Vietnam is incomparable to other countries in South East Asia due to its unique destinations and conservation of pure culture. The hustle and copious amount of scooters in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The majestic landscapes of Northern and mid Vietnam. Hue, the imperial city rich with history. The fine beaches of the 3,260 km coastline. There are several must-see destinations in Vietnam and each of them is unique in its own way.

Must-See Destinations in Vietnam

The list of things to see and do in Vietnam goes on and on. This country is so flavourful you can spend over a month exploring it (and eating all the delicious food of course). It’s understandable that many people don’t have the time to spare, therefore here is a list of the top attraction points in Vietnam.

1.Hanoi

The buzzing vibes of Vietnam’s capital city are electrifying. It is notorious for its horde of scooters, approximately being 5 million motorbikes among a population of seven million people. But don’t worry, you can easily explore this fabulous city by foot.

Hanoi, Train Street
Things To Do
  • Stroll along Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Enjoy a traditional Bun Cha meal at Bún chả Hương Liên (Obama ate here)
  • Explore Vietnam’s military power site at The Imperial Citadel 
  • Take a photo at the notorious “Train Street” that divides a street full of homes and cafes.
  • Shop and eat mouth-watering street food in the Old Quarter
  • Watch the Sunset at Long Bien Bridge
  • Visit the Tran Quoc Temple that was built in the 6th century
  • Discover the The B-52 Victory Museum and wreckage site from the US bombing campaign
  • Check out the Hỏa Lò Prison 
  • Taste the country’s best “ga nuong” (BBQ chicken)on Ly Van Phuc street 

2. Hạ Long Bay

Hạ Long Bay was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1994. The views of the bay are truly mesmerizing. There are approximately 1,600 islands and islets in Ha Long Bay. Admire the turquoise waters and thousands of limestone islands topped by rainforests. 

Ha Long Bay
Things To Do
  • Take a day or night boat cruises in Ha Long Bay.
  • Kayak through the Ba Hang Fishing Village and the Luon Cave
  • Hike Cat Ba National Park to observes a magical aerial view of the island
  • Snorkle and admire the coral reefs and diverse marine life around Cong Do Island, Van Gio Island, or Trai Cave
  • Ride the Ha Long Queen Cable Car – the world’s largest reversible cable car across the bay

3.Mai Châu

Mai Châu is the perfect short-budget trip in Vietnam. It’s located 160km from Hanoi, making it the perfect getaway from the city’s bustle. This rural valley includes idyllic rice fields, mountains, and traditional bamboo villages.

Mai Châu Rice Fields
Things To Do
  • Walk or bike through the countryside’s rice fields and mountains
  • Stay at an authentic homestay to absorb traditions and culture
  • Admire the views from the Thung Khe Pass
  • Witness the silk brocades process and purchase a bag, scarf or a skirt from the locals.
  • Trek to Mo Luong and Chieu caves

4.Sa Pa

Sa Pa is located 1500 meters above sea level, close to the Chinese border. This magical region is about a 5 hour drive from Hanoi and it is blessed with natural beauty.

Sa Pa Valley
Things To Do
  • Visit Hoang Lien National Park and trek up Fan Si Pan – the highest mountain in Vietnam
  • Stay at a Vietnamese homestay in Cat Cat or Ta Phin Village
  • Shop at Bac Ha and Coc Ly Trival Markets for a more authentic experience
  • Ride through the challenging 50 km O Quy Ho Pass on a motorbike admiring the Hoang Lien Son mountains

5.Ninh Bình

Ninh Bình is a small town in Northern Vietnam. It is only located 95 km from Hanoi, making it easy to escape from the city. Due to the short distance, it’s possible to make it a day trip if you’re short on time.

Trang An, Ninh Bình
Photo cred: @duckett04
Things To Do
  • Board the Reunification Express train from Hanoi to Ninh Bình
  • Take a boat cave tour in Trang An
  • Admire the scenic landscapes of Tam Coc and hike up to Hang Mua Peak
  • Spend the day at Hoa Lư – Vietnam’s capital from the 10th and 11th centuries.
  • Eat “oc luoc xa” snails like a local at D Luong Van Tuy lane
  • Birdwatch at the Van Long Wetland Reserve
  • Eat delicious Vietnamese food at Cho Bop Market 
  • Visit The Bich Dong Pagoda
  • Climb 500 steps to Mua Cave
  • Explore through Cuc Phuong National Park to discover 307 species of birds, 133 species of mammals and 122 species of reptiles.

6.Phong Nha

Phong Nha is the top adventure destination in Vietnam. This paradise has plenty to offer because it is full of jaw-dropping landscapes and fun activities. It is the home to some of the largest caves in the world. On top of that you can enjoy majestic hikes, the countryside lanes, and kayak down rivers.

Phong Nha Cave, Phong Nha

Things To Do

  • Visit the world’s largest cave Hang Son Doong (approximately 400–450 million years old)
  • Climb and swim through Tu Lan Cave
  • Do a two day tour of Hang Va and Nuoc Nut caves
  • For an easy adventure, take a boat tour and visit Phong Nha and Paradise Cave
  • Adore the lush greenery in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
  • Explore the country-side on a motorbike (this is the best region to cruise in Vietnam as it is safe and not congested.)
  • Visit the Duck Farm

7.Huế

This city in central Vietnam is a must-see destination due to its rich history.

Imperial City, Huế
Things To Do
  • Visit the Imperial city where the bullet wholes still remain in the walls
  • Check out the ancient Elephant and Tiger arena
  • Observe the city skyline from the largest graveyard in Vietnam
  • Visit an incense village and see how they’re made
  • Cruise down the Perfume River
  • Explore the notorious Abandoned Waterpark
  • Cook like a local and take a class- Hue is Vietnam’s food capital

8.Da Nang

Da Nang’s marble and limestone Ba Na Hills attract people from all around the world. It is famous for its  pilgrimage site made of tunnels, caves, peaks and temples. This coastal destination is also perfect for those who would like to enjoy the ocean.

Golden Bridge, Da Nang
Things To Do
  • Of course explore the Marble Mountains – Ba Na Hills
  • Walk across the Golden Bridge – a 150-metre-long pedestrian bridge 
  • Snorkel around Cham Island
  • Watch a fire show at the notorious Dragon Bridge
  • Check out the Son Tra Peninsula
  • Enjoy the ocean at My Khe beach

Hải Vân Pass

The Hải Vân Pass is approximately a 21 km mountain pass route. It is the most iconic route in Vietnam and it’s truly a breathtaking experience to cruise through the mountains. You can take this route if you are commuting between Huế, Da Nang and Hội An.

9.Hội An

Hội An is a well-preserved Ancient Town that cuts through canals. It is an absolute must during your trip to Vietnam. This magical city of lanterns has so much to offer both during the day and night.

Basket Boat Tour, Hội An
Things To Do
  • Take a bicycle tour through the Ancient Town and market
  • Get a custom suit, dress or any article of clothing for SUPER CHEAP!
  • Make a lantern at one of the workshops
  • Explore the paddy fields and the countryside on a bicycle
  • Visit the 250 year old House of Tan Ky
  • Enjoy a drink, dip into the pool or paddle board in the ocean at Kahuna’s Beach Club
  • Do a Hoi An Basket Boat Trip ( fish like a local, craft souvenirs from the coconuts leaves, fish like a local)
  • Eat the best Best Banh Mi in Vietnam at Banh Mi Phuong

10.Nha Trang

This coastal resort town has the perfect balance of city and beach vibes. It is also the seafood capital of Vietnam so make sure to enjoy the local delicacies.

Tran Phu Promenade, Nha Trang
Things To Do
  • Walk along Tran Phu Street – Nha Trang’s famous promenade
  • Bargain at Dam Market for a pair of authentic Vietnamese pants
  • Get a foot massage at one of the spas for super cheap
  • Check out the Po Nagar Cham Tower
  • Stay at a luxury hotel for an affordable price
  • Take a day trip to  Ba Ho Waterfall ( 27km away from the city)
  • Eat a roasted crocodile at Crocodile Bar & Grill
  • Enjoy a mineral-rich clay mud bath
  • Find the large white Buddha statue at Long Son Pagoda

11.Mũi Né

Mũi Né is a special place in Southeastern region because it goes from beach to jungle to desert. It’s most unique attractions are the fishermen village, the Fairy Stream and of course the its breathtaking white and red sand dunes,

Red Sand Dunes, Mũi Né
Things To Do
  • Visit the magical Fairy Stream and waterfall
  • Ride an ATV through the sand dunes and watch the sunset/rise
  • Take an early morning trip to the Fishermen Village
  • Eat copious amounts of seafood and fish
  • Enjoy Mui Ne, Hon Rom or Suoi Nuoc beach.

12.Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Ho Chi Minh City, formally known as Saigon is recognized for its vital role in the Vietnam War. It is the largest city in Vietnam with an approximate population of 9 million people.

Things To Do
  • Shop like a local at Binh Tay Market
  • Learn about Vietnam’s rich history at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum
  • Discover French colonial architecture like the Ho Chi Minh City Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office
  • Explore your tastebuds at Ben Thanh Market
  • Witness the effects of the horrendous Vietnamese War at the War Remnants Museum
  • Admire the colorful Starlight Bridge at night in Phu My Hung
  • Watch a Vietnamese water puppet show Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre
  • Enjoy a drink and panoramic views at Ho Chi Minh’s original rooftop bar Chill SkyBar
  • Check out the unique “Cafe Apartment” – an old apartment building converted into cafés

A trip to Vietnam is an unforgettable experience. The country’s well-preserved culture, mouth-watering food, diverse cities and natural landscapes will forever last in your memories. Just be cautious of your personal belongings and carefully ride motorbikes. These must-see destinations in Vietnam will guarantee a trip of a life time!

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