Vietnam is a great combination of natural beauty and cultural diversity. The country’s landscapes range from jagged peaks seen from windswept mountain passes to rice paddies painted in all shades of green. In turn, the long history of Vietnam, as well as the presence of a huge number of small nationalities, mean that connoisseurs of cultural recreation will definitely find something to do.
Hikers, bicycles and nature lovers can safely venture into the countryside, where there are many national parks. However, even the laziest tourist should get acquainted with the beauty of the karst landscapes of Halong Bay, at least as part of a comfortable cruise.
If rural areas are filled with delightful panoramic views of nature, then cities are seething with modern life and provide excellent opportunities to get acquainted with the delicious cuisine of Vietnam.
This stunning country is full of surprises and is without a doubt one of the underrated gems of Southeast Asia.
In this post, we tell you the 25 best places to visit in Vietnam, a country that stole our hearts.
- 1 25 Best Places To Visit In Vietnam
- 1.1 1. Hanoi, the Chaotic but Beautiful Capital of Vietnam
- 1.2 2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One of the Most Curious Things to See in Vietnam
- 1.3 3. Halong Bay, a Movie Place to See in Vietnam
- 1.4 4. Cat Ba, to Learn More About Halong Bay
- 1.5 5. Bai Tu Long Bay, a Good Alternative to Halong Bay
- 1.6 6. Sapa and Its Rice Fields, One of the Best Things to See in Vietnam
- 1.7 7. Tam Coc
- 1.8 8. The Caves of Trang an, Our Favorite Place to See in Vietnam
- 1.9 9. Bai Dinh Pagoda
- 1.10 10. Hoa Lu, the Ancient Capital of Vietnam
- 1.11 11. Hang Múa, One of the Most Spectacular Landscapes to See in Vietnam
- 1.12 12. The Imperial City of Hué, a Historical Place to See in Vietnam
- 1.13 13. Imperial Tombs of Hué
- 1.14 14. Ba Na Hills, an Amazing Theme Park to See in Vietnam
- 1.15 15. Hoi An and its lanterns
- 1.16 16. Chàm Islands, a Paradise Very Close to Hoi an
- 1.17 17. Ngu Hanh Son, the Mountains of the Five Elements
- 1.18 18. Nha Trang, to Lie Down for a Few Days on the Beach
- 1.19 19. Da Lat, One of the Most Beautiful Towns to See in Vietnam
- 1.20 20. The Dunes of Mui Ne
- 1.21 21. Ho Chi Minh City, the Old Saigon
- 1.22 22. Museum of the Vestiges of the War
- 1.23 23. Cu Chi Tunnels
- 1.24 24. Mekong Delta, One of the Most Spectacular Places to See in Vietnam
- 1.25 25. The Beaches and the Environment of Phu Quoc
25 Best Places To Visit In Vietnam
1. Hanoi, the Chaotic but Beautiful Capital of Vietnam
Hanoi is a super interesting city. It has a fascinating mix of Chinese, French and Russian influences. It was our first contact with the country and at first, we were a little scared. It took us almost 2 minutes to cross the first crosswalk because traffic is never seen before! Despite the chaos as we were greeted with rain, we enjoyed it a lot.
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is the main attraction of the capital. Get lost for hours in its streets, haggle in its shops, markets and marvel at the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake. And it is that Hanoi could not be missing in this list of the best places to visit in Vietnam!
2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One of the Most Curious Things to See in Vietnam
In the political center of Hanoi, you will find this typical communist mausoleum. There rests the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh, a hero in the country’s independence process. The leader died in 1969 and against his own will (he wanted to be cremated), he was embalmed following in the footsteps of Lenin and Stalin and later exhibited. Surely if you have been to Moscow, you have already seen Lenin embalmed in Red Square. Or the same thing happens in Beijing with Mao Zedong.
Admission to the mausoleum is free and is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh looks like wax! As a curiosity, during the months of October and November, the leader’s body travels to Russia for maintenance.
3. Halong Bay, a Movie Place to See in Vietnam
What else can we add about this wonder? It is the most famous place to see in Vietnam. You have probably seen images on television many times. It is spectacular! Halong Bay has some 3,000 rocky islets that make up a very picturesque landscape. There you can enjoy spectacular caves and even some very interesting fishing villages.
Halong Bay is quite close to Hanoi. Most tours start from the capital. To get to know it, we recommend taking a cruise of at least one night. Going to sleep listening to the silence of Halong Bay is a real luxury. In addition, they usually do various activities such as visiting a fishing village, caves and canoeing.
4. Cat Ba, to Learn More About Halong Bay
If you have several days in Vietnam, we advise you to dedicate a couple to Cat Ba. It is the largest and most developed island in Halong Bay. There are many hotels to sleep in there and you will find a lot of activities to learn more about this natural wonder.
Although over the years, the tourist infrastructure in Cat Ba has grown, there are many parts of the island that remain protected. So it is a perfect place to get lost and explore nature!
5. Bai Tu Long Bay, a Good Alternative to Halong Bay
If you can’t get enough of Halong Bay, you can always discover the beautiful neighboring Bai Tu Long Bay. It has some advantages and disadvantages over Halong Bay. For example, tranquility. Many boats set sail in Halong Bay, while only the most exclusive ones in Bai Tu Long.
In this way, if you are looking to relax, Bai Tu Long will be the ideal place. And although it is also very beautiful, the islets are not as close together as in Halong Bay. The ideal would be to visit both, but if we have to stay with only one, we choose Halong Bay.
6. Sapa and Its Rice Fields, One of the Best Things to See in Vietnam
The rice fields of Sapa are spectacular. They are very close to the Chinese border in a very beautiful mountainous area.
We think it should be a must if you like nature. In the area, there are many interesting trekkings where you can enjoy its privileged environment. Of course, it is very important that before visiting Sapa you take into account the weather. All activities are outdoors and it is essential that there is little precipitation and good visibility. For this, we advise you to visit Sapa from March to May and from September to November.
7. Tam Coc
Tam Coc is one of the most spectacular sites in Vietnam. Tam Coc means “three caves”. And it is that during the boat trip on the river, you will pass through three beautiful caves (Hang Cam, Hang Giaua and Hang Chateau). All were created by the erosion of rocks. The French film Indochine (winner of an Oscar in 1933) made this place fashionable. Many scenes were filmed in Tam Coc. The landscape is from a movie! The boat ride lasts about 2 hours. You can take a day trip from Hanoi, although we recommend staying there and spending at least two days there.
8. The Caves of Trang an, Our Favorite Place to See in Vietnam
We were in Vietnam for 15 days and if we had to stay with just one place, we would definitely stay with the Trang An caves. In our life, we had seen a place as beautiful as this. It is not surprising that UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site.
These caves are the main attraction of the Ninh Binh province. As with its neighbor Tam Coc, you should take a boat trip to get to know them. This costs 200,000VND per person (approximately € 8) and there will be a person who will row for you. Although in the final part of the journey, we wanted to help her because it is super tiring!
You will have to choose between three itineraries. The first and third have a duration of three hours while the second, only two. We chose the latter because it was raining and cold but in the end, we regretted it.
During the journey, you will pass through several temples and caves. In addition, throughout the journey, you will be surrounded by karst rocks. It’s amazing! Without a doubt, the most beautiful place to see in Vietnam.
9. Bai Dinh Pagoda
During your trip through the country, you will get tired of visiting pagodas. However, we think this is one of the most beautiful things to see in Vietnam. It is also located in Ninh Binh province, a few kilometers from the Trang An grottoes. So you can’t miss it!
This set of Buddhist temples is the largest in Vietnam. Many say that it is the largest spiritual space in Southeast Asia. In the enclosure, you can visit two main pagodas and many smaller temples. As a curiosity, there are more than 500 Buddha statues inside. Almost nothing!
10. Hoa Lu, the Ancient Capital of Vietnam
Quite close to the Bai Dinh pagoda, you can visit Hoa Lu. This city was once the capital of Dai Co Viet (now Vietnam) during the Dinh and Tien Le dynasties. So it is one of the most important historical sites to see in Vietnam. It was the first capital of feudalism in the country until 1010 when it was moved to Thang Long (present-day Hanoi).
Out of curiosity, Hoa Lu was not chosen out of curiosity. Its privileged geographical location, surrounded by limestone mountains, protected it from possible invaders. In fact, it never suffered any attack during the years it served as the capital of the country.
11. Hang Múa, One of the Most Spectacular Landscapes to See in Vietnam
During your visit to the province of Ninh Binh, you cannot miss the Hang Múa viewpoint. From above, you will have spectacular views of the Ngo Dong River and the surrounding rice fields. You will have to climb 486 stairs. However, the effort is worth it when you get to the top and are speechless with the views.
12. The Imperial City of Hué, a Historical Place to See in Vietnam
Hue was the ancient capital of Vietnam and is a city steeped in history. Until 1945 the power of the country was concentrated there at the hand of the Nguyen dynasty. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the emperors lived in an impressive walled enclosure in the purest Forbidden City style in Beijing. There are dozens of temples and palaces with majestic decoration.
13. Imperial Tombs of Hué
Being home to the imperial Nguyen Dynasty, in Hué, you can also visit their tombs. Although it does not sound like a very appetizing plan, we assure you that they are not conventional tombs. They are huge spaces, with temples, gardens and spectacular buildings. There are seven imperial tombs in Hué, although the best known are those of Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh.
14. Ba Na Hills, an Amazing Theme Park to See in Vietnam
On the outskirts of Da Nang, there is a theme park suspended on a hill. To get there, you have to go up to a funicular with beautiful views. It is set in a medieval castle, where you will find attractions, fairground games, restaurants and even a couple of luxury hotels. But the most striking thing is the bridge baptized as Golden Bridge. Two huge stone hands simulate holding the suspended bridge over a beautiful landscape. Without a doubt, it is one of the most spectacular places to see in Vietnam.
15. Hoi An and its lanterns
Hoi An is a must-see in Vietnam. We found it the most charming city in the country thanks to the colorful lanterns that flood its streets. Strolling through its historical center dominated by yellow facades is a pleasure both day and night. Hoi An is one of those places where we could have stayed a month without getting tired.
16. Chàm Islands, a Paradise Very Close to Hoi an
Near Hoi An, there is a great place to enjoy the beach. We are talking about the Cham Islands, an archipelago made up of eight small islands. They are considered biosphere reserves by UNESCO for their fascinating marine life. If you like snorkeling or diving, you cannot miss an excursion to this little paradise from Hoi An or Da Nang.
17. Ngu Hanh Son, the Mountains of the Five Elements
On the central coast of Vietnam, there is a group of five very famous hills. They are known as the Marble Mountains or the Mountains of the Five Elements. Each one is named after an element: metal, water, wood, earth, and fire. Its interior is full of caves and tunnels that can be visited. You can even climb to the top of one of them to take in the views.
18. Nha Trang, to Lie Down for a Few Days on the Beach
Nha Trang is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. Especially from the locals. Its beaches attract thousands of tourists every year. Honestly, they are nothing to write home about, but the hotel infrastructure is very large and makes it a perfect place to lie down for a few days on the beach and disconnect.
19. Da Lat, One of the Most Beautiful Towns to See in Vietnam
Da Lat has something special. We think it is one of the most beautiful towns to see in Vietnam. It is located on a hill 1500 meters above sea level. In fact, during the French colonial period, it was their favorite vacation destination. As a curiosity, some call it “Little Paris.” There is even a replica of the Eiffel Tower in its center (albeit a bit seedy).
The most interesting thing about Da Lat is its surroundings. It is surrounded by beautiful forests, waterfalls and fields of flowers.
20. The Dunes of Mui Ne
Chaotic cities, beaches, dreamy bays, rice fields, even dunes! As you can see, Vietnam has it all. Mui Ne is a fishing village with a nice beach. But its greatest attraction is not that, but the incredible dunes. Just three kilometers from the beach there is a landscape worthy of the most beautiful desert. You can rent quads or plastic boards to have fun sliding down the dunes.
21. Ho Chi Minh City, the Old Saigon
It is the most populated and modern city to see in Vietnam. Hanoi is the political center while Ho Chi Minh City is its economic engine. Having been under the Western influence for so many years, it has a very different air from its capital Hanoi. We loved the contrast between its traditional markets and its huge skyscrapers and shopping malls. Also in Ho Chi Minh City, you can visit several interesting museums.
As a curiosity, it has been called Ho Chi Minh City since 1976, after the reunification of the country. The politicians wanted to pay tribute to Ho Chi Minh, who had died 7 years earlier, so that the new generations would always remember him. Even so, Saigon is still heavily used. If you notice, many hotels still bear this name.
22. Museum of the Vestiges of the War
Saigon played a key role in the Vietnam War. In fact, with the fall of Saigon in 1975, the war period ended and the reunification between South Vietnam and North Vietnam began, which finally gave rise to the current Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
So in Saigon, you will find many museums about the war. The most interesting is this. There you will learn a lot about that black period in the history of Vietnam. You will be able to see original tanks and airplanes, documents of the time and many photographs. Without a doubt, one of the most interesting places to see in Vietnam.
23. Cu Chi Tunnels
Very close to ancient Saigon, you can visit a huge tunnel system that was key to the outcome of the Vietnam War. These tunnels were the base of operations for the Viet Cong guerrillas. The ingenuity they had during the war is amazing! They wiped out the Americans without using firearms. And it is that never better said, the need sharpens the wit. In the tunnels they hid, they kept food and weapons, among many other things. What impressed us the most was seeing the traps they set for their enemies.
We walked only 40 meters inside it and it seemed to us that we had suffered there for 5 minutes. He is very claustrophobic and lacks oxygen. The best way to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels is through a guided tour since you will understand all the points much better. If you are short on time, you can combine this tour with the Mekong River Delta. Without a doubt, one of the most curious and interesting places to see in Vietnam.
24. Mekong Delta, One of the Most Spectacular Places to See in Vietnam
This is another of the typical excursions from Ho Chi Minh City. At almost 5000km in length, the Mekong is the eighth longest river in the world. It is born in the Himalayan mountains and ends precisely in Vietnam. But first, it goes through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and through Vietnam. Almost nothing!
In addition, the Mekong is very important for the locals. A very important part of the rice and fish consumed in Vietnam comes from the Mekong region.
When you are at one end, you can hardly see the other for how long it is. We advise you to take an excursion to the delta and observe how the locals live. It is very interesting!
25. The Beaches and the Environment of Phu Quoc
And to finish this list of 25 best places to visit in Vietnam, we could not leave the island of Phu Quoc. It is located in the southwestern part of the country, in fact, it borders Cambodia. In Phu Quoc, you will find many resorts where you can enjoy its white-sand beaches. They are not the most beautiful in Southeast Asia but they are perfect to rest from the chaos of the chaotic Vietnamese cities.
Also, if you like nature, almost 50% of the island is a natural park. You can enjoy its hiking routes, waterfalls and much more. Vietnam has it all!
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