10 Best Destinations To Visit In Vietnam

Are you planning your trip to Vietnam and wondering how long you should spend in Vietnam? In this article, you will some of the best destinations to visit in Vietnam and our expert advice for your vacation. 

Best destinations to visit in Vietnam

1. Hanoi

Temple of Literature - Best places to visit in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam located on the bank of the Red River. This is the second-largest economic center of Vietnam, and at the same time, is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in Southeast Asia. In addition, it holds such a depth of history with all the relics remained telling stories of the old capital of Imperial Vietnam, or the French influences through many architectures. Thus, coming here, you will have a wide range of activities and things to do, from discovering its rich history to embedding into its modernity.

Hanoi is also a communication center in Vietnam. From Hanoi, you can transport to any destinations in Vietnam from North to South by bus, train, or airplane. Thus, if you plan to travel to several places in Vietnam, you need to go to Hanoi for sure.

See more: Best hotels near Hoan Kiem lake Hanoi

2. Halong Bay

Halong Bay - one of the best places to visit in Vietnam

Halong Bay is one of the best destinations in Vietnam, recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. Named as the “descending dragon”, Halong Bay has nearly 2000 islets in various shapes and sizes which are told to be the dragons sent by Jade Emperor to protect Vietnam.

How to get to Halong Bay from Hanoi?

There are a number of ways to go from Hanoi to Halong Bay such as by shuttle bus, motorbike, seaplane, or train. The most convenient options should be by shuttle bus because of its reasonable price and its short transportation time (2 hours by highway).

Nowadays, most tourists choose to take a cruise ship to discover Halong Bay which includes transportation from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter. We strongly recommend this since it saves a lot of your time and, at the same time, you can enjoy most of its beauty.

Escape Sails Cruise

However, due to the dramatic water pollution in this area, the government has released rules applied for all boats cruising around Halong Bay, following that, they have to follow certain routes through the bay. Therefore, the itinerary of all cruises are quite similar, so your choice of cruise would make the most difference for your trip.

Here, you can see some best options for your Halong Bay cruises:

1-day cruise: Escape Sails – Halong Bay day cruise

2days 1night cruise: V’Spririt Premier Cruise

See more: Is it worth doing a Halong cruise?

What are some alternatives to Halong Bay?

As Halong Bay is one of the best-known destinations in Vietnam, millions of tourists flock to this natural site annually. Thus, you will see over-tourism here if you travel in the peak season or national holidays. Moreover, due to the huge volume of tourists, the area is becoming polluted with trash which makes it not as poetic as what you see on the Internet, especially when it’s high season. Therefore, instead of Halong Bay, you can consider some other options which have similar landscape such as Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay.

3. Ninh Binh

Tam Coc Ninh Binh is also known as Halong Bay on land

Ninh Binh is a rising star of Vietnam tourism since which welcomes more than 7 million tourists in 2019 with a 12% annual growth rate. With its incredible natural landscape, Ninh Binh is known as the Halong Bay on land. Furthermore, it was also the ancient capital of Vietnam during 3 dynasties from 968 – 1010, thus, it offers a lot of historical sites for history lovers. 

There are 2 mains natural places to visit in Ninh Binh which are Trang An and Hoa Lu. Coming to both places, you will have a chance to enjoy the scenery on a sampan boat. While Trang An consists of many caves, Tam Coc surprises tourists by its paddy rice fields along the channel. 

See more: Tam Coc or Trang An? to compare more about their differences.

How to go to Ninh Binh from Hanoi?

There are several options for you such as by shuttle bus, train, motorbike, etc. However, the most efficient, convenient way is to go by bus. You can book a bus ticket at any travel agent or at your hotel. What makes this an easy option is that the bus will pick you up at your hotel in Hanoi and drop you off at the tourist attraction that you want to reach in Ninh Binh.

See more: How many days to spend in Ninh Binh?

See some of our tours:

Hoa Lu- Trang An full day tour from Hanoi

Hoa Lu-Tam Coc day trip

Bai Dinh-Trang An day tour

4. Sapa

Sapa is the best destinations in North Vietnam

Sapa is located in a remote area in the North of Vietnam, which is close to the Vietnam – China border. Because of its far location, not many people could travel to this beautifully natural destination. But once you come here, you will not regret it. 

As it is far away, Sapa has its own unique culture and customs because most of the people there are of the ethnic minority group, namely Hmong, Dao, etc. which makes you feel like you are traveling to “another Vietnam”. Coming here, you can try some local experiences such as staying at a local homestay, watching Hmong people do farming, make handmade textiles, etc. 

In addition, Sapa is also famous for its stunning green terraced rice fields. The most beautiful time to see the fields is from June to September when the whole area is filled with the lush green color of the rice fields. However, rains may happen sometimes during this period, so prepare a raincoat and check the weather forecast carefully before making your trip.

Terraced Rice Fields In Sapa

How to go to Sapa from Hanoi?

There are 2 most common ways to transport from Sapa to Hanoi.

1. By bus: we strongly recommend this choice as you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel if it is located in the central. In addition, the ticket price is also cheaper than the latter option.

2. By train: If you go by train, you need to go to the Tran Quy Cap train station which is the other side of Hanoi Station. From here, you will reach the Lao Cai Station and then take another local bus to reach your hotel, or you can contact your hotel for the pick-up service.

5. Hue

Hue - The Imperial City

Hue is a city located in the central of Vietnam, lying on the bank of the Perfume River. From 1802 to 1945, it was the ancient capital of the Nguyen Dynasty – the last dynasty in Vietnam. Thanks to its rich historic values, Hue was recognized by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites.

What to do in Hue?

Here are the top 3 best things to do in Hue:

- Visit the Imperial City

This is the most famous place to visit in Hue situated on the northern bank of the Perfume River. It was built in 1803 by Gia Long Emperor – the first emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Basically, it has 2 main parts: the Citadel (functioning as the protector of the palace) and the Forbidden City (where the court worked and the royal family lived). To visit this, you need nearly a day to explore all parts of the city. 

The Imperial City

- Explore the royal tombs

When talking about tombs, some people may think of something scary or creepy. However, those royal tombs in Hue are such masterpieces since they are all beautifully designed and harmonized with nature. Coming there, you will feel a sense of peacefulness and admirable. There are 3 most famous tombs that you can visit: Gia Long Tomb, Khai Dinh Tomb, and Tu Duc Tomb.

Khai Dinh Tomb

- Discover pagodas

Known as the most reputed city for Buddhism, this city has a number of long-standing pagodas with beautiful architecture. Some of the top recommendations are Tu Dam Pagoda, Thien Mu Pagoda, Tu Hieu Pagoda, and Thien Lam Pagoda.

Tu Dam Pagoda

See more: 

Best things to do in Hue

How to get to Hue from Hanoi?

6. Hoi An

Hoi An ancient town - most beautiful places to visit in Vietnam

Considered as one of the best destinations to visit in Vietnam, Hoi An is on every traveler’s bucket list when they are planning to visit Vietnam. Hoi An was a famous port town in the centuries of 15th to 19th which attracts a number of foreign traders coming here to make the business such as Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, etc. However, later on, due to the competitive market, Hoi An lose its position as one of the busiest trading port in Vietnam. However, many remains of the past are still kept until today, making this port town become so gorgeous with its ancient beauty.

See more:

How long to spend in Hoi An?

10 best things to do in Hoi An

7. Nha Trang

Nha Trang beach - Vietnam's most beautiful coastal city

Nha Trang is a coastal city, being the capital city of Khanh Hoa province, located in the central of Vietnam. Its beaches are considered as one of the most beautiful ones in the world, therefore, if you love sunbathing on the beach, this should be your top choice. The city once belonged to the Champa people, thus you can also experience the Champa architecture right in Vietnam.

What to do in Nha Trang?

- Visit Po Nagar Cham Towers

The Po Nagar Cham Towers dates back to the 8th and 11th centuries which worship Hindu deities. Originally, the complex consisted of 8 towers, but half of them were completely destroyed and only 4 of them remained till today.

Po Nagar Cham Towers

- Sunbathe at the beach

As stated above, Nha Trang is very famous for its white sandy beaches, thus you must want to come and sunbathe at these beautiful beaches. On the other hand, you can also try some other fun experiences there such as sailing, snorkeling, diving, etc.

Doc Let Beach Nha Trang

- Experience Mud Bath

Not only well-known for the beaches, but this city is also one of the best places to have mud bath in Asia. This experience not only gives you fun but is good for your health and skin as the mud containing a lot of minerals.

Thap Ba Mud Bath

Best places to have mud bath in Nha Trang:

Thap Ba Hot Spring


8. Da Lat

Dalat - one of the best destinations to visit in Vietnam

Da Lat is the capital of Lam Dong province which is a highland located 1,500meters above the sea level. Thanks to its location, the weather of this city seems great all year round with a cool temperature. 

Da Lat has its reputation for its poetic scenery since it is considered as the city of flower in Vietnam. On the other hand, it also has many beautiful waterfalls, two of the most famous ones are the Pren Waterfall and Datanla Waterfall. Besides, Da Lat also has some unique architecture, one of them is the Linh Phuoc Pagoda which is also known as the pagoda of broken glass because of the dragon’s head made from 12,000 pieces of glass at the entrance gate.

Linh Phuoc Pagoda

9. Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc Beach - Beautiful Island in Vietnam

Phu Quoc is a large area consisting of 22 islands in various sizes, among which the biggest one is Phu Quoc Island – also the largest island in Vietnam.

Phu Quoc has a variety of activities and places that can make an enjoyable vacation which are the beautiful sandy beaches, historical sites, majestic waterfalls, or delicious seafood. Thus, this island is now considered as one of the best destinations to visit in Vietnam, welcoming millions of tourists every year.

What to do in Phu Quoc?

- Play at the beach

This is absolutely the top thing to do here. Some activities you can do here are: play water sports, sunbathe at the beaches, do fishing, etc.

Sol Beach Phu Quoc

- Visit the Phu Quoc Prison 

Phu Quoc Prison was built in 1950 by the French colonists who named it the Coconut Prison. It was the biggest prison of the Vietnam Public which witnessed a lot of stories from the war.

Phu Quoc Prison

- Discover waterfall

Besides beaches, Phu Quoc also has a large area of lush green forest and admirable waterfalls. There are some beautiful waterfalls that you can consider to pay a visit: Tranh Waterfall, Da Ngon Waterfall, and Da Ban Waterfall.

Suoi Tranh Waterfall

See more:

When is the best time to visit Phu Quoc?

Where to stay in Phu Quoc Island? 

10. Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Sunset

Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest economic center of Vietnam and the most densely populated city in Vietnam. As one of the most modern cities in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Sai Gon) has a lot of fun activities to offer tourists. Besides, it also has a long-standing history with the Khmers people settled down here for the first time, until the Vietnamese took over the area in the 17th century, until the French colonial time. This rich history reflects in some of the architectures in the city, making it an interesting place for history lovers. 

See more:

Top 6 things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

What to eat in Sai Gon? 

How many days to spend in Vietnam?

To cover all the above best destinations to visit in Vietnam, you probably need at least 2 weeks to just scratch the surface. However, there are a lot of other off-the-beaten-track, yet beautiful places more to explore, if you want to discover the most of it, it may take up to more than a month.

See our 2 weeks tour in Vietnam: Authentic Vietnam Itinerary 2 Weeks 

Why you should visit Vietnam?

Vietnam is now one of the most attractive destinations in Southeast Asia because it offers a lot of different experiences in a wide range of budgets. Here are some reasons you should visit Vietnam:

1. Wide variety of delicious treats: Vietnam has a lot of yummy local food that you can try, most of which inexpensive and can be found everywhere. Some of the must-try local food when you visit Vietnam are Beef Pho, Crispy Pancake, Spring Roll, etc.

"Pho Bo" - a world's famous dish from Vietnam

2. Rich in history : The country of Vietnam has a long-standing history and has passed through a numerous fierce battle, thus, coming to Vietnam, you will have a chance to visit a number of historical sites that have such a meaningful value to the Vietnamese.

3. Beautiful nature : If you are a nature lover, this is definitely a place that you want to visit. Vietnam consists of many different landscapes from beautiful beach coasts which runs along with the country, to lush mountains, to majestic waterfalls, etc. You can find all of them in this small S-shape country and explore them with an incredibly cheap budget.

Lotus Flower - The National Flower of Vietnam

See some of our Vietnam Tours

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