Vietnam is a country with an exceptionally rich history, but most of what we hear about occurred within the last century. In actuality, it has an incredibly complex dynastic history, and it’s full of beautiful palaces and interesting landscapes as a result. The locals are some of the most friendly around, and the sights, sounds, and flavors will make you never want to leave. If you’ve got a trip to Vietnam set in your sights, be sure to tick these amazing places off your bucket list.
1. Hoi An
If you want to see traditional Vietnam, Hoi An is the place to go. It’s remained virtually untouched for centuries, so tourists are able to witness traditional crafts, homes, foods, and agriculture. Their folk art and religious customs are beautiful, romantic, and exciting – an absolute must for any traveler.
The city of Hue was, historically, the seat of many major dynasties, and the colorful, intricate architecture is surely demonstrative of that time. The Citadel in the center of Hue is one of their most famous landmarks, but the rest of the dynastic architecture deserves a wander round too. If you’re looking for amazing Vietnamese food, Hue is the place to go. The historical wealth and trade links make the food here particularly exceptional.
3. Phong Nha
The caves at Phong Nha are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and when you’re there, it’s easy to see why. Carved by water over millennia through the limestone rocks, they’re perfect for exploring. The surrounding area is also a national park, chock full of brilliant wildlife. From monkeys to bears, snakes to spiders, you’re guaranteed to spot something exciting.
The Vietnamese mountains are often overlooked by tourists, but they hide some incredible sights. From historical rice paddies, to beautiful misty peaks, it’s a true pleasure to explore. Sapa is a town in the clouds, and it’s every bit as romantic as it sounds.
5. Ho Chi Minh
Formerly Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City bore the brunt of the last century, making it an exceptionally diverse and contemporary metropolis. When planning a trip to Ho Chi Minh City, be sure to visit the Cu Chi tunnels to learn more about the country’s recent history. The Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica is also worth a visit – a traditional French cathedral in an Eastern setting is fascinating.
6. Nha Trang
Once you’ve explored every nook and cranny of what Vietnam has to offer, it’s time to kick back and relax on the beach. Nha Trang is the perfect compromise between beautiful beach resort, and cultural port. The long, white, beaches and crystal sea make for great snorkeling, scuba diving, and watersports, if that’s your cup of tea.
7. Ha Long Bay
This UNESCO World Heritage Site cannot be missed. The sea vista is one of the most quintessential Vietnamese panoramas, but it looks even more stunning in real life. With thousands of tiny islands, caves, jungles and lakes, a boat trip around Ha Long Bay is an essential part of any Vietnamese trip.
Vietnam really will take your breath away, just be sure that you don’t miss any of these amazing sights from your bucket list.