The fully vaccinated population of Ho Chi Minh City is over 80%, while it is 70% in Hanoi, and COVID-19 restrictions are loosening day by day across the country. After a good chunk of the year spent under lockdown and with the holiday season right around the corner, it is no wonder we are all longing to travel.
The good news for green pass holders (people are considered green pass holders 14 days after their second COVID-19 vaccination) is that more and more destinations in Vietnam are opening up for domestic visitors.
Of course, the pandemic is not over and only 30% of the country is fully vaccinated. Hence, different regulations apply depending on where you are coming from, and whether it is categorised as low, medium, or high-risk areas, and might change depending on the ground situation.
At the time of writing, the following 6 destinations are welcoming fully vaccinated domestic travellers from Ho Chi Minh City with no quarantine requirements!
- Da Nang
- Hoi An
- Phu Quoc
- Da Lat
1. Da Nang – Beach City Paradise
Just a 90-minute flight away from Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang awaits you with a splendid change of scene. Da Nang, the top beach city in Vietnam, brings you the best of both worlds, the paradise of pristine white sandy beaches and the variety of city life with upmarket shopping and good dining options.
2. Hoi An – Incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site
Step into the past at Hoi An’s carefully and beautifully preserved ancient town. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is a prime example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th century. Its unique architecture includes Chinese assembly halls, French colonial buildings, Vietnamese timber shophouses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.
While you are in Hoi An, visit some of its amazing beaches nearby, especially An Bang Beach. A short 10 minutes drive from the ancient city, An Bang Beach is a tranquil small stretch of beach boasting great cafes and restaurants.
3. Hue – Peaceful Old Capital City
Located in Central Vietnam, Hue, the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam, is considered the cultural cradle of the country.
It is home to many historic treasures. Make sure you have the time to visit some pagodas, temples, and ruins to understand the historic significance of the place. We suggest visiting the Imperial City, citadel, mausoleums of old emperors, and Thien Mu Pagoda.
While visiting the amazing Hue, of course, you have to tuck into a hearty bowl of bun bo hue – the classic dish from Hue. The broth is the highlight of the meal, made from beef bones, it is rich, complex, and exceedingly satisfying.
4. Hanoi – Culture-Filled Capital City
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a great place to understand Vietnam’s modern history, and of course to eat Northern Vietnamese cuisine.
We love to start the day in Hanoi by cycling around its great lakes, Hoan Kiem Lake or West Lake. Getting lost in the Old Quarter’s crafts streets is always a treat, where you can shop for silk or paper goods.
Vietnamese street food has its origins in dynastic Hanoi; it is no wonder it has the most vibrant street food scene in the country.
- Insider guide to Hanoi off the beaten track
- The Best Local Food in Hanoi: 19 Must-Try Dishes in Vietnam’s Foodie Paradise
5. Phu Quoc – Dreamy Tropical Island
Can you believe that it only takes an hour to fly from Saigon to the literal island paradise – Phu Quoc Island?
This up-and-coming destination is developed enough to have amazing resorts but is still enough of a secret to be a rustic hideaway, a true getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Discover the Phu Quoc National Park, home to native flora and fauna, come here to hike and enjoy tropical wildlife. Plan a family fun day at the Vinpearl Land Amusement Park, even adults will enjoy the astounding views of the coast from the longest cable car ride in the world.
Of course, the main attraction of this sunny island is its immaculate beaches. Some are quiet pristine white sandy stretches, and some are packed full of life with fishing boats and seafood restaurants. The best way to see some of the loveliest beaches (and sample the catches of the day) is by motorbike, we suggest you devote a day to the northern side and another to the south, to experience them all!
6. Da Lat – Pine Forest and Fresh Produce
Looking to escape to the mountains? Lucky for you, Da Lat is on the list! Sitting at 1,500 metres above sea level, Da Lat enjoys a lovely temperate climate, making it a wonderful change from usually hot and polluted Saigon.
Because of its ideal climatic conditions, Coffee, wine, strawberries, avocados, and many other fruits and vegetables, are all grown in this fertile area.
Stay in the city centre to enjoy the widest variety of food. Visit the local markets to taste everything the region has to offer. Check out the restaurants for farm to table delights. Enjoy the night market for street food offerings (definitely try the Vietnamese pizza).
Or escape to the outskirts to truly immerse yourself in nature. Here you can camp in the enchanting pine forests, kayak around the great lakes, or visit farms to understand how different produce are grown, and even harvest some yourself.
Travel Tips Before Departure
- Be sure to take note of any pre-travel requirements (e.g. taking a COVID-19 test at a clinic or hospital, filling up any domestic travel forms, and downloading the green pass mobile applications)
Where to Get COVID Testing Ho Chi Minh City
- Do book your hotels in advance as some places may not yet be accepting inter-provincial visitors
- Stay on top of the news regarding the changing pandemic situation both in your departure and arrival destinations to avoid any unpleasant surprises
- Confirm any details with both your hotel and airlines prior to flying
With the festive season, school holidays, or just general wanderlust upon us, it is amazing to be able to travel around wonderful Vietnam again. The list of available travel destinations may still be short, but there is plenty of variety to enjoy, from ancient towns to tropical beaches!
For those choosing to stay in Saigon, we have a list of 10 great staycation hotels right here in Ho Chi Minh City. As always, stay up to date with exciting ongoing activities by joining Vietnam is Awesome community on our Facebook page.