This magnificent land brings you a mix of everything but unlike anything you have ever seen: from lush paddy fields to risky jagged peaks, and from verdant forests painted in every shade of green to breath-taking beaches. There are also traditional villages, archaeological sites as well as bustling modern cities, and heavenly islands offering various chances to get lost in Vietnam’s astonishing cultural diversity. Your Vietnam itinerary may only include a few places (Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Mekong Delta etc.) but these 25 destinations below are no doubt worth a spot on your Vietnam bucket list too.
Ha Long Bay
How could you come to Vietnam and not visit one of their most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites? This spellbinding sea view is on the west coast of North Bay in Vietnam’s North East sea area. With thousands of otherworldly islands and wonders of nature, its attraction has never stopped spreading to travel enthusiasts around the world. Cruising amid the limestone islands and feasting your eyes on the mesmerizing aqua-green water is a great pleasure. Ha Long also features more than 2,000 islands of dense jungles, magical caves, grottoes, sinkholes, and lakes.
The Phong Nha’s caves are a part of a greater national park network that has also been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. Phong Nha has the purest limestone mountains and also has 45% of the biodiversity in all of Vietnam. Bears, antelopes, monkeys, snakes…. even hundreds of species of butterflies. If you are looking for monkeys, the best time to see them is in the morning and the evening. Looking to replicate such extraordinary experience in Phong Nha? Read our article: A Complete Guide to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park
Ha Giang never fails to draw travelers’ attention by its majestic limestones, the legendary Dong Van Plateau, the winding roads, the charming ancient town of Dong Van, and Khau Vai love market where the loves once lost are found. It is endowed with a year-round cool climate and fresh air so this will be a great place for you to get away from the heat.
However, the best part is the dreamy pink buckwheat fields stretching across the hills (Buckwheat Flower Season in Ha Giang). Every October, tourists flock to this place to take photos and soak up such wonderful natural beauty.
Standing out in the Central region of Vietnam, Hoi An ancient town looks like a rustic, simple yet poetic picture. Whether day or night, Hoi An still carries its many alluring faces. In addition to the cultural values preserved through a diversity of architecture, Hoi An also preserves an amazing treasure of intangible culture. The daily life of Hoi An’s residents with the customs, religious activities, folk art, cultural festivities with romantic natural landscapes, specialty dishes, etc. makes Hoi An increasingly attractive to foreign tourists.
Dalat is the capital of Lam Dong province. With a height of 1500 meters above sea level, Da Lat has year-round cool weather and is an ideal retreat in the south. Used to be famous for attractions such as the Valley of Love, Than Tho Lake, Doi Thong Hai Mo, Thac Voi, etc., Da Lat today seemingly cannot retain its pristine beauty. However, tourists are still captivated by the tranquil atmosphere and idyllic scenery of colorful flowers, mist-filled valleys, and lush pine trees. The main highlights through the tour of Da Lat include Xuan Huong lake, Langbiang mountain, Bao Dai mansion, Thien Vien Truc Lam, Tuyen Lam lake and Da Lat Railway Station (Trai Mat station). Only about 300 kilometers from Saigon, Dalat city is a charming town for those trying to escape, the sweltering heat of the southern delta region.
Just less than 100 km from Hanoi, Ninh Binh is adorned with many beautiful scenic spots having both aesthetic and historical significance. Visitors can travel to Ninh Binh on every season, but the most suitable time would be from January to March according to the lunar calendar. In spring, it is not too cold or too hot; therefore, tourists can combine tourism and sightseeing in the temples for good luck. Also, late May and early June is the grain season in Tam Coc, which is perfect or tourists who like to take pictures.
When it comes to Hue, people often think of the fancy palaces and ancient temples breathing with the nostalgic flavor of glorious dynasties. Everyone wants to travel to Hue at least once to see firsthand the vivid evidence of the last feudal dynasty. Not only that, the gentle and relaxing pace of life here is also much lovely. Some famous landmarks of Hue are the Citadel (the most famous of the monuments) and the Thien Mu Pagoda (the city’s official symbol). Plus, the food here is insanely delicious.
Situated in the Central South, Da Nang has everything: mountains, plains, and sea. The most famous tourist attractions in Da Nang include Ba Na resort, My Khe beach, and the Asia’s largest in-house recreation center Fantasy Park. Some other fascinating sights that are also worth a visit are Hai Van bay, the pristine forest in Son Tra Peninsula and Ngu Hanh Son. Da Nang is surrounded by three world cultural heritages: Hue, Hoi An and My Son, and a little further is the National Park Phong Nha – Ke Bang. Every year, Da Nang organizes the annual firework festival which attracts many visitors from everywhere to attend.
Located in the remote northwest of Vietnam, Sapa hides many wonders. Rice terraces, pictorial mountains and a diversity of hill tribes draw many to “the town in my butts”. When in Sapa, tourists will have ample opportunities to conquer the famous Fansipan peak or to make a trip to the villages hidden in the fog. The mountain scenery with blooming forests and butts embracing cliffs certainly would delight travelers.
Hanoi is the thousand-year-old capital of the country with ancient monuments and peaceful life. Go to Hanoi once and you’re sure to never forget its distinctive atmosphere, with the Hoan Kiem Lake, the West Lake, the quiet coffee shops, the narrow footpaths and street vendors. Also, don’t forget to visit prominent sites such as the Grand Opera House, the Presidential Palace, and Saint Joseph Cathedral.
Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is one of the largest and most developed metropolises of Vietnam. The city breathes with contemporary life and is a perfect collision of historic and modern attractions: exciting shopping sprees, tasty culinary highlights, and vibrant nightlife.
Not as vibrant as Da Nang or Ho Chi Minh City, yet chosen as one of the most remarkable places for solo travel by Buzzfeed, is Hai Phong. This certainly is the most underrated travel destination in Vietnam as people often treat Hai Phong as a base from which to explore Ha Long Bay. There are actually plenty to see and do in Hai Phong: Do Son beach, Tam Bac lake, Trang Kenh, Binh bridge, Hai Phong Opera House, etc. The city also brings you attractive dishes made with special techniques and provides sophisticated flavor such as banh da cua, lau cua dong, banh cuon, banh mi que, etc.
If you have ever been to Nha Trang, the charm of this beautiful coastal city is definitely a knock-out. With gorgeous beaches, clean sand clear ocean water, Nha Trang is a prime swimming territory. In case you’re not much of a sunbathing type, there are also amusement and water parks with roller coasters and wave pools to make the most of your time. For scuba-diving in Vietnam, Nha Trang is also the king!
Phan Thiet is a city located in Binh Thuan province, on National Highway 1A, 183km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. The city has long been a famous tourist destination in Vietnam with stretches of white sand beaches, blue sea, and coconut trees.
Not just about the beautiful natural landscape, Phan Thiet also offers you fresh seafood dishes with exploding flavors to make you keep asking for more.
Another option for beach lovers in Vietnam besides Nha Trang and Phan Thiet. However, what makes Mui Ne special is the famous sand dunes located a short distance north of the town. They are glorious during sunset. Moreover, this lovely beach site is also a great spot for kite flying and wind surfing.
On April last year, CNN published a list of 12 underground tourist attractions in the world, among which Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam was mentioned. Cu Chi is a defense system in the ground made up of secret tunnels linking village to village in the days of war. This is not just a shelter for guerrillas but also functions as the center of community life. So spending a day in Cu Chi to learn the history, experience adventure in the dark tunnels, go shooting, or tasting the local cuisines will bring you exciting day.
One of the most common destinations in Kien Giang province is Ha Tien. Originally opened in the early 17th century, 93 km from Kien Giang, Ha Tien has long been popular with many beautiful landscapes, attracting numerous visitors. No one remembers the exact origin of this name but legend has it that in the old days, the fairies fell in love with the poetic scenery here so they often stopped by Giang Thanh river and the name Ha Tien was born. (Ha means river and Tien means fairy in Vietnamese). Besides the stunning scenery, Ha Tien is also well-known for the historical sites associated with the legend and fairy tales.
Located adjacent to Ho Chi Minh city, Mekong Delta is an important economic and cultural sector of the South, which is the reason it is nicknamed “Vietnam’s Rice Basket”. Visitors can find plenty to see and do: picking up fresh fruits in the orchards, shopping in the colorful floating markets, and visiting the bird sanctuaries and quaint villages.
My Son Sanctuary is in a discreet valley and has spectacular mountain terrain. Here, with more than 70 architectural constructions of the Champa civilization, My Son holds the precious intimate details of the civilization over 9 centuries. My Son architecture is rated on a par with the famous monuments in Southeast Asia such as Angkor Wat, Pagan, and Borobudur. It was also recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Phu Quoc is a beautiful archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, in Kien Giang province. In the southern coast of the country, the island of Phu Quoc Ngoc, the largest island in Vietnam, is also the largest of 22 islands in this archipelago. Crystal clear water, peaceful streams, and much unique seafoods are great advantages of Phu Quoc tourism. What’s more, Phu Quoc’s nuoc mam (fish sauce) is the best in the world.
Con Dao Island
Con Dao is a coastal tourist destination of Vietnam attracting many tourists. The Island has many unspoiled beaches and is a heaven for relaxation and exploring nature. People also come for scuba diving and snorkeling. To get further insight into Con Dao, read our article: Lost Days in Con Dao
Ly Son Island
It would be amazing if you had an opportunity to spend your holiday on Ly Son Island. Here, there are two distinct seasons: the rainy season (September – February) and the dry one (March – August). The average number of hours of sunshine a year is about 2.430,3 which is suitable for tourism activities and resorts. Hospitable people, pristine landscapes, 100% fresh food and incredibly cheap service costs are what Ly Son leaves in every visitor after the trip.
Son Doong Cave
Deep in the most remote areas of Vietnam, where it is “like nowhere on this planet” (National Geographic magazine) is the Son Doong cave in Quang Binh province. Only recently explored in 2009-2010 by the British Cave Research Association, the cave has only been open to the public since 2013. Mysterious and vast enough to overwhelm everyone, the beauty of Son Doong rightfully deserves the level of danger facing tourists and the huge amount of money they have to spend to discover this place. Son Doong cave is about 9km long, with its own tropical jungle and river. The space inside can accommodate for a 40-storey building.
Originally known as Mang Nhai, Mong Cai is a city in northeastern Quang Ninh province which is an ideal geographical location giving it an important strategic role in geopolitical, economic, defense, security aspects and foreign affairs. Mong Cai has literally everything to make a great holiday for you: alluring beaches, unique historical sites along with international border gate and a huge and bustling system of markets, commercial centers, hotel restaurants ranging from affordable to luxurious prices. The best time to visit Mong Cai is in the summer (approximately from April to July), especially if you are traveling to Tra Co in the festive season (from 30/5 – 6/6 lunar year), you can have a chance to join in the most unique rituals: boating, cooking competition, welcoming “Ong Voi” (Mr. Elephant), etc.
Lying in the seaside of the central area, Phu Yen with famous sights such as Da Dia rapids, Vung Ro Bay, and a lighthouse is ready to steal anyone’s heart. Phu Yen climate has two distinct seasons. The rainy season starts from September to December. Therefore, the dry season (January to August) would be the most convenient for sightseeing and other outdoor activities. In addition, you can also arrange to come in the festive occasions to listen to “hat choi” – an intangible national cultural heritage.
We hope this overview of 25 must-see attractions to visit in Vietnam can help you to make the right decision on planning your travel itinerary. Make sure your Vietnam holiday is extra special! Let us know if you think another place deserves a spot on this list!
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