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Top 10 places to visit in Vietnam

Updated on July 22, 2014

Best places to visit in Vietnam

There are many worthy places to travel in Vietnam. If you want to relax, you can go to the beaches like Nha Trang, Phu Quoc island. If you like adventure, you can choose trekking in the mountain in the Northern Vietnam or explore Mekong Delta in the South. If you like visit the historical attractions, Hue, Hoi An, My Son, Hanoi are right for you. If you like water sport, Mui Ne is a must.

You can choose between buying package tour or you can go to places by yourself by bus, motobike, train or airplane. Hotels in Vietnam are everywhere and other transport means are easy to find like taxi, buses, motobike-taxi or you can hire a motobike or bicycle to ride.

Vietnamese cultures, languages, foods, life styles are waiting for you to explore. Below are my top ten places to visit in Vietnam. Your starting points will be either Hanoi or Hochiminh city.

"Vietnamese smile" - Photo by archer10 (Dennis) on Flickr

Top ten places to travel in Vietnam

show route and directions
A markerHalong bay -
Ha long, Vietnam
get directions

B markerHanoi -
Hanoi, Vietnam
get directions

C markerHochiminh city -
Hochiminh city, Vietnam
get directions

D markerHue -
Hue, Vietnam
get directions

E markerNhatrang -
Nha trang, vietnam
get directions

F markerDalat -
Da lat, vietnam
get directions

G markerPhuquoc island -
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
get directions

#1. Hanoi - The capital of Vietnam

Vietnam travel Hanoi
Vietnam travel Hanoi

Where to visit in Hanoi: Hanoi Old Quarter, One Pillar Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, History Museum, Water Puppet Theatre, Hanoi Opera House, Tran Quoc Pagoda, etc.

Hanoi weather: Hanoi is cold in winter from December to February, about 8 to 15°C. It's actually quite cold because the houses are not built to prevent from coldness and there is often no heating system. From March to May, it's cool and humid. In summer from June to August, it's very hot and sunny, often above 30°C. From September to November, it's cool and dry, around 25°C and is the best season of the year in my opinion.

What to eat in Hanoi: There are so many things to eat in Hanoi, but the most famous foods in Hanoi are: Pho (Pho noodle soup), Bun cha (Grilled pork with vermicelli), Nem (Fried spring rolls), Banh cuon (Steamed rice-flour rolls), Xoi (sticky rice and there are many kinds of xoi), Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh mi). While in Hanoi you should also try fresh beer (bia hoi) and coffee.

Photo by Jrwooley6 on Flickr

#2. Halong Bay - A must-see place when you travel to Vietnam - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Things to do in Halong Bay, Vietnam:170 km from Hanoi. You can buy a tour in Hanoi to go to Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a must when you travel Vietnam. It features about 2000 islets in various sizes and shapes. In Halong Bay you can take cruises, overnight for one night on boat, visit caves, kayak, swim, explore islands and visit the village by bicycle. You can also overnight in Cat Ba island and go to the small beach there.

Halong weather: similar to Hanoi, cold in winter and hot in summer. If you want to swim, best time is in summer, from June to August.

What to eat in Halong: Seafood. On boat and in hotel, you will be served rice with many other side dishes.

Photo by cristinabe on Flickr

#3. Sapa - The only place in Vietnam, where there is occasionally snowfall in winter

Sapa is 350 km from Hanoi, close to the border with China. Here you can enjoy the beauty of terrasse fields and meet the ethnic minority people. If you like mountain hiking, you can climb the Fansipan peak at a high of 3142m above sea level and explore a vast area covered by thick forest. However, it take about 2-3 days to climb the Fansipan, you might consider it as a different tour and need extra preparation and gear.

Weather: Climate in Sapa is divided into wet (May to September) and dry seasons (October to April). It's pretty cold and foggy in winter from December to February. More info about Sapa's weather, tours, hotels and transportation check here.

Food: Grilled foods, vegetables, fish caught or raised in streams, ruou tao meo (sapa apple wine), com lam (sticky rice grilled in bamboo tube).

Photo by James Khoo on Flickr

#4. Hue - The former imperial capital of Vietnam

Where to visit in Hue, Vietnam: Imperial Citadel, Perfume River (song Huong), Trang Tien bridge, Dong Ba market, Thien Mu Pagoda, Tu Duc tombs, Khai Dinh tombs and Minh Mang tombs, etc. There are a lot more tombs and pagodas to visit if you have enough time. But those are the main attractions in Hue.

Hue Weather: it's usually misty, drizzly or rainy but warm in Hue. In spring it is more rainy. In summer, the rain are heavy but brief. In winter, it is not as cold as in Northern Vietnam but a bit chilly, around 15 to 20 degree, at night it can get 8 degree. It is safe to bring along raincoat or umbrella in Hue. Or you can rent it at your hotel or buy in the streets.

What to eat in Hue: Foods you must try in Hue are: Bun bo Hue (spicy noodle soup with beef), Bun thit nuong (vermicelli with grilled pork, similar to bun cha Hanoi but still different taste), Banh beo, nam, loc (three kinds of rice cake), banh khoai (similar to crepe with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts filling), com hen (rice with mussel). Hue food is known for its spicy taste. If you can not eat spicy food, make sure to tell them first before you order.

Photo by Andrea Schaffer on Flickr

#5. Hoian - Old Town of Hoi An - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Attractions: Cua Dai Beach, Thu Bon River, Japanese Covered Bridge, Quan Cong Temple, Cham Island, Traditional Theater, Old house of Tan Ky, Old house of Phung Hung, etc. You can rent a bicycle to tour around Hoi An or go to the beach. You can also rent a motobike or buy tour to visit My Son, a World Heritage site, which is 40km from Hoian.

Weather: hot in summer from June to August, above 30°C. The coldest months are December-January, around 15-20°C. Rainy season is from September to January. Dry season is from February to May.

Food: Cao lau (Noodle with pork), Hoanh thanh (wonton, fried or soup), Banh bao banh vac (two kinds of rice cake with shrimp, pork filling), Com ga (rice with chicken salad)

Photo by gudi&cris on Flickr

#6. Nhatrang - The beautiful beach city

Attractions: The beach, Oceanographic Institute, Long Son Pagoda, Chong Promontory Rocks, Po Nagar Temples. You should try mud bath in Thap Ba hot spring, it is wonderful and good for your skin, too.

Weather: it is warm all year round with temperature 24-30°C (75-86°F).

Food: Seafood, Nem nuong (Grilled minced pork with lettuce and herb rolled in a rice paper), Banh can (grilled rice cake with egg/pork/shrimp filling)

Photo by J Y White on Flickr

#7. Dalat - Little Europe in the Middle Highlands of Vietnam

Attractions: Xuan Huong lake, Da Lat market, Domaine de Marie Church, crazy house, Thien Vien Truc Lam Monastery, Lang Biang mountain, Thung Lung Tinh Yeu (Valley of Love), Prenn Falls, Pongour Falls, etc.

Weather: It is cool all year round, about 15 - 25°C (59-77°F).

Food: Dalat wine, Artichoke tea, green tea, vegetables and fruits, sweet dried fruit, dried sweet potato, Ruou can (a special rice wine from high land minority ethnic people)

"Crazy house in Dalat" - Photo by upyernoz on Flickr

#8. Hochiminh city - The biggest economical center of Vietnam

Attractions: Cuchi Tunnel, Reunification Palace, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, War Remains Museum, Jade Emperor Temple, Chinese temples, Ben Thanh market.

Weather: warm all year round, average temperature from 21-36°C (70-97°F).

Food: People in Hochiminh city are from all places of Vietnam, that's why there are numerous kinds of food here. You should try Hu tiu (noodle soup), pho and many other kinds of noodle soup, com tam suon (broken rice with grilled pork, banh xeo (similar to crepe and banh khoai in Hue but bigger, with pork, shrimp and bean sprout filling), banh khot (another kind of crepe but very small, with shrimp or other meat or seafood filling), chao (rice soup with pork/chicken/fish, etc.), lau (hotpot), banh bao (steamed buns with or without meat fillings), banh mi (sandwiches) or bread with beefsteak

Photo: "Ben Thanh market" by chee.hong on Flickr

Sunscreen lotion and spray - to protect your skin from the sunlight of Vietnam

#9. Mekong Delta

Attractions: Floating market, Fruit garden, National park, Night market, etc, discovering life on the rivers and channels

Weather: warm all year round

Food: Banh xeo (similar to crepe with pork, shrimp and beansprout filling), Lau ca (fish hotpot), goi ca (fresh spring rolls with fish, lettuce and herbs filling)

Photo by gudi&cris on Flickr

#10. Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, 50 km from Vietnam mainland. Phu Quoc is a newly discovered tourist destination. It is still an island with natural environment, untouched beaches and virgin forest with varieties of wildlife species.

Attraction: The beach, National park, North area of the island, South area of the island (swimming, diving, fishing, squid fishing, rain forest and mountain trekking, snorkeling boat trip)

Weather: warm all year round

Food: Seafood, Phuquoc fish sauce

Photo by ZoeShuttleworth on Flickr

Guestbook - Have you ever been in Vietnam? If not, are you planning to?

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      phuquoc 3 years ago

      Phu Quoc Island is ok, i went there and the island is changing quite a bit. The official government tourist site states that the island is not an "island" anymore but rather a second tier city.

    • halee8x profile image

      Ha Lee 3 years ago from Vietnam

      Let's go to Vietnam and enjoy the world's most delicious bread :)

      Welcome to Vietnam

    • profile image

      irtouring 4 years ago

      vietnam is a charming land, the only things that vietnam going to irritate tourist's are the visa matter compare to lao and cambodia

    • profile image

      xuquang 4 years ago

      I am come from Vietnam, I am working at www.VietnamVisaCorp.Com provide vietnam visa services for tourist and business traveler who want the pre-approval letter before arriving Vietnam

    • profile image

      doccochemgio 4 years ago

      I love Vietnam!i like Halong bay

    • profile image

      doccochemgio 4 years ago

      I love Vietnam!i like Halong bay

    • profile image

      ruthelisabeth 4 years ago

      I love that you added top foods to try for each place. I'll be using that as a reference in the future!

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      tourtt 4 years ago

      I like vietnam

    • chocochipchip profile image

      chocochipchip 4 years ago

      Vietnam is a beautiful country! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • chocochipchip profile image

      chocochipchip 4 years ago

      Vietnam is a beautiful country! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • profile image

      Vietnambeautiful 5 years ago

      Vietnam beautiful. I like Vietnam

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great places to visit in Vietnam. I just love exploring all these places.

    • fatbear88 profile image

      fatbear88 5 years ago

      I did come to Halong Bay and Hoi An, Da Nang. Da Nang is also beautiful place with the professional in tourism.