How to Explore Vietnam Like a Local?

Vietnam has so many attractions, but instead of following traditional paths you can explore it from a local perspective. Check for some essential tips to ensure best local experience when in Vietnam.

Vietnam attracts increasing numbers of international visitors looking for authentic local experiences. There's no better option for exploring Vietnam than doing it like a local.

In this blog post, we've compiled a few essential tips on enjoying visiting Vietnam to the fullest by exploring its least-known attractions.

Prepare all required documents for the journey

Before you start your trip and indulge in the Vietnamese culture, ensure you have all the necessary documents ready. When it comes to traveling to Vietnam, you should prepare your passport and obtain a visa. 

When certain nationalities need to visit the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam, others may enjoy the benefits of a Vietnam online visa application. 

The online application requires meeting a few basic requirements, including uploading a copy of a valid passport and the applicant's face photograph.

The visa can be obtained in a few intuitive steps: filling out the online form, submitting supporting documents, and covering the processing fee. Once approved, the visa for Vietnam will be delivered to the applicant via email. 

Experience authentic dining

Visiting Vietnam without experiencing its authentic cuisine wouldn't be complete. Travelers can explore it either on their own or participate in cooking class programs with a local guide.

The class most often includes interactions with local sellers and the possibility of buying fresh ingredients to use next during the cooking process. Visiting the bustling market is an incredible and one-of-a-kind experience. 

During the cooking class, a local chef will demonstrate how to prepare a certain Vietnamese dish, and then you will have time to prepare the same dish on your own, supervised by the chef.

The most typical dishes of Vietnamese cuisine include fresh rice paper, seafood salad with herbs, Hoi An spring rolls, Banh Xeo, etc. 

Try classic street food if you prefer a more independent way of discovering Vietnamese cuisine. It is the guarantee of a unique atmosphere and authentic flavors.

If you need instructions on finding the best local food street, ask some local guides to get the most reliable information.

Discover Vietnam from a local's perspective

Make lanterns in Hoi An

Streets lit up with traditional lanterns are a trademark of Hoi An, making the town look spectacular, especially at night. If you visit Hoi An, don't miss the opportunity to learn how to create a traditional lantern with your own design. Usually, these lanterns are foldable, so you can even take them with you to your home country and offer them as a souvenir from Vietnam to someone. 

Visit a local fishing village in Hoi An

A visit to Hoi An is also a perfect chance to learn more about fishermen's daily life. Visitors can participate in eco-tour with local fishermen. During the tour, they can learn some traditional fishing methods.

The main attraction of the tour is paddling the traditional Vietnamese bamboo basketboat.

Explore rural life in Hue

Yet another perfect way to get to know local culture in Vietnam is to cycle around Hue. Go on a cycling adventure and explore Hue and its surroundings, passing by rice fields and visiting neighboring small villages.

Take a short break to try fresh sugar cane juice or other organic products. 

Immerse yourself in the local lifestyle

Homestaying is undoubtedly one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in Vietnamese people's local culture and lifestyle. Houses offering homestay are usually traditional huts.

During their stay, tourists have the opportunity to chat with the local family and learn about Vietnam's unique culture firsthand. 

Shop like a local

Buy at a floating market    

Vietnam is not only about rice fields and conical hats; its several centuries-old floating markets are another country icon. For many locals, boats used for markets serve as their homes for their whole life. 

The markets that are worth visiting include Nga Nam, Cai Rang, and Can Tho.   

Shop for local souvenirs

Before going back home, you will probably want to buy some souvenirs. Go to the local market and look for silk items, e.g., scarves or paintings. Other typical souvenirs from Vietnam are conical hats,  wooden clogs, ceramics, etc. 

Do remember to bargain when buying souvenirs. The act of bargaining is an integral part of the Vietnamese culture. You can pick up some basic Vietnamese phrases to make communicating with the locals easier. 

Wrapping Up

Vietnam has so much to offer to its visitors. Exploring its least obvious corners and discovering it like locals can be an unforgettable experience.

Enjoy your stay and maximize your time spent in Vietnam to the fullest.

Katarzyna Żyła
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