Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s travel gems, an ideal destination for people who want to engage in meaningful cultural experiences. Vietnam offers countless exotic destinations, from sandy beaches, jungles and beautiful mountains to colonial structures and the bustling city life.
Whether you’re arranging a historical tour, planning to go for a jungle adventure or aiming for a romantic getaway, you can never go wrong when choosing this complex destination. Here are seven must-visit places in Vietnam that will surely provide lasting memories:
#Ha Long Bay
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay is the most visited destination by tourists who visit Vietnam every year, with a lot to explore and see in the hundreds of beautiful tiny islands in the area. Ha long Bay is located in the northern path of Vietnam east of Hanoi, and is well known for thousands of towering limestone of unique shapes, height and exotic beaches. There are many things to do here, from scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking to adventuring deep into the caves of the bay.
Get lost in the floating villages! Surrounded by emerald clear green water, these villages will give you a chilling experience as you tour every edge of magnificent beauty. The locals are friendly and have generated their income from fishing. You can go fishing with them, so you can understand their traditions and have a taste of their best cuisine. Getting to know how the locals live can be a great experience, one you don’t want to miss.
There are many beaches to sunbathe when you explore the bay. Another thing to look for is the lovely view of mountain cliffs rising out of the bay. The most convenient way to visit the caves is to take an overnight cruise so you don’t have to go back and forth between your hotel and the attractions. Orchid Cruise Halong Bay is a great option. The cruise service offers 14 type of accommodation options on board and less-traveled routes that will take you to the most beautiful and untouched part of Halong and surrounding bays. There are also many Ha Long Bay tours available as well; you will have to choose which one is the best option for your budget and interests.
Mekong Delta is an island, swamp and riverside located in the South-western region of Vietnam. Discover the home of floating markets and villages surrounded by rice paddies. The Mekong is an agricultural region stretching from the southwest region of Thailand to Ho Chi Minh. The simple lifestyle in this region and peaceful atmosphere left me wit an astonishing experience. Some of the enjoyable things to get involve in when you visit this amazing part of the countryside include:
- Shop in the Cai Rang Floating Market: the market usually starts at 3 am in the morning. Buzzing with many sellers with fresh agricultural products and tourist, you will be missing a lot if you skip the Floating market tour. There are many tropical fruits and local cuisines to satisfy your taste buds.
- Explore the exotic view in PhuQuoc, the island located off the coast of Cambodia. There are many reasons you shouldn’t skip visit this precious island when you find yourself in Mekong Delta. Experience the Unique Marine Life, explore the little islands in the PhuQuoc district, sunbathe in the clean beaches and tour the fish sauce factories.
- Visit the Local Garden: with a perfect climate and fertile natural conditions, the Mekong Delta boasts of fresh and many tropical fruits. Get a basket and go on a tour in the local garden and visit the top three famous orchards in Mekong Delta -like Cai Mon Orchard, My Khanh Orchard and Vinh Long Fruit Orchard. There are many delicious tropical fruits you will surely want to try when you visit.
Located in the North-western region of Vietnam near the Chinese border is a mountainous town called Sapa. The best time to visit this splendid part o the country is from March to May and from September to November; this is a perfect time to see the beauty of the many green fields and flowers. During the autumn, the weather is also very good, which makes trekking in the region highly enjoyable.
Getting here is possible by bus or train. Things you shouldn’t overlook on your tour:
- Cycle through MuongHoa Valley: MuongHoa is the largest strip of a rice farm in the Sapa region, an ideal place for biking and trekking. Do not forget to bring the camera with you, because the landscapes will be the background of your best pictures.
- Climb Fansipan, the ‘tallest peak of Indochina’: a desirable place for hiking and climbing, best to be explored with a local experienced guide. So you can have a safe and trilling experience.
- Bath at the waterfalls: trekking to the waterfalls leaves you with an unforgettable experience. Visit any of these three waterfalls, Cat Cat Waterfall, ThacBac Waterfalls and ThacTinhYeu Waterfalls.
Right in the center of Vietnam, Hue is the ancient national capital (from 1802 to 1945), one of the top tourist in Vietnam every year. Situated at the bank of the Perfume River, Hue is blessed with fascinating things to see like the 7 imperial tombs, the ancient Imperial City and the Forbidden City. Here are my top picks for the region:
- The Perfume River: with many views around the perfume river, it is preferable that you tour along the river with a boat. Not forgetting the tropical scent that is carried along the river, it is also nice to jog along the river early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Visit Hue Citadel in the Imperial City! The Citadel attracts many tourists who visit Hue; this walled fortress and palace were once home to Vietnam’s Emperors. There is only one entrance into the Citadel; the Citadel is surrounded by the Perfume River and inside the Citadel you will be able to visit the Forbidden City.
Other great places to visit include the Tombs of Emperors, Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue Provincial Museum and The Japanese Bridge.
Once you get to Hanoi, the booming capital city of Vietnam, start by visiting the beautiful HoanKiem Lake. Blessed with historical architectures and cultural influences like Southeast Asian, Chinese, American and French, there is no shortage of things you should see in this busy city.
Visit Hanoi’s prominent destinations, like the Grand Opera House, Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, Temple of Literature and Hanoi Old Quarter. Another popular sight is Ba Vi National Park, a beautiful natural reserve originally created as a hill station during the French colonial era. Additionally, explore NinhBinh with its many temples, valleys and caves. You can also take a boat to the TrangAn landscape complex, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hoi An City, another UNESCO site, is a modest ancient town sited on the central coast of Vietnam. With exciting traditional culture and historical architecture, this place is a beauty. The historic quarter has incredible streetscapes with old Japanese, Vietnamese, French and Chinese buildings that have been converted into bars, restaurants, galleries and stores.
Dare to take a cooking class. Hoi An is well known for its diversity of delicious cuisine ranging from classic pho, beef noodle salad, spring rolls, pancakes and many other delicious dishes. Visit the nearest beach town Cua Dai, soak in the warmth of the sun and relax. Or go to PhuThinh Boutique resort which has magnificent gardens with water lines.
#Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as ‘Saigon’, is located in southern Vietnam and is considered the most prominent city in the country. Booming with business, Saigon is noisy, populated and hot. But you don’t want to miss the experiences this city has to offer.
There are different ways to get around this town, but the most practical one would be to rent a motorbike, if you have a bit of experience. One of the major attraction points in Hanoi is the Thien Hau Temple built around the 19th century. Thien Hau Temple is located in China Town (District 5). Do not judge the book by its cover; the temple doesn’t look amazing from the outside, but ready to get stunned by the magnificent view of the inside of the temple. Another suggestion is to try a visit to the Old French Quarter (by motorcycle) and the local cuisine.
Author Bio: Jessica Watson has been writing for blogs and magazines for four years. Currently, she is the editorial manager at Bhaya Cruises. They are providing their services in Vietnam.