A must-visit Southeast Asian country, bordering the South China Sea, Vietnam is famous for its beaches, rich history, Buddhist pagodas, diverse culture, and vibrant cities. The capital of the country is Hanoi, which is characterized by its centuries-old architecture and French and Chinese influences. Another must-see city here is Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, where you’ll find many Vietnamese War history museums, the Củ Chi tunnels, and other French colonial landmarks. And if you’re looking for souvenirs, you surely would love to shop at the Bến Thành Market, where you can buy handicrafts, textiles, and áo dài, which is the national costume of the country. Additionally, in case you’re into architecture and skyscrapers, you shouldn’t miss visiting these top famous buildings in Vietnam. Check them out below.
Built in 1911, the Hanoi Opera House is one of the most remarkable buildings in Vietnam and features neo-classical French architectural design and gothic motifs, which you can see in its ornate doors, domes, and pillars. It also features beautiful glass rooms and lovely balconies, as well as shuttered windows. The opera is the biggest theater in the country and proof of the cultural influences of the French rule. Now, it serves as an entertainment venue, where you can watch plays, listen to classical music, see a live concert, and more.
Lang Toi Tickets: Hanoi Opera House Vietnamese Culture Show
Duration: 60 to 70 minutes
2. Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City
Another iconic structure built by the French colonists in Vietnam, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is one of the remaining catholic churches in the country, whose major religion is Buddhism. It was built in the latter part of the 1880s and, in 1962, was bestowed the name “basilica” by the Vatican. The church has a neo-romanesque style, which you can see in its red brick exterior, beautiful stained glass window, and the two bell towers that feature six bronze bells that still ring.
It also has a serene garden, where you can go if you want some peace. The best time to visit the church is every Sunday at 9:30 am, when you can also attend the mass.
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Address: 01 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Opening hours: 6am - 8pm (daily)
3. Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi
Poised on a small island, near Hanoi Lake’s southern shore and surrounded by greenery, Tran Quoc Pagoda is the oldest pagoda in the country and dates back to the 6th century, under the rule of Emperor Ly Nam De’s dynasty. It is a popular site among the royal family during the full moon and Tet festival. Many people also visit the attraction for its beauty, stunning architecture, and to pray for blessings and guidance.
Just like other religious sites, there is a strict dress code here. One cannot wear shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, and the like.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Address: Đ. Thanh Niên, Yên Phụ, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Website: Tran Quoc Pagoda
Opening hours: 24 hrs (daily)
The second-tallest building in Vietnam, next to the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, the Bitexco Financial Tower is a majestic skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City’s historic district. The tower mimics a lotus flower in design, which is the national symbol of the country. It also has a distinct helipad design located on the 55th floor, instead of a rooftop. The helipad, along with the sky lounge, looks like a lotus pad reaching for the sun. You need to see it with your own eyes to be mesmerized by its wondrous structural design, so make sure you visit the tower before leaving town.
Bitexco Financial Tower: Saigon Skydeck General Admission
Duration: 30 to 60 minutes
5. Keangnam Landmark Tower 72, Hanoi
Featuring the tallest building in Vietnam, with a 350-meter (1148.3-foot) height and 72 stories, the Keangnam Landmark Tower 72 is ranked as having the 5th largest floor area of a single building in the whole world. This mixed-use building is comprised of two twin towers, one of which is a hotel that has 48 stories.
Along with the 5-star Intercontinental Hotel are commercial areas, offices, retail spaces, entertainment areas, clinics, and a lot more. Another fun fact about this hotel is it is where the Vietnam Landmark 72 Hanoi Vertical Run is held, in which participants must climb 1,914 steps to win the race.
Keangnam Landmark Tower 72
Address: Khu E6 Đô thị mới Cầu Giấy, Phạm Hùng, Mễ Trì, Nam Từ Liêm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Website: Keangnam Landmark Tower 72
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm
6. Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City
Another significant landmark in Vietnam, which was built in the location of the former Norodom Palace, Independence Palace, also called Reunification Palace, played an important role in history for being the home of the President of South Vietnam, as well as his workplace throughout the Vietnam War.
Designed by Ngô Viết Thụ, the palace has five levels, which contain tunnels, a war room, a card-playing room, a casino, a telecommunications center, and a heliport on the rooftop. Additionally, the place is close to the Ben Thanh Market, where you can buy souvenirs, local handicrafts, and textiles, as well as taste the country’s cuisine.
Address: 135 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
Website: Independence Palace
Opening hours: 7:30am - 11am, 1pm - 4pm (daily)
Price: 40,000 VND or 2 USD
7. Lotte Center HàNội
Built by Callison, an American Company, Lotte Center HàNội is one of the most renowned skyscrapers in Vietnam and has 65 floors. This building is a famous shopping center, where you’ll find a variety of items, from home fixtures and clothing, hypermarket items, cosmetics, and jewelry, as well as over 250 fashion and lifestyle brands.
Apart from being a retail paradise, the building also houses a hotel, gym, private apartments, a spa, and dining options. Another highlight of the structure is its world-class observation deck, where you’ll have a spectacular view of the city.
Lotte Center HàNội
Address: 54 Liễu Giai, Cống Vị, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 117000, Vietnam
Website: Lotte Center HàNội
Opening hours: 9:30am - 10pm (daily)
8. Sunwah Tower, Ho Chi Minh City
Nestled on Nguyen Hue Street, in the business center of the district, Sunwah Tower is another high-rise building that features 21 floors and 3 basements for parking purposes. It was created by the Los Angeles architect firm Archeon International in 1995 and, when it was built, it became the tallest building in the city, until it was dethroned by Saigon Center.
The property is home to many major businesses in Ho Chi Minh City, including airlines, global bankers, foreign trade organizations, insurance companies, and many more.
Address: Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Website: Sunwah Tower
9. St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi
A majestic 19th-century Roman Catholic church, built in the gothic-revival architectural style, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, also known as the “Big Church”, is a major attraction in the city. The archdiocese, which was one of the first structures built by the French colonists during their occupation, serves over four million Catholics in the country.
You will surely be mesmerized by its stunning exterior that is made of bricks and plaster and features a big clock that resembles the one in Notre Dame de Paris. The interior is also something you’ll surely not want to miss for its high domes and colorful stained glass windows.
St. Joseph's Cathedral
Address: 40 Nhà Chung, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Website: St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 11am & 2pm - 5pm; Sun: 7am - 10:30am & 3pm - 9pm
10. Saigon Times Square, Ho Chi Minh City
Located in Ho Chi Minh City’s central business district, between Dong Khoi Street and Nguyen Hue Boulevard and in close proximity to the Saigon River, Saigon Times Square is a multi-purpose joint tower that has 40 levels and features a modern architectural design. It has a height of 164 meters (538.1 feet) and is the sixth tallest building in the city and 23rd in the country.
You’ll find here one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Reverie Saigon. One of the unique features of the hotel is its glass facade that overlooks the outside world. It comes with 286 modern rooms, a world-class spa, excellent dining options, an outdoor pool, fitness facilities, and more. Additionally, the building is home to a shopping center, opulent serviced apartments, grade A offices, among others.
Saigon Times Square
Address: Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Website: Saigon Times Square
A charming and fascinating country that features pristine beaches and rivers, Vietnam is one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia. Its attractions are a mix of historical landmarks, religious sites, and natural wonders. You surely won’t run out of things to do and see here. Before leaving the country, don’t forget to see these famous buildings in Vietnam. Read our list for an overview of what to expect.
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