Pre-trip Reading List for Travelers to Vietnam


Upfront: We haven’t purchased nor read ALL of these books.

However, I have done a decent amount of research into the best books about Vietnam by checking out the contents and doing a deep dive into the reviews.

I’ve tried to pull a fairly diverse collection, as I know you’re all different. Whether you like some of them or not will depend on your current belief system around the Vietnam War, which is always a controversial topic.

We would love it if you added your comments on the books we’ve chosen AND let us know what we should add to the lists (and why.)

Most of the recommendations have eBooks available, and some have an Audiobook version. Hence, you don’t have to carry the extra kilos, which can add up, especially if you want to read more than one.

Pro Tip: Did you know you can get a free month on Audible and Kindle Unlimited? Here are the links:

Audible – 1 Free Month Trial and

Kindle Unlimited – 1 Free Month Trial

And finally, did you know the Audible and Kindle Unlimited perks are better if you join Amazon Prime first? You can also get a month-long free trial for Prime.

And if you are one of the rare people on the planet who don’t have an Amazon address – it’s free to join.

I also need to tell you that if you click on any of the buttons and buy from Amazon, we will receive a small commission – WITHOUT you paying any more. That’s what keeps the website running and us motivated to put in the time. You can read the full disclosure here.

READ THIS: For those of you using mobiles and tablets, the page is set up with a series of carousels that you can scroll from left to right. Hopefully, that’s obvious, but I just thought I’d mention it in case you don’t see the scroll option and think there’s only one book in each category.

Best Guide Books for Vietnam

These guidebooks are from the big publishers. I have a separate section for local guides below.

Best Guide Books for Ho Chi Minh City

These guidebooks for Ho Chi Minh City come from a range of publishers and focus on different aspects of our favorite mega city.

Best Guide Books for Street Food and Culture

These guidebooks Focus on the incredible street food and culture in Vietnam

Best Vietnam War Books

I guess the word ‘best’ is highly subjective for this category and depends on which side you believe was in the right (or neither.) I’ve based these choices on the number of 5-star reviews and accolades. Some are personal stories, and others are journalistic investigations.

Best Vietnamese Cook Books

What better way to remember your adventure to Vietnam than to prepare delicious Vietnamese cuisine at home? Vietnamese food is my (Shazz) absolute favorite of all world food. These four books are just a small selection of what’s available on Amazon in the Vietnamese cookbook category.

Fiction – Stories Set In Vietnam

With its rich history and culture, exotic Vietnam makes the perfect setting for a gripping novel. the selection below contains but a few of the classics and newer best-sellers available on Amazon.

Non-Fiction – Stories About Vietnam

I’m still working on this category. Let me know if you have any favorites I should add.

What Next?

As we learn more, we’ll keep adding to this list of the best books about Vietnam. So feel free to check back again soon.

In the meantime, if you want to know more about the practicalities of visiting Vietnam, head to our Vietnam Destination page. There’s a bunch of practical information, plus links to other blog posts about Vietnam.

For more on Saigon, start on the Ho Chi Minh City Visitor Information page, which has the answers to many frequently asked questions.

We’ll add more destination-specific pages as we can.

In the meantime…

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