Once a lesser-known destination, Vietnam has become widely popular in recent years. Visiting this country, you will be deeply overwhelmed by the marvelous beauty of splendid attractions in Vietnam, the diversity of biodiversity, culture, and architecture as well as the soul beauty of Vietnamese people. To help you plan and make the most out of your trip to Vietnam, here is the list of top 10 most stunning destinations in Vietnam.
Hanoi is the first place in Top 10 famous tourist attractions in Vietnam, and also its second largest city, is a fascinating blend of East and West, combining traditional Sino-Vietnamese motifs with French flair. It is largely unscathed from the decades of war, and is now going through a building boom, making it a rapidly developing city in Southeast Asia. Consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 destinations by TripAdvisor, the city and its surrounding region get more tourists every day.
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There is nothing quite like getting an insight into the beautiful Hanoi with a trip around Hanoi Old Quarter featured by 36 old streets selling different products, exploring the amazing Dong Xuan night market, gazing out at an ancient Long Bien Bridge witnessing a tough time for the Vietnamese during the war against the French colonial, heading to the first and oldest university of Vietnam – the Temple of Literature or walking around Hoan Kiem Lake to see the strong vitality of Vietnam’s potential development. Many streets in the Old Quarter have names signifying the goods (“hang”) the local merchants were or are specialized in. For example, “Hang Bạc” (silver stores) still have many stores specializing in trading silver and jewelries.
Located at 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level in Vietnam’s remote northwest mountains, Sapa is famous for both its fine, rugged scenery and also its rich cultural diversity. Sapa is an incredibly picturesque town that lies in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range near the Chinese border in northwestern Vietnam, known as “the Tonkinese Alps”. Sapa and its surrounding region is host to many hill tribes, as well as rice terraces, lush vegetation, and Fansipan, the highest peak in both Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
The billboard in Sapa states proudly of its weather: “Four seasons in one day.” Chilly winter in the early morning, spring time after sunrise, summer in afternoon and cold winter at night.
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In winter (the 4 months between November and February), the weather in Sapa is invariably cold, wet and foggy. Travelers have rolled into town on a glorious clear day and proceed to spend a week trapped in impenetrable fog. When it is like this there really isn’t very much to do. Also, the rice paddies are brown & empty (they are planted in spring), the paths very muddy & slippery & the glorious vistas of summer are completely hidden in the mist. If you choose to visit in winter, bring along warm clothing or prepare to be cold and miserable, as many hotels do not have efficient heating in their rooms. During that time, the more upscale hotels that do have heating fill up quickly, so make reservations in advance if you can afford not to freeze.
3. Ha Long Bay
Hạ Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. The name Hạ Long means “descending dragon”. In Ha long Bay, there are around 1969 limestone rising from the sea. On top of each island has a massive number of trees. The bay consists of a dense cluster of some 1,600 limestone monolithic islands each topped with thick jungle vegetation, rising spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves. Hang Dau Go (Wooden Stakes cave) is the largest grotto in the Ha Long area. French tourists visited in the late 19th century, and named the cave Grotte des Merveilles. Its three large chambers contain large numerous stalactites and stalagmites (as well as 19th-century French graffiti). There are two bigger islands, Tuan Chau and Cat Ba, that have permanent inhabitants, as well as tourist facilities including hotels and beaches. There are a number of beautiful beaches on the smaller islands.
A community of around 1,600 people live on Hạ Long Bay in four fishing villages: Cua Van, Ba Hang, Cong Tau and Vong Vieng in Hung Thang ward, Ha Long city. They live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture, plying the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Many of the islands have acquired their names as a result of interpretation of their unusual shapes. Such names include Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), Khi Islet (monkey), and Mai Nha Islet (roof). Totally, 989 of the islands have been given names. Birds and animals including bantams, antelopes, monkeys, and lizard also live on some of the islands.
4. Ninh Binh
With a distance of about 100 kilometers to Hanoi Southward, Ninh Binh has gained considerabe popularity over the recent years as a hidden gem of Northern Vietnam. Ninh Binh has increasingly become well-known for its picturesque natural scenery and beautiful historical and religious sites.
Ninh Binh is endowed with many places of particular interest which have been welknown inside and outside Vietnam such as Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Cuc Phuong National Park, Trang An Grottoes and Van Long Nature Reserves. There are also many historical relics, for instances Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Bich Dong Pagoda, Thai Vi Temple, Phat Diem Stone Cathedral, Tam Diep Defense Line…. All of them are attractive to both Vietnamese and foreign tourists. Ninh Binh is the charming land of myth and unique landscapes.
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5. Da Nang – Hoi An
Da Nang is Vietnam’s third largest city, and is located on the Eastern Sea coast, midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the largest city of Central Vietnam. The city itself has neither the atmosphere of Hanoi nor the hustle-bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, but has its share of sights and is close to the ancient cities of charming Hoi An and the imperial capital of Hue, making it a popular vacationing spot for those looking to explore the attractions of central Vietnam or soak up some rays while hanging out on the city’s beaches.
In 1999, the old town Hoi An was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries, with buildings that display a blend of local and foreign influences. According to the UNESCO Impact Report 2008 on Hoi An, tourism has brought changes to the area which are not sustainable without mitigation. Owing to the increased number of tourists visiting Hoi An, a variety of activities are emerging that allow guests to get out of the old quarter and explore by motorbike, bicycle, kayak, or motorboat.
6. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most popular seaside resort town located along the second most beautiful bays in the country. Having beautiful white sandy beaches and clean ocean water with mild temperatures, Nha Trang should be in the list of every foreign tourist when visiting in Vietnam.
Nha Trang is classified as one of the most beautiful bays in the world with an area of 507 km2 with 19 islands, the largest of which is Hon Tre Island with an area of 3,250ha, while Hon Noc is the smallest one with an area of about 4ha. Nha Trang Bay converges quite a full range of mountains, rivers, lagoons, islands, fields, villages … creating a rich and unique value. Nha Trang Bay is a rare natural model of bays and pools in the world with biodiversity, having most of the typical ecosystems of tropical waters. It seems that nature is inherently favored for this beautiful city.
7. Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam. Phu Quoc and nearby islands, along with distant Tho Chu Islands, is part of Kien Giang Province as Phu Quoc District, the island has a total area of 574 square kilometers (222 square miles). Located in the Gulf of Thailand, the district of Phu Quoc includes the island proper and 21 smaller islets. This island features with pristine tropical forests, great beaches and undamaged coral reefs. One of the beaches in Phu Quoc, named Long Beach, was gracefully chosen by the ABC News as among top 5 clean and beautiful beaches in the world.
Formerly an island prison camp, Phu Quoc has a beautiful resort which runs down the southwest coconut palm tree-lined beach. There is also interesting snorkeling and scuba-diving, offering colorful reefs, transparent turquoise waters teeming with fish. Boat trips for snorkeling, diving and fishing are always arranged. The mountainous interiors are mostly forested, much of this protected as a national park, where hiking possibilities abound. As the most western point of Vietnam, this is considered as the only place you could witness the sunset all the way.
8. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, also known by its former name of Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. The city’s center has some wide boulevards and a few French colonial buildings. The majority of these tourist spots are located in District 1 and are a short leisurely distance from each other. The most prominent structures in the city center are the Reunification Palace, City Hall, Municipal Theatre (also known as the Opera House), City Post Office, State Bank Office, City People’s and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Some of the historic hotels are the Hotel Majestic, dating from the French colonial era, and the Rex and Caravelle hotels are former hangouts for American officers and war correspondents in the 1960s & 1970s.
The city has various museums including the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Museum of Vietnamese History, the Revolutionary Museum, the Museum of south-eastern Armed Forces, the War Remnants Museum, the Museum of Southern Women, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Nha Rong Memorial House, and the Ben Duoc Relic of Underground Tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnels are north-west of the city in Cu Chi District. The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, in District 1, dates from 1865. The Dam Sen Tourist and Cultural Park, Suoi Tien Amusement and Culture Park, and Can Gio’s Eco beach resort are three recreational sites inside the city which are popular with tourists.
9. Da Lat
Da Lat is a mid-sized city that looks like a cross between Vietnam and the French Alps. Outside of the city center, it is surrounded by a series of pine-covered hills, lakes, and higher peaks, making for some lovely scenery quite different from the rest of Vietnam.
The city center is quite small and feels very urban, concrete, and patches of streets and buildings are in disrepair or construction. However, outside of the small urban center is a spacious landscape of well kempt and pretty hotels, cafes, restaurants, and lakes peppered among the rolling green hills and pine trees to offer tourists an escape from city life. Even further out from those are fields of fruits, vegetables, coffee, and canopied flower gardens that are harvested and exported across Vietnam. The tempo of life in Da Lat is very relaxed, traffic is not frenetic except for the central area, streets are spacious, and the local populace is friendly to foreigners.
Da Lat is very much a niche tourism town, open to those seeking a respite from the heat of the rest of Vietnam, a change in scenery to lush pine forests and rolling hills, or those seeking world class golf. There is a steady flow during some parts of the year of tourist from all walks of life and places, small hotels, cafe’s lining its streets and plenty of small shops offering anything from orchids to knitwear. The vast majority of visitors are Vietnamese, although plenty of Americans and Europeans find their way, either on short package tours, soul searching, or drawn by the scenery, vivid blue skies, fresh air, flower-filled parks, and local culinary treats. Da Lat is a favorite destination for company weekend outings, family vacation and honeymooners. Most guidebooks for overseas visitors describe Da Lat as a tourist town with a colorful approach to tourism.
10. Mui Ne
Mui Ne is a coastal fishing town in the south-central Bình Thuan Province of Vietnam. The town, with approximately 25,000 residents, is a ward of the city of Phan Thiet. Mui Ne and the other wards of Phan Thiet stretch along the coast for approximately 50 kilometers and have been transformed into a resort destination since the middle 1990s, when many visited the area to view the solar eclipse of October 24, 1995. Most notably, tourism has developed in the area from the Phan Thiet city center to Mui Ne, which has more than a hundred beach resorts, as well as restaurants, bars, shops and cafes.
Mui Ne ward has two beaches: Ganh Beach and Suoi Nuoc Beach, both with a number of resorts and a few shops and restaurants. But the most highly developed area is Rang Beach in Ham Tien ward (often erroneously called “Mui Ne Beach” by foreigners), which extends west of Mui Ne. Strong sea breezes make all three beaches very popular for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Mui Ne is well known for unique white sand dunes, featuring several lakes and even swamps straight in the middle of sandy terrain. It is also the only place in Vietnam with hot air balloon ride service for adventurous tourists.