The world’s best banh mi, the beaches of Cam Ranh, the historic charm of Hoi An and luxury for less: here’s why this all-rounder should be on your radar.
From the coconut-fringed vistas of the Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City’s French architecture and frenetic, food-cart-lined streets, Vietnam offers moments of astonishment even to the most seasoned traveller. Whether you’re seeking romance in Da Nang’s Marble Mountains, fun-filled adventure on Cam Ranh’s secluded shores or lifechanging iced coffees in old Saigon, Vietnam’s got it all.
The best part? It’s easier than ever to get there, with airlines like VietJet Air now operating direct flights out of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Here’s our pick of the best reasons to make Vietnam your next escape.
Ready to escape? Check out our Vietnam offers.
The food is pho-nomenal
Vietnam’s culinary scene has serious (pork) chops. Informed by historic French and Chinese influences, extraordinary produce (including mangosteen and home-grown rice) and supercharged by inventive brilliance, every street corner offers the chance to dine like royalty. The birthplace of the people’s worldwide banh mi revolution doesn’t disappoint: bite into an oven-warm baguette, crispy yet pillow-soft, and let your tastebuds cut through the richness of duck liver pate, tangy-sweet pickles and spicy pork sausage. It’s easy to find yourself surprised by countless quick, cheap and easy options, from iconic Vietnamese iced coffee spiced with cardamom and lashed with extra-sweet condensed milk, to crispy banh xeo crepes, best stuffed with prawns, wrapped in mint and perilla leaves and doused in fish sauce. That’s without mentioning the roaming pho merchants…
You’ll uncover centuries of history
Where else but Vietnam can you find the ruins of an ancient empire dotted across the heart of a modern resort city? With a list of fascinating sites spanning centuries – from Ho Chi Minh City’s serpentine Cu Chi Tunnels, used by Viet Cong fighters during the Vietnam War, to the lantern-strewn cobblestone streets of Hoi An – Vietnam is a history-lover's dream. Hanoi’s courtyard-filled Temple of Literature, originally constructed in the 11th century as a university dedicated to Confucianism, shouldn’t be missed – it offers a tantalising glimpse of the medieval kingdoms that once flourished across the delta.
The beaches are magnificent
With more than 3,000 kilometres of continuous coastline, there’s no denying Vietnam’s got plenty of beachfront to savour, and with sun-kissed spots like Bai Dam Trau featured in Travel + Leisure's ‘Most Beautiful Beaches in the World’ for 2023, it’s making waves as one of Southeast Asia’s hottest seaside destinations. Whether Nha Trang’s sapphire waters flanked by cafes and cocktail bars, or Phu Quoc’s dazzling white sands, if you’re after sun and surf, Vietnam demands attention. A visit to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay is a must: the ocean’s emerald waters shine brightly beneath lofty, jungle-topped limestone karsts, and there’s simply no more idyllic place to make a splash.
You can indulge in luxury for less
Bali and Thailand have long held the monopoly on affordable, fly-and-flop luxury, but Vietnam is hot on their heels with an ever more impressive roster of five-star resorts. After a fun-filled family adventure surrounded by soaring mountain ranges and the dazzling waters of the South China Sea? Less than an hour’s drive south from Nha Trang’s lively bars, theme parks and marketplaces, the award-winning Radisson Blu Resort Cam Ranh delivers the perfect slice of beachside bliss, with a world-class spa (with ice grotto and Himalayan crystal salt chamber), award-winning lobster restaurant and spectacular oceanfront pool.
For those in search of a pristine honeymoon spot, Banyan Tree Lang Co knows there’s nothing more romantic than a perfect sunset. Each of its private pool villas sits serenely amid the Truong Son mountains, gazing over the waters of Chan May Bay. The resort’s an easy day trip to Da Nang or historic Hoi An, so you’re getting the best of both worlds – explore ancient Japanese bridges, yawning caves and quaint marketplaces during the day, and return to enjoy an evening under the stars.
It’s easier than ever to get there
Vietnam continues to become more accessible to Australian travellers, as airlines increase capacity and add new routes to their networks. VietJet now flies twice-weekly from Brisbane to Ho Chi Minh City, and departures from Sydney and Melbourne are set to increase to four times per week. Perth will also be in on the action too, with a new twice-weekly route announced for November. Flight time is approximately nine hours direct and connections are available from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang (the airport for Hoi An) and Hanoi, so the country’s countless treasures are all for the taking.
Nathaniel Robinson travelled to Vietnam as a guest of VietJet.
Ready to escape? Check out our Vietnam offers.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out Hanoi vs Ho Chi Minh City: A First Timer’s Guide to Vietnam.