Towering limestone cliffs of HaLong Bay. Lush paddy rice terraces of Sapa.
Vietnam is a place full of character, and home to some of the most incredible natural landscapes in the world.
Vietnam was ruled by various foreign powers, including China, France, and Japan, for many years. Its long and complex history is evident in its many ancient temples, historic landmarks, and cultural traditions.
Despite its tumultuous past, Vietnam has emerged as a dynamic and rapidly developing nation, while still retaining a rich cultural heritage and a deep sense of national pride. Exploring these sites and experiencing the country’s cultural heritage is an eye opening and humbling experience. It’s remarkable to witness this juxtaposition of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern.
Of course, no trip to Vietnam is complete without sampling the local cuisine. Vietnamese food is renowned for its fresh ingredients, bold flavours, and healthy options. From the ubiquitous pho and banh mi to fresh seafood and vegetarian dishes, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
And the best part? Vietnam is an affordable destination, with reasonable prices for food, transportation, and accommodations. This makes it an excellent choice for budget-conscious travellers who want to experience a unique and fascinating destination.
Number 10. Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is a stunning natural wonder located in the Gulf of Tonkin. It is home to over 1,600 limestone islands and islets that have been shaped over millions of years by the forces of wind and water. These towering rock formations create a spectacular seascape that is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the best ways to experience Ha Long Bay is by taking a boat tour. It will take you through the stunning scenery and allow you to explore the many caves and grottos that dot the bay, such as the Sung Sot Cave and the Thien Cung Cave.
Number 9. Hue
Nestled in the heart of central Vietnam, Hue is a city that boasts a rich and storied past. It served as the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty for over 140 years, making it a crucial political and cultural center in the region. Today, visitors can experience the city’s vibrant history through its many landmarks and monuments, including the famed Imperial City.
The Imperial City is a sprawling complex of palaces, temples, and pavilions that was once home to the royal family. This magnificent site is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage.
From the stunning Ngo Mon Gate to the intricately designed Forbidden Purple City, the Imperial City is a treasure trove of architectural wonders that offers visitors a glimpse into the opulent lives of Vietnam’s royalty.
Number 8. Sapa
In the northwest region of Vietnam, lies Sapa, a charming mountain town that boasts breathtaking scenery and a vibrant ethnic culture.
What sets Sapa apart is its unique blend of ethnic minority groups, including the Hmong, Dao, and Tay, who have preserved their distinct customs and traditions over generations. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by exploring the vibrant hill tribe markets, savoring traditional cuisine, and even staying with a local family in a homestay.
Sapa is well known for its stunning rice terraces, which are a marvel of engineering and agricultural ingenuity. These terraces, which date back over 1,000 years, are still cultivated by local farmers today and have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The terraces offer visitors an awe-inspiring landscape that changes with the seasons, with lush green fields in the summer and golden harvests in the fall.
From exploring the vibrant hill tribe markets to trekking through the stunning rice terraces, Sapa is a destination that is sure to leave visitors with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage.
Number 7: Hanoi
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has a long and complex history, having been occupied by various foreign powers. Today, visitors can see the influences of these different cultures in the city’s architecture, cuisine, and way of life.
From its ancient temples to its French colonial architecture, Hanoi is a beautiful blend of old and new. It is also a bustling modern metropolis that is constantly evolving and adapting to the changing times. The city’s streets are alive with the sound of motorbikes, street vendors, and local residents going about their daily lives.
One of the most popular attractions in Hanoi is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the embalmed body of the beloved leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, is on display.
Number 6. Hoi An
Located along the central coast of Vietnam, Hoi An exudes an old-world charm with its winding streets adorned with vibrant lanterns, historic temples, and centuries-old buildings. Its unique blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese architectural styles is a testament to its past as a thriving trading port that welcomed merchants from around the world.
Among Hoi An’s many attractions, the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge is a must-see for any visitor. This beautiful wooden bridge dates back to the 16th century and serves as a stunning example of traditional Japanese architecture. Visitors can cross the bridge and explore the nearby temple, which is dedicated to the god of weather and features intricate carvings and statues.
The city is also renowned for its lanterns, which are crafted by local artisans and play an integral role in the city’s cultural heritage. Visitors can witness the magic of Hoi An’s lanterns during the annual Hoi An Lantern Festival, where the city is transformed into a mesmerizing sea of color and light.
Number 5. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a bustling metropolis that offers visitors a glimpse into Vietnam’s modern-day culture and history. With its vibrant streets, bustling markets, and historical landmarks, Ho Chi Minh City has something to offer every type of traveler. An interesting fact about the city is that it was originally called Prey Nokor, which was a small fishing village before being conquered by the Vietnamese in the late 17th century.
Number 4. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a seaside town located on the south-central coast of Vietnam. With its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife, Nha Trang is the perfect destination for travelers seeking a mix of relaxation and adventure. Its picturesque beaches and crystal-clear waters make it an idyllic spot for soaking up the sun, while its vibrant nightlife is a favorite for party-goers.
Nha Trang is home to one of the world’s longest cable cars, stretching over 3.3 miles from the mainland to the Vinpearl Amusement Park on Hon Tre Island. The cable car offers stunning panoramic views of the city, the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, and the lush green hills of the island. It is a popular attraction for tourists visiting Nha Trang, and it also holds the Guinness World Record for the longest non-stop cable car.
Number 3. Phu Quoc Island
The largest island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc, is located off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush forests, Phu Quoc Island is a paradise for nature lovers. One of the most popular things to do on the island is to go snorkeling or diving, which will allow you to explore the vibrant coral reefs and underwater life.
Phu Quoc Island is known for producing some of the world’s finest fish sauce, a staple ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. The island is home to numerous fish sauce factories, which use traditional methods to produce this pungent and flavorful condiment. Visitors can learn about the traditional methods used to produce this flavorful condiment and even bring some home as a unique souvenir.
Number 2. Da Nang
Nestled along the central coast of Vietnam, Da Nang is a city that effortlessly blends natural beauty with modern development. One of its most impressive sights is the Dragon Bridge, which spans the Han River and serves as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. Watching the dragon breathe fire and water at night is a mesmerising experience that draws locals and visitors alike.
Da Nang is also home to the Marble Mountains, a cluster of five limestone hills that are each named after one of the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. Visitors can explore the mountains and discover hidden caves and temples, as well as enjoy panoramic views of the city and coastline.
Number 1: Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is a vast region located in southern Vietnam, where the mighty Mekong River flows into the South China Sea. With its winding waterways, lush rice paddies, and traditional stilt houses, the Mekong Delta is a fascinating glimpse into rural Vietnam.
To truly appreciate the region’s beauty, take a boat tour, meander through the intricate waterways, and indulge in local delicacies.
The floating markets are a quintessential part of the Mekong Delta experience, with vendors deftly manoeuvring their boats to sell an array of goods, from freshly harvested fruits and vegetables to handcrafted souvenirs.
Known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is responsible for producing a significant portion of the country’s rice crop.
For many of us, visiting Vietnam provides a unique opportunity to experience a way of life that is quite different from what many of us are used to. Their language, culture and cuisine are unique to the country, and a visit to Vietnam offers a chance to broaden our perspectives, connect with locals, and gain a deeper appreciation for the world around us.
Thank you for journeying with us through Vietnam at Go Where? Go There
If you’re looking for a destination that will leave you feeling inspired and enriched, Vietnam should be at the top of your list. Let us know where you hope to travel next in the comments below!