Along the length of Vietnam, you cannot find two places that look the same. The country boasts a wide variety of landscapes, ranging from white sunny beaches with crystal-clear water to majestic rice terraces, mysterious caves which bring you to the world of some hundreds millions years ago, to romantic fog-covered mountain villages with colorful textile handicraft techniques. People never act the same, cuisines are so different from one place to another. Picking just some is a difficult task, yet we think these are the eight must visit places in Vietnam:
Hanoi is now the capital and the second largest city of Vietnam. The place was first chosen as the capital of ancient Vietnam in 1010. With more than 1000 years of history, Hanoi has so many to show to its visitors. In the heart of Hanoi lays the Old Quarter, a complex of colonial buildings that survive the damage of time and wars. The city houses the best museums of Vietnam, from the History Museum, Fine Arts to Ethnology Museum. The capital is also known for its street food and vibrant street life. Depending on the time of the year, the city looks different, with colorful cherry blossom markets for Tết (traditional new year), pomelo flower vendors in the cool autumn days to hot soup sellers in the winter. Highly recommended as one of the must visit places in Vietnam.
Dalat was discovered by the famous French scientist named Alexandre Yersin in 1893, although it had been inhabited by K’Ho people for centuries. The French colonial government then had an ambitious plan to turn the newly discovered valley into a European city, housing luxurious resorts and villas to serve the French who were exhausted by tropical heat and humidity. Now the city still has lots of colonial buildings, together with its majestic landscapes, romantic pine hills and colorful flower gardens, Dalat is a perfect destination for just-married couples or those who want to relax and stay away from Vietnam heat. Its native people, the K’Hor, has a unique culture and is highlight for those who love culture and anthropology.
An underrated destination in Vietnam, Mekong is usually skipped by most visitors. However, the place is definitely one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. Formed by sediments from Mekong river, which flows through Tibet, China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia then Vietnam, the delta is rich of flora and fauna. Many of its wetlands are still pristine and are homes to many vulnerable organisms. The rest has been transformed into agricultural lands, with abundance of tropical fruits and endless view of rice paddies. The river-oriented culture is so colorful, and the highlights are floating markets and villages, where people literally live on water and with nature. Tours to Mekong are daily provided by Vietnam tour agency in Saigon, or can be done by solo adventure travelers.
Once the capital of Cocochine under the French occupation, and the capital of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) during the Vietnam War when two Vietnams existed in the North and the South, Saigon or Ho Chi Minh bears so many memories to its glorious and painful past. Many architecture masterpieces survived the destruction of the war, ranging from romantic colonial buildings to dynamic Art Deco designs of the 60s and early 70s, Saigon earns its name in the map of Vietnam destination tours. The people, the food and the contrast of the new and the old are what people look for when coming to Saigon.
Another destination that is usually skipped by visitors with busy schedules, yet this is one of Vietnam places to visit. It takes about four hours to travel from Hanoi, Sapa is really worth the distance with majestic terraces and foggy landscapes. Depending on the time of your visit, you can see rice terraces in different stages of their process. In the winter, this is the only spot of Vietnam that has snow, making it one of the most attractive Vietnam places to visit for tropical citizens. Different ethnicities have been living together for long, especially the Dao and Hmong. A visit to their villages are colored by meticulously detailed textile patterns and unique civil architectures.
Hue served as the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 under the last dynasty of Vietnam, Nguyen Dynasty. Now the complex of palaces, citadels, pagodas, temples and mausoleums in Hue has been recognized as Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. The city is like a slow romantic piece of music. You cannot hurry in this poetic city, but calmly follow the flow the call of the glorious old days, listen to the echo of the past and find the very inner artful self of yours.
Another UNESCO heritage site, Hoi An is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. A hustle and bustle hub of the 17th century, Hoian was the meeting point of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and European cultures. Over the course of time, the Thu Bon river, which played the vital role in the economy of Hoian gradually, filled up with sediments and left the city neglected by international merchants. The bad luck turns to be a blessing, since most of the town’s architectural gems are reserved over centuries. Until catching the attention of reservationists in the 80s, it was still a peaceful fishing village. A visit to Hoian is like a travel back in time. Especially during full moon nights, you can witness the town’s full moon festivals, as electronic lights went down to give place for lanterns and traditional music. (A tour around Hoian can also be done with a local Vietnam tour agency).
Definitely one of the most famous destinations in Vietnam, Hạ Long Bay looks like a slice from the forgotten world. There are nearly 2000 islands covered in green forests, mostly unoccupied by human activities. The complex is a perfect examples of karst formations of the Earth history, with striking features from sinkhole, caves to limestone islets. Ha Long is beautiful to visit, curious to study, and you can’t skip it in the list of your Vietnam destination tours.