Vietnam is a country full of vibrant colors, rich history, breathtaking views, and lively culture. From bustling city centers to quiet beach towns, the country boasts of reliable transportation and holds something to be desired for travelers of all sorts.
Here are the top five can’t-miss places in Vietnam:
Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island is perfect place to relax. With their brand new airport and numerous ferries, travel to the island is easy. Boasting dense forests, remote beaches, and rugged mountains, Phu Quoc is a nature lover’s paradise.
Looking for something to do after sunset? Visit the night market and enjoy the fresh fish and ice cream rolls. After the market, take a walk along the beach and marvel over the picturesque bio-luminescent plankton.
Ha Long Bay
Located in northwest Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s biggest tourist attractions. The bay is known for emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. See the mini-islands by boat or guided kayak tour. If you opt for a cruise, make sure to choose a line that offers dinner in the beautiful Drum Cave! It’s recommended to spend at least two nights here, as make sure you have enough time to truly soak in everything there is to see.
The ancient town of Hoi An, also known as the “Venice of Vietnam,” is located on Vietnam’s central coast. Full of vibrant color and rich history, Hoi An is not one to miss. Spend your time here exploring the old quarter and stuffing your face with delicious Banh Mi. Rent a bicycle or Vespa and venture further out toward small villages and beautiful beaches. Spend a day in the life of the locals, working alongside rice farmers and sharing meals with families. You can also try your hand at making traditional Vietnamese cuisine in a local cooking class, such as this one. Oh, and don’t miss the stunning Lantern Festivals every two weeks!
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) is the largest city in Vietnam. Soak up some of the rich history at the War Remnants Museum, formerly the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes. Once you’ve had your museum fill, venture out of the city to the Cu Chi Tunnels, used by the Viet Cong during the war for an authentic peak into Vietnam’s past.
Not a history buff? Take part in a Saigon pub crawl, attend an opera at the Municipal Theatre, or sip cocktails on the roof of a rooftop bar overlooking the city.
The Imperial City
Get your camera ready, The Imperial City in Hue (pronounced “Hwhey”) is sure to keep your trigger finger going non-stop. While there, you’ll definitely want to visit the Imperial Citadel. Despite the fact that a lot of the original architecture was damaged in previous wars, the Citadel is still well worth a visit.
If you have time, cruise down the river in a dragon boat and tour the elaborate tombs of former Vietnamese Emperors.
To Know Before You Go
These five places only scratch the surface of what Vietnam has to offer. You can also drink egg coffee in Honai, cycle through the rice paddies in Mai Chau, learn to ride a buffalo in Danang, and much, much more.
With 2000+ miles of coastline and three different weather systems, it’s been said that the overall best time to visit Vietnam would either be in the spring (February to April) and autumn (August to October). Fortunately, since it is an “off” season for tourism, many airlines offer flight deals during these times!
A visa will be required to enter the country. Get yours online before leaving for Vietnam!. If travelling by plane, make sure you have the correct amount of money in U.S. dollars for your visa before landing in Vietnam to avoid any issues at the airport. The local currency is Vietnamese Dong. Many smaller markets and restaurants will only accept cash, so make sure to have some on hand before venturing out of the airport/major city!