Vietnam has diverse geography of forests, coasts and highlands. A large network of inland waterways allows you to travel by land or water throughout the country. There are 6,000 km (3,700 miles) of rivers threading the country, with boats the only way to explore much of central Vietnam. So those who love nature and being on the water will find Vietnam a perfect destination. There are many unique natural attractions, historical sites and cultural landmarks waiting for you in Vietnam! Read on to find out more about ten unique places that you must visit in Vietnam.
(1) Halong Bay
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. Ha Long Bay comprises nearly 2,000 limestone islands and islets rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Karst formations often have caves and pristine beaches surrounding them. The best way to explore Ha Long Bay is by boat, and you can find a variety of tours available. Tourists can cruise through the limestone karsts and explore the caves and grottoes that dot the bay.
One of the most unique things to see in Ha Long Bay is the floating villages. These villages are home to around 6,000 people who make a living from fishing and tourism. Villagers live in stilted houses, and many of the families have lived this way for generations.It provides a unique insight into the life of the local people.
(2) Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a well-preserved ancient town that was once a major trading port. The town is full of unique architecture, including Chinese shophouses and temples, and is famous for its beautiful lanterns. You can explore Hoi An on foot, or take a boat ride down the Thu Bon River.
This charming town comes alive at night, with bars and restaurants open until late. You can enjoy a drink or bite to eat while enjoying the unique atmosphere of this historic town. Several cultural performances take place in the town square.
(3) My Son Sanctuary
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the capital of the ancient Champa Kingdom. This site consists of many temples and towers and is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Vietnam. The Hindu temples destroyed during the Indochina war are a unique and fascinating attraction. These temples were built between the 4th and 13th centuries, and are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Built of red brick and sandstone, they have intricate carvings.
(4) Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a world heritage site located in the Quang Binh Province of Vietnam. The park is famous for its caves, as well as its unique flora and fauna. There are over 3,000 species of vascular plants in the park, as well as over 1,000 species of animals, including some that are unique to the park. This national park is home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong Cave. The park also features limestone formations, rivers and underground streams. It is a great place for hiking, caving and swimming.
(5) Sa Pa
Sa Pa is a mountain town in northwest Vietnam near the China border that is popular for its unique culture and stunning views. There are many high mountains around the town, including Fansipan. It is home to the Hmong, Dao and Tay people, who live in traditional villages.
The rice terraces of Sa Pa are unique and breathtaking to behold. They were carved into the mountainside over centuries, and the result is a landscape that is both unique and awe-inspiring. The terraces change color with the seasons, and during harvest season they are a sight to behold. A visit to Sa Pa is not complete without a hike or a mountain bike ride through the rice terraces.
(6) Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam. The city is a mix of old and new, with colonial-era buildings and temples next to skyscrapers and shopping malls. There are also several museums and parks in the city. The War Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum displays many artefacts and exhibits from the Vietnam War era.
Another must-see attraction is the Reunification Palace. It was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It is an interesting place to learn more about the history of Vietnam and see some unique architecture.
(7) Hue Imperial City
Hue was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 and the home of the Nguyen Dynasty. A moat surrounds the walled citadel that consists of palaces, temples, and tombs.
The Perfume River flows through the city of Hue. Jasmine scented water gives this place its name, and it is considered one of the finest places in Vietnam. A wealthy mandarin named Hien built the Hien Garden House in Hue more than a century ago. It is the only garden house in the city that is preserved in its original form. The architecture of the garden house is a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and French styles.
(8) Nha Trang
This coastal town is an offbeat destination for beach lovers. Nha Trang is known for its clear waters and beautiful beaches. Ninh Van Bay with its dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and lush scenery is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam.
There are also several islands offshore, which you can reach by boat. The Hon Mun Marine Marine Park consists of Hon Mun island and several surrounding smaller islands. Sandy beaches, limestone karsts and turquoise water are mesmerizing. This biodiversity hotspot is a paradise for scuba divers.
(9) Mui Ne
Mui Ne is another coastal town, located in southeast Vietnam. The town is a popular destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing, and there are many schools where you can take lessons. Mui Ne is also known for its sand dunes, which you can explore by jeep or on a camel ride.
Dalat is a mountain town in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. The town is known for its winding roads, waterfalls, pine forests, colonial-style architecture, colorful pagoda and vibrant markets. It is often referred to as the “city of flowers” due to the vast array of blooms. The unique climate of the town, with its cool temperatures and high levels of rainfall, is perfect for growing a wide variety of flowers.
What are you waiting for…
Vietnam is a country with so much to offer visitors. It is home to some of the most fascinating places in the world, from its misty mountains and lush jungles to its stunning beaches and vibrant cities. From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the stunning limestone peaks of Halong Bay, there’s something for everyone in Vietnam.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on where to visit in Vietnam, read my detailed travel story and start packing.