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Top Destinations in Vietnam

Vietnam Photo by Mar Cerdeira on Unsplash

Vietnam’s timeless charm is evident in its tourist attractions with deep cultural, historical, and social meanings. This Southeast Asian country has a wide array of charms to offer both to its foreigners and countrymen. You’ll never run out of places to visit here in Vietnam. From north to south, you’ll find natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, ancient buildings, and religious sites linked to Vietnam’s history and diverse culture.

Each of the Vietnamese cities has its own unique and distinct character, from its urban and commercial centers to its rural provinces. You can plan your trip and start your driving journey from Vietnam's northern region to the Central and Southern parts. Make sure to add these thrilling road trips to your must-see destinations.

So, how do you go to these destinations?

Before you dive into the beautiful places in Vietnam, it’s best if you can rent a car for your convenience. You might probably ask what the requirements for you to rent a car are. Well, all you need to do is get an International Driver's Permit in Vietnam and bring your local driving license. As long as you have your International Driving License valid in Vietnam, then you’re good to go.

How do you get an International Driver's Permit in Vietnam?

There are local offices that are offering these services in Vietnam. But it would take you days to get your International Driver’s Permit whether you are in Vietnam or your country. The ideal way to get them immediately if you are in the country is to settle the International Driver’s Permit in Vietnam requirements by getting them online.

With the International Drivers Association’s help, you can easily acquire your International Driver’s Permit and get them delivered to you. All you need to do is fill up your zip code and provide all the essential requirements through this trusted International Driver’s Permit website. Then you can quickly get your digital material in 2 hours or even 20 minutes! As for the printed copy, you can get that in 24 hours if you live in the United States or 30 days outside the country.

If you want to get an International Driver's License or Permit in Vietnam, just visit the International Drivers Association’s application page and choose an International Driver's Permit (IDP) package that is fit for you. Moreover, the following are your IDP requirements in Vietnam and even other countries, crucial for your application process:

Do you need to get an International Driver's License in Vietnam?

The simple answer is yes because it is illegal to drive around Vietnam without a driving license. Your International Driver’s Permit in Vietnam is an internationally recognized translation of your driving license. It proves that you hold a valid driving license in your home country. You need this when you are driving so that you will not encounter any problems throughout your stay.

After settling all your essential requirements for an International Drivers Permit in Vietnam, rent a car and begin exploring the following tourist attractions in each region.

What are the best places in Northern Vietnam?

There are many untouched rural places and paradise in the remote area of Northern Vietnam. You can get a full experience of your trip on many adventures that await you here. You can go trekking, hiking, cycling, caving, and the list goes on. Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is located here in the country’s northern part. There are many places you can go to have memorable adventures in the lakes, parks, temples. Don’t forget to stop in these places:

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Ha Giang Photo by Raymond Ancog on Unsplash

Ha Giang

The final frontier, or what they call Ha Giang, is a remote place in the most northern region of the country. It is almost 300 km away from Vietnam's capital, Hanoi. Your journey to this province will make you travel back in time and feel the atmosphere of remote towns and villages. Since there is limited transportation going to the northern part of Vietnam, it’s best to rent a car. This is a dream come true for travelers eager to go on a road trip and adventure.

What are the things to do in Ha Giang?

It is best if you drive around this province so that you can go to Quản Bạ or Heaven’s Gate, which is your first taste of breath-taking views and mountain ranges. Cruising down Heaven’s gate will lead you to one of the UNESCO world heritage sites, Đồng Văn Karst Plateau Geopark, characterized by milestone peaks covered with lush jungle. You’ll drive down to the Happiness Road that connects Dong Van and Meo Mac through the king of all passes, Ma Pi Leng Pass.

The road follows the Mien River that will bring you to plateaus and mountain passes. You can drive down to the town of Đồng Văn to have a view of the beautiful ancient buildings. Set aside time to visit the local market and talk with ethnic minorities doing some business. Know the ethnic people’s market culture who stay true to their identity and dress in their finest costumes every weekly fair market.

When is the best time to visit Ha Giang?

You can visit Ha Giang almost all year round, but it's best to go here during the flower blooming season every October to November. The month of January also has a festive atmosphere due to the Lunar New Year. The summer season is from July to August, so that it can be scorching during these months.

What are the road conditions and safety in Ha Giang?

Driving in this part of Vietnam is safe. Roads are well-maintained and are in good condition. For safety, slow down in driving and approach curves with extra caution. There are many long stretches of roads in this province; just be sure to stop and rest. This region of the country is not an accessible destination since there is limited public transportation, so it is best to rent a car and get your International Driving Permit valid in Vietnam. Don't forget to bring your local driving license with you as well.

Ha Long Photo by Anna Berdnik on Unsplash

Ha Long

Your northern loop trail would not be complete if you can’t go to Ha Long. Ha Long Bay is one of the popular tourist destinations for its renowned spectacular scenery, islands and caves, and traditional floating villages. You will find raw, mystical, and undeniable beauty of the view and the bay. You can get a tour boat or stay on the Cat Ba Island to fully experience this seascape.

What are the things to do in Ha Long?

Nothing beats spending the day near the calm and serene water while waiting for the sun to rise and go down. You can also join Tai Chi Class and have this gentle physical exercise. One hundred miles to the east of Hanoi, you’ll find a ferry going to Cat Ba Island. This is your dramatic road trip finale in which you’ll stop thousands of limestone cliffs and even to the island’s highest peak. Treat yourself to this incredible life experience.

When is the best time to visit Ha Long?

There are many things you consider when choosing your travels. If you are concerned about the weather, the months of September to October have cooler temperatures and refreshing breeze. March to May have a dry climate and pleasant weather that will enable you to enjoy your trip and adventure. Clear and bright skies will get you to many places compared to the rainy season during June.

What are the best places in Central Vietnam?

After traveling to the northern part of Vietnam, it’s time to go sightseeing around the country’s central highland region, which houses the most captivating historical sites, Buddhist temples, rich landscape, and even stunning waterfalls.

Dalat Photo by Lewis on Unsplash


Head further to secret highland known for its cool climate and mystery. Dalat is famous for its countryside charm and seaside destination. This city is also ideal for sports enthusiasts, allowing hiking and trekking and offering a wide array of adventures to do.

What are the things to do in Dalat?

In the very core of this place lies Xuân Hương Lake which is the place for the flower festival held every year. You can find the central market full of fresh flowers, vegetables, and candied fruit. If you’re up for an adventure, Dalat is the best place to go for hiking and mountain biking because of its terrains and trails. You can also drive straight to challenging trails of Lang Biang Mountain and serene and wonderful Bidoup Núi Bà National Park.

When is the best time to go in Dalat?

For your convenience, you must rent a car and drive it as long as you have an International Driving Permit in Vietnam. It’s best to go to Dalat in the cooler season. Cool breezes are felt particularly during November and January. Things heat up around May as it is the summer season. But then, the rainy season starts in April until November.

Hoi An Photo by Tam Nguyen on Unsplash

Hoi An

If you’re looking for a place that will bring you to ancient times, then this place is best for you. Hoi An’s walled city is the home for one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites called Ancient Town. The townscape, architectural buildings, and footbridges have not changed so be sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the past. If you also wanted to see pagodas and lantern-lights, thousands of lanterns are set aflame in the city’s heart in the Bon River.

What are the things to do in Hoi An?

Just a 10-minute drive from Ancient Town, you’ll hit An Bàng Beach. It is a favorite chill-spot because of the pristine shores and sands. After that, it’s best to go to the place of the lost kingdom’s ruins which is the My Son Sanctuary. It is another cultural heritage site that will bring you to the long history of war in Vietnam. You’ll see surviving structures and architectures that date back to the 7th to 13th century.

When is the best time to go to Hoi An?

Like any other place in Central Vietnam, the weather in Hoi An is very unpredictable but expect intense heat in the month of June to August, and rainy season during September to January. The best months to visit Hoi An are from March to May.

What are the best places in Southern Vietnam?

This region is the home of the commercial and busy city in Vietnam which is Ho Chi Minh. It is the modern metropolis so prepare yourself with crowded places and streets, dramatic and chaotic roads, and of course, traffic. Be sure to rent your own car and have an international driving permit to be able to drive around the places legally.

Mekong Delta Photo by Tomáš Malík on Unsplash

Mekong Delta

Known in the local area as the river of nine dragons as the Mekong is split into nine branches, crisscrossing landscapes before reaching the sea, you’ll find on-the-water villages.

What are the things to do in the Mekong Delta?

This place is famous for its Cái Răng floating in Cần Thơ and the flower farms of Sa Đéc. Nature lovers will definitely love Tràm Chim National Park for its wildlife sanctuary and lush green forest. Do not forget to stop by the Ong Pagoda and wander to Ninh Kieu Pier before going to Cần Thơ's local Khmer pagoda which is called Wat Pitukhosarangsay.

When is the best time to visit the Mekong Delta?

To get the best and full experience of the Mekong Delta, visit these places during the dry season which starts from April to May and October up to November. You get more fun out of a country when you visit them in a time where it’s not raining.

Phu Quoc Photo by Paul Szewczyk on Unsplash

Phu Quoc

Do you see how diverse are the places and the culture in Vietnam? This is a place that has everything starting from the ancient buildings and ruins, to beautiful landscapes, to cultural and religious sites, and now we’ll go to the pure white beaches and clear water.

What are the things to do in Phu Quoc?

Long Beach offers easy public access to water. You can also explore the hiking trails and freshwater springs in Suối Tranh. Try to get a sense of local culture and local life in Dinh Cậu, a modest temple at the end of Long Beach. Curious foodies can also visit the fish sauce factories in Dương Đông.

When is the best time to visit Phu Quoc?

Some travelers make decisions based on cheapest travel deals or based on the least peak travel periods, while others think about the ideal time to go to Phú Quốc. The best time to go here is between November and April before the rainy season.

What Are the Most Important Driving Rules in Vietnam?

Vietnam is definitely a timeless charm full of natural, historical, and cultural wonders. It will be easier and convenient for you to travel to these beautiful places if you rent a car so you won’t have to go through the hassle of going to the bus and wait in the long queues. In order to drive a car, you just need your International Driving Permit in Vietnam and your local license and then you’re all set to go.

If you’re ready to go to explore the wonders and this land of opportunities, you must remember and follow all the important driving rules in Vietnam in order to avoid unnecessary delays, unfortunate events, and accidents. Here are some of the most important driving rules that will guide you along your journey:

Drunk driving is prohibited

As part of the road safety laws in Vietnam, once the driver’s breath or blood shows any level of concentration, drivers will be penalized and should pay a fine between VND 1 million ($39) and VND 3 million ($117). As a tourist, you need to be very responsible when driving in another country and even your own.

No use of earphones and phone while driving

The use of cell phones and earphones while driving is prohibited. If you violate this, you need to pay a fine of VND 600,000-800,000 and your driving license will be revoked for up to 3 months.

No horns at night

You are not allowed to use your horn between 10 pm to 5 am just for fun or for no reason at all. This will cause public disturbance to residences nearby.

Overtake using proper signals

The driver must need to honk first or give a signal by means of light before making an overtake. If you attempt an overtake without knowing the right signs, this could cause an accident.

Implement the road right of way

In the road survival hierarchy, the bigger your vehicle is, the more priority you get. The right of way is dependent on the size of the vehicle.

Drive on the right roadside

Driving in Vietnam on the right side of road traffic is a must. Drivers should drive on the right side of the road. If you don’t follow this driving rule, Vietnamese drivers will notify law officials, or if you evade arrest—you could get into road traffic accidents.

Always use safety belts

The driver sitting in the front seat is required to wear safety belts. Under the Government’s Decree 46/2016, it is also mandatory for passengers to put on their seat belts in the back seats.

Follow the speed limits

The speed limit is 40-60 km/h (25-37 mph) on rural roads, while 30-40 km/h (19-25 mph) is the speed limit in urban areas. Observe the proper limit for your car speed to avoid violations.

Pay attention to the traffic signal

A green light means “to proceed” while red light means “to stop.” Amber light means stop behind the stop line. If you don’t pay attention to the traffic signals, road traffic accidents are bound to happen.

In case of an emergency

Emergency roadside help is available nationwide—just dial 113 for the police department, 114 for the fire brigade, and 115 for an ambulance.

Driving through Vietnam along with your International Driver’s License in Vietnam is one of the ways to enjoy what the country has to offer, nonstop truly. The application for an International Driving Permit in Vietnam can be done online, and it does not require passing theory and practical tests. All you have to bring is your local driving license.

You might ask if you also need an international driver's license in Vietnam. The answer is yes. You need that license to be a legal driver in Vietnam. Always have your international driver's permit with you. It will be one of your identification when you drive around the places in Vietnam.

If it is your first time to go to Vietnam, remember that you need to have an international driver's license to drive your own car. Also, remember the driving rules, traffic laws, and road conditions to keep you away from accidents. If you already went to Vietnam, be sure to list down the places you haven’t gone through and make sure to go this time.

Driving in Vietnam is safe as long as you follow the rules and you’re aware country’s road safety. There are many beautiful places to go. Enjoy your trip to the wonders of Vietnam!

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