Are you planning a trip to Vietnam? Then you’ve made an excellent decision. It’s one of the most iconic Asian locations, owing to its spectacular karst scenery, delectable cuisine, frantic cities, and distinct culture.
Vietnam is a huge nation! In fact, its length is comparable to that of the whole West Coast of the United States. You’ll need at least 4 weeks to visit everything in the north, middle, and south.
Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, and ultimately Ho Chi Minh City are all popular destinations in Vietnam.
Yes, there are a lot of places that begin with the letter “H”!
Where Should You Go in Vietnam?
You now have a better understanding of some of Vietnam’s most popular tourist sites to this list.
Discover the frantic metropolis of Hanoi.
It’s a weird, frantic environment. There are so many motorcycles whizzing through the streets that it might feel like you’re being stung by a horde of bees. People dine and drink, get haircuts, read the newspaper, and play games on the street; it’s where they do it everything.
If you begin in the south, you may be as charmed with Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon), which was previously South Vietnam’s capital.
Ha Long Bay’s islands are a great place to cruise about.
Ha Long Bay certainly doesn’t require much of an introduction! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is unquestionably the most well-known in Vietnam. Over 2,000 tiny limestone islands dot the bay’s 334-square-kilometer surface.
The most common way to see the island is to take a sailing boat excursion, which may last anywhere from one to three days. It is without a doubt a must-see in Vietnam.
The scenery is breathtaking and well worth the trip; nevertheless, be aware that this is Vietnam’s most touristic experience. The majority of the boats congregate around a single bay with various views and caverns. Depending on the season, the crowds at this particular location might become a little crazy.
If you want to get the most out of your cruise, book at least a two-day trip. Tours that include Bai Tu Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay are also worth considering. These are also part of Ha Long, although they are calmer and have fewer day-trippers because they are a little further from the beach.
Sapa’s rice terraces
Sapa, a highland hamlet surrounded by terraced rice fields, is one of Vietnam’s most famous destinations.
During the French colonial period, the occupiers discovered a perfect hideaway in Sapa to escape the sweltering heat of Vietnam’s lower regions. It’s now a famous starting point for mountain treks and a popular location for rural homestays.
The ideal way to see Sapa is to stay in a homestay in the rice fields or in a nearby village. Trekking the paths connecting the mountain communities of local minority tribes, such as the Hmong and Lao Chai, is another fantastic way to see Sapa.
From July through September, the rice terraces are at their greenest. During the harvesting season in September and October, they turn a golden yellow color.
Explore the world’s largest caverns.
Phong Nha ke-Bang National Park in central Vietnam is regarded as one of Asia’s top caving destinations. In the region, there are approximately 500 caverns, 30 of which are open to the public. The world’s largest cave and the world’s third-largest cave, respectively, are absolutely epic settings and probably the most stunning in all of Vietnam.
These mega-caves can only be seen on multi-day trips (which start at $330), but they’re well worth it if your money permits. It is one of my all-time favorite travel experiences.
If you’re on a tight budget or don’t have much time, there are plenty of other caverns to see in Phong Nha. Some can be explored on your own, while others require a boat ride, and there are even some adventure caves where you may swing and crawl. The cost of admission is generally only a few dollars.
Phong Nha, which was not well-known until a few years ago, is quickly becoming Vietnam’s adventure tourism hub. The town itself is extremely pleasant, with a relaxed atmosphere and a wonderful riverfront setting – certainly one of Vietnam’s true treasures.
Check out the tunnels from the Vietnam War.
Finally, there are a number of informative Vietnam War museums and places — or, as it is called in Vietnam, the American War. The War Remnants Museum in Saigon is the finest of the bunch, however anticipate it to be unpleasant and heartbreaking.
The Vinh Moc Tunnels, an intricate labyrinth of bunkers created by locals during the war, are located not far north of Da Nang and Hue. The tunnels were a success, with no people losing their lives despite living in appalling conditions. It’s a fascinating location to see, and comparable Cu Chi tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam are also worth seeing.
Relax in charming Hoi An.
Despite being overrun with tourists, Hoi An is frequently voted the best location to visit in Vietnam by visitors. Hoi An is always at the top of every informal poll I do among other visitors I meet in Vietnam!
Hoi An, which has been well conserved, was once a major hub for Vietnam’s spice trade with China, Holland, Portugal, and other nations. All of the tiny two-story merchant apartments now house restaurants, souvenir stores, and tailors (the town is famous for selling custom-tailored clothes at unbeatable prices).
With several charming cafés, restaurants, and arty souvenir stores, Hoi An’s UNESCO-protected Old Quarter is highly tourist-friendly. All of the construction has been done in a tasteful manner, and the colorful lanterns that hang from the streets add to Hoi An’s attractiveness. The city core is also entirely pedestrianized, providing a pleasant break from the congested traffic of larger cities.
Hue’s temples are a must-see.
Hue (pronounced way) is a great place to visit in central Vietnam if you want to view a lot of tombs, temples, and pagodas.
The Imperial Citadel is the primary attraction within Hue city, however keep in mind that virtually everything at this site was damaged during the war, so it can be viewed rather fast.
Some of the attractions in Hue are far more interesting. The Emperors’ Tombs, for example, are quite magnificent and nearly totally preserved. Hue’s attractions include some fascinating examples of Vietnamese Buddhist aesthetics and architecture, and they are definitely worth seeing.
Motorbikes are a great way to see Ha Giang region.
The northern Ha Giang area, close to the Chinese border, offers some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the nation, which has just recently become more accessible owing to better roads. Minorities such as the Hmong, who dress in bright colors, live in the isolated region.
You may hire a motorbike driver or join a group trip, but driving by yourself is the best option.
If you’re in Vietnam for a short vacation, Ha Giang might not be the best area to visit. It’s better if Ha Giang has some time to enjoy himself.
The short loop requires a minimum of three days, but it is preferable to have at least five days so you can stop along the way and fully take it all in.
In Mui Ne, try sandboarding.
The tiny village of Mui Ne on the southern coast is a fantastic place to spend a couple of nights. The beach isn’t the primary draw, as it’s quite narrow and popular with kitesurfers rather than sunbathers, but the resorts around Mui Ne and the interesting sites in the vicinity make it worthwhile to visit.
Mui Ne is a lovely ancient seaside hamlet known for its colorful fishing boats.
A beautiful small river canyon hike is also close, as are white sand dunes where you can watch the dawn or try sledding down the dunes on a board. You’ll be confused whether you’re in Vietnam or the Sahara Desert when you find yourself in this sandy desert.
Mui Ne also has a large tourist population and is a fantastic spot to relax with plenty of affordable lodging.
Ho Chi Minh City is a must-see destination.
Ho Chi Minh Metropolis (formerly Saigon) is the country’s second-largest city. It’s in the south, on the other side of the nation from Hanoi, and has a totally distinct atmosphere as a result.
Hanoi, with its winding market alleys, ancient temples, and tree-lined streets, is more traditional. Saigon, on the other hand, has become Vietnam’s fast-paced business center and is far more cosmopolitan and Western-oriented.
You may easily go to the Mekong Delta and other parts of Vietnam’s south from Ho Chi Minh City.
The Mekong Delta is a great place to visit.
The Mekong Delta is formed when the great Mekong river breaks into hundreds of smaller strands in south Vietnam. A huge tangle of waterways, rice terraces, and riverine islands has resulted.
The floating markets, where boats dock together on the river to offer a variety of fruits and vegetables, are one of the Mekong Delta’s attractions. The city of Can Tho is one of the greatest sites to witness floating marketplaces.
Many planned tours to the Mekong Delta are available, including day trips from Saigon, however they may be rather generic. Staying in a hotel or homestay in or near Can Tho and exploring the markets on your own or with a local guide is something I recommend. A scooter ride around the rice fields and canals is also a fun way to get a feel for life in the Mekong Delta.
Vietnam offers some amazing nooks to explore, whether you’re seeking for the main tourist destinations or prefer off-the-beaten-path discoveries.