The 10 best destinations for you in Vietnam.
Read more: Best time to visit Vietnam
Hà Giang is rugged, remote and spectacular. This area features some of the best views in the country, overlooking terraced rice paddies and deep valleys that have been carved into the limestone mountains over thousands of years. And if you love motorbike rides, be sure to check out either the Quản Bạ Pass or the Mã Pí Lèng Pass.
Home to several ethnic groups, Sa Pa has grown substantially in the past few years. While some are put off by the tourism boom in this once-quiet mountain town, there are still many good reasons to visit. We recommend you seek out a homestay in one of the surrounding villages. Also, if the weather permits, you can climb Fansipan, the tallest mountain in Indochina.
Vietnam’s capital city is full of history and culture, especially in the Old Quarter near Hoan Kiem Lake. This is epicenter of tourism in the city, with market streets, nightlife options and some of the best Vietnamese food in the country.
Ha Long Bay
Located about 130 km (80 miles) east of Hanoi in northern Vietnam, Halong Bay is celebrated for its gorgeous emerald-hue waters, thousands of spectacular limestone karsts, astonishing waterside caves, and beautiful tree-topped islands. It’s a popular location for adventure – scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, and rock climbing can all be enjoyed in and around Cat Ba National Park. For those who wish to simply relax and enjoy the views, there are numerous Halong Bay cruises to choose from, from basic to top-level luxury.
Blessed with natural beauty, central Vietnam based Ninh Binh province offers sights of cultural splendour and wildlife in the national park and reserve. Located south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh province is one of the famed spots often visited by domestic travellers and also international ones. The highlights of this place include the landscape of Tam Coc that can be seen by taking a traditional boat ride and also visiting a UNESCO Site of Trang An Grottoes. Also being heavily commercialised, you’ll witness many resorts and restaurants here. Since Ninh Binh province is located near Thanh Hoa Province you can visit Samson Beach for a refreshing day and the wildlife reserve, Cuc Phuong.
Hoi An, Da Nang
If you only have time to visit a few places in Vietnam, make Hội An one of them. The first time you walk out by the river in the Ancient Town is a special moment. It’s exactly as captivating as the pictures show, and it gets even more beautiful at night because of all the lanterns. This town is also home to hundreds of professional tailors, so spend a couple of days and have a nice dress or suit made just for you.
Though Nha Trang is significantly busier than some of the other beach towns in the south, that also means there is so much more to do. The nightlife is a lot of fun, and there are so many extreme activities for the adrenaline junkies among you – jet skiing, surfing or even a flyboard, if you’re brave enough.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Tucked away in the Quang Binh Province in Vietnam’s Central Coast region, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is one of the most picturesque parts of the country. With a steadfast reputation as a filming location for 2017 Kong: Skull Island, and with a nearby international airport, the national park is more popular than ever before.
Opened to the public in 2010, the appeal of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the escape from the city. Here, you’ll live life in the slow lane as you cycle through Kong jungles at your own pace. Home to 400 million-year-old karst mountains, there are hundreds of caves and secretive rivers to explore. One such highlight is Son Doong Cave. Home to its very own hidden jungle, microclimate, and Underground River, it’s one of the largest caves on Earth.
Due to its location near the Laos border, access to the park is strictly controlled, and visitors can expect to find a strong military presence here. This is mainly due to its war history – the park has some of the world’s highest numbers of undetonated bombs, which is why visitors can explore the park only with a licensed tour guide.
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh, formerly known as Saigon, is the biggest city in all of Vietnam. It’s also the old capital of the Republic of Vietnam. When Saigon fell to the north in 1975, it was renamed to HCMC, yet its former name is still used today, particularly when describing the beating heart of the city.
Hoi Chi Minh has a bit of everything – temples, museums, parks, and tourist shopping. Whatever your interests, you’ll find something to do here. Head to the top of the Saigon Skydeck for an astonishing 360-degree view of the city – especially impressive at night when the lights twinkle on below.
History buffs should not miss the chance to explore the mysterious network of the Cu Chi tunnels, the headquarters for many military operations during the Vietnam War.
Here’s a slice of heaven for beach lovers. This island, just off the coast near the border with Cambodia, has some of the most pristine beaches you’ll ever see. Parts of the island have big resorts, but others are secluded, with nothing but you, palm trees and the waves.