Top places to visit in Vietnam

Last updated - September 24, 2023
Top places to visit in Vietnam

With 4000 years of history, rich culture and many natural beauties such as white sandy beaches, rice terraces, delta rivers, limestone mountains, and ancient cities with traditional architecture…Vietnam is on the top attractive countries in the world. If you plan to visit Vietnam. Do not miss this article as we will list out the best places to visit in Vietnam.

Beautiful destinations for your Vietnam Holiday

Table of content

1. Ho Chi Minh city or formerly Saigon city

Saigon is on the list of the best places to visit in Vietnam.
This city was named Saigon before 1975. It was considered the gem of the far east as its beauty. After 1975, it was renamed Ho Chi Minh city. Nowadays, Ho Chi Minh city is the most important city playing a role as an economic center in southern Vietnam.

There is a big international airport named Tan Son Nhat terminal and there are many international flights landing in this airport. It is easy for tourists to fly in and out of Vietnam. Check online and find the arrival terminal Tan Son Nhat ( SGN in the flight code) then you will find the best suitable ones.

In Ho Chi Minh city, you find interesting places to explore such as the Reunification Palace ( or independence Palace) which was known as the residence for the south Vietnam's president and is famous as the place where the north Vietnam's tank stopped on 30 April 1975 and ended the war. A fascinating to visit with all the vintage's 1960 furnishings still be there.

Saigon is on the top places to visit in Vietnam

The next is the War Remnant Museum which shows the brutality of war and many atrocities perpetrated by the US military during their Vietnam campaign.

Another destination is the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Here, you'll find the brilliant collection of artifacts that weaves together the story of this vibrant city, and the great architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 19th century.

Moving to the discover the French Colonial architecture style in Da Kao district and visit the Jade Emperor pagoda which is with many Buddhist and Taoist religious iconographies.

Do not forget exploring the famous vibrant local Ben Thanh market to understand the local life and culture. You may find something interesting for your souvenirs.

2. Mekong delta

Do not miss Mekong Delta, it is a really great place to be put on the list of the top places to visit in Vietnam.

Located in southern Vietnam, where the Mekong River flows into the east sea. It is famous for its rich cultural heritage, fertile rice paddies, and ecosystem diversity, those make it a popular destination for tourists and the Mekong Delta should be on your travel bucket list in Vietnam.

The Mekong Delta is home to vast rice fields, fruit orchards, and coconut plantations, which provide a beautiful and serene landscape.

Cai Rang floating market on Mekong river

This area also has delicious cuisines, which features fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and rice-based dishes such as com tam (broken rice) or hu tieu (noodle soup). Travelers can also join in a cooking class for local dishes.

The best places in the Mekong delta will be Ben Tre, Cai Be, Can Tho, Long Xuyen, Chau Doc. Traveling there and receiving the warm hospitality and welcoming nature from locals, providing visitors with a unique and authentic travel experience.

Visiting the Mekong Delta could be almost year around, As in the south so there are no 4 seasons. Only the dry season and rainy season. The best time will be in the dry season that would be from November to April so tourists would enjoy a really pleasant trip.

3. Phu Quoc island

Phu Quoc is a beautiful island down south of Vietnam. Tourists could take flights or use a high speed boat to this island for a beach break. This Island is known for its pristine beaches with crystal-clear water and white sand such as Long Beach, Ong Lang Beach, and Bai Sao Beach.

It is really a paradise for local fresh seafood cuisines in Vietnam. You can visit local markets, sample delicious seafood dishes, and learn about the island's history and traditions.

Take relaxation and wellness in Phu Quoc Island. You can indulge in spa treatments, practice yoga, or simply lounge on the beach and soak up the sun.

A white sandy beach and crystal water in a Phu Quoc beach

This is also a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving, as it offers a diverse range of marine life, including colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and sea turtles.

Best time to visit Phu Quoc is from November to April, this is the dry season. It is sunny and dry, the temperature is around 27 degree celsius, perfect for your beach break.

The rainy season in Phu Quoc Island starts in May until October, with the heaviest rains usually occurring from July to September. However, during this period, the price for hotels and resorts would be the best reasonable price.

It is not wrong to say that Phu Quoc is on the top places to visit in Vietnam

4. Hoi An ancient town

An Unmissable destination in your travel bucket list in Vietnam. It is Hoi An ancient town. An old town with surviving traditional historic architecture. It deserves to be one of the top places to visit in Vietnam.
Exploring the old town quarter of Hoi An is a delightful experience that will transport you back to the 15th century, when the town was a bustling trading center attracting Japanese and Chinese merchants who came for the local silks and other products to exchange. The quarter is packed with well-preserved merchant houses, which offer a glimpse into the town's vibrant past.

Several of these historic houses have been opened to the public, including the fascinating 17th-century Tan Ky House, which boasts remarkable architectural and decorative features.
The iconic Japanese Bridge, located at the western end of Tran Phu Street, is Hoi An's most recognizable landmark. Nearby, the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation is the town's most ornate temple.

Although there are many small pagodas and museums in the area, the true charm of Hoi An lies in wandering the old town streets and marveling at the remarkably well-preserved facades.
Moreover, Hoi An town is the place for good foods, discovering the local cuisines such as Cao Lau, Hoanh Thanh, Banh Mi Hoi An or simply with famous Hoi An Chicken rice.

The transquil beauty of Hoi An ancient town

Hoi An is surrounded by several quaint handicraft villages that are definitely worth exploring, such as Thanh Ha Terracotta Village, Cam Thanh Palm Village, Kim Bong Wooden Village, and Tra Que Vegetable Village. You can rent a motorbike or bicycle to explore these villages on your own.

Moreover, Hoi An offers a unique combination of attractions, from its charming old town and picturesque rice fields to its winding rivers and stunning beaches. For a relaxing beach getaway, check out An Bang Beach, Ha My Beach, and Nam Hoi An Beach.
With the above advantages, Hoi An is also on the top places to visit in Vietnam.

It's important to keep in mind that October and November are the rainy season in Hoi An, which can sometimes bring storms that may affect your travel plans. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip.

5. Hue citadel city

Together with Hoi An, Hue is also on the top places to visit in Vietnam.
Hue is one of Vietnam's most historic cities, and boasts a treasure trove of relics from the reign of the 19th-century Nguyen emperors. The city is situated on the picturesque banks of the Perfume River, and the sprawling Imperial Enclosure, stretching for 2.5 kilometers, is a must-see attraction.

Inside the enclosure walls, visitors can marvel at the ornate Ngo Mon Gate, the exquisitely lacquered interiors of the Thai Hoa Palace, the royal residence of Dien Tho, and the Halls of Mandarins, adorned with preserved ceiling murals.
Beyond the enclosure walls, a wealth of historic sites awaits. A riverboat cruise on the Perfume River is an excellent way to explore several outlying attractions, including royal tombs and pagodas, in a single day.

Statues in Khai Dinh tomb in Hue city

For those pressed for time, the Tu Duc tomb is a must-see, while the Thien Mu Pagoda, featuring a towering 21-meter-high tower, is the area's most significant pagoda.
From February to April every year, the reduced precipitation makes you feel really comfortable to travel to Hue during this period. From May to August, the summer time, it is a dry season however it is very hot at noon time. September to January is the rainy season. It may bring a romantic visit to Hue during this season.

6. Phong Nha - Ke Bang

Following the Lonely Planet Magazine, Phong Nha ke Bang is on the top places to visit in Vietnam.
For cave lovers, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam is a must-visit destination. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features a stunning karst mountain formation, with numerous caverns filled with magnificent stalactite and stalagmite formations.

One of the most renowned sites within the park is Phong Nha cave where we have to take a boat trip along the Son River and go deeply inside the cave which amaze you by the stalactite formation and their shapes. Only  400m of the cave is open for tourists to visit.

Breathtaking beauty of Phong Nha cave

The next Paradise Cave, stretching an astonishing 31 kilometers beneath the earth's surface. The vast, open caverns are truly breathtaking to behold.
Another popular cave to explore is Tu Lan Cave, known as a "wet cave." This excursion involves swimming through the cave's river as you navigate through its unique and beautiful ecosystem.

And many other caves such as: Hang Va cave, Eight lady cave, Dark cave, Hang Tien cave, Hang En cave, and the special one - Hang Son Doong cave which is the world's largest cave. However, only 1000 visitors are admitted to this cave per year with a price of about 3000 USD per person.
The popular ones for tourists are Phong Nha and Paradise cave that cost only some price for entrance fee and boat trip. One day is enough to explore both of these caves.

Best time to visit Phong Nha - Ke Bang will be from April to August which is the dry season. The weather is beautiful and sunny all day. Great for exploration and outdoor activities.
Some other recommended activities such as: Kayaking, swimming, Zipline at Mooc stream, mud bath at Dark cave, visiting botanical garden, biking around the stream and villages…

7. Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is an increasingly popular destination for travelers seeking natural beauty, rural tranquility, and cultural experiences. This province is home to stunning limestone mountains, picturesque rice paddies, breathtaking cave systems, and a lush national park.
Visitors can explore ancient temples and pagodas nestled amidst the mountains, including the famous Bai Dinh Pagoda, which is the largest Buddhist temple complex in Vietnam. As the former capital of Vietnam thousands of years ago, Ninh Binh boasts a rich history and cultural heritage that visitors can immerse themselves in.

A peaceful boat trip in Trang An nature reserve - Ninh Binh

Overall, Ninh Binh is a must-see destination in northern Vietnam, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

What to explore in Ninh Binh? Here is the list of Ninh Binh attractions: Tam Coc, Trang An nature reserve, Van Long nature reserve, ancient Hoa Lu temple, ancient Bich Dong pagoda, Dancing cave (Hang Mua), Bai Dinh pagoda, Thung Nham bird park, Phat Diem Stone Church, rural villages…
Visitors could travel to Ninh Binh around the year, however, to enjoy the magnificent landscape of golden rice fields. May and September will be the best.

8. Hanoi city

Hanoi is a dynamic and bustling city, serving as the capital of Vietnam and the country's second-largest city, home to the Noi Bai international terminal. As a city with over a thousand years of history, Hanoi is an ideal destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in culture, explore ancient architecture, and witness the blending of French and traditional Vietnamese architecture. From ancient pagodas and temples to charming streets and bustling markets, Hanoi promises to be a highlight of any trip to Vietnam.

It is a big miss if we do not mention the culinary quintessence in Hanoi. Many famous cuisines that travelers could enjoy in the local restaurants by the streets. The most famous ones are Pho bo Hanoi (Beef noodle), Bun Cha ( grilled pork with vermicelli), Banh Cuon, Nem, Bun rieu, Cha Ca…

Hanoi is on the top places to visit in Vietnam

Best time to visit Hanoi ? Any time at your convenience. Hanoi has different beauties in 4 seasons with trees, flowers in the streets, and the nostalgic beauty of the old quarter,  around the year.

Things to do in Hanoi ? This will be the list of places for your visiting: Hanoi old quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, Temple of Literature,Vietnam Museum of Ethology, Tran Quoc pagoda, Imperial citadel of Thang Long, Sword Lake, Hoa Lo prison, Long Bien Bridge

9. Mai Chau

Mai Chau is only 140 km northwest from Hanoi capital and takes about 3-hour drive.
This is a breathtakingly beautiful rural valley located in the mountainous Hoa Binh province of Vietnam.

Mai Chau should be on your bucket list when traveling in Vietnam.
Mai Chau has natural beauty. It is surrounded by lush greenery, rice paddies, and towering limestone mountains, making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some fresh air and scenic views.

Moreover, Mai Chau also has varied culture and traditions. This place is home to several ethnic minority groups, including the White Thai, Hmong, and Dao people, who have preserved their unique customs and traditions for generations. Travelers can immerse themselves in local life, learn about traditional handicrafts, and sample delicious local cuisines.

A corner of Mai Chau - one of the best places to visit in Vietnam

In Mai Chau, travelers could have a chance to choose a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, rafting, making it an ideal destination for adventure seekers. Visitors can also participate in traditional dances and musical performances or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

The best time to visit Mai Chau? From August to October will be the great time, that is the rice harvest in Mai Chau. All the valley will be covered by the yellow color of rice.
Some popular villages that travelers could consider to stay and explore such as Lac village, Pom Coong village, Van Village, Mai Hich, Buoc village.

10. Halong Bay

Halong Bay is one of the top places to visit in Vietnam. It was twice recognized as the World Heritage site by UNESCO, the first time was in 1994 and the second time was in 2000. This is one of the best places in the world to visit the karst seascape.
Halong Bay is a natural wonder that boasts thousands of picturesque limestone islands and mystical caves, some of which are open for tourists to explore. Among the must-visit caves are Dau Go, Thien Cung, and Sung Sot, which showcase the stunning beauty of stalagmites and stalactites in various shapes and sizes.

Besides, Halong Bay offers some of the best beaches in Vietnam, where visitors can indulge in sea activities and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters. For instance, Titov Beach and Soi Sim Beach are perfect spots to include in your itinerary. And for a more adventurous experience, kayaking around the limestone islands or lagoons in the bay is an absolute must-do activity.

Stunning Halong Bay

To make the most of your Halong Bay exploration, consider booking an overnight cruise that suits your preferences, as there are various categories from 3-star to 5-star, offering all-inclusive packages. An overnight cruise will allow you to enjoy the stunning scenery of Halong Bay, witness breathtaking sunsets and sunrises, and experience Vietnamese cuisine and culture at its finest.

While Halong Bay is a year-round destination, it's worth noting that some months are better than others. For example, August is known for occasional storms, December to January is foggy, and February to March is cool. The best time to visit Halong Bay is between April and September when the weather is favorable for outdoor activities like swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing.

11. Sapa - a mountainous area

Sapa Vietnam is encircled by lush rice fields and the craggy peaks of the Hoang Lien Mountains. This area is renowned for its stunning rural landscapes, featuring sweeping valleys inhabited by various ethnic minorities, including the Hmong, Giay, and Red Dzao people. Meanwhile, the undulating hills are meticulously terraced with rice paddies and offer spectacular views of the highest peak in Vietnam, Fansipan Mountain.

Sapa has a temperature climate, it is cool in summer, not too cold in spring and cold in autumn, sometimes, snow is in the winter.

For avid trekkers, this is Vietnam's premier destination, with an abundance of options for trekking or day hikes amid the small hamlets and astounding mountain panoramas.
Sapa is the primary hub of this region - an ancient hill station that now has transformed into a lively and continuously expanding tourist center, providing a stark contrast to the serene and magnificent countryside that lies right on its doorstep.

The beauty of Sapa town in the mist

Some suggested places to visit in Sapa such as: trekking to Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, Ta Van, Giang Ta Chai Villages. Explore Silver Waterfall, Love waterfall, Cat Cat waterfall.

There are some colorful fair markets that should not be missed: Bac Ha market on every Sunday, Can Cau market on every Saturday, Coc Ly market on every Tuesday, Sin Chen market on every Wednesday.

From March to May is the ideal time to visit Sapa.  in Summer from June to August, that is a holiday period in Sapa to escape from the heat of cities. For those who love photography, come to explore Sapa in September. That is the rice harvest season. Picturesque yellow rice terraces will cover the valley in Sapa.

12. Ha Giang

Ha Giang  is well known for its stunning landscapes, located in the northeast most region of Vietnam. It is a destination for those who love adventure, authenticity, natural beauty, and cultural immersion, and now it is going to become one of the top places to visit in Vietnam.

Ha Giang has the most stunning landscapes in Vietnam including towering mountains, deep valleys, and winding roads with the breathtaking views. The Dong Van Karst Plateau is a UNESCO Global Geopark,  offering some of the most scenic drives in Vietnam.

Ha Giang is also a home to several ethnic minority groups, including the Hmong, Tay, and Dao, each with its unique customs, traditions, and dress. Travelers can understand more about their lifestyle, enjoy their delicious food, and participate in their traditional festivals. This offers travelers an authentic travel experience.

Due to the special terrace, Ha Giang is a great place for trekking tours, hiking tours, motorbike tours.

Colorful costume of kids in Ha Giang

The locals in Ha Giang are really hospitable, they will be ready to welcome their home to discover their way of life.
Some best destinations in Ha Giang that could be explored on your trip: Quan Ba pass, Lung Tam Village, The H’mong King’s palace, Lung Cu flag pole, Dong Van town, Grandiose Ma Pi Leng pass, Nho Que river,

Ha Giang is the most beautiful during the dry season from September to November. The temperature is cool and the sky is clear. This is the rice harvest. The rice field terraces turn to gold yellow. This is also the buckwheat Flower season.
During the winter time, from December to February, There may be landslides, road will be closed. Not recommend traveling to Ha Giang this time.

Above are 12 places to visit in Vietnam. We select from many clients' requests for their trip to Vietnam and we would like to share this information for other travelers. We hope that this will help tourists to plan their dream trip to our beautiful country.

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