Where To Stay In Vietnam For First-Time Travelers: The Ultimate Guide

A diverse group of friends enjoying dinner at a bustling night market.

Planning a trip to Vietnam for the first time can be overwhelming; there’s just so much to see and do! Did you know that this beautiful country boasts everything from dynamic cities and stunning natural landscapes, to exotic jungles and pristine beaches? In this guide, we’ll navigate through Vietnam’s best destinations, helping you pick the perfect spots to stay based on your interests.

Let’s embark on an amazing journey together – Vietnam awaits!

Key Takeaways

  • Vietnam offers a diverse range of destinations for first-time travelers, from bustling cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to natural wonders like Sapa and Ha Long Bay.
  • Each destination in Vietnam provides unique cultural experiences, such as exploring ancient temples, tasting local cuisine, and immersing yourself in vibrant street markets.
  • When choosing where to stay in Vietnam, consider factors like budget considerations, preferred activities and interests, and the climate during your visit. There are accommodation options available for every budget range.

Overview of Vietnam’s Top Places to Stay

Overview of Vietnam's Top Places to Stay 133254907Ho Chi Minh City in a vibrant and diverse environment.” title=”An adventurous traveler explores the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City in a vibrant and diverse environment.” class=”awimage” />

Vietnam’s impressive diversity in landscapes and culture make it a dream destination for first-time travelers. This fascinating country offers accommodation options that suit all tastes, from the bustling urban atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh City to the serene natural beauty of Halong Bay.

Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest city and main gateway, teeming with French-style buildingstempleshotels, restaurants and vibrant street stalls.

Beach lovers should head straight to Halong Bay with its breathtaking ocean vistas where staggering limestone islands rise majestically out of the water. For those inclined towards outdoor adventures, areas ideal for trekking are aplenty.

The idyllic town of Sapa often referred to as “Town of Clouds”, provides exquisite trekking trails through rice terraces and native villages. Each place you choose to stay in Vietnam will provide a unique insight into its rich history and stunning natural beauty while catering perfectly to your budget needs as well.

Hanoi – The Capital City

A stunning photo of the Long Bien Bridge at sunset, capturing the bustling atmosphere and unique cityscape.

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is also known as the “City of Lakes”. It boasts a large and world-famous mosaic. Walking around, you may see the old Long Bien Bridge. Night time in Hanoi brings life to exciting markets.

You can find temples that carry a lot of history. If you love trying new drinks, you will like the sleek cocktail bars here. Many people love Hanoi for its food scene which always has something new to taste!

Where To Stay in HANOI , Vietnam ? - 3 of The Best Areas

Ho Chi Minh – The Most Populous City

A vibrant city street filled with motorbikes and colorful buildings, capturing the bustling atmosphere and diversity of people.

Ho Chi Minh City is the busiest spot in Vietnam. Lots of people live here. It only takes up a small part of Vietnam, but it’s full of life. You will love the food you can get on the streets.

People like to say that Ho Chi Minh City has some of the best treats.

The locals may call this city Saigon. This name comes from its past history as a French city and capital. First-time visitors find Ho Chi Minh very inviting with lots to see and do here.

If you’re thinking about where to stay in Vietnam for your first time, this place should be on your list!

Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Where To Stay

Da Nang – The City of Bridges

Dragon Bridge at night with colorful lights surrounded by a bustling cityscape and diverse crowd.

Da Nang is a big city in central Vietnam known for its bridges. The Dragon Bridge and the Golden Bridge are famous landmarks in the city. You can walk or drive across these impressive structures and enjoy the beautiful views they offer.

Another popular attraction in Da Nang is the long cable car, which takes you up to a mountain offering stunning panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. When it comes to food, Da Nang has a diverse culinary scene with both local and international dishes available.

If you love beaches, you’re in luck because Da Nang has a long stretch of white sand beach where you can relax and soak up the sun. Getting to Da Nang is also easy as it has an international airport as well as train and bus stations that connect it to other parts of Vietnam.

Where to stay in Da Nang, VIETNAM?

Sapa – Town of Clouds

A vibrant photograph capturing the breathtaking beauty of rice terraces and mist-covered mountains in Sapa.

Sapa is a picturesque town in Northwest Vietnam, known for its breathtaking scenery and misty landscapes. Nestled in the Lao Cai Province near the Chinese border, Sapa offers a unique travel experience for first-time visitors.

Easily accessible from Hanoi, you can reach Sapa by train or bus. Once you arrive, you’ll be mesmerized by the stunning rice terraces that cover the mountainsides and create a captivating view of verdant beauty.

The local ethnic minorities add vibrancy to Sapa’s cultural tapestry, with their colorful traditional clothing and warm hospitality. For adventurers seeking some thrill, Mount Fansipan awaits nearby as Vietnam’s tallest peak – perfect for hiking enthusiasts.

Whether it’s wandering through local markets or immersing yourself in the natural wonders surrounding this “town of clouds,” Sapa promises an unforgettable stay during your trip to Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay – UNESCO World Heritage Site

'A traditional junk boat sails through the stunning limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay.'

Ha Long Bay is a famous place in Vietnam that you should visit. It’s located in Quang Ninh Province, about 170 kilometers southeast of Hanoi. The bay is known for its beautiful limestone karsts and picturesque landscape created by the limestone mountains.

There are around 1,600 islands and islets in this bay, which makes it a stunning sight to see. UNESCO has recognized Ha Long Bay multiple times for its natural beauty and cultural significance.

So when you go to Vietnam, make sure to add Ha Long Bay to your itinerary!

Ninh Binh – Land Version of Ha Long Bay

A photo of rice farmers in traditional hats, working in lush green fields with diverse appearances and a bustling atmosphere.

Ninh Binh is often called the “land version of Ha Long Bay” because of its stunning landscapes. Located about 100 kilometers south of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, Ninh Binh is known for its natural beauty and attracts thousands of tourists every year.

The area of Tam Coc and Trang An are must-visit destinations in Ninh Binh, offering picturesque scenery including rice fields and mountains. It’s like experiencing Ha Long Bay on land! This province is famous for its unique limestone formations that resemble those found in the iconic Ha Long Bay.

If you want to explore breathtaking landscapes without going on a boat, Ninh Binh should definitely be on your list when visiting Vietnam.

Hue – The Imperial City

A stunning aerial view of The Imperial City at sunset, surrounded by lush greenery and the Perfume River.

Hue is the home of the Imperial City, an important structure from the Nguyen Dynasty. This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on the banks of the Perfume River and offers stunning views.

The dynasties that lived in this city had a significant influence on Vietnam and even the world. If you’re seeking cultural experiences, Hue is a must-visit destination.

Hoi An – Ancient City and Lantern Town

The photo captures a vibrant lantern hanging from an ancient building in Hoi An, showcasing a bustling cityscape.

Hoi An is a small town on the central coast of Vietnam. It is famous for its Ancient Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, Travel + Leisure called it the “most charming city in the world” in 2019.

One of the things that makes Hoi An so special are its colorful lanterns that light up the streets at night. These lanterns create a magical and romantic atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else.

Hoi An also has a rich history as a major trading port in Asia, and you can still see remnants of its past in its architecture and narrow streets. And if you’re looking to relax by the beach, Hoi An has beautiful beaches where you can soak up some sun and swim in clear blue waters.

Tips for First-Time Travelers

A photo of a traditional Vietnamese house surrounded by vibrant rice fields, capturing the bustling atmosphere of the area.

When choosing where to stay in Vietnam for the first time, it’s important to consider the right location, budget considerations, cultural experiences, and recommended accommodations.

Choosing the right location

A serene waterfall surrounded by lush greenery, captured with a high-quality camera for a stunning visual experience.

To make the most of your trip to Vietnam, choosing the right location is essential. Whether you prefer bustling cities or serene natural landscapes, Vietnam has something for everyone.

Hanoi, the capital city, offers a glimpse into Vietnamese history and culture with its ancient temples and vibrant street markets. Ho Chi Minh City, on the other hand, is known for its modern skyscrapers and lively nightlife.

If you’re a nature lover, consider visiting Da Nang or Sapa – both offer stunning views and outdoor activities. Ha Long Bay boasts breathtaking scenery that’s recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For those looking to explore unique landscapes on land, Ninh Binh is often referred to as the “land version” of Ha Long Bay. Hue is perfect for history buffs who want to delve into Vietnam’s imperial past while Hoi An offers a charming blend of ancient architecture and lantern-filled streets.

In addition to considering your interests when choosing a location in Vietnam, it’s important to factor in practical considerations such as budget and travel time between destinations.

Keep in mind that each region may have different weather patterns throughout the year, so be sure to research the best time to visit based on your preferred activities and climate preferences.

Budget considerations

A vibrant Vietnamese market scene with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and spices.

To make the most of your trip to Vietnam, here are some important budget considerations:

  • Plan your budget for accommodation, transportation, activities, food, and other miscellaneous expenses.
  • Consider the cost of meals when planning your daily expenses. The article provides information on meal costs in Vietnam for 2023.
  • Refer to Nomadic Matt’s detailed budget travel guide for Vietnam to get tips on saving money and finding affordable accommodations.
  • Choose a place to stay based on your specific budget, interests, and travel style.
  • Sort out visas and purchase travel insurance before your trip.
  • Be selective when planning your itinerary to avoid overspending or rushing through experiences.

Cultural experiences

A group of people wearing traditional Vietnamese costumes performing music and dance.

Vietnam offers a wide range of cultural experiences that will immerse you in the country’s vibrant traditions and rich history. Explore the bustling streets of Hanoi, where you can witness daily life and taste delicious street food.

In Ho Chi Minh City, visit the War Remnants Museum to learn about Vietnam’s wartime past. Don’t miss the chance to experience traditional Vietnamese music and dance performances in Hue, known as the Imperial City.

In Hoi An, participate in a lantern-making workshop and take part in the colorful Lantern Festival. From exploring ancient temples to tasting local cuisine, Vietnam provides countless opportunities for you to soak up its unique culture during your first-time travel adventure.

Recommended accommodations

A photo of a luxurious hotel room with a city skyline view, featuring diverse individuals with different appearances and outfits.

Here are some recommended accommodations for first-time travelers in different cities across Vietnam:

CityRecommended Accommodations
HanoiThe Hanoi Old Town Hotel and La Siesta Hotel Trendy
Ho Chi MinhThe Chill Suites and Hotel Nikko Saigon
Da NangThe Novotel Danang Premier Han River and Sanouva Danang Hotel
SapaThe Eco Palms House and Sapa Panorama Hotel
Ha Long BayThe Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long and Paradise Suites Hotel
Ninh BinhThe Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort and Tam Coc Garden Resort
HueThe Moonlight Hotel Hue and Hue Serene Palace Hotel
Hoi AnThe Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel & Spa and Hoi An Ancient House Village Resort and Spa

These accommodations range from budget to luxury, offering a variety of options for travelers. Nomadic Matt also provides additional recommendations for accommodations in Vietnam. These options offer not just a place to stay but a taste of the local culture and atmosphere. Remember, part of the adventure is choosing the right location to stay, considering your budget and desire for cultural experiences.


A traditional Vietnamese woman in an ao dai dress stands in front of a colorful lantern-filled Hoi An street.

When it comes to finding the best places to stay in Vietnam for your first trip, you won’t be disappointed. From the bustling capital city of Hanoi to the vibrant nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City, and the serene landscapes of Sapa and Ha Long Bay, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for luxury accommodations, Vietnam has it all. With its rich culture, stunning scenery, and delicious food, this country is sure to leave a lasting impression on any first-time traveler.

Don’t miss out on exploring this incredible destination!


1. What is the best place to stay in Vietnam for first time travelers?

The best places to stay in Vietnam for a first-time traveler depends on what you love the most.

2. Is it safe for first time travelers to stay in Vietnam?

Yes, Vietnam is safe for a first-time visitor.

3. Can I find guides on where to stay in Vietnam during my visit?

Yes! You can find online guides that will help plan where to stay during your first time visit to Vietnam

4. Are there special travel tips for someone visiting Vietnam?

First time visitors should learn about local customs, street foods and transport options before coming.

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