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40 Unforgettable Experiences to Have in Vietnam

05/18/2015 03:21 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2016

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Cruising around Halong Bay

From must-do activities like cruising around Halong Bay or crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels to brag-worthy feats like drinking snake wine or scuba diving in the South China Sea, here are 40 unforgettable experiences to have in Vietnam. See how many you can check off on your trip.

1. Ride a classic cyclo, Vietnam's ubiquitous three-wheel bicycle taxis.

2. Tuck into a bowl of steaming pho at a street-side restaurant.

3. Light incense at the famous Perfume Pagoda, one of Vietnam's most famous Buddhist shrines.

4. Take a bike tour of Hoi An's charming Old Town.

5. Hire a motorbike and zoom along the city streets.

6. Attend one of Vietnam's unique festivals like the Elephant Racing Festival in Tay Nguyen, the Huong Pagoda Festival or the Le Mat Snake Village Festival.

7. Take a hill tribe trek through the Sapa Valley.

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam
Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

8. Get a suit or dress tailor-made in Hoi An.

9. Learn about Vietnam's turbulent war years at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

10. Watch a traditional water puppet show in Hanoi.

11. Take a street food tour of Hanoi.

12. Ride a dug-out canoe around Lak Lake.

13. Visit the Cai Be floating market on a cruise along the Mekong Delta.

Hiking through the Sapa Hills Hiking through the Sapa Hills

15. Crawl through the famous Cu Chi Tunnels on a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.

16. Check out Vietnam's tallest temple, the seven-story Tien Mu Pagoda in Hue.

17. Top up your tan at the white sand beaches of Phu Quoc island.

18. Go sandboarding down the Mui Ne sand dunes.

19. Experience Vietnam's rich cultural heritage with a show at the Saigon Opera House in Ho Chi Minh.

20. Hunt for bargains at the markets of Ho Chi Minh City.

21. Enjoy wildlife spotting and bird watching in the UNESCO-listed Can Gio Biosphere Reserve.

Eating out in Vietnam Eating out in Vietnam

22. Savor the unique flavors of Vietnamese cuisine with a cooking class.

23. Visit the UNESCO-listed ruins of My Son.

24. Attend a traditional Vietnamese wedding.

25. Ride the scenic Reunification Express train all the way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city.

26. Hike through the Cuc Phuong National Park.

27. Get off-the-beaten-track and explore the natural grottoes of Tam Coc.

28. Take a cruise around Halong Bay on a Junk boat.

29. Purchase some typical Vietnamese souvenirs, like a conical hat, a tailored silk blouse or local handicrafts.

31. Pay your respects to the founder of unified Vietnam at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex in Hanoi.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

32. Photograph the spectacular rice terraces surrounding Sa Pa.

34. Look down over Ho Chi Minh City from the Saigon Skydeck.

35. Join the festivities at the vibrant Tet Festival, the Vietnamese New Year.

36. Scale Vietnam's highest peak, Fan Si Pan.

37. Try Vietnam's scariest beverage, Snake Wine - if you dare.

38. Stroll through the spectacular Paradise Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

39. Take a steamy bath in the Thanh Tan Hot Springs.

40. Enjoy a traditional foot massage while lounging on the beach.

-- Contributed by Zoe Smith for Viator
All photos courtesy of Viator