Not only famed for its incredible thousand years of history (was ruled for nearly a thousand years by Chinese dynasties till 938 AD, after that was one of a French protectorate in the 19th century, and then fiercely defending its independence), Vietnam nowadays is a country where has an astonishing mix of cultural diversity and breathtaking natural highlights.
Best Destinations in Vietnam to visit from North to South
If you ask me whether Vietnam is worth a journey to discover, my answer is always YES. Whenever thinking of Vietnam, the first thing will spring to everyone's mind is outstanding "Halong Bay" which is well known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, Vietnam has so many more to offer the travellers from many imposing mighty mountains and alluring terraced paddies fields in northern Vietnam to some of the best beaches in Southeast Asia, not to mention about the rustic villages with fantastic panoramas, the numerous national parks, the hectic pace of cities and the winding waterways with lush scenery.
This list was put together by Inside Travel experts who are proud of our land and love showing all the top things and unique places to visitors. Without further ado, here are the best 14 places for you in Vietnam!
A MAP OF TOP DESTINATIONS TO VISIT IN VIETNAM
BEST DESTINATIONS IN VIETNAM
1. Ha Giang
Ha Giang was less known as a travel destination before but it is significant popular with travellers recently, especially with someone who loves discover the untouched and pristine beauty places. When it comes to the land of Ha Giang, there are some awesome things which makes Ha Giang standing out from the crowd: the landscapes of many grandiose mountains, the most breathtaking winding pass - Ma Pi Leng Pass on Happiness Road, the alluring beauty of terraced rice paddies and deep valleys where feature some scattered villages. Read more about Most Memorable Travel Experiences About Ha Giang.
Coming to Sapa which is located in the Hoang Lien Son mountains on a sunny day after nearly 6 hours of driving, you will catch a glimpse of a stark contrast between the idyllic atmosphere in rural villages and the energetic life in Sapa centre. Sapa is very well known as the top destination for nature lovers who like to trek or have a day hike through many tiny villages of Hmong, Giay, and Red Dzao people with the staggering mountains scenery, stunning waterfalls and verdant rice terraced fields surrounding. Especially don't forget to visit the bustling colourful Bac Ha Market to see many ethnic groups in their traditional garb in one place.
3. Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Even though Vietnam is becoming more and more modernized, Pu Luong still live quite traditional and set in their ways. Taking a private car to Pu Luong and you will truly impress by many imposing mountains along the way and just after a short drive of 4 hours and 30 minutes, you will arrive Pu Luong and admire its pristine beauty of many terraced paddies and the friendliness of locals. With a short hike around some of the best rural villages and have a chance to listen to the guide who will tell you some special stories and the history of this place, you should definitely add this destination into your bucket list.
Hanoi city is not only the capital but also the heartbeat of Vietnam and it has an important role in almost every aspect. Up to now, Hanoi still keeps it as one of the best destinations for travellers from all over the world for being the most bustling and interesting cities throughout Southeast Asia. Along with the hustle and bustle life and motorbike frenzy, Hanoi also has a traditional ancient side with many historical buildings such as the temple of literature, one pillar pagoda and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Besides, you can have a great opportunity to visit some excellent museums (Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam Women Museum, Vietnam Military History Museum) to gain an insight into the culture and history of Vietnam.
5. Halong Bay
Famous for being one of the 7 Wonders of Nature and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay stands out from the crowd for its unique of thousands of towering limestone rocky outcrops rising from the emerald and tranquil water of the Gulf of Tonkin. Since Halong Bay karst seascape is considered as one of the world's best spellbinding sea views, its charming beauty will never disappoint you. The best way to enjoy the ethereal Halong Bay scenery is taking a short excursion of 2-day or 3-day itineraries on Halong Bay Cruises packages which will definitely bring you a great opportunity to witness how beautiful the bay is especially the alluring sunrise and sunset of this incredible place.
6. Ninh Binh - Halong Bay on Land
If you already know the beauty of Halong Bay looks like a picturesque of a masterpiece, you will surprise that Ninh Binh is considered as one of Halong Bay on land, its beauty incomparable. There are a great number of the towering jagged limestone mountains and grottoes which scatter in this hidden gem - Ninh Binh. You might have seen them and the tranquil flowing rivers in the movie Kong: Skull Island, but once you are at Ninh Binh, you will definitely realize the spectacular natural beauty of this place is much more beautiful than that. This destination is a perfect place for taking a boat to visit some of the amazing caves and biking through the peaceful rice fields.
7. Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park
Whenever referring to the land of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province, almost everyone will immediately think about the world's largest natural cave which is also famous for its marvellous and largely untouched beauty - Son Doong Cave (Hang Son Doong). Some people might overlook this largest cave because the price for a package tour is pretty expensive and the requirements are very strictly. Even if they can't make it to Son Doong, since this national park is the home of plenty of imposing caves, they may want to check out some of the other magnificent caves in this area such as Paradise Cave (Thien Duong Cave in Vietnamese - Underground Palace Heaven) which extends for a impressive 31 km below ground, Tu Lan Cave - a wet cave, Hang En Cave and so many more. See more about The Bucket List For The Top Outstanding Caves In Vietnam.
8. Hue Imperial City (The Citadel)
Located on the banks of the poetic Perfume River in the centre of Vietnam, Hue used to be the imperial capital under the reign of Nguyen dynasty. Though there are many parts of this place were ruined during the Vietnam War, Hue is still filled with a great number of remnants which are reflected in architectural features, dozens of tombs, ancient culture, some local markets and regional cuisine. If you have a chance to travel this destination, you can't miss the incredible Citadel of Hue, some famous tombs such as Ming Mang tomb, Tu Duc tomb and Khai Dinh tomb.
9. Hoi An Ancient Town
If you have a limited time to discover a few places in Vietnam, you should definitely make Hoi An be one of them. This Ancient Town is so special that almost everyone falls in love with its beautiful historic architecture, traditional culture, delicious cuisine and textiles. This is a place where you love to capture everything in your memories to leave a story to tell your relatives, friends and families. Hoi An is even more gorgeous at night when all the lanterns are lightened up and taking a boat at night to immerse into the charming beauty of this place is one of the best ideal choices. This destination is also famous for being the home to hundreds of professional tailors to make any type of clothes in a short time for you.
10. Nha Trang
Amongst the best beaches along the coast of South Central Vietnam, Nha Trang is king. Though Nha Trang is significantly busier than some other beaches because of its beauty, its beach still keeps very clean and has no pollution issues since the authorities encourage travellers to respect the marine environment and have some rules to protect the environment. Picturesque mighty mountains, crystalline blue water glistening under the sunlight, palm tree along the promenade and lush islands all make this destination a great choice for relaxing days soaking up the sun and sand.
11. Mui Ne
Mui Ne is not only well known as a little seaside retreat in the south-central Binh Thuan Province of Vietnam, but it is also the home to the biggest sand dunes in Asia with a variety of colours which are yellow, red and white. You can easily find the best resorts near the beach and relax with a book or join in an endless list of activities of an adventurer's dream such as windsurfing, hot air balloon and jeep ride on sand dunes.
12. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
If anyone thought Hanoi is the biggest hustle and bustle city in Vietnam, they might have never been in Ho Chi Minh City (another name Sai Gon) which is the home of nearly 8.6 MILLION people (2017), 7.6 MILLION motorbikes, approximately 700,000 cars (News source). However, it also means you will have a great opportunity to fall in love with the most diverse cuisines in Vietnam and with its blend of modern and historical aspects, there are tons of places you can visit while staying at this place like Cu Chi Tunnel trip, half-day city tour to Notre Dame Cathedral, Post office, the War Remnants Museum and markets, and Ben Thanh Market.
13. Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta simply is one of the best destinations which shows you a way of life that has continued unchanged for hundreds of years. Stretching from Thailand's Gulf to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Mekong Delta has an important role in growing rice which helps Vietnam be the world's third-largest rice exporter. Besides, locals in this area are known as the Land of Smiles. Whenever they see you on the boat or on the street, they're always waving their hands with the friendliest smile towards you. Travel Mekong on the boat trip to visit the unique colourful floating markets, fruit orchards of locals, witness the rice paddies along the river which all will become some of the most unforgettable experience in your life.
14. Phu Quoc
With a beach lover sort of person, Phu Quoc Island will definitely be on of your bucket list when travelling Vietnam. Just after a short flight of nearly 1 hour from Ho Chi Minh city, you will land on the paradise of plenty of the most pristine beaches. You also have a chance to join in a day trip to visit the local pepper farms, honey bee farms and fish sauce factories to gain an insight into the regional products and have a taste for the local culture.
Now you know where should visit in Vietnam. With this list, we hope you will be inspired to take a journey to discover some of these incredible Vietnam destinations. Let discover the timeless beauty of Vietnam and have the real local experiences with our BEST VIETNAM TOURS. If you want a little bit of help in creating your perfect itinerary in Vietnam, request a tailor-made Vietnam tour from our Inside Travel experts team and have the best once-in-a-lifetime trip!