Vietnam offers a remarkable mix of cultural diversity and natural highlights. You will be able to see the country’s stunning scenery from the tops of jagged mountains, down to the verdant paddy fields that are painted every color of the rainbow. Culture vultures will also find much to enjoy due to Vietnam’s long history as well as the incredible number of ethnic minority groups.
Outdoor lovers, such as bikers and hikers, can explore the country’s many national parks. The stunning karst seascapes of Halong Bay are another natural sight that cruisers can see up close.
The rural areas are filled with stunning views, but the big cities offer a more modern lifestyle and ample opportunity to enjoy Vietnam’s delicious culinary highlights.
This captivating country is full with surprises and is one the most underrated in Southeast Asia. Our list of top places to see in Vietnam will help you plan your sightseeing.
Halong Bay’s karst landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to some of the most stunning sea views in the world. This bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin contains thousands of limestone islands. These limestone islands have been eroded by wind and water over many millennia to form jagged pinnacles.
This is prime cruising territory, with the bay’s stunning scenery best seen from a boat. To see Halong Bay’s famous views, you should consider booking at least an overnight trip. A day trip just doesn’t do the bay justice.
You can enter many caves within the bay, including Hang Sung Sot with its three mammoth caverns and Hang Dao Go with its bizarre stalagmites, stalactites, and other unusual features. The highlight for most people is just cruising among the karsts, taking in the changing scenery and pinnacles as they pass.
Ho Chi Minh City
A visit to Ho Chi Minh City is a must for big city lovers. It’s the bustling commercial center of Vietnam. It is jam-packed with motorbikes and cars. The cafe and restaurant scene is vibrant and cosmopolitan. And the best shopping in Vietnam.
Dong Khoi is the center of the city. It’s a small, but easily accessible, central district that houses most of the city’s attractions. The HCMC Museum is located here, which houses a remarkable collection of artifacts, that tells the story of the city. Also, the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, which was built in the latter part of the 19th century.
For some of the finest examples of French colonial architecture in the city, visit the Old District of Da Kao. Also, be sure to see the Jade Emperor Pagoda’s stunning array of Taoist and Buddhist religious iconography. The History Museum, which displays relics from many archaeological sites, is a must-see for history lovers.
The two main attractions that many tourists should not miss are located just outside the city center along Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. Reunification Palace was formerly known as Independence Palace. It was South Vietnam’s presidential residence. It is most famous for being the place where North Vietnam’s tanks were stopped on the 30th April 1975, officially ending war. You can visit it with its 1960s-era furnishings.
Nearby is War Remnants Museum. This museum, although clearly biased, portrays a disturbing image of war and atrocities perpetrated by US Forces during the Vietnam Campaign.
Hue, Vietnam’s oldest town, is filled to the brim of relics dating back to the reign of the 19th century Nguyen Emperors. The Imperial Enclosure, which is located along the banks the beautiful Perfume River and has walls stretching 2.5 km, is a large site.
On your tour, be sure to visit the Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, Thai Hoa Residence, where Queen Mothers lived, and the Halls of Mandarins, which have preserved ceiling murals. There are many historic sites that lie beyond the Imperial Enclosure walls.
A riverboat cruise along the Perfume River is one of the best ways to visit outlying locations. You can visit many royal tombs and some pagodas on a day cruise. The Tomb of Tu Doc is the most popular tomb. The Thien Mu Pagoda is the most important pagoda. Its tower, which rises 21 meters, is the perfect choice if you are short on time.
National Park Phong Nha Ke Bang
The World Heritage-listed Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which is home to stunning stalagmite and stalactite displays, is one of the most popular places in Vietnam to cave. Paradise Cave is the most visited spot in the park, measuring 31 km below the ground.
These yawning caverns are absolutely stunning. Tu Lan Cave is known as a “wet cavern” and visitors can also swim through the cave-systems rivers. Another popular excursion is the Phong Nha Caves. The interior can be accessed via boat. Son Trach is the best place to access Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
My Son, a Cham-era temple city, is nestled among lush jungle-covered mountains. It dates back to the 4th century. The old Hindu religious center, which was in continuous use from the 7th to the 10th centuries, fell into decline and was abandoned during the 13th century.
Here are about 20 temple structures that still stand. They were all constructed of bricks or sandstone blocks. These temples show interesting influences from different Asian empires including Malay and Indian. The oldest temples are in Group B, while the most important monument was in Group A. However, the US forces deliberately destroyed Group A during the Vietnam War.
The museum has a lot of information about the Cham. Access to My Son can be accessed from Hoi An.
Beautiful Hoi An is the most atmospheric city in Vietnam, with bags of surviving historic architecture. It is worth exploring the old town quarter, which is filled with charming merchant houses, that date back to Hoi An’s 15th-century trading hub. They are also home to many other historic architecture.
Many of the old merchant houses are now open to the public so that you can experience the past. With its fascinating architectural and decorative features, the Tan Ky House (17th century) is the best.
The Japanese Bridge, located at the western end on Tran Phu Street’s western end, is Hoi An’s main symbol. Nearby, the Assembly Hall for the Fujian Chinese Congregation, which is the oldest temple in the town, is also a prominent landmark. Although there are many small museums and pagodas scattered around town, Hoi An’s real charm lies in strolling through the streets of old town admiring the preserved facades.