Vietnam is quickly becoming one of the most popular travel destinations for Australians, thanks to its incredible natural beauty, fascinating history and culture, mouth-watering cuisine, and extremely affordable costs. For residents of Perth looking to embark on an exotic getaway, Vietnam makes for the perfect destination – it’s close enough for a relatively short flight, yet offers an experience worlds apart from home.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan the ideal trip to Vietnam from Perth. We’ll walk through when to visit, visa logistics, transportation, top attractions in each region, travel tips to stay safe and pack smart, how to experience the incredible local culture, and much more. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with a group, this guide will help craft your perfect Vietnam itinerary filled with once-in-a-lifetime memories. So grab your passport and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Vietnam!
When to Go
Vietnam’s tropical climate means warm and humid weather year-round, though the ideal time to visit depends on what kind of experience you want.
November to April brings cooler and drier weather, making it peak season with more tourists. January in particular is a wonderful time for sightseeing, as skies are clear after the rainy season. This is also the best time for beach destinations like Nha Trang.
May to June sees hotter and more humid temperatures. However, there are less crowds so it’s a good time for deals on flights and hotels. This rainy season is ideal for exploring major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
July to August is hot, humid, and rainy. Rural destinations like Sapa and the Mekong Delta are best avoided, though beach towns stay relatively dry. Travel costs are cheapest during this low season.
September to October brings scattered showers and rising heat. Festivals like mid-autumn festival make this a great time to experience local culture. Halong Bay cruises are ideal this time of year as the bay is less crowded.
No matter when you visit, pack lightweight and breathable clothing. The humid climate also means sun protection is essential year-round.
Australian passport holders need a visa to enter Vietnam. The easiest option is applying online for an e-visa, which takes just 3 days to process and costs about $35 AUD. Be sure to apply at least 2 weeks before departure in case of any delays.
An e-visa allows stays between 1-3 months. When entering Vietnam, you’ll need to show proof of exit (onward flight ticket) and sufficient funds for your stay.
Alternatively, you can get a visa on arrival at major airports and select land borders. This takes more time upon arrival and has stricter limits on length of stay.
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity remaining. Carry printouts of your visa approval letter and any other confirmations to ensure a smooth entry process.
Multiple airlines offer direct flights between Perth and Vietnam, taking around 7 hours. Here are some tips for finding the best deals:
- Book early – aim to book at least 2-3 months in advance for cheaper airfare
- Be flexible with dates – shift your trip a few days earlier/later to find better deals
- Consider budget airlines like Jetstar, AirAsia, and Scoot for lower prices
- Look for sales – sign up for email alerts from airlines to grab limited-time deals
- Fly mid-week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays generally have lower fares
Some recommended airlines for direct routes from Perth include Qantas, Vietnam Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines. Check sites like Webjet, Expedia, and Skyscanner to compare options across multiple carriers.
Vietnam Airlines has launched direct flights from Perth to Ho Chi Minh City starting in June 2023. The flights will operate 4 times per week on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, taking around 7 hours each way. This new route provides Western Australians with a convenient nonstop option for visiting Vietnam and connecting to other Asian destinations. It complements Vietnam Airlines’ existing Sydney-Ho Chi Minh City service and comes as the airline plans to increase Australia-Vietnam capacity by 40% in 2023. The flights make getting to Vietnam faster and easier for Perth residents looking to explore attractions like Halong Bay, Hanoi and the Mekong Delta.
When looking at routes with layovers, popular stopovers include Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. Just be sure layovers are long enough (at least 3 hours) to clear customs and make any connecting flights.
Vietnam offers a wide range of lodging options to fit any budget and style of travel. Here are some popular choices:
Hotels – Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have 5-star hotels for ultimate luxury. Mid-range hotels from $50-100/night offer clean rooms and helpful staff.
Homestays – Live like a local by staying in a Vietnamese home. Often includes home-cooked meals. Ideal for cultural immersion.
Some top areas to stay in each region:
- Hanoi – Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, French Quarter
- Halong Bay – Cruise boat or nearby Cat Ba Island or Bai Tu Long Bay
- Hoi An – Historic Ancient Town area along river or at An Bang Beach
- Ho Chi Minh City – District 1, area around Ben Thanh Market or District 3
- Mekong Delta – riverside hotels and resorts in Can Tho
Book at least 2-3 months out for popular areas, or even further for major holidays like Tet (Vietnamese New Year).
Top Destinations and Attractions
Vibrant Ho Chi Minh City
The buzzing metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (commonly still called Saigon) provides an electric urban experience. Dive into Vietnam’s sobering history at sites like the War Remnants Museum. Shop ’til you drop at Ben Thanh Market. Wander around lively District 1 to take in colonial architecture. Don’t miss an exciting food tour to sample Vietnamese staples like pho, banh mi, and ca phe da. At night, join backpackers on wild pub crawls through the city.
Serene Mekong Delta
Escape the city bustle and journey down the palm-lined Mekong River to experience Vietnam’s “Rice Bowl” region. Book a homestay with a local family to immerse yourself in daily life. Visit floating markets and farms via scenic boat rides. Don’t miss Ben Tre or Vinh Long to stroll through lush coconut groves. Relax by the riverfront in charming towns like Can Tho.
Vietnam’s bustling capital has so much to offer travelers. Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake to visit temples and eat street food. Tour the ornate Temple of Literature. Take a side trip to the stunning karst landscapes of Ninh Binh. Hanoi’s Old Quarter and French Quarter offer endless exploration, from historic architecture to delectable cuisine. Don’t miss the electric nightlife here.
Breathtaking Halong Bay
Cruising Halong Bay’s emerald waters dotted with towering limestone islands is a must-do. There are day and overnight cruise options, but opt for 2 or 3 days to fully experience the bay. Highlights include Titop Island for panoramic views from the peak, Dark and Bright Cave for incredible rock formations, and kayaking through breathtaking Ba Hang Floating Village. Schedule your cruise during shoulder season for smaller crowds.
Charming Hoi An
This ancient port city is renowned for charming lantern-lined streets, ornate historic architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine. Wander through the peaceful Ancient Town and cross the iconic Japanese Bridge. Visit local workshops to learn traditional crafts. Relax at nearby beaches like An Bang. Schedule a laid-back river cruise in a traditional boat. Hoi An also offers hundreds of custom tailors to perfectly fit clothing like suits, dresses, and shoes.
Vietnam offers many convenient transportation options for getting around:
Planes – Domestic flights connect major cities quickly and easily on Vietnam Airlines or budget carriers.
Overnight trains – An iconic way to travel Vietnam. Book a private cabin with bedding to rest while the countryside rolls by.
Ride-booking apps – Grab is Southeast Asia’s version of Uber, offering affordable cars and motorbikes.
Taxis – Readily available in cities, but agree on a fare upfront to avoid scams.
Cyclo tours – See the sights at a leisurely pace by bicycle taxi, popular in cities like Hanoi.
Boat tours – Cruise majestic scenery in destinations like Halong Bay and the Mekong Delta.
For the most freedom and flexibility, consider a combination of flying between regions and then using rides, taxis, or tours to explore once you arrive.
Vietnam is generally very safe, especially in tourist areas. However, as in any foreign country, it’s good to take some basic precautions:
- Only take marked taxis from official ranks – avoid unmarked cabs
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash – ATMs are readily available
- Keep valuables secure and don’t flaunt expensive items
- Don’t leave drinks unattended to avoid spiking
- Get up-to-date travel insurance with medical evacuation
- Avoid political or religious protests and demonstrations
- Be cautious of scams like rigged gambling games
- Never ride a motorbike without proper licenses and experience
Use hotel safes, money belts, and locked bags to secure passports, electronics, and other valuables. Only drink bottled water and avoid raw foods outside major hotels and restaurants.
Packing for Vietnam’s tropical climate means choosing lightweight, breathable clothing:
- Flowy blouses, dresses, skirts
- Light shirts and pants
- Swimwear if hitting beaches
- Sarong as a cover-up
- Wide-brimmed hat for sun protection
- Sandals along with walking shoes
- Sweat-wicking socks
- Lightweight rain jacket or poncho
- Power bank and adapters for electronics
- Small backpack for day trips
- Water bottle to stay hydrated
- Collapsible extra bag for shopping
- Copies of passport/visa to carry separately
- Motion sickness tablets for windy roads
- Hand sanitizer and tissue packs
With Vietnam’s affordable costs, you can pick up any forgotten essentials locally. Just focus on packing the basics and leaving room to bring home souvenirs!
Experiencing the Culture
Tantalizing Food and Drink
Get ready to fall in love with Vietnamese cuisine! Savor the complex flavors of pho noodle soup and spring rolls. Try banh mi sandwiches filled with meat, pâté, veggies and chili. Sample fresh tropical fruit at markets. Signature beverages include strong Vietnamese coffee and refreshing sugar cane juice.
Eat like a local at street food stalls, markets and hole-in-the-wall cafes. Night markets in cities like Hanoi stay buzzing into the wee hours. Don’t miss cooking classes to master Vietnamese dishes yourself.
Dining etiquette tips: Many meals are meant to be shared family-style. Use a spoon to take from shared plates. Add herbs, chili and lime according to your tastes. Sluurping noodles is normal and shows enjoyment.
Festivals and Events
Vietnam’s calendar is filled with lively festivals and holidays to experience traditional culture:
- Tet (Lunar New Year) – Major celebration with fireworks, feasts, family gatherings and colorful flower markets
- Mid-Autumn Festival – Children parade lanterns and families enjoy mooncakes
- Hue Festival – Art, theatre, music and circus in Hue every two years
- Da Lat Flower Festival – Parades and sculptures made from flowers in Da Lat
- Wandering Souls Day – Symbolic gifts honor deceased relatives and ancestors
Peak times at major temples include Perfume Pagoda Festival in the spring and Yen Tu Festival for Quan Am’s birthday. Schedule your trip around any festivals that interest you!
More Cultural Experiences
In addition to festivals, Vietnam offers countless ways to dive into local life:
- Take a cooking class to learn traditional recipes first-hand
- Wander through local markets piled high with ripe fruits, spices and handicrafts
- Learn ancient water puppetry at a Hanoi theater
- See eggs hatch at turtle conservation sites
- Hike through hill tribe Sapa’s rice terraces
- Visit handicraft villages specializing in silk, pottery, embroidery, etc.
- Relax at a traditional Vietnamese tea house
The possibilities are endless for cultural immersion across Vietnam!
One of the main appeals of Vietnam is that it’s incredibly budget friendly! You can comfortably plan on:
- Dorm hostels or budget doubles: $10-30/night
- Street food and casual meals: $2-5
- Motorbike taxis and public buses: <$1 for short trips
- Most attractions and parks: <$5 entry
So you can easily get by on a shoestring budget under $50/day. With mid-range choices like private rooms, nicer restaurants and more activities, budget $70-100/day. Opting for luxury hotels, fine dining and tours will run $150-250+/day.
Purchase a local SIM card for cheap data access on the go. Have small bills and coins on hand for easy transactions. Consider getting a travel rewards credit card to earn points on major purchases.
No matter your budget, Vietnam provides an unbeatable value!
Start Your Adventure – Perth to Vietnam Packages!
Vietnam packs endless beauty, culture, cuisine and excitement into one affordable destination. With this guide to help plan your perfect itinerary, trip highlights, travel tips, and more, you’re ready to start your Vietnam getaway from Perth!
Discuss options with your travel companions – you can enjoy a relaxing beach getaway, action-packed city exploration, peaceful cultural immersion in ancient towns, and so much more. Add Vietnam to your travel bucket list today for a life changing adventure!