Shaken from war, Vietnam is a country which changes as you travel from South to North. Among the changes you’ll notice the Vietnamese people grow from cautious to confident, and the landscape changes from war ravaged, to world class. In Vietnam there are no shortage of activities. Here’s out top 5 list of things to do in Vietnam.

#1: Halong Bay

Not far from from Hanoi, In the Northern region you’ll find a stark contrast from anywhere else in Vietnam. Halong Bay became a World Heritage site in 1994 for the emerald colour waters and towering limestone pillars protruding from the ocean. Sailing the region on a traditional junk boat is the best way to enjoy the experience, and many junks offer overnight stays with dinner onboard. There are areas without the bays where boats berth, allowing short mountain hikes for spectacular views. Aside from the unique landscape to elsewhere in Vietnam, what makes Halong Bay special are the mountainous formations within bright blue waters. Certainly worth being on your list of things to do in Vietnam.

#2: Explore Hoi An

Hoi An is an incredibly special place. Like stepping back in time, the small town has been painstakingly restored to its authentic ancient glory. It’s an absolute delight to walk the town sighing ornate Vietnamese architecture, strolling beside the river of the old port town, and noticing an almost entirely absent 21st century. Hoi An is also known to be the place tailor made clothing or shoes to be made at low cost within 24 hours turnaround.

#3: Climb Marble Mountain

Located between Danang and Hoi An is a small cluster of marble hills with short walkways up each peak. Here you’ll enjoy coastal views, while being tucked away in the hills alongside small temples and religious shrines. In the township below you can enjoy purchasing marble sculptures, but the enjoyment really lies in the short nature hike to marble mountain peak.

#4: Hike Sapa

The hill region of Sapa, in Northern Vietnam is where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy plenty of hiking opportunities. Sapa township draws parallels to lowly maintained hill villages in other parts of the globe, dotted with unremarkable hotels and tour buses, but the joy of hiking from here is the best way to enjoy the countryside. Take the opportunity to sleep overnight in a guesthouse and learn to cook homemade Vietnamese food such as spring rolls. Note that while it’s nice walking trails in this region, you won’t be doing it alone.

#5: Explore Historic Ho Chi Minh City

Packed full of intriguing war history there is plenty to learn about in Ho Chi Ming City. Most people go straight to the Chu Chi tunnels, which are certainly interesting, but War Remnants Museum is also fascinating and educational, albeit slightly depressing. Curiosity is what will win you over in Ho Chi Minh; it’s a city lacking in visual joy but which makes up with historic value.

#6: Slide Down Sand Dunes At Muie Ne

For less than the cost of an ice cream at home, at Mui Ne you can rent a small square of plastic and enjoy the thrill of sliding down giant sand dunes. You’ll find the dunes close to Muie Ne beach in the Southern region of Vietnam. Hire a jeep form the township to transport you there and spend the day speeding down sand dunes.