Top Destinations in The South of Vietnam 2024
From island beaches to meandering rivers and floating markets, quaint UNESCO architecture to high-rise rooftop bars, southern Vietnam has something for everyone.
Ho Chi Minh city
Energized, innovative, and clogged with traffic — a lot of traffic – Ho Chi Minh City, originally Saigon, is the economic capital of Vietnam and the southern region’s primary hub. HCMC’s dynamic cityscape, a freewheeling, global metropolis, brings old and modern Vietnam together in the smallest of areas, signifying the city’s past as well as its future.
The weather in Ho Chi Minh City is generally warm and consistent all year. Heatwaves wreak havoc on the city from April to May, heralding the arrival of the rainy season from May to November. Temperatures drop slightly in December and January.
Visitors to Ho Chi Minh City can arrive by bus, train, or plane. Tan Son Nhat International Airport welcomes international and domestic arrivals on a daily basis, and several bus companies operate shuttles from Phnom Penh to destinations throughout Vietnam. A steady stream of train passengers also passes through Ho Chi Minh City. Taxis are plentiful, but those with a Vietnamese SIM card can use ride-hailing apps such as Grab. A large portion of the city is served by local buses. Visitors can also take a boat down the river for a day trip to the Chi Tunnels or the Mekong Delta.
Bicycling along the coast, spending afternoons by the pool, and feasting on delicious seafood with the sound of the waves in the backdrop make it easy to lose sight of time in Mui Ne. Brightly colored kites are a year-round sight on Mui Ne’s beaches, thanks to perfect conditions for kitesurfing and windsurfing. This beachfront resort has grown over the years to include a variety of guesthouses and resorts. Come for the waves, but stay for the laid-back vibes.
Mui Ne is at its best between November and April, when the weather is slightly cool and windy. Visitor numbers in town peak between November and January, and kite surfers have a busy season between November and March.
Mui Ne, about 220 kilometers from Saigon, attracts weekend visitors from Ho Chi Minh City as well as travelers heading south from Nha Trang and Da Lat. Tourist buses frequently stop along the main street of Mui Ne. The nearest train station is in Phan Thiet, about a 30-minute drive from Mui Ne. It’s simple to walk to local seafood grills, shops, and beachside stalls. For attractions that are further away, consider hiring a taxi, a motorcycle, or using a ride-hailing app. Most hotels and resorts offer shuttle service from the bus and train stations.
Con Dao is a tiny archipelago off the southern coast that just a few tourists visit. Those who are willing to put in the extra effort will be rewarded with some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and the best snorkeling. The Con Dao National Park covers a large portion of the island. Its lush jungle will provide you with plenty of opportunities to create your own personal paradise.
The coolest months in Con Dao are September and January, while June, July, and August are the hottest. Con Dao is also prone to severe winds in December and January due to its location. The hatching season for turtles runs from mid-August until the beginning of December.
Flights leave from Ho Chi Minh City on a daily basis and land at the island’s small airport. From Ho Chi Minh City, you can also take a bus to Soc Trang and then the two-hour Superdong Ferry to the island. Con Son’s main town is flat and small, making it even easier to explore on foot or by bike. Major sights just outside of town, such as the prison museum and the Van Son Pagoda, are also reachable by bicycle. The rest of the island is best explored by motorcycle. Snorkeling trips can also be taken on small boats.
Can Tho appears to be a thriving city at first appearance, with a steady stream of business running down the Hau River. But book a room on its leafy banks, taste its sun-ripened fruits and delicious river fish, and cruise through its steamy canals on sampans, and you’ll soon realize Can Tho’s large city exterior is only half the story. What about the other half? Sunrises over the sea that are misty, afternoons spent lounging in a hammock, and balmy evenings heralded by a chorus of insects. Can Tho stands out against the bright blue sky of the Mekong Delta.
The climate in Can Tho is tropical. Summers are wet and humid, and the rest of the year is hot and dry. The coolest months are December and January. Rain falls on a regular basis from July to November, and the heat is turned on from March to June.
Can Tho’s international airport is only 20 minutes outside of town, and flights arrive from major Vietnamese hubs. Buses from Ho Chi Minh City arrive at the bus terminal four kilometers outside of town after a four-hour journey. Can Tho can also be reached via the Hau River on a cruise from Ho Chi Minh City or Cambodia. Local cabs are readily available once you arrive in town. On the islets and roads leading away from the city, cycling is also an option. Local ferries sail between the mainland and the islets on a regular basis.
The beautiful white beaches, blue waters, and laid-back atmosphere of Phu Quoc have won it a place in many travelers’ hearts. Days are spent on the beach, while nights are spent eating delicious seafood and gazing at the stars. A lovely shoreline may be seen on Vietnam’s largest island. The An Thoi islands have some of the greatest snorkeling and diving in the country, and Phu Quoc’s northern roads wind through thick woodland and split out into a number of self-guided hiking paths, beckoning you to explore on your own.
The months of November to March are ideal for visiting Phu Quoc Island because the weather is mild and the skies are clear. If you visit between April and June, you can expect a mix of sun and rain. The rainy season arrives from July to October, bringing heavy rains and milder climates.
Daily direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, and Hanoi to Phu Quoc International Airport are short and direct. There are also high-speed boats that travel between the island and the Mekong Delta towns of Rach Gia and Ha Tien. Traveling around Vietnam’s largest island is relatively simple, as there are plenty of taxis available. Visitors can also take advantage of ride-hailing apps and private car tours. Boat tours through the An Thoi Archipelago are a must-do if you want to go snorkeling and island hopping.
The border town of Chau Doc, brimming with lush forests, bustling riverbanks, and brilliant temples, is a compelling place to experience the mixture of cultures and colors that characterize Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Chau Doc’s hidden treasures may astound you: bizarre wetlands, ethnic Cham villages, and atmospheric temples. This small town has so many intriguing tales to share that you may need to stay a little while to hear them all.
There are two seasons in Chau Doc: rainy and dry. The rainy season begins in May and lasts until October, with the high water season lasting from August to November, making it ideal for visiting the Trà S forest and floating villages. From November to April, the weather in Chau Doc is sunny and dry, with blue skies and gentle breezes.
Travelers from major cities in Vietnam can fly to Can Tho Airport to get to Chau Doc. From Can Tho airport, it’s a three-hour drive to Chau Doc. Those traveling from Ho Chi Minh City can also take a six-hour direct bus or car. Luxury cruises run between Can Tho and Chau Doc, as well as from Cambodia into Vietnam, making them ideal for slower-paced travelers.
Read more: Top Destinations in The Centre of Vietnam