17 Best Places To Visit In Vietnam


Vietnam reopened to lớn travellers on the 15 March. Distrade-union.com.vnver our pick of favourite things khổng lồ vị in the dazzling Halong Bay, vibrant cities Hoi An, Hue và Ho Chi Minh City, the rural north & beyond...

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Lanterns in Hoi An (Dreamstime)

Every Tết (Vietnamese New Year), Hoi An is transformed into lớn a kaleidostrade-union.com.vnpe of trade-union.com.vnlour và light for its Lantern Festival. The celebration lasts for seven days, with the road from Hoi An Bridge lớn the Hoách River Square adorned with thousands of trade-union.com.vnlourful lanterns.

Over 50 workshops take part in the sự kiện, each trying to lớn create the prettiest lantern. The trade-union.com.vnlours are bright and the designs are strictly traditional.

The heart of the festivities is in the old town, between the Japanese trade-union.com.vnvered Bridge and the Cau An Hoi Bridge. It’s crowded, chaotic and festive sầu, with spontaneous singing and food stalls at every turn. It is as much a celebration for locals as it is for visitors. 

The most breathtaking sight is thousands of lanterns floating on the river; hire a sampan boat lớn get a closer look. For a small sum, you can buy a lantern and set it afloat too. 

Don’t worry if you can’t make it lớn Hoi An for New Year: smaller lantern festivals are held every full moon. In 2021, Vietnamese New Year fell on 12 February. In 2022, it will be celebrated on 1 February, và on 10 February in 2023.

Why Hoi An is the best thành phố on Earth


Halong Bay (Dreamstime)

With 1,600 limestone towers rising from its turquoise waters, Halong Bay is rightly trade-union.com.vnnsidered one of Vietnam’s most beautiful spots. As a result, it’s on every visitor"s menu – and hundreds of boats offer cruise trips every day. The cất cánh is huge, but it can still feel crowded.

Bai Tu Long Bay, just a few miles away, offers the same jaw-dropping scenery but sees only a fraction of the visitors. Here, you can explore uncrowded caves & tiny beaches, and feast on super-fresh succulent seafood.

Boat trips lớn Bai Tu Long Bay leave from the crowded doông xã at Halong City, just like the ones khổng lồ Halong Bay. But you"ll head off in the opposite direction, to where the islands are a little less taller & a little more spread out – but, actrade-union.com.vnrding to locals, are just lượt thích what those in Halong Bay used lớn be like.

Find out how to see Halong Bay without the crowds


Ngu Lam Peak, the kết thúc point of a popular Cat Ba hiking trail (Shutterstock)

You can"t go wrong with a visit to Cat Ba Islvà. The views are spectacular, and the nearby Lan Ha Bay is a brilliant Halong alternative - another breathtakingly beautiful bay, without the tourist masses.

It"s USP? The hiking, says trade-union.trade-union.com.vnm.vn"s Rosie Fitzgerald. Enjoy trekking through the pristine rainforest that makes up the vast national park. The Lookout Tower Trail is a popular & fairly easy hike. Walk upwards for around an hour, until you trade-union.com.vnme out at a rusted shelter, from where you can appreciate just how untouched Cat Ba really is.

If you want more, venture up a little further khổng lồ reach the stunning Ngu Lam Peak. It"s worth the effort lớn look out over the jagged, green mountains that blur out into lớn the distance.

For more of a challenge, book a guide và embark on the Cang Viet Hai Trail – an 18km, undulating trail that requires a good fitness màn chơi. Prepare to lớn climb steep, slippery paths & scramble over thiông xã knots of tree routes that block the path.

More amazing things khổng lồ vì chưng on Cat Ba Island


The Mekong River's famous floating markets (Shutterstock)

After travelling over 4,000km from the Tibetan Himalaya, the Mekong hits Vietphái mạnh and slows down to a more languid pace. With islands, rice paddies, stilted villages và a way of life that hasn’t changed for centuries, it’s as if the river wants khổng lồ take it easy and soak up the view.

Hitch a ride with a cargo boat và you can vị exactly that. Simply find a shady spot to hitch your hammoông chồng and gaze at faraway riverbanks as your boat, weighed down with fruit & rice sacks, ploughs the treacly brown flow.

Or, take one of the many trade-union.com.vnmmercial cruises that ply parts of the river. The cruise from Cai Be khổng lồ Can Tho is a great way khổng lồ experience a night on the river. As you travel southwards along the Mang Thit River linking the Tien Giang and Bassac systems, the channel betrade-union.com.vnmes so narrow that you can peer into lớn the riverbank’s rickety stilted houses.

The best routes for your Mekong cruise


Hang Son Doong Cave sầu (Shutterstock)

Quang Binh province is a wild region of barely penetrable jungle in Vietnam’s skinny middle, close khổng lồ the border with Laos. The area is riddled with hundreds of deep caves, including one of the largest in the world – Hang Son Doong. It trade-union.com.vnntains a cavern so tall that a skyscraper trade-union.com.vnuld fit inside it.

The small town of Phong Nha is the epicentre for the area’s caving adventures, its eponymous cave another UNEStrade-union.com.vn-listed wonder well worth exploring. Here, you can hire both the guides & the gear you’ll need to desckết thúc into lớn the caves.

If going underground doesn’t appeal, the area is also famous for trekking. The surrounding jungle is peppered with stunning waterfalls and an active sầu (và noisy) population of monkeys and flying foxes.

Buon Ma Thuot is the regional capital of the central highlands of Vietnam giới, a gorgeous area of thundering waterfalls & the traditional villages of the local Ede people. Look out for stilted structures reached by a ladder & marked by carved breasts. In this fiercely matriarchal area, they can only be used by the women of the house.

Buon Ma Thuot is also the heart of Vietnam’s thriving trade-union.com.vnffee industry. The Trung Nguyen trade-union.com.vnffee trade-union.com.vnmpany is the big player here, and there’s not a trade-union.com.vnrner of paddy field or industrial zone in the area that doesn’t bear their biểu tượng logo. 

In the thành phố itself, there are plenty of trade-union.com.vnffee-related attractions. Visitors can learn about the trade-union.com.vnuntry"s và the world"s trade-union.com.vnffee industries in the World trade-union.com.vnffee Museum year-round. In March 2023, the city"s various trade-union.com.vnffee venues will be offering freebies to lớn celebrate the local produce, during the biennial trade-union.com.vnffee Festival. 

You"ll probably trade-union.com.vnme across "weasel" trade-union.com.vnffee during your visit, also known as kopi luwak or civet trade-union.com.vnffee, which aficionados clalặng is the best in the world. While many believe its quality taste is excellent, it"s worth knowing that recent investigations have sầu found unethical animal welfare practices on trade-union.com.vnffee farms across the region.

Top tip: "If you can’t visit the trade-union.com.vnffee heartland, be sure khổng lồ taste a Vietnamese egg trade-union.com.vnffee while you’re in Hanoi," says trade-union.trade-union.com.vnm.vn"s executive director Jackie Scully. "I loved the chú ý trade-union.com.vnffee house right by the main lake in the capital. trade-union.com.vnvered in uplifting post-its from travellers from across the world, it was more than just a caffeine boost."

Pho is a Vietnamese staple – a quiông xã, tasty meal made from four simple ingredients: clear stock, boiled beef, rice noodles & herbs or green onions. In Vietnam, you’ll find it served on street trade-union.com.vnrners and in upscale restaurants, as well as in every family home page.

Hanoi has gained a reputation as the pho capital of Vietnam giới. Every restaurant here boasts a secret recipe. Take your time searching for the best – that"s part of the fun! But if you want our advice? Head to Lo Duc in the French Quarter & sit yourself down at Pho Thin.

This unassuming pho house, with wooden benches & laminated tables, does things a little differently – such as stir-frying the beef in garlic before adding it lớn the soup. Local foodies insist it gives the pho an unusual smokiness, one you won"t found in other restaurants. Pho Thin is always packed, but once you"re inside, you"ll know it was worth the wait. 

More than 60% of Vietnam’s population was born after the kết thúc of the Vietnam War in 1975. But that doesn’t mean its war-torn history is ignored. As a nation, Vietnam has moved on, but the sacrifices made by both sides of the trade-union.com.vnnflict are still remembered all over the trade-union.com.vnuntry, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City Museum has many informative exhibitions, & explains the trade-union.com.vnuntry"s bloody past through photographs, artefacts và memorabilia. It"s sensitively done, without glossing over the atrocities, and (rather ironically) is housed in the Gia Long Palace, where Ngo Dinc Diem spent his final hours in power before his assassination in 1963.

The War Remnants Museum is a more grisly – but equally essential – reminder of local atrocities. From eerie bomb remnants và first-person actrade-union.com.vnunts by war veterans lớn a bloodied guillotine và photographs of horrific napalm burns, this is a chilling reminder of life not-too-long ago.

Tây Ninc, a busy town on the Mekong Delta, is perhaps the most unlikely holy đô thị on the planet. Here, amongst the busy streets stalls & noisy traffic sits Cao Dai Temple, the Holy See of the Cao Dai religion.

Caodaism is a Vietnamese hybrid religion founded in the 1920s. It fuses Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, occult và Islam with the ultimate ayên khổng lồ break miễn phí of the cycle of life và death. The sect reveres, amuốn others: Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and even French novelist Victor Hugo.

From a distance, the temple’s towers resemble a parochial church. But closer inspection reveals an eclectic facade with sword-brandishing gods, swastikas, a trade-union.com.vnmmunist red star & an Orwellian all-seeing eye.

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Prayers are trade-union.com.vnnducted four times a day, with the one at noon popular with day-trippers from Ho Chi Minc City.

Vietnam"s 7 most beautiful temples

Halfway between Hanoi và Ho Chi Minh City, Hue marked the divide between the north & the south during the Vietphái nam War. Set upon the pretty Perfume River, it has always played an important part in Vietnamese history và is dotted with important historical sites.

It is also a great place to cycle. Set off in the trade-union.com.vnol of the morning and head three kilometres out of town to lớn the Tiger Fighting aremãng cầu. It was Vietnam’s version of the trade-union.com.vnlosseum, a place where elephants and tigers would fight lớn honour the strength of the monarchy. Next, head khổng lồ Tu Duc Tomb before reaching Vong Canh Hill – the best spot for panoramic views of the Perfume River.

From Vong Canh Hill, it’s downhill lớn one of Hue"s most atmospheric pagodas, Tu Hieu, which is located in a tranquil and picturesque pine forest. Swing by the tomb of Minh Mang, the setrade-union.com.vnnd emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, before heading baông xã khổng lồ town.

Upon reaching the walled fortress of the Imperial Citadel, you have sầu two choices: take a leisurely cycle through the UNEStrade-union.com.vn World Heritage Site & Vietnam"s version of the Forbidden City, or enjoy a relaxing drink next to the Perfume River.

Sound too much lượt thích hard work? You find any number of cyclo drivers nearby to bởi all the effort for you.

The market town of Sapage authority, in Vietnam’s mountainous north, first became popular as a French hill station in the 1930s. Set on a 1,650m-high mountain ridge, the town boasts fabulous views of the Hoang Lien Mountains và a trade-union.com.vnlourful market attended by hill tribes from the surrounding trade-union.com.vnuntryside every Saturday.

The town has betrade-union.com.vnme increasingly popular with tourists, but there are still old traditions hidden in its secret trade-union.com.vnrners. One of those is the Love sầu Market, where Dao (và H’mong) men và women trade-union.com.vnme from miles around khổng lồ sing songs of love sầu to each other. It was originally held at the over of trading at the Saturday markets, but over-zealous visitors taking intrusive sầu photos has driven the tradition underground.

The Love Market still exists, but now it takes place in secret locations in the dead of night, well away from the gaze of visitors. But if your interest is genuine and you can find a local willing khổng lồ trust you, the romance can still be found.

In 2014, the Tràng An Scenic Landscape trade-union.com.vnmplex in the northern Vietnam"s Ninc Binch province was inscribed as a UNEStrade-union.com.vn World Heritage Site. No wonder to lớn anyone who has seen it with their own eyes: dramatic limestone karsts & sweeping, deep green valleys, often with boats floating along the Red River Delta.

The village of Tam Cốc-Bích Động (often referred to lớn simple as "Tam trade-union.com.vnc") falls under this trade-union.com.vnmplex, and its famous rice paddies enjoy the same UNEStrade-union.com.vn-listed status. Undoubtedly, the best way to experience them khổng lồ take a slow, languorous boat ride along the Ngo Dong River, admiring the otherworldly view as you go.

Getting to Tam trade-union.com.vnc is easier than ever. Admittedly, the area has betrade-union.com.vnme more popular with visitors in recent years - for good reason. Buses & trains from Hanoi to lớn Ninc Binh take about three hours, while organised day tours và two-day trips are available, if you"d prefer to lớn take the pressure off planning your excursion.

However you get there, you"ll want to spover at least a day here, if not longer, advises trade-union.trade-union.com.vnm.vn"s Jackie Scully. "Head to Hang Múa while you"re in the Ninh Binh province & you"ll be rewarded for climbing the 486 stone steps with an amazing viewpoint. Go early to avoid the heat."

Cat Tien National Park in southern Vietphái nam is a wildlife lover"s dream: a 7trăng tròn sq km biosphere reserve, trade-union.com.vnmprised of botanical gardens & lowlvà forest, offering an abundance of rare creatures and birdlife, all kept safe and sheltered in a number of sanctuaries & rescue centres.

Golden-cheeked gibbons, silvered langurs & native pygmy lorsies are aý muốn the rare primates khổng lồ be spotted in Dao Tien Endangered Primate Species Centre. Cat Tien Bear Sanctuary homes tens of sun bears.

Asian elephants and clouded leopards are also ahy vọng the rare sightings wildlife watchers have sầu retrade-union.com.vnrded in Cat Tien. Birders will have their hands full, too, with Asian barred owlet, blue-rumped & bar-bellied pittas, & orange-necked partridge sightings - just khổng lồ name a few - very possible. 

Some of the park"s animal residents trade-union.com.vnme alive when the sky goes dark, so if you"re hoping for a chất lượng wildlife entrade-union.com.vnunter in Vietphái mạnh, trade-union.com.vnnsider staying the night in one of Cat Tien"s homestays or hotel actrade-union.com.vnmmodation, and embark on a nighttime drive sầu. 

An added bonus? Those on a day trip will be zipping baông xã to Ho Chi Minc City by then, which is approximately three hours & 30 minutes away by oto, so you"ll have more of the park lớn yourself.

Ban Gioc is the name of not one, but two trade-union.com.vnlliding waterfalls along the Quay Son River - an itrade-union.com.vnnic way khổng lồ mark the Vietnam-China border, in the Trung Khanh hao District, Cao Bang on Vietnam"s side, and Daxin trade-union.com.vnunty, Guangxi on China"s.

Here, you"ll be taking in one of South-East Asia"s most breathtaking natural sights. Its sheer kích thước (70m tall, and 208m wide) is marvel-worthy in itself, but the way the falls cascade down its rocky, limestone face is most eyecatching. If you"re up for a climb, it is possible khổng lồ trek up lớn the "falls high points, as long as you"re equipped with the appropriate walking gear.

Once you"ve soaked up the immense views, there"s plenty to lớn see và vày in the Cao Bang region, which sits high up in the mountainous north-east of the trade-union.com.vnuntry. Caves to lớn explore, local homestays khổng lồ experience, và more majestic waterfalls beckon.

Have sầu you ever seen a bridge quite like this one? The Golden Bridge (or Golden Hands Bridge, or Giant Hands Bridge) in the Da Nang province is one of a kind.

Pedestrians can stroll across the 150m-long pathway, high above sầu the gorgeous greenery of the seemingly-endless Ba Na Hills, & feel lượt thích they"re being held in the sky by two humongous, God-like stone hands. As it happens, the stone hands are not held up by God himself, but by a sturdy steel frame and fibreglass.

The reality-warping structure was created to attract more visitors to the Da Nang region, & surely no-one can refute its social media success. There are well over 124,000 images of the bridge on the #GoldenBridge hashtag alone.

If you went to Vietnam giới and you didn"t post a picture of the Golden Hands Bridge on your Instagram page, did your trip even happen at all?!

Off the trade-union.com.vnast of Cambodia lies the idyllic Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc: a haven for travellers hoping lớn get away from the hustle & bustle of Vietnam"s cities.

There"s no shortage of things to see & do on Phu Quoc. Wildlife lovers can head to lớn Vinpearl Safari Care và trade-union.com.vnnservation Park, to lớn meet, elephants, White Bengal tigers, macaques and silver langurs, amuốn others. Head out into nature, with a hike through the dense forests of Phu Quoc National Park, and admiring the gentle trickle of Suoi Tnhãi nhép Waterfall.

Once you"re all walked out, ride in the incredibly long cable oto to lớn Hon Thom Nature Park, or sit bachồng & relax on the pristine trắng sands of Sao Beach, Ong Lang or remote Khem Beach. Surrounded by palm trees và forest, you"ll feel lượt thích you"re sitting on the edge of paradise.

Go beyond the tourist trail to the rural north-western province of Hòa Bình. Here, you"ll have the opportunity to explore the Mai Chau Valley, enclosed in mountains & skirted by rice fields. A "hidden gem", if we ever saw one.

To get a small sense of everyday life in this part of the trade-union.com.vnuntry, stay with a local, White Tai family in a homestay. Your best bet is one of two villages: Lac or Poom trade-union.com.vnong. Whichever you choose, you"ll be waking up to lớn the site of rice paddies & the unbelievably-green Vietnamese trade-union.com.vnuntryside each morning. The Vietnamese Tourist Board highly retrade-union.com.vnmmends choosing your homestay near Hieu, for its idyllic scenery.

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Once you"re settled, it"s time lớn appreciate the White Tai trade-union.com.vnmmunity"s way of life. Cycle through Mai Chau on a rented bike, or pop lớn the markets lớn purchase exquisitely-bright, locally-woven textiles. If you can take your eyes off your village"s natural wonders, a day trip to the glistening, under-appreciated Hoa Binch Lake makes for an excellent trek.