Vietnam has something to offer every kind of traveler. Whether you love relaxing on sandy shorelines with a cocktail in hand, trekking mountains and encountering local wildlife, or reveling in local history and cultural charm, these six destinations have it all.
Halong bay is perhaps one of Vietnam’s most iconic destinations and enjoys a secure sport on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It is comprised of centuries-old limestone mountains which rise through enchanting emerald waters. The Bay is home to abundant plant and marine life, with ten different ecosystems alone. This makes it an essential spot for biodiversity and a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts.
Travelers can explore the Bay by boat or kayak. Kayaking is one of the most incredible ways to get around since it allows you the opportunity to explore hidden caves and visit smaller, unspoiled beaches where larger boats cannot go.
This area is a popular spot for scuba diving, hiking, and rock climbing, especially in the mountainous region of Cát Bà National Park.
Fun fact: The Bay has around 1900 islands, each of which has its own unique shape, plant life, animal life, and rock formations!
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the second-largest city in the country. Known for its captivating, centuries-old architecture, it’s a spellbinding location worth a few days of exploring. Wander through the streets of the 1000-year-old Old Quarter – and take in the magnificence of sacred temples, French colonial architecture, and beautifully preserved pagodas as you stroll around.
The streets are also named after what they sell, making it an ideal spot for those with a penchant for shopping. Visit porcelain street and haberdashery street, to name but a few.
Hanoi is also a cultural melting pot, rich with French, Southeast Asian, and Chinese influences, and this can be seen through architecture and cuisine. Explore the vintage decadence of the French Quarter and head to the vibrant and cosmopolitan Tây Hồ with its eclectic nightlife and food scene.
There is so much to see and do in Hanoi, and some top must-see attractions include:
• Visit Train Street for some incredible photos (the narrow tracks are tightly squeezed amid houses and cafes),
• Visit the Hoa Lo Prison Memorial
• Stop at Ho Chi Min Mausoleum
• Pop into the temple of Literature
• Catch a show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
Hội An is arguably one of the most charming cities in Vietnam. The name itself translates to a ‘peaceful meeting place,’ making it a dreamy spot for travelers. Located on the central coast of Vietnam, this former port city is perhaps most famously known for its incredibly preserved ancient town. The architecture of the city reflects a hodgepodge of foreign and indigenous designs. Hội An is well revered for its iconic yellow buildings, quaint streets, ancient houses, Assembly Halls, beautiful temples, and iconic pagodas.
Travelers will also delight in the gorgeous beaches the city offers, making it an incredible spot for those who want to sojourn on the sand or delight in a swim. Those with a proclivity for snorkeling can travel a little out of the city to Cham Islands.
Hội An is also a must-visit location for those wanting tailormade clothing!
Top tip: Don’t forget to visit the delightful night market Nguyễn Hoàng, lit up by hundreds of lanterns and filled with its delicious food stalls and local delicacies.
This stunning Vietnamese island is located off the coast of Cambodia. Characterized by stunning resorts, white sandy beaches, and its palm-lined coast, this is a truly postcard-perfect destination for those who want to splash in the turquoise waters, sip a beach-side cocktail, or splash on the shore.
Since half the island is comprised of the Phú Quốc national park, it’s also a fantastic spot for those who love nature, hiking, trekking, and mountain biking. The island offers a perfect balance of delightful relaxation and adventure.
The largest town on the Island is Duong Dong, and here travelers can find a selection of day and night markets selling all sorts of local treats.
Top tip: If you’re not afraid of dizzying heights, you can also catch a ride on the world’s largest over-ocean cable car.
Thanks to its incredible history, the city of Hue, located in central Vietnam, remains a popular place. The city is filled with stunning royal mausoleums, a gorgeous imperial citadel, and pagodas. It was once the seat of Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty and was the capital of the country until 1945.
Huế is a must-visit spot for anyone who loves architecture and gaining impressive traction on the foodie map. The city offers visitors an intricate variety of gastronomical delights, including a well-loved favorite – the Bun Bun Hue beef soup!
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City – once known as Saigon – is the biggest city in Vietnam. Located in the southeast of the country, this is the economic and political center of the country. There is much to do in the city, and significant cultural and historical points of interest include ornate temples and pagodas dotted across the city, the War Remnants Museum, the Saigon Notre Dam Cathedral, and the Ben Thanh Market.
Travelers can also visit the Cu Chi tunnels (a series of underground tunnels built in 1948) that connected Vietnamese villages during various wars). This is a must for those wishing to gain insight into guerilla tactics which led to Vietnam winning the fight against the US in 1975.
Visitors can also take a scenic drive from the city to several stunning beaches, making it an excellent spot for those who want to amalgamate history and city bustle with seaside charm.
If you’ve traveled to Vietnam or any other Southeast Asia destinations, we would love to hear your best places to visit!