Travel Vietnam with 20 places you cannot miss
Where to travel in Vietnam ?
Vietnam is an astonishing mix of natural highlights and cultural diversity. The scenery ranges from jagged peaks seen from winding mountain passes down to verdant paddy fields painted every shade of green in the palette, while the nation’s long history and amazing number of ethnic minorities mean that culture vultures will find plenty to admire.
Hikers, bikers, and outdoor lovers can get their teeth into the countryside within the numerous national parks, while the spectacular karst seascape of Halong Bay is one natural sight that even the more slothful can experience up close on a cruise.
While the rural areas brim with fantastic panoramas, the big cities breathe with contemporary life and provide ample opportunities to get stuck into Vietnam’s tasty culinary highlights.
This fascinating country is full of surprises and is one of Southeast Asia’s most underrated destinations. Plan your sightseeing with our list of the best places to visit in Vietnam.
Traveling Halong Bay in Vietnam
The karst seascape of Halong Bay is one of the world’s most spellbinding sea views and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thousands of limestone islands sit within this bay in the Gulf of Tonkin, eroded into jagged pinnacles by wind and water action over millennia.
With the bay’s scenery best seen by boat, this is prime cruising territory. Opt for at least an overnight tour to see Halong Bay’s iconic views as a day trip doesn’t do it justice.
There are plenty of caves in the bay that can be entered including the Hang Sung Sot, with three mammoth caverns, and the Hang Dao Go, with superbly weird stalagmites and stalactites. For most people though, the highlight is simply cruising amid the karsts and soaking up the changing scenery of pinnacles as you pass by.
To celebrate 20 years of Halong Bay as a UNESCO–recognized natural heritage site, Quang Ninh Province authority has officially launched a campaign with the message “A smile coming from the heart”. The main purpose is to improve the attitude, behavior, and professionalism of service providers, and thus, create an attractive destination.
At Halong Bay, there are numerous caves and grottos with a diverse in geology as well as historical and cultural sites to visit. Its fresh seafood and proximity to international gateways are other things that make Halong Bay one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations. The best time to come here is from September to November and April and May. It is when the weather is dry and the temperature is pleasant for all activities.
Traveling Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
For big city fans, no visit to Vietnam is really complete without a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, the buzzing and crazy commercial hub of the country. The streets are an insane clog of motorbikes and cars, the restaurant and café scene is incredibly cosmopolitan, and the shopping is the best in the country.
At its center is Dong Khoi, a relatively small and easily navigable central district, which holds most of the city’s sights. Here, you’ll find the HCMC Museum, with a brilliant collection of artifacts that weaves together the story of the city, and the grand Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 19th century.
Check out the old district of Da Kao nearby for some of the best surviving examples of the city’s French colonial architecture and also to visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda with its dazzling array of Buddhist and Taoist religious iconography. Afterwards, the History Museum is a must-do for history fans with stacks of relics on display from various archaeological sites.
For many visitors, the two big-hitter attractions not to miss are just a little out of the center, along Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. The Reunification Palace, then known as Independence Palace, was the residence for South Vietnam’s president. It’s chiefly famous as the spot where North Vietnam’s tanks stopped on 30 April 1975, officially ending the war. It’s a completely fascinating place to visit complete with 1960s furnishings still in situ.
Nearby is the War Remnants Museum, which although very obviously biased, paints a disturbing picture of the brutality of war and the many atrocities committed by US Forces during their Vietnam campaign.
Ho Chi Minh City is interesting in the daytime with various historical and cultural attractions, but it also comes alive at night. If you are in this sleepless city – one of the top cities to visit in Vietnam, here are the things to do there at night that we highly recommend for you. The first thing to do is going to the backpacker district, the area formed from the streets of Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham, Bui Vien and Do Quang Dau with rows of pubs, bars, and restaurants lining up one next to another. Its lively rhythm, bustling sounds, and colorful lights are what most people, especially tourists come to enjoy and experience the pavement life of Ho Chi Minh City.
Secondly, you can walk and take selfies on Nguyen Hue Walking Street. There are many joyful activities organized in this perfect place, such as music bands playing drum and guitar and joined by youngsters practicing roller skating or performing their dance choreography.
Last but not least, besides all the destinations above, you can discover Ben Thanh Night Market starting from 7 PM. It is located in the area around Ben Thanh Market’s building. There are many stalls of handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicious street foods. You can easily find all kinds of Vietnamese gifts that are symbolic of different regions. And you should not miss out on a lot of delicious dishes available here such as BBQ, seafood, and stir-fried or soup noodles.
Traveling Hue in Vietnam
One of Vietnam’s most historic towns, Hue is packed to the brim with relics from the reign of the 19th-century Nguyen emperors. Sitting along the banks of the gorgeous Perfume River, the Imperial Enclosure is a huge site set within walls that sprawl for 2.5 kilometers.
While touring the grounds check out the gorgeous Ngo Mon Gate, the Thai Hoa Palace with its finely lacquered interior detailing, the Dien Tho Residence where the Queen Mothers would live, and the Halls of Mandarins with its preserved ceiling murals. A dazzling number of historic sites lie outside the Imperial Enclosure walls as well.
One of the nicest ways of visiting a collection of outlying sites is by taking a riverboat cruise on the Perfume River. A day cruise can take you to visit several royal tombs along with some pagodas. If you’re short on time, the best tomb to visit is the Tomb of Tu Doc and the most important pagoda in the area is the Thien Mu Pagoda, with its tower that soars for 21 meters high.
Hue is in Central Vietnam, on the banks of the Perfume River, about 700 km to the south of Hanoi and 1,100 km to the north of Ho Chi Minh City. That the city was known as an Imperial City makes it one of the top cities to visit in Vietnam. Most of the things you visit here largely reflect its interesting history. Attractions that you can miss out on is the Imperial Citadel, the Imperial Tombs, and Thien Mu Pagoda.
You can also do some activities like taking a bike ride through the countryside, stream down the Perfume River on a dragon boat, visit the local markets, or even go as far to the Demilitarized Zone in Quang Tri Province where there is the border used to divide the North and South of Vietnam.
Traveling Dalat – The city of flowers in Vietnam
Dalat is the capital city of Lam Dong Province, about 300km away from Ho Chi Minh City, where you will be impressed by so many kinds of beautiful and gorgeous flowers. Each year, flower festivals are held in Dalat to display and promote their flowers as products.
Surrounded by a cool, fresh, tranquil, and charming atmosphere, with valleys covered by a thin layer of mist almost all year round, Dalat is an ideal local honeymoon spot. At the center of Dalat, there is a pretty lake named Xuan Huong, which literally means the fragrance of spring, which is one of the most romantic spots for couples. This highland is also decorated with rows of pine trees and blessed with many waterfalls and evergreen forests.
Not only is it famous for its beautiful nature, but Dalat also a place with many attractive architectures. The two most well-known buildings among them are King Bao Dai’s Palace, a French colonial-style villa, and Hang Nga Villa (also known as Crazy House), a unique design built by a Vietnamese architect.
Traveling Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam
One of the best places to visit in Vietnam for caving, World Heritage-listed Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a dramatic karst mountain formation honeycombed with huge caverns, which are home to superb stalactite and stalagmite displays. The most popular destination within the park is the Paradise Cave, which extends for a staggering 31 kilometers below ground.
The yawning caverns here are truly spectacular. Tu Lan Cave is a “wet cave,” and a visit here includes swimming through the cave-systems river. The other most popular excursion is to the Phong Nha Caves, where the interior is accessed by boat. You can access Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park from Son Trach.
Traveling My Son in Vietnam
Surrounded by lush jungle-covered mountains, My Son is a ruined Cham era temple city that dates from the 4th century. This old Hindu religious center was still very much in use during the 7th to 10th centuries and only fell into complete decline and abandonment during the 13th century.
There are around 20 temple structures still standing here, all built of brick or sandstone blocks and showing interesting influences from various Asian empires, including Indian and Malay. Note that the temples of Group B are the oldest, while Group A once contained the site’s most important monument but was destroyed deliberately by US forces during the Vietnam War.
A good museum on-site houses plenty of information on the Cham. Access to My Son is from Hoi An.
Traveling Hoi An in Vietnam
Beautiful Hoi An is the most atmospheric city in Vietnam, with bags of surviving historic architecture. The old town quarter is a joy to explore, packed to the brim with well-preserved merchant houses that hark back to Hoi An’s trading center heyday of the 15th century, when the town was a major meeting point for Japanese and Chinese merchants who flocked here for the local silks.
Plenty of the old merchant houses have been opened to the public, so you can get a taste of these times. The best is 17th-century Tan Ky House, with fascinating architectural and decorative elements.
Hoi An’s major symbol is the delightful Japanese Bridge at the western end of Tran Phu Street, while nearby, the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation is the old town’s most highly decorated temple. There are numerous small pagodas and museums dotted about town, but Hoi An’s true charm is found in simply rambling the old town streets admiring the well-preserved facades.
Hoi An is a small city, about 30 km to the south of Da Nang, situated roughly halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This little city was originally a trading port of Chinese and Japanese merchants. So it is easy to understand their influences through the whole of spectacularly mixed architecture, with wooden houses, mossy walls, and street vendors. One of the most visit attractions is the Japanese Bridge with a small shrine inside. If you want to travel a bit further back in time, My Son Sanctuary, another UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Champa Kingdom and Hinduism temples, is the place for you.
Hoi An’s scenery is completed with beautiful lanterns at night. When the sun goes down, the city streets, restaurants, and shops are lighted up with many colorful lanterns in different shapes and sizes. You can walk along the river and try tasting delicious street foods at local stalls for a low price, or go for a boat ride along the river to relax and enjoy the romantic and tranquil atmosphere that Hoi An brings.
Traveling Da Nang – The city of bridges in Vietnam
In Da Nang, as the economy and tourism are growing, many bridges are built to connect all the tourist locations in the city. And that is how it got the nickname – the city of bridges, including Han River Bridge, Thuan Phuoc Bridge, Nguyen Van Troi Bridge, Dragon Bridge, Tien Son Bridge, and Nguyen Tri Phuong Bridge. Among them, Han River Bridge is the first bridge to be designed by Vietnamese architects and workers, and the local people’s pride. The bridge symbolizes the new vitality and the desire to develop of Da Nang City.
Another bridge worth mentioning is the Thuan Phuoc Bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in Vietnam. It is constructed on the coast of Vietnam, across the Han River; its main function is to facilitate the transportation of goods between the local markets and port. Besides, the Cinderella of Danang, Nguyen Van Troi Bridge is an old bridge that has been renovated to an unusual design with a single supporting inclining tower. And last but not least, a new symbol of Danang, Dragon Bridge in the shape of a golden dragon is known as the longest bridge in Vietnam, showcasing a dazzling display of lights, fire, and water every Saturday and Sunday night at 7 PM.
Traveling Sapa Countryside in Vietnam
The verdant rice field countryside surrounding Sapa, bordered by the jagged peaks of the Hoang Lien Mountains (often still known by their French colonial era name of the Tonkinese Alps), are home to Vietnam’s most beautiful rural vistas.
The deep valleys here are home to a diverse mix of the country’s ethnic minorities, including the Hmong, Giay, and Red Dzao people, while the rippling hills are terraced with rice fields and overlooked by the country’s tallest peak, Fansipan Mountain.
This is the top trekking destination in Vietnam, with oodles of options to trek or day hike between tiny villages and experience the staggering mountain views. Sapa itself is the main base here – an old French hill station and now a bustling and forever growing tourist center that is a stark contrast to the sumptuous tranquil countryside right on its doorstep.
Sapa is a small town sited 300 km to the northwest of Hanoi. At the height of 1,600 meters above sea level, the weather in Sapa is quite pleasant for some Westerners. It is cool in summer and cold in winter with an average temperature around 15 – 18°C. In Sapa, it is not a rare thing to see the city is covered in the cloud, fog, and snow in winter.
Not only the mysterious fog that makes Sapa’s landscape stunning, but a lot of mountains, rivers, waterfalls and rice terraces are breathtaking views as well. Sapa also has great routes for hiking and trekking such as Hoang Lien Son Range, Muong Hoa Valley, Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Love Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest, and Ta Phi Cave. If your physical health can stand the harsh conditions, you can go as far as to conquer the Fansipan, highest peak of Vietnam, 3,143 meter-high. Otherwise, there is now a cable-car option to reach Indochina’s highest peak.
Traveling Hanoi in Vietnam
Vietnam’s capital is the frenetic heartbeat of the nation and a place that befuddles travelers as much as it charms them. The motorbike frenzy, pollution, and constant clamor of street vendors can get too much for some travelers, but if you want to dive into Vietnamese city life, Hanoi is the place to do it.
The old town quarter has plenty of dilapidated charm on offer, while history fans should make a beeline here simply to see the bundle of excellent museums.
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Vietnam Fine Art Museum are both brilliant introductions to the diverse artistry of the country, while the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an important tribute to the founder of modern Vietnam.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is the most famous place for any tourists coming to the country. It was given the title “City for Peace” in 1999 by the UNESCO. With its long history and cultural traditions, Hanoi evidently emerges as a fascinating blend of East and West. Its bustling streets are now full of bicycles, motorbikes, and cars, and the Old Quarter is crowded with backpackers at night. However, there are also many places in the city to look for a tranquil atmosphere like museums, pagodas, and the old French style architectures.
Some popular attractions in Hanoi are Hoan Kiem Lake, One Pillar Pagoda, the museums like Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Vietnam Fine Art Museum – unique presentations of Vietnamese ethnic groups, history, and arts. Another famous location is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – a place to learn about the life of the first and most-talked-about presidents of Vietnam.
Traveling Ha Giang – The city leads to heaven’s gate in Vietnam
Sharing a border with China, Ha Giang is the northernmost point of Vietnam. It has majestic and poetic scenery for those who seek the pure beauty of nature. Mountains and valleys covered with evergreen grass and trees and carved with curvy rivers and roads are truly Mother Nature’s works of art. From Ha Giang City, you can go to Quan Ba District, which is about 50 km to the north in about 1 hour and a half. This place is for the best mountainous views. At Heaven Gate’s highest peak, you can see rice paddies, mountains and the zigzag roads weaving between clouds and mountains. And on top of Quan Ba’s Twin Mountain (Fairy Mountain), you will feel like immersing in a sea of clouds.
Traveling Nha Trang in Vietnam
For sandy fun in Vietnam, Nha Trang is king. The well-maintained beach trundles for six kilometers along the shoreline of central Nha Trang city and during summer is jam-packed with local families on vacation, as well as foreign visitors.
There is excellent swimming here with designated swimming areas and manicured lounging areas that make this a great option for relaxing days soaking up the sun and sand.
If you do get bored of sunbathing, the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers are just to the north across the Xom Bong Bridge and have been used as a place of worship here since at least the 7th century (with some historians saying the site itself has been a place of active worship since much earlier).
There is also an excellent museum dedicated to the work of Alexandre Yersin who discovered the cause of the bubonic plague and founded Nha Trang’s Pasteur Institute (which still carries out vaccination programs in Vietnam today).
Nha Trang is a sunny coastal city and the capital of Khanh Hoa Province, located on the south-central coast of Vietnam. It is well known for its pristine beaches with 6 km along the shoreline and magnificent scuba diving. Besides the beautiful beach, Weather is an important factor that makes Nha Trang one of the most desired tourist destinations. It has a cool temperature around 23 Celcius degrees, the least rainfall in the country, and unlike other cities in Central Vietnam, experiences fewer storms. Thus, it quickly becomes a popular destination for local and international tourists.
You can choose to swim in the designated swimming areas or to soak up in the sun and sand. Another option is going to the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers, a place of worship since the 7th century, located in the north of the city, across Xom Bong Bridge. Otherwise, you can take time to visit the Alexandre Yersin Museum dedicating to his work in discovering the cause of the bubonic plague and in the establishment of Nha Trang ‘s Pasteur Institute.
Traveling Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam
An absolutely fascinating experience for all travelers, not just those interested in Vietnam’s modern military history, the Cu Chi Tunnels are an extensive tunnel network that during the war, stretched for more than 250 kilometers, allowing VC troops to operate and communicate in the area surrounding Ho Chi Minh City.
Two short sections of the network can be visited with a guide who’ll take you down into the narrow unlit confines, which definitely are not for claustrophobia sufferers. You will literally be crawling on your hands and knees and some points. You can access the tunnels at either Ben Dinh village (the more popular choice) or Ben Duoc village.
Traveling Ba Be National Park in Vietnam
Tranquil Ba Be National Park is absolutely stunning with the three interlinked Ba Be Lakes at its heart, rimmed by jagged karst peaks and thickly forested slopes.
Most visitors come here to take peaceful boat trips or kayak on the lake and explore the caves full of stalactites and stalagmites in the vicinity, but for the more active, there’s also excellent hiking and trekking in the hills here between ethnic minority villages.
This is one of the most peaceful spots in Vietnam, and travelers who spend the night here sleep in traditional stilt-house homestay accommodation along the lakeshore, allowing an experience of simple rural life.
Traveling Mekong Delta in Vietnam
The far south of Vietnam is where the mighty Mekong River finally finds its way to the sea in a maze of waterways that crisscross the floodplain. Incredibly lush, with paddy field vistas and mangroves, and full of local life, with chaotic floating markets to explore by boat, the delta is one of the most interesting regions for travelers to discover.
Can Tho is the most popular town to use as a base as it’s close to the floating markets of Phong Dien and Cai Rang, while boat trips from Ca Mau allow you to explore the U Minh Mangrove Forest and Cau Mau Nature Reserve.
Traveling Can Tho – The city of Nine-Dragon River Delta
As the fifth-largest city in Vietnam and the largest city in the Mekong Delta, Can Tho deserves to be on the list of one of the top cities to visit in Vietnam. This city is also where transportation to different regions is most convenient. You can go by cars or mini-vans in approximately 4 hours from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho. This city even has an international airport (VCA) offering routes to Taipei and Bangkok, and it plans to add routes to Singapore in the near future.
The highlight of a trip to this city is the floating market, the rice paper-making village and picturesque rural canals. A pleasant boat ride on the extensive canals system and shopping for authentic goods in the floating markets will give you great countryside memory. You can also go to the night market to try street foods and see the nightlife of the locals here. We suggest you should visit Can Tho from December to April to avoid the tropical monsoon climate.
Traveling Mui Ne in Vietnam
Once a sleepy coastal fishing town, Mui Né has developed into a beautiful beach resort town and a prime destination for windsurfing, sailing, and kitesurfing. Compared to other beach destinations in Vietnam, however, Mui Né remains relatively unknown – and this means pristine beaches and a quiet retreat for most of the year.
One of Mui Né’s most unique attractions is the natural Red Sand Dunes just outside town, where visitors can practice sand-sledding or rent dune buggies for a more adrenaline-charged experience.
Tucked away between nearby fishing villages and towering orange limestone formations, there’s the Fairy Stream, a slow-moving warm stream that almost feels like a walkway because it’s so shallow – follow it to the end to reach a waterfall.
For those wishing to explore beyond the coastline, there’s also the ruins of the Po Shanu Cham Towers – remnants of the Cham Empire that dominated the area many centuries ago
Traveling Ben Tre – The land of coconuts
Ben Tre, located in the Mekong Delta, is famous as the land of coconuts. Cruise the sampan down the river, you will see ranges of coconut trees along the sides along with other fruit trees of jackfruit and banana. Besides the waterway exploration, the coconut workshop is the most-visited place in this city and province.
A lot of products from coconut are made such as carpets from coconut fibers, coconut candy, coconut oil, and cosmetics from coconut oil. At the workshop, you can see for yourself how the coconuts are processed, divided into different parts and made into different products.
- 1 Travel Vietnam with 20 places you cannot miss
- 1.1 Traveling Halong Bay in Vietnam
- 1.2 Traveling Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
- 1.3 Traveling Hue in Vietnam
- 1.4 Traveling Dalat – The city of flowers in Vietnam
- 1.5 Traveling Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam
- 1.6 Traveling My Son in Vietnam
- 1.7 Traveling Hoi An in Vietnam
- 1.8 Traveling Da Nang – The city of bridges in Vietnam
- 1.9 Traveling Sapa Countryside in Vietnam
- 1.10 Traveling Hanoi in Vietnam
- 1.11 Traveling Ha Giang – The city leads to heaven’s gate in Vietnam
- 1.12 Traveling Nha Trang in Vietnam
- 1.13 Traveling Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam
- 1.14 Traveling Ba Be National Park in Vietnam
- 1.15 Traveling Mekong Delta in Vietnam
- 1.16 Traveling Can Tho – The city of Nine-Dragon River Delta
- 1.17 Traveling Mui Ne in Vietnam
- 1.18 Traveling Ben Tre – The land of coconuts