Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

If you’re looking for a destination that combines stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine, then Vietnam should be at the top of your list. From the bustling cities to the serene landscapes, this country offers a diverse range of attractions that will satisfy any traveler’s desire for adventure and relaxation. In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll take you on a journey through Vietnam’s 15 must-visit destinations that will leave you breathless and enchanted.

Whether you want to explore the vibrant city of Hanoi, cruise through the limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay, or trek through the terraced rice fields of Sapa, Vietnam has something for everyone. Our travel guide is designed to help you plan your perfect Vietnam adventure with ease, providing you with insider tips on the best places to see, eat, and stay.

So, get ready to immerse yourself in Vietnam’s rich history, culture, and natural wonders. Don’t miss out on experiencing these top 15 must-visit destinations that have made Vietnam a popular tourist destination. Let’s start exploring!

Hanoi – Vietnam’s Vibrant Capital

As you plan your trip to Vietnam, make sure to add Hanoi to your list of must-visit destinations. This beautiful city is known for its rich history, bustling streets, and French colonial architecture.

One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is Hoan Kiem Lake, which has deep historical and cultural significance. Stroll along the banks of the lake and admire the red bridge leading to the Ngoc Son Temple, which is dedicated to a local hero.

Another must-see attraction is the Old Quarter, a maze of narrow streets filled with shops, restaurants, and street vendors. The district is known for its 36 ancient streets, each named after the products sold there, such as silk, jewelry, and herbs.

TipFact
Visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university, to learn about its historical and cultural significance.Hanoi is a city of contrasts, with temples and museums alongside modern skyscrapers and luxury shopping malls.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Vietnamese street food, such as pho, banh mi, and egg coffee.Hanoi is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam, with its charming blend of ancient and modern architecture.

With so much to see and do in Hanoi, it’s no wonder this city is a favorite among tourists.

Hanoi's Old Quarter

Ho Chi Minh City – The Dynamic Metropolis

Get ready to immerse yourself in the energy of Ho Chi Minh City, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. This dynamic metropolis, formerly known as Saigon, is a bustling hub of activity, featuring modern skyscrapers, historical landmarks, and vibrant street markets.

One of the must-see attractions in Ho Chi Minh City is the Notre Dame Cathedral, a stunning example of French colonial architecture. Built in the late 19th century, the cathedral stands out with its distinctive red-brick facade and two bell towers. Another iconic landmark is the Reunification Palace, which played a pivotal role in Vietnam’s history. Visitors can explore the presidential palace and learn about the country’s past struggles.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the vibrant street life of Ho Chi Minh City. Visit the famous Ben Thanh Market, the city’s largest market, to shop for local products and sample delicious street food. For a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s history, head to the War Remnants Museum. The museum exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War and its impact on the country and its people.

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Ho Chi Minh City

If you’re looking for a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, take a stroll through the tranquil Tao Dan Park, an oasis of greenery in the heart of the city. The park features beautiful gardens, fountains, and sculptures, creating a peaceful atmosphere.

With its unique blend of history, culture, and modernity, Ho Chi Minh City is a must-visit destination in Vietnam. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience all that this dynamic metropolis has to offer.

Ha Long Bay – A Natural Wonder

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Gulf of Tonkin in northern Vietnam. This breathtaking natural wonder is famous for its towering limestone karsts, emerald waters, and hidden caves that will take your breath away. The bay covers an area of over 1,553 square kilometers and boasts more than 1,600 islands and islets.

Legend has it that this stunning bay was created by a dragon that descended from the mountains and carved out the valleys and crevices with his tail. The name “Ha Long” means “descending dragon” in Vietnamese.

Ha Long Bay natural wonder

A cruise through Ha Long Bay is an unforgettable experience where you can witness the spectacular beauty of nature. You can explore hidden caves like Thien Cung Cave and Sung Sot Cave, where you can see unique stalactites and stalagmites. You can also hike to the top of Ti Top Island to take in the panoramic views of the bay.

One of the highlights of visiting Ha Long Bay is spending a night on a traditional junk boat. These boats have been used in the bay for centuries and offer a unique experience. You can relax on the deck, enjoy delicious Vietnamese cuisine, and watch the stars twinkle above.

Best time to visitTop things to do in Ha Long Bay
September to November and March to MayCruise through the bay, explore hidden caves, hike to the top of Ti Top Island, spend a night on a traditional junk boat.

Ha Long Bay is truly one of the most stunning natural wonders in Vietnam and a must-visit destination for any traveler. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to witness the beauty of Ha Long Bay.

Hoi An – A Quaint Ancient Town

Step back in time as you explore the charming streets of Hoi An, one of the favorite attractions in Vietnam. Known for its well-preserved ancient architecture, Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit destination.

Take a walk or a bicycle ride along the narrow streets, and admire the old yellow-walled houses, which are a fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences. The beautiful colors of the Chinese lanterns that adorn the alleys create an enchanting ambiance.

AttractionsDescription
Japanese Covered BridgeOne of the most popular attractions in Hoi An. Built in the 16th century, this bridge is a fusion of Japanese and Vietnamese architecture.
Hoi An Ancient TownA well-preserved trading port from the 15th to 19th century with a unique architecture, and a vast network of canals and bridges.
Assembly Halls of the ChineseA beautiful complex of five temples created by the Chinese community merchants in Hoi An to worship their ancestors and protect their businesses.

Stroll through the colorful lantern-lit night market, and try some of the delicious Vietnamese street food. Take a boat ride along the Thu Bon River and witness the picturesque countryside dotted with rice paddies, coconut palms, and fishing nets.

Hoi An Lanterns

Don’t forget to visit a tailor and get some clothes custom-made with affordable prices. Hoi An is also known for its abundance of leather goods, lanterns, and traditional handicrafts.

Plan a visit to Hoi An, and immerse yourself in Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage and history.

Hue – The Imperial City

As you travel to Vietnam, make sure to add Hue to your list of must-visit destinations. Hue was the imperial capital of Vietnam for over 140 years and is steeped in history and tradition. This city offers tourists a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage through its ancient citadels, temples, and pagodas.

One of the most popular attractions in Hue is the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site that served as the residence of Vietnam’s emperors. The citadel comprises several impressive structures, including the Thai Hoa Palace, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, and the Forbidden Purple City, which was reserved for the emperor and his family.

Hue is also known for its magnificent royal tombs, built during the Nguyen Dynasty. These tombs were designed as a final resting place for the emperors, and each one reflects the personality and taste of the emperor for whom it was built. Some of the most popular ones include the Tomb of Khai Dinh, Tomb of Minh Mang, and Tomb of Tu Duc.

To fully experience the cultural richness of Hue, don’t forget to visit its pagodas. Thien Mu Pagoda, situated on the banks of the Perfume River, is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam and boasts stunning views of the river and surrounding countryside. Meanwhile, Dieu De Pagoda is renowned for its beautiful architecture and exemplary woodcarvings.

Hue - The Imperial City

“Hue is a sleeping beauty; forgotten for decades until tourism brought her back to life.”

The Royal Court Music Performance

One of the unique experiences in Hue is attending a traditional Vietnamese royal court music performance. This ancient art form, once reserved for the royal family and their guests, features several musical instruments and songs that date back to the 15th century. The Hue Royal Court Music is characterized by its elegance, refinement, and sophistication and is considered an essential part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Table: Historical Places in Hue

AttractionDescription
Imperial CitadelA UNESCO World Heritage site that served as the residence of Vietnam’s emperors.
Royal TombsMagnificent tombs built during the Nguyen Dynasty, designed as a final resting place for the emperors.
Thien Mu PagodaThe tallest pagoda in Vietnam, situated on the banks of the Perfume River.
Dieu De PagodaRenowned for its beautiful architecture and exemplary woodcarvings.

Immerse yourself in the cultural wonders of Hue and discover the stories behind these historical sites. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about Vietnam’s rich history and experience its unique culture firsthand.

Sapa – Majestic Mountains and Hill Tribes

Experience the beauty of Sapa, one of Vietnam’s hidden gems. Nestled in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, this picturesque town offers breathtaking landscapes and a glimpse into the daily lives of ethnic minority groups like the Hmong and Dao.

Embark on a trek through the terraced rice fields, marvel at the majestic Fansipan peak, and visit local villages to learn about traditional handicrafts and customs. Sapa is also home to the stunning Silver Waterfall and the Fansipan Legend cable car, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Things to DoBest Time to Visit
Trek through rice fields and visit ethnic minority villagesSeptember-November or March-May for best weather
Take the Fansipan Legend cable car for panoramic mountain viewsYear-round
Explore the stunning Silver WaterfallYear-round

In Sapa, you’ll find a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Vietnam’s cities. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and cultural richness of this unique destination.

Sapa Vietnam

Da Nang – Beaches and Modern Marvels

Da Nang is a coastal city in Central Vietnam that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and modern attractions. Known for its beautiful beaches and harbor, Da Nang is a great location to base your adventures in Central Vietnam.

Recommended Places to See in Da Nang

With so much to explore, here are some recommended places to add to your itinerary:

PlaceDescription
My Khe BeachEnjoy the sun, sand, and sea at one of Vietnam’s most beautiful beaches. Relax and unwind with a tropical drink while soaking up the breathtaking views.
Marble MountainsExplore the stunning Marble Mountains, known for their beautiful caves, temples, and panoramic views of the city and ocean. Don’t miss the chance to take a cable car ride for a bird’s eye view.
Golden Bridge at Ba Na HillsDesigned to look like it’s being supported by giant hands, the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills is a modern marvel that has become a must-see attraction. The bridge offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Museum of Cham SculptureDiscover over 2,000 years of Cham history and culture at the Museum of Cham Sculpture. Marvel at the intricate stone carvings and learn about the fascinating history of these ancient artifacts.

Da Nang is a growing city with plenty of activities to enjoy. Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore ancient temples, or experience modern architecture, you’ll find it all in Da Nang. Plan your trip to Vietnam now and don’t miss out on this gem of a city!

Recommended places to see in Da Nang

Nha Trang – Tropical Paradise: The Perfect Vietnam Vacation Spot

If you’re looking for a tropical retreat in Vietnam, Nha Trang is the perfect vacation spot! Situated on the south-central coast, this seaside city boasts miles of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Nha Trang has something for everyone. Here are some must-see attractions to add to your itinerary:

Nha Trang Beaches

The main attraction in Nha Trang is undoubtedly its beaches. Relax on the soft, white sand of Nha Trang Beach, or take a dip in the turquoise waters of Doc Let Beach. You can also indulge in water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides. And for a truly unique experience, head to Hon Mun Island for some snorkeling or scuba diving to explore the vibrant coral reefs.

Po Nagar Cham Towers

For a taste of the area’s rich history and culture, visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers, ancient temples that date back to the 7th century. These well-preserved structures were built by the Cham people, who once dominated the region and left a lasting legacy on Vietnamese culture.

Thap Ba Hot Springs

After a day of sightseeing and water activities, relax your tired muscles at Thap Ba Hot Springs. Soak in the therapeutic mud baths, or enjoy a dip in the natural hot springs. It’s the perfect way to rejuvenate your mind and body.

Nha Trang Vietnam Vacation Spot

Nha Trang Nightlife

If you’re looking for some evening entertainment, Nha Trang has a vibrant nightlife scene. Head to the Sailing Club for live music and drinks, or dance the night away at the Louisiana Brewhouse. And for a more relaxed atmosphere, enjoy a cocktail at the Skylight Rooftop Bar and watch the sunset over the bay.

With its stunning beaches, rich history, and lively atmosphere, Nha Trang is the perfect vacation spot in Vietnam. Make sure to add it to your travel itinerary!

Mekong Delta – The Land of Rivers

The Mekong Delta is a vast maze of rivers, canals, and lush green landscapes, covering an area of over 15,000 square miles in southwestern Vietnam. It is considered one of the most fertile regions in the country, producing a significant portion of Vietnam’s rice, fruits, and fish. The Mekong Delta is a must-visit destination in Vietnam, offering visitors a unique insight into the local culture and way of life.

The best way to explore the Mekong Delta is by taking a boat tour along the waterways, allowing you to discover the hidden gems of this region. One of the most popular attractions is the floating market, where vendors sell their goods from the boats, creating a bustling and colorful scene. The Cai Rang floating market, located near Can Tho, is the largest and most famous in the area.

Mekong Delta

Aside from the floating markets, there are many other attractions in the Mekong Delta that you should visit. The Vinh Trang Pagoda, located in the town of My Tho, is an excellent example of Vietnamese temple architecture. You can also visit the Khmer temples of Tra Su Cajuput Forest and the bird sanctuary of Bang Lang Stork Garden, where you can observe thousands of storks and other bird species.

The Mekong Delta is also known for its cottage industries, including rice paper making, coconut candy production, and beekeeping. You can visit local factories to learn about the processes and even try the products. Don’t miss the chance to taste traditional Vietnamese cuisine, such as Banh Xeo and Hu Tieu, which are popular in the Mekong Delta region.

Best time to visitHow to get thereRecommended duration of stay
The dry season from December to MayFrom Ho Chi Minh City, take a bus or taxi to Can Tho or My Tho2-3 days

You will be mesmerized by the lush green landscapes and the bustling life on the waterways of the Mekong Delta. The floating markets, Khmer temples, and cottage industries offer a unique insight into the local culture and traditions. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the delicious food and explore the hidden gems of this beautiful region.

Phu Quoc Island – Tropical Retreat

You’re in for a treat as you explore the tropical paradise of Phu Quoc Island. Located off the coast of Cambodia, this charming island is known for its idyllic beaches, emerald waters, and breathtaking landscapes.

Phu Quoc Island is one of Vietnam’s cultural sites, with a rich history and unique local culture.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax on pristine beaches like Bai Thom, Ganh Dau, and Ong Lang. Swim in the crystal-clear waters, sunbathe on the sandy shores, and watch the sunset as you sip a refreshing cocktail.

For a more adventurous experience, explore the lush national parks and nature reserves on the island. Visit the Phu Quoc National Park, home to diverse wildlife like macaques, hornbills, and slow lorises. Hike through the forests, take a dip in the streams, and marvel at the panoramic views from the mountain peaks.

You can also discover the local culture and history of Phu Quoc Island. Visit the Phu Quoc Prison, a former POW camp during the Vietnam War, and learn about the island’s wartime past. Explore the Ho Quoc Pagoda, a beautiful temple that is a popular pilgrimage site for both locals and tourists.

Best time to visitNovember to March
How to get thereFlights from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi and high-speed ferries from Rach Gia or Ha Tien
Things to do
  • Relax on the beaches
  • Explore the national parks
  • Visit the Phu Quoc Prison
  • Discover the local culture at Ho Quoc Pagoda
Where to stay
  • La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc – luxury beachfront resort
  • Sol Beach House Phu Quoc – stylish beachfront hotel
  • Peppercorn Beach – budget-friendly beachfront bungalows
Phu Quoc Island

Plan your trip to Phu Quoc Island and enjoy a memorable tropical retreat. Whether you want to relax on the beaches, explore the national parks, or discover the local culture, this island has something for everyone.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – Underground Wonders

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a true hidden gem, nestled in the heart of Vietnam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to some of the world’s most incredible underground wonders, from vast network of caves and grottoes to the mesmerizing Son Doong Cave, the world’s largest cave.

Visitors per yearOpening hoursEntrance fee
Over 300,0008:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily$14 for adults, $7 for children

The park’s rich biodiversity is also a wonder to behold, with over 200 rare species of plants and animals. Trekking and camping are popular activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the park’s stunning landscapes and natural beauty.

“Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a natural wonder that you don’t want to miss on your Vietnam adventure. The caves and grottoes are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and the park’s biodiversity is truly impressive.” – Traveler

Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a must-visit destination in Vietnam. With its breathtaking underground wonders and stunning natural landscapes, it’s no wonder why it’s considered one of the top tourist spots in the country.

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Ninh Binh – Halong Bay on Land

Located in the Red River Delta region, Ninh Binh is often referred to as Halong Bay on land due to its stunning natural landscapes. As you explore Ninh Binh, you’ll witness towering limestone mountains, rice paddies, rivers, and hidden caves. The province’s rich history and culture are reflected in the well-preserved ancient temples, pagodas, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trang An Grottoes.

Here are some famous landmarks in Vietnam’s Ninh Binh that are worth a visit:

LandmarkDescription
Trang An GrottoesA boat ride through the 10-kilometer-long network of caves and limestone mountains is an unforgettable experience. The site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.
Mua CaveHike up to the top of Mua Cave to witness the breathtaking panoramic views of Ninh Binh’s landscapes.
Bai Dinh TempleBai Dinh Temple is considered one of the largest and most complex temples in Vietnam. The temple complex consists of new and old structures with exquisite architecture and design.

Experience the charm of Ninh Binh by immersing yourself in the natural beauty and exploring the ancient temples and pagodas. Don’t forget to try the local cuisine, which includes goat meat and rice dishes.

Ninh Binh

Cat Ba Island – Exploring the Natural Beauty

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the natural beauty of Cat Ba Island, one of Vietnam’s hidden gems. Located in Halong Bay, this stunning island has something for everyone, from pristine beaches to lush national parks.

Cat Ba Island, Vietnam's beauty

The island is home to several beautiful beaches, including Cat Co Beach, which is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. You can also explore the emerald waters of Halong Bay by kayaking or taking a boat tour. Don’t forget to hike through Cat Ba National Park, which offers stunning views of the island’s diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for the endangered langurs, a species of monkey that can only be found on Cat Ba Island.

For a unique cultural experience, visit the floating fishing villages and learn about the traditional way of life of the locals. You can also sample the delicious seafood that the island is famous for.

“Cat Ba Island is a true paradise on earth, with its beautiful beaches, lush national parks, and unique wildlife. It’s the perfect destination for nature lovers and those looking to escape the crowds.”

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, Cat Ba Island has it all. Make sure to include this breathtaking island on your Vietnam travel itinerary to experience its natural beauty firsthand.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve just unlocked a comprehensive travel guide to Vietnam’s top 15 must-visit destinations. From the vibrant cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the serene landscapes of Ha Long Bay and Sapa, Vietnam has something to offer for everyone.

Through this guide, you’ve explored the historical significance of landmarks like the Imperial Citadel in Hue and the ancient temples in Hoi An. You’ve experienced the natural beauty of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and Cat Ba Island, and soaked in the tropical paradise of Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Island.

Our travel guide has also taken you through Da Nang’s blend of ancient and modern landmarks and the unique lifestyle of the Mekong Delta’s inhabitants. You’ve discovered Ninh Binh’s enchanting landscapes and explored the underground wonders of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

We hope this travel guide has inspired you to plan your Vietnam adventure and create unforgettable memories. So pack your bags and embark on an exciting journey to uncover the 15 best places to visit in Vietnam – immerse yourself in the country’s rich history, natural wonders, and cultural heritage.

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