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Things to Do for Free in Vietnam – Budget-Friendly Adventures Await!

Even with a tight budget or after spending all your money, Vietnam provides countless free experiences. Whether it’s exploring bustling markets, relaxing in beautiful parks, discovering historic landmarks, or ... Read more

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  • June 9, 2024
  • Vietnam
  • 40

Even with a tight budget or after spending all your money, Vietnam provides countless free experiences. Whether it’s exploring bustling markets, relaxing in beautiful parks, discovering historic landmarks, or soaking in stunning landscapes, Vietnam offers plenty of opportunities for memorable adventures at no cost. This blog highlights some of the best things to do for free in Vietnam that allow travelers to fully immerse themselves in the rich culture and beauty of the country.

Free things to do in Hanoi  

Take a free stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake

Located in the middle of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is like the city’s heart, drawing in tourists and locals with its charm. At the center of the lake lies the iconic Turtle Tower next to The Huc Bridge and Ngoc Son Temple. While these landmarks might require a ticket, their stunning views are free. 

The atmosphere is especially captivating early in the morning bustling with local life. Mornings are filled with the energy of youngsters skateboarding around, and locals doing exercise or joining in lively Zumba sessions.  

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Hoan Kiem Lake

Walk around the Old Quarter of Hanoi 

The Old Quarter of Hanoi is packed with famous sights and attractions, making it a top spot for tourists. You can take a leisurely walk around the area, checking out historical sites and traditional markets. At night, the neighborhood comes alive with urban energy. And the best part? There are plenty of free activities to enjoy.

  • Explore Phung Hung Mural Street to admire incredible artwork depicting scenes from old Hanoi and daily life.
  • Visit the Hanoi Old Quarter night market, a sprawling 3-kilometer stretch from Hang Dao to Dong Xuan market, open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Enjoy browsing a variety of goods and savoring delicious food.
  • Check out Hang Ma Street, famous for its paper money and religious items, now transformed into a bustling market selling a wide range of crafts, including lanterns and traditional toys.
Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
The Old Quarter of Hanoi

Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of Vietnam’s revolutionary leader, President Ho Chi Minh, is a key landmark just 2 kilometers from West Lake. While it costs a fee to enter the mausoleum, walking around the outside can be just as enjoyable. The peaceful surroundings and meaningful plants offer a chance to reflect on Ho Chi Minh’s legacy in a beautiful natural setting.

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Another “must try” activity is watching the Raising the Flag Ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This national-level ritual, performed every early morning regardless of weather, takes place at Ba Dinh Square. The ceremony, considered a cultural treasure of Hanoi, starts at 6:00 in summer and 6:30 in winter, offering visitors a solemn and sacred experience.

Free things to do in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

The Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, located in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. This stunning 19th-century church, located next to the Saigon Central Post Office, features a beautiful red brick facade, intricate stained glass windows, and impressive twin bell towers. Its neo-Romanesque architecture draws countless visitors each year. 

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

The area around the basilica has wide streets lined with green trees, making it a great place for walking and taking photos. It’s free to take pictures, so you can capture the stunning views without any cost.

Experience the bustling atmosphere of Ben Thanh Market 

Ben Thanh Market is a lively place, always bustling with activity and offering a wide range of goods. When the sun sets, it becomes a bustling night market, packed with vendors and the delicious smell of street food wafting through the air. 

Visitors can wander around stalls displaying locally made items, like beautiful fabrics and handcrafted pottery, giving a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage. 

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Ben Thanh Market at night

When it comes to food, the market boasts a diverse array of Vietnamese dishes, including Vietnamese pancakes, avocado ice cream, noodles with grilled pork, grilled spring rolls, vermicelli with snails, and grilled meat skewers. 

Wander around Tao Dan Park

Tao Dan Park is a remarkable destination in Ho Chi Minh City due to its large number of trees, creating a clean and refreshing environment. Covering more than 10 hectares, the park is like a little oasis in the middle of the busy city, giving people a break from the heat and hustle. 

In the morning, the park fills with the sound of birds singing, making it a lovely place for bird lovers to gather and share their passion. The weather is cool and refreshing in the morning, perfect for a visit whether you want to work out or just chill. 

Tao Dan Park

Tao Dan Park is a great starting point for visiting various tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City. From here, you can easily reach popular sights like the Central Post Office, the Saigon Opera House, the Independence Palace, and the Bui Vien walking street. 

You can also walk around the streets to explore the buildings with French-style architecture. It’s a good idea to use a self-guided walking tour of the city center to explore and enjoy these interesting places and areas.

Free things to do in Hue

Hue Imperial City (Outside)

Hue Imperial Palace, standing for over 200 years, has remarkably endured the test of time and war, maintaining its grandeur and magnificence. This historic complex, with its palaces, fortresses, and tombs, offers a profound glimpse into Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage. To fully explore the palaces within the complex, visitors typically need to spend at least three hours, with an entrance fee of $7,85 (200.000VND). 

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Ngo Mon Gate

For those short on time or looking to save on admission, a walk along the Perfume River provides a free alternative to view the Meridian Gate and walls. The Meridian Gate, also known as Ngo Mon Gate, serves as a notable architectural and cultural symbol of Hue City, offering stunning photo opportunities at no cost.

Visit Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda, situated on Ha Khe Hill, 5 kilometers from Hue city, is easy to reach from the city center. There is no admission charge so visitors can explore this beautiful pagoda free of cost.

The most notable feature of the pagoda is the Phuoc Duyen Tower, originally called the Tu Nhan Tower. This octagonal tower stands seven stories tall and often appears in poems and songs about Hue, symbolizing the old imperial capital.

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Thien Mu Pagoda

The pagoda also has other interesting features, the Three-door gate, guarded by 12 holy protectors, and Dai Hung Shrine – the main hall with its beautiful architecture. Here, Buddhist monks pay homage to three Buddha statues representing the past, present, and future, adding to the spiritual ambiance of this iconic pagoda.

Free things to do in Hoi An

Hoi An Ancient Town (by day)

Hoi An Ancient Town is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well-preserved architecture, reflecting a blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences. One of the most beloved free things to do In Hoi An is to wander around the Old Town early in the morning.

Before 8 AM, tourists can freely walk around the ancient town of Hoi An without any charges. You can observe the local people’s daily routine, such as getting up early to exercise and preparing to open their shops and restaurants. At the same time, you can also admire the tranquil morning scenery, with the fresh air and the old houses still quietly closed.  

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Hoi An Ancient Town

Surrounding the town are peaceful villages where traditional crafts like carpentry, bronze making, and ceramic art thrive. Hoi An’s vibrant local markets also offer a free opportunity for visitors to experience authentic Vietnamese life and culture.

Relax at An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach is approximately 4km from the center of Hoi An Town.  It’s renowned as one of the country’s top beaches, cherished for its natural beauty and unspoiled charm. With soft, white sand and clear, blue waters, it’s a perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming.

The beach enjoys a refreshing sea breeze and gentle waves, offering a tranquil setting for beachside strolls and relaxation. Visitors can enjoy these activities for free, along with admiring the stunning scenery and lush palm trees lining the coast.

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Relax at An Bang Beach

Free things to do in Da Nang

Watch the fire-breathing show on Dragon Bridge

The Dragon Bridge is well-known for its astonishing architecture and captivating fire and water performances. Watching the fire-breathing show on the bridge is an exciting experience on weekend nights and it’s free. 

The performances happen regularly on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 PM. Spectators can get a close view of the action, but be careful near the dragon’s head to avoid getting wet from the water-breathing part of the show.

Additionally, visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk along the Bach Dang Street riverside promenade, which is popular among locals for morning exercise and evening entertainment. 

Things to Do for Free in Vietnam
Dragon Bridge

In the evenings, the promenade buzzes with activity, with people of all ages dancing, enjoying hip-hop performances, spending time with family, or walking their pets. It’s a lively spot with something for everyone to enjoy.

Con Market

Con Market, one of the oldest and most famous markets in Da Nang, Vietnam, gives visitors a chance to experience the traditional culture of the city for free. With over 2000 stalls, the market sells a wide variety of products, including scarves, fabrics, jewelry, fresh and dried goods, coffee beans, and traditional ceramic and handicraft items. While you’re there, don’t miss out on trying some typical Da Nang dishes like banh mi, goi cuon, banh xeo, and mi Quang.

Conclusion

Exploring Vietnam on a budget has many benefits, letting travelers enjoy the country’s rich culture and beautiful landscapes without spending too much. These experiences save money and offer a real taste of Vietnam’s lively life and traditions. So, dive into these free adventures and make the most of your trip through this amazing country. For more travel tips and itineraries, check out Absolute Asia Travel. 

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