Vietnam has a variety of tourist destinations to offer in terms of architecture, landscape, history, culture, food, adventure and entertainment. To make sure you experience them all, here is a list of 14 places you absolutely have to visit in Vietnam!
1. Da Lat
Hang Nga’s guest house, also known as the Crazy House is a well-known tourist spot in Da Lat. It looks like a tree and is complete with details like a cavernous stairway, branches that twist out of windows and sculpted animals that double as furniture and even fireplaces. Many have been known to have toured the area on bike, taking in the beautiful agricultural landscapes on their way to the waterfalls (canyoning), pagodas, lakes and temples while making stops to sip the famous weasel coffee (if you are the sporty courageous type, there are also crickets and silk worm dishes). The Tuyan Lam temple can also be reached via cable cars.
Address: 03 Huynh Thuc Khang Street, Ward 4, Dalat City 67000, Lam Dong, Trần Phú, Phường 4, Tp. Đà Lạt, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam
Website: Crazy House
2. Hue Imperial City
53 kms (30 mi) from Elephant waterfalls in Da Lat, set along the Northern bank of Perfume River, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hue Imperial City. It features hundreds of monuments dating back to the early 19th-century, including the Imperial Citadel of Hue, royal tombs, pagodas, temples, royal quarters, a library and a museum. The Purple Forbidden City (an area reserved exclusively for the royal family) lies in the heart of the Imperial Citadel, which once served as a strategic hold during the Vietnam War. Now, if you are wondering how can people possibly manage to see all of this in one day, I have the answer for you…carriage rides!
The Hue Imperial Citadel
Address: Thành phố Huế, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam
Website: The Hue Imperial Citadel
3. Suoi Tien Cultural Theme Park
Suoi Tien which means ‘the fairy stream’, is the world’s first Buddhism themed water park. Instead of Mickey Mouse and Disney princesses, this theme park has dragons, phoenix and tortoise among other Buddhist lore animals for mascots. The park features the twelve story face’s of the Buddhist sages with water slides emerging from their beards, a dragon garden, aquariums, air bike ride, and a pond with over 1,500 live crocodiles where visitors are invited to feed them with raw meat attached to fishing poles!
Suoi Tien Cultural Theme Park
Address: 120 Asian Highway 1, Tân Phú, Quận 9, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Website: Suoi Tien Cultural Theme Park
The Capital Hanoi, with a mixture of old and new architecture, colorful and traditional shops, the daily local hustling bustling of a typical Vietnamese lifestyle, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine, would probably have been a whole tourist attraction in itself giving tourists plenty to see, try and do, but there is more. There are museums, temples, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hoan Kiem Lake a.k.a lake of the restored sword, a water puppet theatre, and after all is seen and done there are all night party hostels to let yourself lose.
Thalong Water Puppet Theater
Address: 57b Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hoàn Kiếm Hanoi, Vietnam
Website: Thalong Water Puppet Theater
5. Hoi An
This culinary capital of Vietnam is the ultimate chilling spot. You can relax on the beach, watch the reefs, the scenery, go about speed boating (esp. from island to island), snorkel, go bird watching, market strolling (night markets), souvenir shopping, order yourself designer clothing in the famous Hoi An Tailors, set afloat lit lanterns, and repeat the actions mentioned again, because chances are you will not be wanting to leave the place in a hurry; and if that’s the case try giving the assembly halls and the Japanese covered bridge a chance. They are pretty good too!
Hoi An Tailors
Address: Tony the Tailor, 294 Nguyễn Duy Hiệu, Cẩm Châu, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Website: Tony the Tailor
6. My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary refers to the group of Hindu temples (the ones still standing) near the village of Duy Phú. The temples, which are now in ruins, stand in the middle of a luscious green valley, giving out feelings of an ancient enigmatic wonder.
7. Phong Nha- Ke Bang National Park
Set at one of the world’s largest limestone regions, Phong Nha-Ke National Park is best known for Son Doong Cave (the largest cave on the planet), Paradise Cave (the longest cave in the National Park) and the spectacular limestone formations found inside them. Other attractions include mountain and village biking, picturesque land and sea backdrops, and underground adventures in the world’s longest underground river (kayaking and riverside camping).
Phong Nha- Ke Bang National Park
Address: Sơn Trạch, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Website: Phong Nha- Ke Bang National Park
8. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a popular seaside resort city in Vietnam. Located off the coast of South Central Vietnam, from the beach you can see superb views of the sea, mountains and greenery. The landscape of the entire city is also absolutely gorgeous. In addition, you also have the opportunity to experience underwater tours (swims) as the resorts there offer scuba diving. Po Nagar, a group of temple towers dedicated to the goddess of the country Yan Po Nagar, which had its three wooden levels built on a hill, is another must see tourist spot in Nha Trang
Hon Tre island
Address: Hon Tre island, Vĩnh Nguyên, Tp. Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa, Vietnam
Sapa and its surrounding region is host to many hill tribes, as well as rice terraces, lush vegetation, and Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam. Habitation of hill tribes, their generosity towards the tourists whether it be accommodation (homestay) or entertainment (local music and dance), their traditional approach to daily life (showering in the middle of fields being the most popular among tourists), and the green plantations surrounding the area, makes the place culturally authentic.
Price: from 55 USD
10. Snake Village
The Lệ Mật village, also known as the snake village, has aroused a lot of attention due to its unique carnivorous menu, which famously includes oils and drinks composed of snakes’ heart, bile, blood and venom. The restaurants also serve porcupine, weasel, iguana, eel, hog, horse, pigeon, goose, various other birds, rabbit, buffalo, and other forms of cobra and bamboo snake dishes, with snakes, evidently, being the most popular choice.
Address: 33 Phố Lệ Mật, Việt Hưng, Long Biên, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Website: Snake Village
11. Bai Tu Long Bay (Halong Bay)
Bai Tu Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, is said to be the top tourist destination in Vietnam. The Bay has thousands of islands that you can explore; they are filled with caves, lakes, waterfalls and a few of them with fishermen (you could fish too!). Junk boat rides, with occasional boat jumps into the water by the passengers, are a very popular mode of viewing the majestic landscapes of the islands. Some also add Cat Ba National Park onto the cruise package as well.
Bai Tu Long Bay
Address: Bai Tu Long Bay, Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam
Website: Bai Tu Long Bay
In the largest city of Vietnam you will find the Independence Palace, a former home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War built in a flamboyant French style, which has access to underground bomb shelters and tunnels especially built to aid escapes in case of enemy attacks. The War Remnant Museum and the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the latter of which is filled with beautifully carved reinforced Papier-mâché (literally meaning chewed paper) statues, ceramic figures, intricate roof tile works, remarkable folksy portraits and incense, during prayer hours, are also located in the city.
In Ho Chi Minh’s Dong Khoi Street, you will find Saigon Opera House, Givral Café (a war time café) and Saigon Post Office (built by Gustave Eiffel). And if you are looking for a fancier place to dine in than a café, try the Air 360 Sky Lounge. From the roof top lounge you can see the magnificent view of the entire city glittering away through the night.
Ho Chi Minh City
13. Cu Chi Tunnels
Located northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chin tunnels comprises more than 120 km (72 mi) of underground tunnels with several trapdoors, living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, armory, hospitals, and command centers. A part of the tunnel has been tamed, allowing the tourists to go inside the tunnel, crawl and do things that the soldiers did in there during the war, much more safely. There is also a shooting range on site! Due to the popularity of these tunnels and the number of tourists coming to visit it every year, all the hotels in Ho Chi Minh include a trip to Cu Chi Tunnels in their tour packs.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Address: Ấp Phú Hiệp, Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Bến Tre 733800, Vietnam
Website: Cu Chi Tunnels
By now you must be thinking Vietnam is all about islands, water sources, greenery and caves. Nope! It also has sand. In Mũi Né you will find white and red sand dunes where you can also partake in quad biking and sledging. Although there aren’t many camels around as commonly found in deserts, you will find ostriches farms in the area (they are not there to be ridden though). Sunrise/set is the best time for visiting the place.
Price: from 47.50 USD
So much to see and do
As a country filled with cultural, historic, and natural beauty, your visit to Vietnam will definitely be fulfilling, lots of fun and totally worth it.