It would be no exaggeration if I call Vietnam a land of astonishing beauty, because it is cent percent true. Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea known for its pristine beaches, babbling rivers and exquisite Buddhist pagodas. Yes, there are bustling cities and places that you might not consider lovely but Vietnam is surely more than that. A visit to this country is like an adventure of its own. Finding new, beautiful beach each time; giving taste buds a whole new experience with best seafood; riding to lonely mountains; observing the silhouettes of cities like Ho Chi Minh from sky bars and enjoying the rich wildlife on the islands are some of the experiences in Vietnam that might remain etched in your memory. Vietnam is for everyone, be it a beach lover, mountain goat, leisure seeker, history buff or an adrenaline junky; it is a complete destination that is becoming better each day. So, if you are thinking why on earth have you missed travelling to this country up till now, let our list of top places to visit in Vietnam make you feel more miserable (LOL!)
Ha Long Bay is probably the identifier of Vietnam. Located about 130 km east of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is known for its aqua-green water; cluster of limestone rocky outcrops rising and lush forest. The island is indeed one of the prettiest places in Vietnam and the most visited one as well. One can find intriguing caves and lakes. It is amazing to witness how over the centuries this island has been naturally processed into something so fantastic. Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore Ha Long Bay.
Amidst the bustles of Hanoi, one can find a soulful and unmatched blend of history and modernity. Expect to encounter unusual tranquillity in the Temple of Literature, peace of mind and soul at One Pillar Pagoda, and a treat to taste buds at the French patisseries. Hanoi is like an open-air museum of historic Asian and French colonial architecture that has remained intact despite the severe bombings during the Vietnam War. Everything in Hanoi from scenic tree-lined boulevards to busy markets; quaint cafes to the Grand Opera House and from the Presidential Palace to Saint Joseph Cathedral has something interesting to tell to the visitors. The city is warm-hearted and thus is definitely a place to visit in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s splendid and old city of Hoi An is located in South Central Vietnam, just off the coast of South China Sea. Hoi An boasts of its historic architecture, traditions and rich culture, which you can witness by tottering around the city that dates back to 2,000 years during the Champa Kingdom. Hoi An is also famous for creating exquisite textiles and that follows with selling custom-made clothing, shoes, bags, souvenirs and more through the tailor shops. The old town of Hoi An is beautifully located with a laid-back scenery in their narrow and winding lanes adorned with ancient architectural wooden houses on the sides. Hoi An is also an ideal place to taste authentic Vietnamese street food. Even better, if you want to learn the art of cooking food Vietnamese style, you can join a half-day cooking class.
Hue is the cultural capital of Vietnam, if I may put it in this way. The city is replete with temples, tombs, pagodas and palaces to be explored. Rich in culture, Hue is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to the Citadel, which once was the emperor’s private residence, and the Forbidden Purple City, where he housed his mistresses. The city sits quietly on the bank of Perfume River and was once also served as the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty. The vestiges of the glorious period are perfectly reflected in the city’s architecture, culture and cuisine, making it one of the best places to see in Vietnam. Another important landmark on the river is the city’s official symbol, the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Sa Pa is probably a picture perfect destination in Vietnam. Surrounded by scenic mountains, rice terraces, Sa Pa is a beautiful town that is frequently used as a base for trekking in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains and touring rice paddies and traditional villages. Tours around Sa Pa give the opportunity to witness beautiful waterfalls; experience delectable food, interesting customs and the lifestyle of the local tribes. One must go trekking in the hills of Sa Pa for unmatched views of the jungle and mountain ranges of north-west Vietnam.
Located off the coast of South Central Vietnam and on Asia’s most beautiful bays, Nha Trang is a popular seaside city. Flaunting picturesque mountains, beaches and verdant islands, Nha Trang makes one of the loveliest places to spend a holiday in Vietnam. The city is a scuba divers’ and beach lovers’ paradise and adorned with resorts, swaying palm trees and a pretty promenade. One can also find amusement and water parks here adding to make it nothing but the best tourist destination in the country.
Probably, the major tourist attraction in Mekong Delta is the colourful floating market that sells a melange of locally grown items. This place also offers a visual treat to the eyes by taking you inside the rustic villages, lush rice paddy fields, fruit orchards and sugar cane groves as well as bird sanctuaries. Needless to say, you’re bound to have a great experience visiting south-western Vietnam in Mekong Delta. The Mekong River nearby also serves as an aid to make this agricultural region fertile by creating a maze of canals and streams, thus it is also known as the ‘Vietnam’s Rice Basket.’ The Delta that stretches between the Gulf of Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City offers rich plantations to more than a third of the country.
On the bank of Siagon River near the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City was the capital of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Today, it is the largest city of the country and offers a rich blend of historic and modern attractions to the visitors. Ho Chi Minh is known for its happening nightlife, sleek skyscrapers and beautiful silhouette. An ideal thing to do in Ho Chi Minh is to be in one of the sky bars and admire the best view of the city by night.
An important archaeological place, located near the Duy Phú Village on the central coast of Vietnam, My Son is one of the most important ancient destinations of Southeast Asia. Once being the significant place for Hindu ceremonies, My Son is where you can witness a number of ancient marvels of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said to be built between 4th and 14th century by the then rulers, the Champas.
The misty valley of Da Lat allures visitors from around the world to find their slice of paradise in the form of this gorgeous destination. Blessed with salubrious climate, idyllic scenery, lush pine trees and colourful flora, Da Lat was once the Vietnamese emperors’ and French colonials’ summer retreat. Today, this charming town situated in the South Central Highlands of the country is a popular destination for those looking for respite from the heat. The best way to explore the city is on foot and can expect to witness beautiful scene of French colonial architecture and villas set amid picturesque landscapes.
Vietnam has several destinations that are for those who like to take an off beaten path. One such hidden gem is Ben Tre. Situated on the bank of River Mekong, Ben Tre is amongst the best kept secrets of Vietnam. The place has attractions like coconut candy factory. An ideal day in Ben Tre would be to visit the factory to sample their premium sweets, set sail at dusk to catch fireflies and watch lovely sunsets. Ben Tre is surely a place for romance and ideal to visit with your partner.
Situated in the Central Highland, Kon Tum is a sleepy city sitting on the edge of the Dakbla River. The place is devoid of any hustle and bustle and thus makes for a great place to visit in Vietnam. Although the town is the base for visiting other popular places in Central Highland but it has some must-see attractions of its own including the colonial-era architecture. The place is ideal to grab a drink or two in the evening when the most of the town comes to rest.
Con Dao Archipelago is an unspoilt destination in Vietnam. Although sleepy in nature, it reflects a tumultuous history under French as Con Dao was once home to the most feared prison in Vietnam. Today, Con Dao has opened its door for tourism. The largest island of the Con Dao archipelago is Con Son, which is a laidback getaway with some spectacular colonial buildings, gorgeous beaches and challenging treks and national park. Some of the best ways to enjoy in Con Son is by trekking in the national park, diving, watching sea turtles laying eggs and hanging out in the uncrowned beaches.
One of the most bustling beach destinations in Vietnam, Mui Ne was once a sleepy backwater destination that remained ignored by the tourists. Today, the destination is one of the most crowded weekend attractions in Vietnam. Mui Ne is situated at a short distance from Ho Chi Minh City and thus can be called a preference for upmarket visitors that are willing to pay a large sum to stay in luxurious resorts. Mui Ne offers a laid back atmosphere and has good stretches of soft sand. It is a perfect place to unwind and get that perfect tan.
Phan Rang is a destination that is rich in historical attractions. The town is where the remnants of Po Klong Garai can be best found. One of the best places to sight in the town is Po Re Me towers. Phan Rang is also at a short distance from one of Vietnam’s most appealing Cham villages called Tuan Tu. Once done with sightseeing in the town, one can head to the lovely Ninh Chu Beach, which is another excellent weekend destination in Vietnam.
A charming fishing village of Vietnam, Cat Ba Island is said to be one of the largest amongst the extensive group of islands located in the west of Ha Long Bay. Cat Ba in Vietnam offers a sight of forest-covered limestone peaks; charming valleys; and coastal plains. Although most of the islands here are inaccessible, a trip to Cat Ba fishing village with some of its parts still untouched by civilization may make you feel refreshed. Half of the Cat Ba Island is officially declared a national park to conserve the diverse ecosystems. The unspoilt area of this island range from offshore coral reefs, coastal mangrove swamps to tropical evergreen forest. There is, however, the tourist-filled section that houses few resorts enabling the visitors to explore the nature and wildlife around Vietnam’s rich diversity.
The white sand beaches and the dense tropical jungle mark the Phu Quoc Island that is situated in the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc is reckoned to be a tear-shaped island and is gradually morphing to become a must-visit beach destination in Vietnam. The island offers good opportunities to explore, dive the reefs, kayak in the bays, eat up the back-road miles on a motorbike, relax on the beach, enjoy a massage and dine on fresh seafood.
Quy Nhon is a beach lovers’ paradise. Situated in Central Vietnam, Quy Nhon is one of those places that you would like to wake up every morning at; tidy, litter-free streets and white sand beach make this destination a hot favourite of tourists across the world. It can also be an ideal honeymoon destination in Vietnam without even a doubt. Expect fresh seafood, lot of natural beauty and good guesthouses to crash into.
Blessed with natural beauty, central Vietnam based Ninh Binh province offers sights of cultural splendour and wildlife in the national park and reserve. Located south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh province is one of the famed spots often visited by domestic travellers and also international ones. The highlights of this place include the landscape of Tam Coc that can be seen by taking a traditional boat ride and also visiting a UNESCO Site of Trang An Grottoes. Also being heavily commercialised, you’ll witness many resorts and restaurants here. Since Ninh Binh province is located near Thanh Hoa Province you can visit Samson Beach for a refreshing day and the wildlife reserve, Cuc Phuong.
Located in the northeast Vietnam, Bai Tu Long Bay is a surreal island which continues for some 100km to the Chinese border. The Bai Tu Long National Park shares the border that of the famed Ha Long Bay. The island is as beautiful as its neighbouring destination and if we may a wee bit more stunning. It is an ideal destination for those who would like to escape the crowded Ha Long Bay and spend sometime enjoying the nature all by them. One can opt for boat trips into the Bai Tu Long area and delight in the slow life on this island.
We hope this blog made up your mind about where to plan your next trip to. If you have already been to Vietnam and have a suggestion or two for more destinations to be added to the list, put them down in the comment below. We would be happy to add them. And if you are now planning a Vietnam trip and figuring out how to go about it, allow us to help you and make your trip worth the while. You can call us at +91-9212553106 or even drop us an email at email@example.com for more on Vietnam tour packages and deals.