Best Places to Visit in Vietnam
Vietnam is a long, narrow country located between the South China Sea and the borders of Laos and Cambodia. From the lush rice terraces and forested mountains in the north to the picturesque central highland valleys and fertile land, Vietnam is a scenic country. Beautiful beaches in the delta and south. Vietnam has gone through a lot of struggles.
Various Chinese dynasties ruled for nearly a thousand years until AD 938, and Vietnam became a French protectorate in the 19th century. After independence, the Vietnam War broke out. Vietnam today is a proud country and you can see why. Not only because it has firmly defended its independence, but also because of its incredible scenery and history.
When it comes to Vietnam, everyone’s first word is undoubtedly Halong Bay, a group of beautiful karst islands and landforms that stretch along its northern coast. Hanoi is a bustling motorcycle capital. Plan your trip to this beautiful Southeast Asian travel destination with our list of the Best Places to Visit in Vietnam and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Vietnam:
Located along the Chinese border, Sapa is a quaint remote town in the Hoang Lien Mountains in northern Vietnam. The 1,500-metre elevation should not be underestimated when navigating the terraces and slopes around this high-altitude mountain town. While there is plenty of natural beauty to lure you into this remote corner of the country, much of Sabah’s appeal lies in its raw and authentic culture.
Hike during the day through rice fields, pristine countryside and clouds over Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak. Besides the scenery, the most important thing is the chance to chat with these fascinating people along the way – local kids will keep up with it and try to sell you some of their handmade jewelry or try to improve their English by just talking to you.
The town of Sabah has fascinating French colonial sites worth visiting, such as the Gothic church, town square and town hall. Sabah is a large market town, and the various ethnic tribes in the area often get together to sell their handicrafts, making them excellent souvenirs. In the Sabah Cultural Museum, visitors can learn about the history and culture of these peoples.
Formerly known as Panduranga of the Cham Kingdom, Hue was once the capital of Vietnam. Located in the central region, Hue played a major role in the Vietnam War. Captured by the Viet Cong over the course of 24 days, thousands were killed here if considered sympathizers of the South.
Today the city is split in two by the Perfume River. There is the ancient city with the ancient ruined castle in the north and the modern city in the south. The Demilitarized Zone, which marks the former official border, is one of Hue’s most popular day trips, while the Thien Mu Pagoda is the city’s official symbol.
The most famous among the monuments of the city is the castle. The castle, once the seat of Emperor Nguyen, is a vast complex of magnificent palaces, ornate temples, walls and gates. The main attractions inside the fort are the Forbidden City, Thai Hua Palace, and Ngo Mon Gate. Another important landmark on the river is the Tianmu Pagoda, the official symbol of the city.
Also, along the promenade, it is recommended to pass through the park with its many statues, and then take a motorcycle or boat tour to the tombs of the emperors located on the outskirts of the city. Dating to the 19th and 20th centuries, Tudok’s tomb is most notable for its stunning Buddhist architecture.
3. Hoi An
Relaxed and charming, Hoi An has its own charm and is the highlight of any Vietnam itinerary. Just south of Da Nang and just a bike ride from some of the warm water beaches on the Central Coast, this atmospheric old town is a feast of color, with bright and cheerful lanterns adorning each building.
The narrow, winding streets of the old town are lined with beautiful historic buildings, Chinese temples and wooden-fronted shops, a great opportunity to shop and spend the afternoon in Hoi An.
Browse the market for tempting spa deals and have your dress or tailor-made suit handcrafted for you at one of the many premium tailors in town. Be sure to visit the ornate Japanese covered bridges and the glass-roofed houses of centuries-old Chinese merchants that are home to a quarter of the town’s population.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is indeed chaotic, but that’s its charm. An interesting mix of French and Sino-Vietnamese influences, it is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing cities. Visitors to this vibrant capital should be prepared. A hive of activity at best, chaos at worst – a city crossing the road can take your life into your own hands with cars, motorcycles and tuk-tuks in one place, right-of-way rules in cities without cities.
One of the best places to experience Hanoi’s craziness is Legends Corner. The well-located Legend Beer restaurant is the perfect place to sit down with a drink and watch the rush hour frenzy before sunset. You’ll see pedestrians, dogs, cars, tuk-tuks, and scooters interlaced in traffic, but somehow, accidents are rare.
For a change of pace, take a cruise on Tamsui Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter, or visit Thang Long Imperial City to learn more about Vietnamese history. The final resting place of the revolutionary leader and President of Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must-see.
5. Ha Long Bay
About 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, Halong Bay is known for its beautiful emerald waters, thousands of gorgeous limestone karsts, stunning waterside caves and beautiful tree-top islands. It’s a popular destination for adventure – scuba diving, canoeing, hiking and rock climbing are all available in and around Cat Ba National Park. For those who just want to relax and enjoy the scenery, you can choose from many Halong Bay cruises, from the basic to the most luxurious.
The thousands of islands scattered around the bay are a true hybrid, from isolated land homes to free-running monkeys and antelopes to larger inhabited islands with some stunning beaches. The best way to experience the natural wonders of Halong Bay is on a boat tour. There are hundreds of boats, from traditional Chinese sailboats to luxury cruisers, and boat tours can range from day trips to multi-night cruises. These tours often offer sightseeing stops for dining, nightlife activities, and visiting islands, caves, and lagoons. Most cruises are arranged from ports such as Hanoi or Hai Phong, Ha Long and Cai Rong.
Like most water resorts, Halong Bay is sensitive to weather conditions. Plan your trip between March and June to get the most out of your visit. June to September is low season so you can usually get some good deals – make sure to follow the weather forecast as monsoons can really impact your trip.
6. Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc is a scenic island in the Gulf of Thailand. Although officially part of Vietnam, it is actually geographically closer to Cambodia. Today, it is characterized by lush tropical forests, soft sandy beaches and rolling hills. But the island has a fascinating history, first as a base for French missionaries, then as a wartime prison during French colonial times – the shadowy reformatory you can visit today.
History aside, the main attraction of the island is its stunning tropical nature. During your days in Phu Quoc, you can sunbathe on the beach, ride a motorcycle in the fishing villages, visit pearl and pepper farms, and hike to waterfalls if you wish.
An island famous for its seafood, don’t miss the chance to try Phu Quoc’s famous fish sauce (nuoc mam) – you can even visit one of the fish sauce factories here!
7. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is located in Quang Binh province on the central coast of Vietnam and is one of the most scenic areas in the country. Known as the filming location for 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island,” the national park and nearby international airport are more popular than ever.
Opened to the public in 2010, the charm of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is an escape from the city. Here you will experience the life of the slow lane while cycling at your own pace in Kong Jungle. Home to 400 million year old karst mountains, there are hundreds of caves and mysterious rivers to explore. Son Doong Cave is a must visit. It is one of the largest caves in the world, with its own hidden forest, microclimate and underground river.
Due to its proximity to the Laos border, access to the park is tightly controlled, and visitors can expect to find a strong military presence here. This is mainly due to its war history – the park has the largest number of unexploded bombs in the world, so tourists can only visit this place with a licensed guide.
8. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest city. It is also the former capital of the Republic of Vietnam. When Saigon fell in 1975, it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, but the old name is still used today, especially when describing the city’s beating heart.
Ho Chi Minh City has it all – temples, museums, parks and tourist shopping. Whatever your interests, you can find something to do here. Climb to the top of the Saigon Observation Deck for stunning 360-degree views of the city – especially impressive at night when the lights are twinkling.
History buffs should not miss the opportunity to explore the mysterious network of Cu Chi Tunnels, which was the center of many military operations during the Vietnam War.
Also known as the Independence Palace, the five floors of the Reunification Palace are a fascinating place. This is a famous site in Vietnamese history as it records the time of Saigon’s fall when tanks broke through the gates of the palace. A replica of the tank can be seen on the lawn outside the palace. If you want to learn more about the war, you can visit the War Remnants Museum or the Vietnam History Museum.
9. Mekong Delta
Nicknamed the “Rice Bowl of Vietnam”, the Mekong Delta is Vietnam’s lush network of waterways, known for its excellent nutrient-rich soil and diverse ecosystems – the river’s banks are real for fruit, vegetables, rice fields and combined cattle ranches. It provides the livelihood of more than a third of the country’s population.
If you don’t count the Amazon, this impressive river front is the most biodiverse place in the world. Covering most of southern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is an extraordinary place filled with lotus waterways, rice fields, mangroves, and fascinating wildlife.
Tourists can explore the Mekong Delta and its towns such as Tra Rong, considered one of the delta’s most beautiful villages, by numerous buses and motorbikes. A boat trip to the peaceful tributaries and mangroves of the Mekong River is an unforgettable experience. You will be able to witness daily life on the river, past farmland, orchards, monkey bridges, buffaloes and floating markets by the locals, paddling in wooden canoes. The best time to visit the Mekong is during the dry season, from December to May, when flooding is less likely.
10. Nha Trang
If you’re looking for a beach, you’ve come to the right place. Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most famous beach resort with a relaxed atmosphere and excellent scuba diving. While not as large as many other beautiful beaches in Asia, Nha Trang offers warm waters and some picturesque offshore islets.
The promenade surrounding the beach is full of parks and statues that always make it fun to wander around here. Like most beach resorts, most of the action starts when the sun goes down, and Nha Trang is no exception. Near the waterfront, you will find many lively bars and restaurants.
However, there’s more to Nha Trang than just sunbathing and walking. Soak in the Thap Ba mud bath or take the world’s longest sea-crossing cable car. Dating back to the 7th to 12th centuries, the sacred Po Nagar Cham pagodas offer a glimpse into the city’s history – still active religious sites for Cham, Chinese, and Buddhists, even today.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Vietnam. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Vietnam, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.