No country has the charms like Vietnam, with a lot of things to see and do. Here we have exclusively selected the 13 unique and best places to visit in Vietnam for your best Vietnam journey.
It’s not an easy job to determine which places is the very best places to visit in Vietnam – everywhere has its own charms and cultural diversity. With many types of geographic landscapes, Vietnam can easily please your eyes; and with its wide spectrum of cultural fusion, Vietnam is the perfect place to seek and witness the blend of both Eastern and Western influences.
If you’re a traveler who has a limited time budget for your Vietnam journey, or insists on seeing the very best of the country, here are our exclusive list of 13 very best places to visit in Vietnam, including nature wonders, cultural in-depth and UNESCO protected heritages.
Halong Bay being number one, or the best place to visit in Vietnam, might be a little boring, but no one could deny the otherworldly beauties of the place. In other words, you can say that Halong Bay is an obvious answer.
Halong Bay, or the Bay of Descending Dragon, is in fact a garden of thousands of green limestone islands and islets on a greenish water of the Gulf of Tonkin. These pillars have turned Halong Bay into a real spectacular landscape on Earth and also the most famous tourist destination in Vietnam.
Halong is belonged to to Quang Ninh Province, bound by the two other beautiful bays – Bai Tu Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. Cat Ba Island – another tourist destination in Northern Vietnam – is also close to Halong.
Come to Halong, you’ll visit not only the magical bay, cruising through the islands and islets in many shapes and sizes, you’ll also get to visit the primitive islands with secluded beaches, the local fishing villages and gorgeous caves.
To visit Halong Bay, there many cruise types with different cruising lengths: Halong Bay Day Cruise, Halong Bay Sleeping Cruise, or Halong Bay Cruise combined with Bai Tu Long, Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba Island.
2. Hanoi – Capital of Vietnam
No one should skip Hanoi on their trip to Vietnam. The capital of Vietnam has everything a traveler are looking for in a cultural experience: architecture, travel hub, nightlife, street food scene and historical landmarks. Like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi is also a base for many journeys thanks to its development in transportation, infrastructure and public services.
Hanoi is developing its fastest speed yet it doesn’t abandon the roots of its culture and history which is dated back to thousands of years ago.
So when you visit this beautiful yet at the same time bizarre capital, you will find a peculiar blend of the old and the new, modernity and tradition.
Here you’ll see the pure Vietnamese culture, there is a relics of French colonialism and many other places – the cultures intertwined. We, as locals, often find this connection amazing and worth reserving.
Hanoi the city is a center of attention – it pulls you in with its gentle yet irresistible charms. But it’s not the only thing Hanoi is proud of.
Just outside of the city, you’ll see a whole other world, which is more intimate, aligned with the old timed values of Vietnamese people – a natural fountain of culture and way of life you almost can’t see in the city anymore. It’s the ancient villages that always have been there from hundreds of years ago, preserving Vietnamese traditional arts and crafts in the most authentic way.
3. Sapa – Best Place to visit in Vietnam for Trekkers
For those who want to get a closer look on Vietnamese culture and ethnology diversity, Sapa is the first destination to visit. Located on a highland of Lao Cai province, Sapa retains the beauties of natural landscapes with the golden rice terraced fields and of cultural diversity of ethnic minorities.
Sapa is worthy of your visit for whatever you’re seeking in Vietnam – the colorfulness of ethnic costumes, the practicing of the locals’ traditions and customs, the grandeur of nature….
Once a French hill station, Sapa nowadays is capital of northwest Vietnam, boasting its original and indigenous culture traits of the people of H’mong, Dao, Pho Lu and Dzay tribal groups. Authenticity is celebrated in Sapa in the most brilliant and beautiful way.
Sapa is known for the ethnic villages like Cat Cat, Ta Van, Lao Chai, for the beautiful valley Muong Hoa and the ‘Roof of Indochina’ Fansipan.
4. Ha Giang – Lands of Rocks
Often off the radar of most travelers to Vietnam, Ha Giang is too underrated for its beauties. Often called the final frontier of Vietnam, Ha Giang welcomes all the travelers who are looking for a true adventure, a real immersive travel experience in the land of rocks.
Located close to Vietnam and China border, Ha Giang is not an easy destination to get to but the rewards are sweet. Dong Van Karst Geopark is known for its dramatic and breathtaking sceneries and many mysteries.
Following the Happiness Road, you’ll be taken to the most overwhelming landscapes in Ha Giang – Ma Pi Leng Pass, the Rock Garden, the golden rice terraced fields, the fields of buckwheat flowers in pink, the pine trees and the green valleys.
Dong Van Town boasts the unique culture of Black H’mong with a fair market on every Sunday, H’mong old houses and H’mong’s way of life. You just can’t get enough of this land and its people.
5. Ninh Binh – Halong Bay on Land
As one of the most popular Hanoi Day Trip as well as the first double UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam, Ninh Binh is seriously a wonderful destination to enjoy both natural and cultural values in Northern Vietnam.
Located only 90 kilometers from Hanoi, you can easily get to Ninh Binh by bus, train or by driving motorbike on your own.
Once you arrived, Ninh Binh will engulf you in an atmosphere of peace and tranquil. Known as the ‘Halong Bay on Land’, to truly find wonders, you’ll have to come to Trang An – the UNESCO heritage. To visit so vast of a complex, you can’t visit all of it in one go. Indeed, you can only choose one of the three Trang An boat routes to visit.
On a Trang An boat trip, the local rower will take you through the gentle flowing river, past the beautiful limestone pillars, to the grottoes with ancient temples inside.
Tam Coc nearby is known for the gorgeous three-system cave and a waterway full of golden rice fields on the sides. Don’t forget to swing by Hang Mua Viewpoint during May – June to capture this scene from above.
Other things to do in Ninh Binh are Bai Dinh Pagoda – one of the largest pagodas on earth, Van Long Nature Reserve and Thung Nham Bird Garden.
6. Hue – Ancient Capital
Wander southward a bit, Hue is one of the best places to visit in Central Vietnam. As known as the ancient capital of Vietnam during Nguyen dynasty, Hue still holds so much cultural and historical values to behold.
The thing you’d enjoy the most in Hue is its slow-paced life style and peaceful atmosphere everywhere. Hue people is well-known as the most pleasant and polite people in Vietnam with elegant style and demeanor.
Come to Hue, it’s a miss if you skip Hue Imperial City – a UNESCO cultural heritage, the realm of the past and the most impressive royal construction in Vietnam. Once you set foot inside this special city, you’ll be taken back to a time of feudal Vietnam with palaces, monuments, royal quarters and lake….
Hue isn’t just the Imperial City, a cruise on Perfume River will give you a perspective of the life of the people along this beautiful, poetic river.
☛ See our selected tours to Hue and Central Vietnam
7. Danang – City of Bridges
Danang is just singular, undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. The capital of Central Vietnam is commonly known for the beautiful, impressive bridges like the Golden Bridge and Han Bridge while Danang is so much more than that.
Bana Hills, Golden Bridge with its giant stone hands covered in moss might bring Danang the fame, but My Khe beach, Marble Mountain and the suburban handicraft village is what make you stay longer in this one-of-a-kind city.
☛ Can’t wait to visit Danang? See our best Danang Itineraries now!
8. Hoi An – Ancient Trading Port
Only 30 minutes driving from Danang, Hoi An is up there with Halong Bay and Sapa as one of the best places to visit in Vietnam which it rightfully deserves. What about Hoi An makes it so different from other destinations in Vietnam?
Hoi An was once the most bustling trading port in Southeast Asia during many centuries. The traits of all major Asian cultures can be found here, more glorious than any other place in Vietnam.
As a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, Hoi An is known for its well-preserved old quarter, assembly halls and pagodas and temples. The construction that has made the fame for Hoi An is the beautiful Japanese Bridge.
Hoi An at night shines with colorful lanterns, reflecting on the ever gentle Thu Bon River crossing the town. Hoi An is also the best place in Vietnam to enjoy local specialties at a cheaper prices. But this isn’t all – the villages in Hoi An has the adventure going on with real local experiences! If you only can visit one destination in Vietnam, then Hoi An should be the answer!
☛ Ready for a life-time trip? See our Hoi An day trips and tours!
9. Mui Ne – Best Place to visit in Vietnam for kitesurfers
If you’re looking for a real tropical paradise in Vietnam with red sand hills and turquoise beaches, Mui Ne is the place to go.
There is also another thing Mui Ne is famous for: kitesurfing. Located just 30 minutes away from Phan Thiet city, Binh Thuan province, Mui Ne is the hub for kitesurfers around the world for its strong winds, great swells almost all year round.
The Red Sand Dunes are just iconic for a chance of getting epic photos or a fun time playing sand sliding down the hills. The collection of resorts and hotels in Mui Ne would offer top-notch quality for your stay.
☛ Send request for a Mui Ne Trip at much more attractive price!
10. Ho Chi Minh City – Most dynamic city in Vietnam
If Hanoi the capital is the center of Northen Vietnam, Danang the Central then Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the central city of the south. The city, named after the beloved leader, has both historical and cultural significance.
The city saw the Khmer people were the first ones to settle down in the area, then the control past to Vietnamese people, then the French, then the US during Vietnam War and back to Vietnamese again. Come to Ho Chi Minh City, you’d see the relics of the war that are left not very long ago, like in War Remnants Museum and Cu Chi Tunnels.
This is also the city you’d see the most influential cultural traits which are from the west – the French architecture, the US-style of naming streets, skyscrapers…. But in the most unexpected corners of the city, Vietnamese heritage is maintained as a sight of everyday life.
11. Mekong Delta – Life on Water
Mekong Delta has always been one of the most unique and special destinations in Vietnam. From Ho Chi Minh City, you can visit this vast area quite easily. Called ‘Vietnam’s Rice Bowl’, Mekong has so much things to see and do, a culture and way of life you almost can’t see anywhere else.
Thanks to the mighty Mekong River (or in Vietnam – ‘Nine Dragons’), the land is rich. Across the 13 provinces and city in the area are the floating marketing, fields of coconut palms, sugarcane, fruit orchards, bird gardens….
Come to Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho, you’ll have the chance to witness the life of the local first-hand, join the atmosphere and try the local food.
The many handicraft villages, workshops and factories are just unique to visit. My Tho, Ben Tre, Soc Trang, An Giang, the culture of Khmer prevails and is celebrated.
12. Phu Quoc Island – Offshore Paradise
No one can deny Phu Quoc is the most beautiful island in Vietnam. Open for tourism, you can visit Phu Quoc for 30 days without a visa.
Once you come to Phu Quoc Island, you’ll never get enough of it. The island has some of the best beaches in Vietnam – Sao Beach, Khem Beach, Ganh Dau Beach, Long Beach…. Phu Quoc is the best destination for both relaxing activities and trekking and active activities. Phu Quoc National Park is so large it covers more than half of the island. With mountains, streams, thick forests and beautiful trekking trails, Phu Quoc National Park might as well be your most favorite place on the island.
Don’t miss out Phu Quoc Safari Zoo, Vinpearl Phu Quoc, Hon Thom Island, Phu Quoc Night Market and many other places to discover here.
13. Con Dao Island – Retreat to Nature
You want even more nature, much less crowds and love to enjoy the feeling the whole place belong to only you. Welcome to Con Dao island – one of the most primitive, beautiful and secluded island in Vietnam. Belonged to Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Con Dao has the paradise-like beauties, top resorts, nature wildlife and so much more.
Visiting Con Dao Island without enjoying the best beaches like Nhat Beach, Bai Dai, Ong Dung Beach…. Exploring the town, the fishing village to see the peaceful daily life of the inhabitants will be a memorable experience for you.
There is no way we can elaborate adequately on the best places to visit in Vietnam in just a single post. And the ‘best’ word is a term from a subjective perspective as it could get. A hidden gem, off-the-the-beaten-track, often off the radar, would be your ‘best place’. It all depends on what is suitable for you. And we have the answers for that, too.
Contact us for send your request to Indochina Trends’ experts today to know which places in Vietnam that suit you the most.