing a memorable underwater experience.

Visiting Phu Quoc National Park

For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Phu Quoc National Park is a must-do activity. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including rare species like the Phu Quoc langur. Hike through the lush rainforest, marvel at picturesque waterfalls, and keep an eye out for exotic animals and birds. The park offers a welcome respite from the beach and a chance to immerse yourself in nature.

Vietnam Essentials

As you plan your trip to Vietnam, it's important to keep a few key essentials in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Choosing a Reliable Travel Company

When traveling to Vietnam, it's advisable to book through reputable Vietnam travel companies. These companies have in-depth knowledge of the country and can provide expert advice, arrange accommodations, tours, and transportation, ensuring a hassle-free journey. Look for well-reviewed companies with extensive experience in organizing trips to Vietnam.

Exploring Hanoi's Top Attractions

Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, is a city that seamlessly blends ancient heritage with modernity. Don't miss the opportunity to explore Hanoi's top attractions, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and the iconic Hanoi Old Quarter. Immerse yourself in the city's rich history, vibrant culture, and mouth-watering street food.

Traveling on a Budget to Vietnam

If you're traveling on a budget, Vietnam offers plenty of affordable options. Opt for budget accommodations such as guesthouses or hostels, where you can meet fellow travelers and save on expenses. Street food stalls and local eateries offer delicious meals at bargain prices. Consider using public transportation or shared taxis to get around, as they are more cost-effective alternatives to private transfers.

Heading to Phnom Penh next? Check out my Cambodia guides

south vietnam vacation: Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh city

Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh city - (Source: Collected)

If you're planning to continue your Southeast Asian adventure to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, make sure to check out my comprehensive Cambodia guides. Discover the rich history of the Royal Palace, explore the haunting Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and take a boat cruise along the scenic Mekong River. Experience the unique blend of ancient temples, bustling markets, and French colonial architecture that Phnom Penh has to offer.

More Vietnam posts you'll love

If you can't get enough of Vietnam, don't worry—I have plenty of other Vietnam-related posts for you to enjoy. From the bustling streets of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to the picturesque landscapes of Halong Bay, there's so much more to discover. Read my detailed guides on the best things to do, the tastiest street food to try, and the hidden gems to uncover in this captivating country.

Cu Chi Tunnel

History of Cu Chi Tunnel

The Cu Chi Tunnels are an intricate network of underground tunnels located in Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They were built by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War as a means to aid their resistance against American forces. The tunnels played a crucial role in the Vietnamese war effort and are now one of Vietnam's top attractions.

Exploring the Cu Chi Tunnel

Visitors to the Cu Chi Tunnels can expect a fascinating and educational experience as they delve into the underground network. The site offers guided tours that provide insights into the history and techniques used to construct and survive in the tunnels.

The Underground Network

The Cu Chi Tunnels stretch for over 120 kilometers and consist of an intricate network of tunnels, including living areas, weapon factories, and command centers. These tunnels were used by the Viet Cong to launch surprise attacks and provide safe shelter for soldiers.

Tunnel Exhibits and Displays

During the tour, visitors can explore a variety of exhibits and displays that showcase the various tools and weapons used by the Viet Cong. They can also witness the cramped and stifling living conditions experienced by soldiers in the tunnels.

Underground Survival Tactics

Guides explain the ingenious methods employed by the Viet Cong to survive in the tunnels. Visitors can learn about the intricacies of trap systems, camouflage techniques, and the resilient spirit that allowed the soldiers to persevere under extreme conditions.

Ben Thanh Market

A Vibrant Market in Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh Market is one of the oldest and most iconic markets in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Located in District 1, the market is a bustling hub of activity offering a wide array of goods and authentic Vietnamese food.

Browsing and Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Visiting Ben Thanh Market is a must for travelers seeking a taste of the local culture. The market is divided into various sections, each specializing in different types of products, including clothing, handicrafts, spices, and fresh produce.

Clothing and Souvenirs

The clothing section of Ben Thanh Market offers a wide selection of trendy and affordable clothing items, ranging from traditional Vietnamese ao dai to fashionable streetwear. Visitors can also find unique souvenirs to commemorate their trip to Vietnam.

Local Delicacies

Food enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the culinary offerings at Ben Thanh Market. From street food stalls to sit-down restaurants, visitors can indulge in a variety of regional delicacies such as banh mi, pho, and fresh seafood.

Negotiating and Haggling

When shopping at Ben Thanh Market, bargaining is a common practice. Visitors should be prepared to negotiate prices with vendors to secure the best deals. Remember to maintain a friendly and respectful demeanor while haggling.

War Remnants Museum

south vietnam vacation: Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City - (Source: Collected)

Paying Tribute to Vietnam's History

The War Remnants Museum, located in Ho Chi Minh City, serves as a testament to the Vietnam War and its aftermath. The museum exhibits a collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that shed light on the tragedy of war.

Exhibits and Features

The museum houses a variety of exhibits that document different aspects of the Vietnam War and its impact on both Vietnamese and international communities. These exhibits provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the war, its causes, and its consequences.

Photographic Exhibits

One of the most impactful sections of the museum showcases a collection of photographs taken by both foreign and Vietnamese photographers during the war. These images capture the stark realities faced by soldiers and civilians, leaving a lasting impression on visitors.

War Machinery and Artifacts

The War Remnants Museum displays a range of military equipment and artifacts used during the war. Tanks, helicopters, and weaponry offer a glimpse into the technological advancements of the time and the devastating power of modern warfare.

Historical Context and Interpretations

Besides the visual exhibits, the museum provides historical context through informative panels and displays. It offers different interpretations of the war, allowing visitors to gain insight into various perspectives and reflect on the complex nature of conflict.

Star Beach Phu Quoc (Sao Beach)

Relaxation and Natural Beauty

Star Beach Phu Quoc, also known as Sao Beach, is a pristine sandy beach located on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam. Renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand, Star Beach is a haven for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.

Beach Activities and Facilities

Star Beach offers various activities and facilities to ensure an enjoyable beach experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you're seeking relaxation or adventure, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Sunbathing and Swimming

The warm tropical climate and inviting waters of Star Beach make it an ideal destination for sunbathing and swimming. Visitors can bask in the sun, take refreshing dips in the sea, or simply unwind in the tranquil surroundings.

Water Sports and Recreation

For those seeking a bit more excitement, Star Beach provides opportunities for water sports and recreational activities. Activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and jet skiing are available for adventurous beachgoers.

Dining and Refreshments

Star Beach offers a range of dining options, from seaside shacks serving fresh seafood to beachfront restaurants offering international cuisine. Visitors can savor delicious meals while enjoying the stunning views of the beach and ocean.

Cai Rang Floating Market

south vietnam vacation: The Ultimate Guide to Vietnam Vacation Costs

Mekong River Delta, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Exploring the Vibrant Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market, located on the Can Tho River in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, is a captivating market known for its unique setting. The market is a bustling hub of boats, laden with goods, and is a must-visit for an authentic Vietnamese experience.

An Authentic Vietnamese Market Experience

Visiting Cai Rang Floating Market allows travelers to witness the vibrant atmosphere and daily activities associated with a traditional Vietnamese market.

Boat Tours and Navigation

To fully immerse in the floating market experience, visitors can opt for boat tours that navigate through the market. These tours offer a closer look at the intricate system of boats and allow interaction with locals selling a variety of goods.

Varied Goods and Local Products

At Cai Rang Floating Market, vendors sell a wide range of goods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, and household items. Visitors can witness the lively trading atmosphere as boats float by, laden with produce and merchandise.

Street Food and Regional Delicacies

The market is renowned for its street food, offering a diversity of flavors and regional delicacies. Visitors can savor traditional snacks and dishes such as banh mi, hu tieu, and various noodle soups while exploring the market.

Market Traditions and Local Lifestyle

By visiting Cai Rang Floating Market, travelers can gain insights into the daily lives and traditions of the local population. Interactions with friendly vendors and observing their trading customs provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Mekong Delta.


Planning a vacation to South Vietnam is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a unique and enriching experience. With its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage, South Vietnam offers an array of attractions and activities to suit every traveler's interests. Whether you choose to explore the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, visit the historic Cu Chi Tunnels, or relax on the breathtaking beaches of the Mekong Delta, there is no shortage of memorable experiences to be had.

When organizing your South Vietnam vacation, it is advisable to seek assistance from reputable Vietnam travel companies who can provide expert guidance and personalized itineraries tailored to your preferences. They can help you make the most of your trip, ensuring you discover hidden gems and gain insights into the local culture.

While visiting South Vietnam, be sure to include Hanoi in your itinerary, known for its captivating blend of ancient traditions and modern development. Explore Hanoi's top attractions, such as the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, the historic Old Quarter, and the impressive Temple of Literature. Immerse yourself in the city's vibrant street life and indulge in delicious local cuisine, from flavorful street food to elegant dining experiences.

For budget-conscious travelers, South Vietnam offers a plethora of affordable accommodations, dining options, and transportation choices. With careful planning and research, you can enjoy a memorable vacation without breaking the bank. Take advantage of budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses, eat at local eateries, and consider traveling by public transportation or joining group tours for cost-effective exploration.

Whether you begin your journey in bustling Saigon or historic Hanoi, South Vietnam travel promises to be an unforgettable adventure. So start planning your trip today and let the wonders of South Vietnam captivate your senses as you uncover its hidden treasures.

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