Vietnam is a growing hotspot in Southeast Asia for travellers. The strong influence of Vietnamese culture and the natural beauty of the region are inviting to many. The country also has so much to offer in terms of the best places to visit, devouring some exotic Vietnamese cuisine and thrilling things to do in Vietnam. If you want to complete your Vietnam trip on a budget, there are some free things to do in Vietnam.

Especially for Indians, it is quite an ideal destination for several reasons:

Vietnam is also relatively cheaper for Indians, so you can take a trip to Vietnam on a budget. If you are looking to further minimize the trip expenses, you can look for attractions or things to do in Vietnam for free. 

Here are 12 exciting things to do in Vietnam for free:

1. Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake

Huc Red Bridge over Haon Kiem Lake
Huc Red Bridge over Haon Kiem Lake
Image Credit: Tang Trung Kien

Also known as ‘Sword Lake’, it is situated in the middle of Hanoi. It is an important location in Vietnamese history. You can take a stroll around the lake, hang around the lake and get accustomed to the locals or simply read a book while overlooking the scenic views of the lake.

2. Explore the Vietnamese Arts and Handicrafts

Woman choosing lanterns in Hoi An
Woman choosing lanterns in Hoi An
Image Credit: JomNicha

Arts and handicrafts are an integral part of Vietnamese culture. There are several markets that promote locally-made handicrafts and art stuff. Especially in the big cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there are many art galleries and exhibitions one can explore for free. You can also see these traditional products along the famous floating markets of Vietnam. If you want to take home a souvenir, you can easily pick any of these items.

3. Window Shopping In Vietnam

Shopping at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City
Shopping at Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City
Image Credit: Tanjala Gica

The markets of Vietnam are huge and sell an umpteen number of products. Almost every city/town in Vietnam has a local market which sells local products right from agricultural produce to textiles and handicrafts. Shopping is quite cheap in Vietnam or else you can just take a stroll around these markets to learn more about Vietnam.

Every market also has several stalls serving food. Here are the top 10 traditional Vietnamese dishes you cannot miss

4. Visiting Pagodas

Bai Dinh Pagoda in  in Trang An
Bai Dinh Pagoda in Trang An
Image Credit: Pavel Szabo

Buddhism is a leading religion in Vietnam and hence it has many beautiful and ancient pagodas all around. Visiting a pagoda has to be on your Vietnam itinerary. Most of these pagodas are free to enter for visitors. One of them is the oldest Chinese pagoda located in Ho Chi Minh City. It is absolutely free to be expired by visitors. 

Vietnam Travel Tips: Make sure your knees and shoulders are covered while visiting any religious sites. 

5. Get To Know The Locals

Talking to Vietnamese locals
Talking to Vietnamese locals
Image Credit: MDV Edwards

The best part of visiting any foreign location, especially one as culturally rich as Vietnam, is to interact and learn from the locals. Spend time in local cafes, parks or town squares where you can get to know more about them. Listen to their daily life stories and other thoughtful insights. 

6. Stroll Through Old Quarters

Roam through Hanoi's Old Quarters
Roam through Hanoi’s Old Quarters
Image Credit: Vladimir Zhoga

Hanoi has a lot of history stored on every street and corner. The Old Quarters of Hanoi have some of the best stories of not only Vietnam but also Asia. One of the free things to do in Vietnam is simply treading through the alleys of this place. You will feel that you are back in time here. 

7. Travel To The Countryside

Visit Vietnam's countryside
Visit Vietnam’s countryside
Image Credit: Jimmy Tran

Visiting rural Vietnam can be an entire trip in itself. The lush green forests, rice terraces and little tribal communities living in these villages are inviting to the offbeat travellers. Wandering through the farms and meadows and interacting with locals can be one of the most adventurous things to do in Vietnam.  Visit a local’s house for a cup of tea or spend a night in one of the homestays and get an authentic experience of their life. 

Vietnam Travel Tips: In the countryside, ask before clicking a photo or recording a video. 

8. Visit The Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral landmark in Ho Chi Minh City
Notre Dame Cathedral landmark in Ho Chi Minh City
Image Credit: Take Photo

The Notre Dame Cathedral located in Ho Chi Minh City is a marvellous structure. Built in the 1800s, this place holds a lot of significance in Vietnamese history. You can spend almost half a day gazing at the beautiful interior decor of the cathedral and it is also one of the absolutely free things to do in Vietnam. 

9. Central Post Office Of Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Central Post Office in the downtown Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Central Post Office in the downtown Ho Chi Minh City
Image Credit: Khoroshunova Olga

The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City is a testament to the French influence on Vietnam. The French colonial architecture of the post office is unmissable to a traveller’s eye. The building was designed by a famous French architect in the late 19th century. You will leave mesmerised by the intricately designed interior and the lush exteriors of the post office building.

10. Pay Homage At The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Image Credit: Karasev Viktor

Vietnam has a rich war history. While visiting the country, one of the important things to do in Vietnam is to learn about it. There are many museums and other displays that a visitor can explore. One of them is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, built to pay homage to the heroes of the Vietnamese war and is a must-visit for travellers. 

11. Trek The Northwest Mountain Ranges

Scenery of Sapa, Northwest Vietnam
Scenery of Sapa, Northwest Vietnam
Image Credit: Phuong D. Nguyen

Nature is the freest form of entertainment and Vietnam has an abundance of it. Northern Vietnam especially has a range of serene mountains with unparalleled beauty. Trek or hike these mountains and spend some time at the top to transcend into a peaceful world. 

12. Free Walking Tours

Locals led walking tours in Hanoi
Locals led walking tours in Hanoi
Image Credit: Javier Dall

If you want to be guided to the tour the city but don’t want to spend it on a tour guide, get yourself enrolled in walking tours. Most of these are student-led walking tours. They can usually be seen in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Just get yourself enrolled in these walking tours or photo walks and get a chance to see Vietnam better. 

These are some of the many adventure things to do in Vietnam for free. Make sure to add these to your Vietnam itinerary to save on your trip to Vietnam. Do you know any more activities or things to do in Vietnam for free? Tell us in the comments below. 

More Vietnam:

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