Finding the best places to visit in Vietnam can be a challenge for travelers, as the country is filled with stunning landscapes, delicious foods, and rich culture. This hand-picked list will help you plan your trip with ease.
Vietnam has been a hotspot on the global map for tourism. From bustling cities to tranquil beaches, from magnificent mountains to verdant rice fields, Vietnam offers a wide range of destinations for travelers to explore. This article will give you a list of the best places to visit in Vietnam, highlighting the must-see destinations that you should include on your Vietnam travel itinerary.
1. The best places to visit in North Vietnam: 6 unmissable destinations
The following destinations are excellent ideas for the question of which part of Vietnam is best to visit. Include them in your bucket list for a fulfilling trip in this S-shaped country:
1.1. Ha Noi – The bustling capital of Vietnam
Hanoi, the thousand-year-old capital, tops the list of the best places to visit in Vietnam. The city boasts many distinctive features, such as an iconic red bridge (The Huc Bridge) that cannot be found in any other place, making it a must-visit for travel enthusiasts.
Even on the busy streets, you can still feel Hanoi’s charm and peacefulness. The Old Quarter, for example, is a bustling area where you can see the old Hanoi through its narrow streets lined with vendors selling traditional goods and local food. Other popular attractions that you should not miss out on include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – the final resting place of Vietnam’s beloved leader; Hoan Kiem Lake – a serene oasis in the heart of the city; Long Bien Bridge – a historical witness of Hanoi; the Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s first national university, etc.
After wandering around the city, it is time to indulge in some of Hanoi’s unique delicacies. The city is famous for its street food, which is both delicious and affordable. Some must-try dishes here include “Pho” (Vietnamese noodle soup), “bun cha” (Vietnamese grilled pork with noodles), “Banh Mi” (Vietnamese sandwich), and “Cha Ca La Vong” (Vietnamese grilled fishcake).
1.2. Ha Long (Quang Ninh)
If you are wondering about the best places to visit in Vietnam, Ha Long Bay should be mentioned on the list. The bay features stunning islands and has been recognized as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a World Natural Heritage site.
A visit to Ha Long Bay allows you to explore some incredible tourist sites, such as Dragon Eye Island, Ti Top Island, Ngoc Vung Island, Con Coc Island, etc. The bay is also blessed with numerous caves, including Sung Sot Cave, Dau Go Cave, and Me Cung Cave, where visitors can marvel at the impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Ha Long Bay is also a heaven for food lovers with its wide variety of fresh and delicious local dishes. Some must-try specialties include “Gat Gu” cakes, mantis shrimp vermicelli, grilled chopped squid, oysters, and more. With an abundance of seafood and the skillful hands of the local chefs, you will surely have a delightful culinary experience here.
If you plan to stay in Ha Long, it is recommended that you choose a reliable accommodation such as Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long. This resort is situated on the sea, offering tourists a breathtaking view of the bay. The luxurious rooms and professional services also add up to bring you the ultimate comfort for a complete vacation.
1.3. Sapa (Lao Cai)
Sapa is a charming mountain town nestled in the northwest region of Vietnam. The town is renowned for its breathtaking mountain vistas and scenic beauty, making it among the best places to visit in Vietnam for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
The terraced rice fields, towering peaks of Fansipan and Ham Rong Mountain, and stunning ethnic villages like Cau May, Cat Cat, and Ta Phin are just some of the many attractions here.
Foodies will also appreciate Sapa’s diverse selection of delicious dishes, ranging from dried buffalo meat and “Thang Co” (Vietnamese horse meat soup) to bamboo sticky rice and seven-colored steamed sticky rice. To fully experience the rich flavors of the region, be sure to sample some of the locals’ specialty wines, such as docynia indica wine, Shan Lung wine, and Bac Ha corn wine.
1.4. Ninh Binh – Vietnam’s idyllic gem
Ninh Binh, located in the northern region of Vietnam, is a top destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. The stunning limestone karsts, astounding temples and pagodas, and incredibly large rice paddies make it an enticing place to visit.
Some of the must-see sites here include the Trang An Complex, Tam Coc, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Mua Cave, and Bai Dinh Pagoda.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, Ninh Binh also offers delicious specialties such as mountain snails, goat meat, goat cheese, baked rice crust, and Nho Quan wine. These flavorsome dishes are a true reflection of the region’s culinary culture, which has been passed down through generations. So, while you explore the beauty of Ninh Binh, do not forget to treat your taste buds to these delightful local specialties.
1.5. Moc Chau (Son La)
Moc Chau is a picturesque mountainous district located in the southwest of Son La Province. It experiences four distinct seasons, each bringing a new look to the region. Spring is the peak season here, when the pleasant weather is accompanied by the stunning blooming of peach blossom, apricot, and plum flowers. Visitors often flock at this time of year to take in the beautiful floral wonders of nature.
Summer in Moc Chau is the season for fruit harvesting. It is also the best time to witness the majesty of the Dai Yem Waterfall, which falls from the 70-meter-high cliff.
The weather is cooler in autumn. Visiting Moc Chau during this time, you can see white Brassica napus flowers and sunflowers painting the fields and valleys with their vibrant colors.
When winter comes, it brings colder temperatures and fog that covers the tea hills, creating a mystical and beautiful scenery.
In addition to the natural beauty, Moc Chau offers an array of delectable local specialties, including fried veal, grilled fish, salmon, Suoi Bang rock snails, buffalo meat, etc., which should not be missed.
1.6. Ha Giang
Ha Giang is a province in the far northeast of Vietnam. It is renowned for its spectacular mountainous landscape and unique cultural diversity. The province is home to numerous ethnic groups, including the Hmong, Tay, and Dao people, who have preserved their traditions and way of life over generations.
One of the main highlights of Ha Giang is the winding mountain roads, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys, forests, and terraced fields. A must-see attraction is the Dong Van Karst Plateau, a UNESCO-recognized geopark with stunning rock formations, ancient fossils, and unique cultural heritage.
Another attraction worth visiting is Ma Pi Leng Pass. It is one of the highest and most scenic mountain passes in Vietnam. The pass offers panoramic views of the Nho Que River and the surrounding mountain ranges, which are particularly striking during sunrise and sunset.
Besides its reputation as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Vietnam, Ha Giang is also known for its delectable local specialties. Coming here, you should not miss trying “Thang Co” – a traditional soup made with horse meat, viscera, and herbs) and “Au Tau” porridge – a nutritious dish made with sticky rice, green beans, and pork). The province is also famous for its honey, tea, and medicinal herbs, which are harvested from the local forests and hills.