Organized tours are a great way to experience Vietnamese culture, sights, food and surroundings.  Vietnam’s tourism industry is still rapidly developing and tours allow foreigners to learn unique and interesting things from local residents.  We have compiled a list of tours in Vietnam that offer unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

cycle tour mekong delta

Best Vietnam Walking Food Tour 

This amazing food tour is run by Australian expat Neville Dean who is quite the personality!  Not only is this tour fun and impeccably organized, it is also fortunate to be located in Hoi An where the food is already so diverse and the town is extremely walkable.  This tour allows you to taste some of these street food delicacies in a safe environment.  You will surely eat dishes on this tour that you typically would not eat on your own.

Best Vietnam Cooking School

This cooking school is the highest rated in the country.   Unlike many cooking classes which only offer 4-5 dishes to choose from, Van, the owner and teacher at Green Bamboo, gives each of her guests a list of over 50 dishes they can learn to make, while keeping things simple and accessible.  On top of that, you get to shop for your ingredients at the market before you begin cooking.  A truly local experience!

Best Vietnam Bicycle Tour

Vietnam Bike Tours is possibly one of the most experienced bike tour companies in Vietnam, and they offer tours throughout the country.  You can customize your own tour based on your own travel schedule, so you have the added bonus of flexibility.  Rest assured that should anything go wrong during your trip, a relief van follows you the entire way!  On top of being bike enthusiasts, the guides are very well versed in the local landscape and culture.  As is the case with many other companies in Vietnam, they also organize the occasional charity bike ride so it’s a good way to give back during if your trip if the schedules align.

Best Vietnam Photography Tour

This company operates mainly in Northern Vietnam, where there are so many varied landscapes and unique cultures.  It’s a small scale operation and they only have tours during designated times of the year.  This is also because the weather at certain times of the year will give you the best photographs in a particular region.  From a philanthropic standpoint, this company donates part of their proceeds to a local charity which is beneficial to the region where the company operates.

Hoi An is one of the most unique places in Vietnam, both culturally and architecturally.  It is definitely on many tourists’ agendas when traveling to Vietnam and one of the most fun places to photograph, from the yellow walled houses to the lanterns at night.  This company is run by two expat photographers who have extensive photography experience and knowledge.  You travel in small groups and go to places within Hoi An that offer the best vantage points for unique photography in the area.

Best Vietnam Free Tour 

Hanoi Kids is a volunteer organization that is very similar to Boys and Girls Clubs in other countries.  The volunteers at Hanoi Kids are youth in Hanoi who are very enthusiastic about teaching foreigners about their home city and Vietnamese culture.  The members of this organization lead the tours for free and any money that people wish to donate to them goes directly into supporting the organization.  What’s more, the members have a chance to connect with each other and build camaraderie.

Best Vietnam Art Tour 

Sophie is a Southeast Asian art history expert from England who has worked as a manager in galleries in Ho Chi Minh City.  She started this tour several years ago as a means to educate people on the diverse art repertoire, from North to South.  This tour is an incredibly insightful experience into the lives of the artists and their environment at the times the paintings were created.  Not only is this tour unique and one of a kind, it is an excellent way to delve into the culture of Vietnam.

Best Halong Bay Tour 

This cruise line is slightly different than all the other cruises in Halong Bay because it actually covers both Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.  Halong bay can get quite crowded with all the different companies operating in the area – sometimes it can be quite difficult to get a photograph of the bay without another boat in it.  Bai Tu Long bay is considerably less crowded and more peaceful.

Au Co is a step above in service and luxury in comparison to the other operators in Halong Bay.  You will see a marked difference in the esthetics of the boat, the quality of the food preparation and the sizes of the rooms.  Au Co is definitely a luxurious (and expensive) way to go if that is what you are looking for.

Best Vietnam Mekong Delta Tour 

If you are a fan of cycling, you can actually cycle from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta with Saigon Cycles!  It is a very unique way of spending 6 days in the South of Vietnam because the tour takes a very rustic and less-travelled route to the delta.  You also get to take a very intimate look at the lives of farmers and labourers who live in the area.

Best Vietnam Cave Tour

Vietnam is home to the largest cave in the world, the Son Doong Cave system!  It was only recently discovered and the first public tours within the caves start next year.  Only a handful of people are allowed to visit the caves per year and Oxalis is the only company permitted to lead expeditions in the cave.  Although it is quite the unique experience, it also comes at a very hefty price!  If this cave is out of your reach, fear not!  Vietnam is also home to other very unique caves within the Phong Nha Ke Bang national park, and the cavers at Oxalis are definitely experienced enough to show you around.

Best Vietnam Canyoneering Tour

If any of you are familiar with the TV personality Bear Grillz and his adventurous antics, you may remember an episode of Man vs Wild that he filmed in the Highland jungles of Vietnam.  Although you don’t see Bear’s tour operator in the episode, his name is Khanh and he is the primary tour guide at Phat Tire!  We can’t guarantee that you will get Khanh as your guide but it speaks for the calibre of expertise at Phat Tire.  Canyoneering in this area of Vietnam can be a thrilling, and sometimes scary, adventure so having experienced and safe guides is a must!

We hope that this list of  great Vietnam Tours helps make your time in Vietnam more memorable!  We didn’t add our own XO Tours to the list, however we are proud to offer some of the highest rated tours in the country.  If you are ever in the Ho Chi Minh City area, please check out all the tours we offer.

To continue to receive more amazing Vietnam Travel Tips, please bookmark our blog!

** Please note that we have no vested interest in any of the companies running the tours listed above and did not consult them when writing this blog post.  We are just offering our honest opinions on what we feel are some of the best and most unique tours in Vietnam **

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8 Comments
  1. Serena Doggett

    Foodies tour HCMC awesome the girls were great the food was awesome and would definetly do this again. highly recommended.

    • XO Tours

      Awww shucks! 🙂 Thank you for your support Serena!

  2. Leone

    I know you’ve already got a cycle tour on your list but we did a 4 day cycle tour from Hue to Hoi An with Pathbiker Tours and it was absolutely amazing! We were so well looked after, the scenery was spectacular, great food, awesome guide, and the driver totally looked after me when I was too tired to ride and opted to drive in the van with him. Would thoroughly recommend them.

    • XO Tours

      Thanks for the recommendation Leone! We will definitely consider adding Pathbiker Tours to our list.

  3. Sonia

    I will be traveling to vietnam from 17th of feb till 3rd march 2014.Your blogs were particularly helpful brinda especially for a first time traveler. I will be in hanoi and sapa. The only thing i am bit worried about is getting ripped of ( a lot) because i am foreigner, any tips?

    • XO Tours

      Hi Sonia! I’m glad that you found our blog posts helpful! Here are some things I would advise for your travels in Vietnam:

      1. Do not wearing any jewelry that can easily be ripped from you easily (necklaces, loose bracelets, dangly earrings). Even if they are not worth much, they could make you are target of snatch and grab thieves.
      2. Do not carry an over the shoulder bag. Only use backpacks or fanny packs if possible, and make sure you have put an external lock on your bag so that someone cannot unzip it easily. This is especially important if you take a sleeper bus or train. Keep anything of value within eyesight. Watch your bags and pockets in crowded markets.
      3. In Saigon, only use Mai Linh or Vinasun Taxis brands. In Hanoi only use Taxi Group or Vinasun Taxis. These are some of the few taxi brands that use reliable meters. You should be able to find at least one of these taxi brands in most cities within Vietnam.
      4. Do not take a ride from a cyclo that approaches you on the street. If you want to ride a cyclo, then try to book it through your hotel or a tour company that offers you a preset rate.
      5. Do not agree to buy anything (food included) unless the price is clearly listed. If a price is not clearly marked, then have the vendor write down the price for you.

      For the most part, Vietnam is a very safe country to travel in. Violent crimes against foreigners is almost unheard of, and we encounter many single women travelers that have a great and safe time here. Crimes of opportunities like theft and burglaries are fairly common however, so you do need to be aware of them. If you follow the tips provided above, you should really have no problems.

  4. Candy

    Hi! We will be travelling on October 2016.

    It would be helpful if the contact numbers of the tours listed above and their rate is listed (for budgeting purposes). Can I have their contact information?

    Appreciate your help.

    • XO Tours

      Hi Candy,

      We websites of the tour operators we recommended should have their contact information.

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