What to See in Vietnam

This beautiful land offers you a mix of everything, but everything you’ve never seen before: from lush rice paddies to verdant forests painted in every shade of green, to breathtaking beaches. There are also traditional villages, archaeological sites, as well as bustling modern cities and paradise islands offering various opportunities to get lost in Vietnam’s amazing cultural diversity.

While your itinerary in Vietnam may only include a few sites (Halong Bay, Hoi An, the Mekong Delta, etc.), I recommend that these 23 destinations listed below also deserve a spot on your Vietnam tour list.

1. Halong Bay

croisiere peony baie halong

How can you come to Vietnam without visiting one of their most famous UNESCO World Heritage sites? This breathtaking seascape is located in the northeastern maritime region of Vietnam.

With thousands of otherworldly islands and natural wonders, its allure has never ceased to expand and delight travelers from around the world.

Sailing among the limestone islands and feasting on the captivating aqua green waters is a great pleasure. Ha Long also includes more than 2,000 islands with dense jungles, magical caves, caverns, sinkholes, and lakes.

2. Phong Nha

phong nha ke bang vietnam

The Phong Nha caves are part of a larger network of national parks that have also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Phong Nha boasts the purest limestone mountains and also contains 45% of the biodiversity found in all of Vietnam. Bears, antelopes, monkeys, snakes… even hundreds of species of butterflies. If you are looking for monkeys, the best time to spot them is in the morning and evening.

3. Ha Giang

piste Chin Khoanh ha giang vietnam

Ha Giang never fails to capture the attention of travelers with its majestic limestone formations, the legendary Dong Van Plateau, winding roads, the charming ancient town of Dong Van, and the Khau Vai Love Market where once-lost lovers are found. It is blessed with cool weather all year round and pure air, making it an ideal place to escape the heat.

However, the best part is the dreamy pink buckwheat fields that stretch across the hills. Every October, tourists flock to this place to take pictures and soak up such natural beauty.

4. Hué

citadelle Hue vietnam a voir

When it comes to Huế, one often thinks of the refined palaces and ancient temples that breathe with the nostalgic flavor of the glorious dynasties. Everyone wants to visit Huế at least once to witness firsthand the resplendent testimonies of the last feudal dynasty.

Not only that, the gentle and relaxing pace of life here is far more charming. Some of the famous landmarks in Huế include the Imperial City (the most famous monument) and the Thien Mu Pagoda (the official symbol of the city). Furthermore, the food here is incredibly delicious.

5. Da Nang

pont avec mains danang

Located in the south-central region, Da Nang has it all: mountains, plains, and sea. The most famous tourist attractions in Da Nang include the Ba Na resort, My Khe Beach, and Lady Buddha. The Hai Van Pass, the pristine forest of the Son Tra Peninsula, and the Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son) are also worth a visit.

Da Nang is surrounded by three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the ancient town of Hoi An, the My Son Sanctuary, and the Imperial City of Huế, making it a perfect base for cultural exploration.

6. Mui Né

dunes rouges mui ne

The sand dunes of Mui Ne are stunning, and tourists might not expect to see real dunes, but this should definitely be a spot marked on your travel itinerary. There are many tour operators in Mui Ne who organize trips to these sand dunes, but you can also easily make your way to these places if you prefer to explore at your own pace. I went there at 5 am when the sun is rising.

Visitors can rent plastic sleds; make sure to agree on the price beforehand. Another interesting activity is kite flying. These dunes are a popular picnic spot for locals.

7. Sapa

telepherique sapa

The town of Sapa in Vietnam is 350 km northwest of Hanoi, located in Lao Cai Province. The tranquil town of Sapa was not on the national map until the arrival of the French in Tonkin in the 19th century. It was the French who recognized the city and used it for military and religious purposes. Sapa only became accessible to tourists in 1993.

Sapa is where a number of natural attractions are located, the most famous of which is Fan Si Pan, the highest peak in Vietnam. The town is where the Hoang Lien Son mountain range is found, and this includes Fan Si Pan. The mountain’s peak is just 19 km from the town.

Another attraction in Sapa is the Hoang Lien National Park. This serves as a wildlife sanctuary for many species, especially those that are endangered. Other places to see in the park include the Cat Cat Village and Ta Phin Cave.

Sapa is also the gateway to the north and an ideal place to meet the minorities and enjoy splendid landscapes, including the terraced rice fields.

8. Hanoi

lac hoan kiem hanoi 3

Hanoi is the millennia-old capital of the country with its ancient monuments and peaceful life. Visit Hanoi once, and you will never forget its distinctive atmosphere: Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, the tranquil cafes, the narrow alleys, and the street vendors.

Moreover, don’t forget to visit important sites such as the Hanoi Opera House, the Presidential Palace, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

9. Ho Chi Minh City

marche ben thanh saigon

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is one of Vietnam’s largest and most developed metropolises. The city pulses with contemporary life and is a perfect blend of historical attractions and modern delights: exciting shopping trips, tasty culinary delights, and vibrant nightlife.

10. Hai Phong

Hai Phong may not be as dynamic as Da Nang or Ho Chi Minh City, yet it is one of the most remarkable places for solo travel according to Buzzfeed. This is certainly the most underrated travel destination in Vietnam because people often regard Hai Phong merely as a jumping-off point to explore Halong Bay.

There is much to see and do in Hai Phong: Do Son Beach, Tam Bac Lake, Trang Kenh Bridge, Binh Bridge, Hai Phong Opera House, and more.

11. Nha Trang

plage de nha trang au vietnam

If you have ever been to Nha Trang, the charm of this beautiful coastal city is truly breathtaking. With its magnificent beaches and crystal-clear waters, Nha Trang is a privileged swimming territory.

If you prefer not to sunbathe, take advantage of the amusement parks 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!

12. Cu Chi Tunnels

visiter tunnels cu chi vietnam

In April last year, CNN published a list of 12 underground tourist attractions around the world, among which the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam were mentioned. Cu Chi is a subterranean defense system consisting of secret tunnels connecting village to village during wartime. It was not just a refuge for guerrillas, but also a center of community life.

So spend a day at Cu Chi to learn about history, and experience an adventure that takes you into the heart of the Vietnamese land, where you can understand the resilience and ingenuity of the people during the war. Visitors can crawl through some of the safer sections of the tunnels, see hidden entrances, and learn how the Viet Cong managed to thrive under such difficult conditions.

13. Ha Tien

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 its many beautiful landscapes, attracting numerous visitors.

No one remembers the exact origin of this name, but legend has it that once upon a time, fairies fell in love with the poetic landscape of the area. They often stopped near the Giang Thanh river and gave it the name Ha Tien. (Ha means river and Tien means fairy in Vietnamese). In addition to the beautiful landscapes, Ha Tien is also known for historical sites associated with legend and fairy tales.

14. Delta Mekong

quand aller visiter le delat mekong

Located near Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta is an important economic and cultural area in the south, which is why it’s nicknamed the “rice bowl of Vietnam.

Visitors can find plenty to see and do: pick fresh fruit in the orchards, shop in the colorful floating markets, and visit bird sanctuaries and picturesque villages.

15. My Son

my son vietnam

The My Son Sanctuary is located in a secluded valley and features spectacular mountainous terrain. Here, with over 70 architectural constructions from the Champa civilization, My Son holds the precious intimate details of the civilization over 9 centuries.

The architecture of My Son is evaluated on par with the famous monuments of Southeast Asia such as Angkor Wat, Bagan, and Borobudur. It has also been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

16. Phu Quoc

ile aux ongles phu quoc

Phu Quoc is a beautiful archipelago located in the Gulf of Thailand, in the Kien Giang province. On the country’s southern coast, the island of Phu Quoc Ngoc, the largest in Vietnam, is also the most significant among the 22 islands in this archipelago.

Crystal clear waters, peaceful streams, and numerous unique seafood are the great advantages of Phu Quoc’s tourism. Moreover, the nuoc mam (fish sauce) of Phu Quoc is the best in the world.

17. Con Dao Island

con dao vietnam

Con Dao is a coastal tourist destination in Vietnam that attracts many tourists. The island has many pristine beaches and is a paradise for relaxation and nature exploration.

People also come for scuba diving and snorkeling.

18. Ly Son Island

plage de ly son vietnam

It would be great if you have the chance to spend your holidays on Ly Son Island. There are two distinct seasons here: the rainy season (September – February) and the dry season (March – August). The average number of sunshine hours per year is about 2430.3, which is suitable for tourist activities and resort centers.

Hospitable people, pristine landscapes, 100% fresh produce, and incredibly low service costs are what Ly Son leaves with every visitor after their journey.

19. Phu Yen

phu yen vietnam a voir

Phu Yen, located by the sea in the central region, with famous sites such as the Da Dia Rapids, Vung Ro Bay, and a lighthouse. The climate in Phu Yen 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 tourist visits and other outdoor activities. Moreover, you can also arrange festive events to listen to “hat choi” – an intangible national cultural heritage.

20. Ninh Binh

tam coc ninh binh

The city of Ninh Binh is situated in the southern plains of Northern Vietnam. It is the capital of the province with the same name, located between the Red and Ma rivers. Ninh Binh is less well-known than some other cities in Vietnam. However, its location makes it a crucial stop for many tourists, as it offers access to other tourist sites. For example, Ninh Binh is close to Tam Coc (“Three Caves”), a natural attraction consisting of three caves.

One of the best things Ninh Binh can offer visitors is its breathtaking landscape. The scenery alone is worth the trip. In this place, one will find karsts – limestone rock formations.

A wonderful attraction, which is 40 minutes away from Ninh Binh is Cuc Phuong National Park, the first national park in Vietnam, home to 400 animal species. Those planning to go to Ninh Binh are advised to go on an overnight trip planned from Hanoi (which is two hours away from Ninh Binh). One day is not enough to see all there is to see in the city

21. Hoi An

vieille ville hoi an vietnam 9

An important port in Southeast Asia during the 16th and 17th centuries, the seaside town of Hoi An, located in central Vietnam, is essentially a living museum with a unique blend of East and West, reflected in the architecture of the Old Town. Among the must-see monuments are the Japanese Bridge, Chinese pagodas, houses with yellow facades or wooden features, French colonial houses, and old canals.

Hoi An has managed to preserve and restore its charming roots and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in December 1999.

The port area is best in the evening as it is illuminated by picturesque lanterns, making it an atmospheric and beautiful place. For those who love the sea, sun, and sand, Hoi An offers a beautiful beach just four kilometers from the city center.

Hoi An is also known for its cuisine, shopping, skilled tailors, and cozy atmosphere – all key features that draw tourists to this picturesque town.

If you wish to visit Hoi An in English, you can contact Hoi An Sightseeing Tours.

22. Da Lat

gare de dalat vietnam

Da Lat is the capital of Lam Dong province. At an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level, Da Lat enjoys cool weather all year round and is an ideal retreat in the south.

Once known for attractions such as the Valley of Love, Than Tho Lake, Doi Thong Hai Mo, Thac Voi, etc., Da Lat today seems unable to retain its pristine beauty. However, tourists are still captivated by the peaceful atmosphere and idyllic landscapes of colorful flowers, valleys full of mist, and lush pine trees.

Key highlights of a visit to Da Lat include Xuan Huong Lake, Langbiang Mountain, Bao Dai’s Summer Palace, Thien Vien Truc Lam monastery, Tuyen Lam Lake, and Da Lat Railway Station (Trai Mat Station).

Just 300 km from Saigon, the city of Da Lat is a charming escape for those seeking to flee the stifling heat of the southern delta region.

23. Cao Bang

cascade ban gioc cao bang vietnam

Just a few hours north of Hanoi, the beautiful province of Cao Bang awaits you. Barely known to foreign tourists, the northernmost region of Vietnam is of extraordinary natural beauty.

Deep valleys, green hills, and sharp limestone karsts make this landscape a memory that you will remember long after you return home from your trip to Vietnam.

Originally from Lyon, I swapped the cobblestone streets of my hometown for the mystical mountains of Northern Vietnam. Trained as a journalist, I settled in Hanoi five years ago and quickly developed a passion for the cultural richness of the region. A specialist in Lào Cai province, I am also an experienced hiker, sharing my trekking experiences in remote areas and my encounters with local communities.

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