Best places to visit in Vietnam

When it comes to choosing the best places to visit, Vietnam poses quite the challenge, as it is brimming with experiences. The good news is that Vietnam has something for everyone, backpacker or luxury seeker, adventure sports enthusiast or someone looking to relax. We’ve narrowed down on the Best Places to Visit in Vietnam, read on for some travel ideas.

Vietnam is distinctly divided into three regions- north, central and south, and each has a character of its own. The north is mountainous, and the rice terraces make for very scenic views. Here you will find the hill destination of Sapa, tourist hotspot Halong Bay, and exciting capital Hanoi.

Central Vietnam is the country at its geographically narrowest, and its old towns, pagodas and palaces reflect a rich history. The tropical south boasts the Mekong delta, or the Rice Bowl, the buzzing Ho Chi Minh City, and relaxing beaches. You can choose to either travel over the entire country, or focus solely on one or two regions.

Look at some travel route ideas here | Two weeks North to South Vietnam | One and a half weeks North and Central Vietnam

best places to visit in vietnam The country of Vietnam, brimming with beauty and adventures, has something to offer to every kind of traveller.

1. Hanoi

Hanoi has always been a city of importance, from way back in 1010 BCE, when Emperor Ly Thai To moved his capital here. It served as the capital of French Indochina in the early 20th century, and today it sits as Vietnam’s capital. Due to its long tryst with destiny, it boasts a rich history and contains numerous museums and heritage influences.

The Old Quarter at the heart of Hanoi is worth a visit, where the famous ‘36 Streets of 36 Wares’ is ever-bustling with people. Drop in at Heritage House, one of the best-restored heritage properties in Old Quarter, walk along the Hoan Kiem lake to meet locals or visit the many museums of the city to learn about Vietnam’s history and culture. People drawn to the humanities must visit the Temple of Literature, and the Fine Arts Museum.

Finally, make sure you catch some nightlife and street food – the Bia Hoi Junction, or Beer Junction in Old Quarter is a popular place to go. Apart from being the country’s capital, Hanoi also happens to be the capital for Vietnam’s own microbrew bia hoi (roughly translating into “fresh beer”) which is the focus of a unique drinking culture found in Hanoi.

It is brewed daily, has an alcohol content of only 3%, and due to its fresh nature without any preservatives, has to be drunk within 24 hours. Hanoi is also the ideal base to explore other destinations in the north like Halong Bay, Sapa or Ninh Binh. It is possible to land right into it, as it has one of the three international airports in Vietnam. This convenience definitely makes it one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

Have a look at when is the best time to visit Vietnam.

Hanoi Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is the perfect place for anybody looking to learn about the history and culture of Vietnam.

2. Ho Chi Minh City

Formerly known as Saigon when it was the capital of French Cochinchina, and still called by the same name by the locals, Ho Chi Minh City is now one of Vietnam’s most pulsating cities. Remnants of its past peek out from behind skyscrapers and huge shopping centres, all alongside the humming of the thousands of bikes on the streets.

Drop in to Dong Khoi for some shopping, visit the War Remnants museum, and make sure to take in the Reunification Palace alongside the restaurants around it. Ho Chi Minh City is also a good location to visit the Mekong Delta for a full day trip, as well as the Cu Chi tunnels, an underground network dug out by the locals and soldiers during the Vietnam War to hide from the American troops, for a half-day trip. 

Hanoi is the capital for bia hoi, but Ho Chi Minh City is the capital for food. Though the food over all of Vietnam is worth trying out, Ho Chi Minh City is considered to be the culinary capital of Vietnam. Local street food thrives alongside a series of international multi-cuisine restaurants, and it also has a fine selection of French cuisine, given its history.

You don’t have to look for specific places to experience the food in Ho Chi Minh City, as the great food is available everywhere you look. No wonder it’s the culinary capital! And according to us, the culinary capital gets a reserved spot as one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

Wondering what is the cost of travel in Vietnam, very affordable indeed!

Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City, considered to be the culinary capital of Vietnam, is a paradise for all the foodies and tends to attract people from all over the world.

3. Hoi An

Used as an international trading port centuries ago, Hoi An today is a delightful place. It boasts restful riverside scenery and beautiful architecture with a blend of indigenous and foreign influences. Thankfully, it is spared from the traffic and noise that is ever-present in the rest of Vietnam. Adding to this is the recognition earned as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.

The Old Town looks a lot like it did centuries ago, as more than 800 historic buildings have been preserved. Riding bicycles are great ways to explore these pretty streets, and there are several tours that you can opt for that will take you around Hoi An and its surrounding quaint countryside

Lay back at the relaxing Cua Dai beach, or learn something new at the Tra Que and Cam Thanh farming and fishing villages. Hoi An is laid back, and it isn’t big on the party scene as local authorities are fairly strict. However, you can choose to unwind in Hoi An and then travel 45 minutes to reach Da Nang, a dynamic and vibrant metropolis, or vice versa.

Hoi An - best places to visit in vietnam Hoi An, a city boasting beautiful riverside scenery can be a peaceful getaway from the noise present in other cities of Vietnam.

4. Halong Bay

Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most spectacular natural wonders, is undisputably one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. It draws in a serious number of tourists, but with around 2000 scenic islands, there is no dearth of beauty here. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay is dotted with thousands of towering limestone karsts and grottoes.

The karsts also often house sheltered coves and beautiful beaches. You can go kayaking in the calm waters, or explore the tiny fishing villages and hidden lagoons. You can best experience Halong Bay on an overnight cruise (1-2 nights), giving you enough time to take in the sights. The transfers from and to Hanoi are mostly included in the offers, so that exploring Halong Bay becomes an easy 2-day affair.

Vietnam is an extremely child friendly destination – read more!

halong bay Halong Bay is Vietnam’s spectacular natural wonder dotted with towering limestone karsts and grottoes, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam.

5. Hue

Located on the banks of the Perfume River, the present blends with an Imperial past in Hue. Hue was home to 13 Nguyen emperors for nearly 150 years, and their palaces and houses are an interesting glance into the past. Visitors can explore the beautiful Citadel and Imperial Enclosure, in which most of Hue’s tourist sites are located. Tourists can also drop in at night, as the site looks spectacularly lit.  

Visit the Royal Theatre that started in 1826, or opt for a calming boat ride on the picturesque Perfume River, which even on a dull day looks atmospheric. The tombs of the royals are in the outskirts of the city, from where you can discover the picturesque countryside along with pagodas and garden houses. Make sure you sample some Bún bò Huế that originated here, and look out for rice cakes or banh khoai, which is another Hue specialty.

hue vietnam One of the most charming towns in Vietnam, Hue attracts all the history lovers with its ancient architecture & charming countryside.

6. Sapa

Originally established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa is now a popular tourist destination in the northeast. It is famous for its cool climate, lush landscapes, and the mountains fringing the plunging valley. It is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam for nature and trekking enthusiasts. Sapa is Vietnam’s ideal trekking base, from where hikers trek off into the surrounding countryside. It is also home to a number of hill tribes, who lead a unique life up in the hills. A famous attraction are the rice terraces in the valley that turn from green to golden between May and August. 

Visit the Sapa museum, and learn about the hill tribes that reside there. The highest peak of Indochina, Fansipan, lays across the valley from Sapa. You can take an exciting cable car ride to reach the peak. In terms of cuisine, look out for hill-tribe specialities that use Sapa’s wild mushrooms, herbs, and local fish. You are most likely to taste local Sapa food at a homestay.

Look at some travel ideas here | Three week Vietnam and Cambodia Itinerary | Aly’s family trip to Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam - best places to visit in vietnam Sapa and its spectacular and lush green rice terraces is the best place for all the nature and trekking enthusiasts.

7. Ninh Binh

The Province of Ninh Binh is home to the quaint villages of Trang An and Tam Coc. Located in North Vietnam, it is famous for its karst rock mountains and green to golden rice paddies. The Tam Coc-Trang An Landscape Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as the ‘Halong Bay of the land’. You can best experience these majestic scenes with a boat ride from Trang An or Tam Coc.

Many tourists visit the area on day trips from Hanoi (located 2 hours to the north), leaving the countryside pretty authentic. As a result, an overnight stay is totally worth it. Additionally, the Hoa Lu ancient city, Bái Đính Pagoda and bird watcher hotspot Van Long Natural Reserve add to the hype.

tam coc A scenic boat ride in Tam Coc, one of the quaint villages of Ninh Binh, will let you witness the unspoiled nature and is a must-do thing in this province.

8. Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta, a.k.a the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, is one of the best places to visit in south Vietnam. It is a spectacular network of waterways spreading out into the countryside from the Mekong River, which enters the ocean at this area. Along with natural beauty, it also has fascinating historical and culturally relevant interests. See the villas dating back to Colonial France, and Khymer influences seen in different temple styles.

Visit the floating markets at Can Tho that burst into life at sunrise, and the fruit plantations and coconut candy manufacturers. Cycle through rural villages along canals and through rice fields, or take a boat ride through the small waterways.

Mekong delta Scenic boat rides through the small waterways surrounded by natural beauty on both sides is what Mekong Delta can be described as.

9. Phu Quoc island

Once considered an off-beat escape, Phu Quoc island is quickly shedding this image. Located south-west of mainland Vietnam, it is embracing recognition as a beach paradise. The development there is swift, and would have inevitably led to the destruction of this pretty place had it not been for its conversion into a National Park in 2001. This automatically protects about 70% of the island, where you can go diving and snorkelling, or explore its forests.

Make sure you try some of its fresh seafood, visit the pepper farms and check out their branded fish sauce production. It has fairly liberal visa regulations and an international airport with direct flights, making it an accessible destination.

Phu Quoc island resorts Phu Quoc island is simply a beach paradise located in South Vietnam. You can go diving, snorkelling and also try some fresh seafood on this beautiful island.

10. Phong Nha

This self-proclaimed adventure capital of Southeast Asia has the largest cave in the world. Limestone mountains riddled with numerous other caves only add to the fun. A paradise for nature lovers, the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park is an escape from the cities. For the most part, it is off the beaten path.

Kayak and take boat rides on the Son River’s calming waters, or trek to waterfalls through lush forests. Trekking to the biggest cave is an arduous process, ideally to be attempted only by seasoned cavers. However, there are several other treks that are 1 to 3 days long, to explore smaller but equally impressive caves.

Phong Nha - best places to visit in vietnam The Phong Nha-ke Bang National Park is a designated Unesco World Heritage site, riddled with hundreds of cave systems. A great place for anyone looking for some adventures off the beaten path.


Honestly, there is only so much we can write on the best places to visit in Vietnam. It is an exquisite location,  and one can only understand its charm if it is experienced in person. Don’t forget the planning that is involved, such as the best time to travel, or the cost of travelling in Vietnam. Your best bet is clicking on ‘Plan Your Trip’ and letting us help you tailor the trip of a lifetime.

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