Located in the eastern part of mainland Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a melting pot of cultural diversity and natural highlights. It’s an elongated country between the borders of Cambodia and Laos and the South China Sea, replete with sweeping rural landscapes, lush mountains, fertile rice terraces, and a serene bayside. Here are our top places to visit in Vietnam!
Vietnamese cities brim with contemporary life while the rural fringes wriggle in nature’s bounty. Vietnam has everything that outdoor- and adventure-lovers crave. If you wish to lose yourself to the natural and historical richness of this Asian country, here are a few places that you should add to your itinerary.
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1. Ho Chi Minh City
The first on our list is Ho Chi Minh City, a place that appeals to anyone who’s a fan of big cities. Although marked by clogged streets and busy markets, the city deserves a visit. Dong Khoi, an easy-to-navigate central district, lies in the heart of the town. It’s where the HCMC Museum and Nore Dame Cathedral are located. The first has a fantastic collection of antiques and articles, while the second marks late-19th-century architecture. In addition, Jade Emperor Pagoda, the History Museum, the Reunification Palace, and the War Remnants Museum are a few attractions in Ho Chi Minh City you should not miss out on.
2. Halong Bay
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northeast Vietnam, and you should visit it to witness the spellbinding beauty of the karst bayside. The sea views marked by countless limestone islands in the Gulf of Tonkin are genuinely marvelous. Over the years, Halong Bay has emerged as a famous cruising territory, allowing visitors to explore it by boat. The bay area has plenty of caverns to see weird but fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. The Hang Sung Sot, having three gigantic caverns, and the Hang Dao Go are two of them. Cruising amidst the karsts is an experience that will surely stay with you forever.
3. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is nestled in the Quang Binh Province in the Central Coast region of Vietnam. The picturesque quality of this nature preserve lends it the reputation of a great filming location, as seen in 2017 Kong: Skull Island. An international airport nearby makes the natural park easily accessible, becoming a more popular tourist destination. The national park is home to the karst mountains, which are more than 400 million years old. You can spelunk through hundreds of caves and explore tranquil rivers. However, you should note that you should visit this place only with a licensed tour guide because the area is militarily controlled due to its close to Laos.
4. Mekong Delta
Dubbed as the “Rice Bowl of Vietnam,” the Mekong Delta is a must-visit for anyone wanting to repose in nature and witness the country’s diverse ecosystems. The region is a network of intricate canals known for its nutrient-rich soil. The banks of these waterways are used for cultivating a variety of crops—be it rice, vegetables, or fruit. You can travel to Tra Vinh, which is amongst the prettiest villages in the delta. You can sit in a wooden canoe and pass through farmlands, floating markets, and fruit orchards. The best times to visit this place are between December and May because flooding is more minor.
5. Hoi An
If you are seeking a laidback but charismatic experience while hopping between different Vietnamese travel gems, then Hoi An should be on your list. No itinerary of Vietnam is complete without a mention of this old town situated south of Danang. The best part is that you can reach it by cycling some distance from the warm-water beaches lining the country’s central coast. The town bursts into a flurry of bright colors once the lanterns adorning each building are lit up. The historic buildings, wooden-fronted shops, Chinese temples, and food outlets give the town an unmatched appeal. Visit the Chinese merchant houses and the excellent Japanese Covered Bridge centuries old.
The above are just a few places that Vietnam stores to tickle the fancy of nature- and adventure-lovers. However, while planning a trip to the country, you should be aware of the visa requirements prescribed by the Vietnamese government. Vietnam has stricter controls than its neighboring countries, Cambodia and Thailand. You will find two visa options—eVisa and Visa on Arrival. Both options require prior approval of the concerned government authority.
If you plan a 30-day Vietnam trip and do not require a multiple-entry visa, you should go for the eVisa. However, if you are visiting for more than 30 days or need multiple-entry access, you should go for the Visa on Arrival.
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