8 Must-Visit Places on a Tour of Vietnam: Hoi An, Ha Long Bay and More!

vietnam must see places

Have you set your sights on the Southeast Asian wonder of Vietnam? This beautiful, intriguing, intoxicating destination has so much to offer visitors, helping it attract over 11.2 million of them in the first 11 months of 2023. We visited Hanoi in 2016 and wrote about it, too. This post is a recommendation of some of the best places to see in Vietnam :) Also, make sure to check out some of the best Vietnam tour packages that are available online!

The Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

You can spend months in Vietnam and still feel like you’re just getting to know the place. But if your time, budget or preference is a little shorter, it’s totally possible to tick off the highlights on a whirlwind Vietnam tour. Whether travelling with friends or loved ones or embarking on a solo voyage of discovery, here are five must-visit places you’ll want to see along the way.

#1. The Mekong Delta

It might be tempting to start your journey in Vietnam with a bustling city. But the Mekong Delta in the south offers perhaps the most authentic image of this historic country. The region centres around the Mekong River, which you can venture down on traditional boats while enjoying the slower pace of life around you.

#2. Hoi An

To the east sits the beautiful old city of Hoi An, officially a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its ancient centre is incredibly well preserved with buildings dating back to the 15th century, cut through by a series of canals. Hoi An’s laid back atmosphere is a complete contrast to the stereotypical image of a throbbing Asian city.

#3. Ho Chi Minh City

In contrast, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest and most populous, home to over 9.4 million residents – and growing - by recent estimations. It’s likely you may begin your Vietnam trip here after landing at the nearby airport. This metropolis is packed with interesting historical sites, best enjoyed at the high-octane pace of the locals who give the city its life.

#4. Sapa

The town of Sapa is a great example of how diverse Vietnam’s landscape truly is. It’s perched high on the mountains to the north, making a picturesque base for spectacular hiking routes (or scooting, if you’d prefer). You can’t miss its iconic terraced rice fields, which still help keep the local population fed today.

#5. Ha Long Bay

If it’s more awe-inspiring views you’re after, Ha Long Bay is perhaps one of the most photogenic places in the world. This incredible natural bay is situated on the northern coast not far from the capital of Hanoi – and truly must be seen to be believed. A series of rugged but lush rocks rise from turquoise waters, with golden sandy beaches and sailing opportunities all around.

must see places in vietnam

In fact, even the name translates to the bay of the descending dragon — ‘Ha’ means descending, and ‘Long’ means dragon in Vietnamese! While visiting the area, you might encounter the island of Cat Ba, which is the largest island in Halong Bay. The island offers plenty of things to do, including three beaches, mangrove forests, and coral reefs. In fact, one part of the island is even a designated national park! If you’re planning to visit Halong Bay, the best option is to rent a motorboat to explore the most beautiful corners of this magical place (or even find something new!) just by sailing between thousands of islets.

#6. Thap Ba hot springs

After an exciting adventure exploring the country, trying delicious Vietnamese dishes, and making plenty of memories, it’s time to kick back and relax… and what better way to do so than at the Thap Ba hot springs? Thap Ba is a mineral spring and mud bath that is popular among both locals and tourists. The baths are filled with warm spring water that is reported to revitalize the body (and mind!) thanks to the unique mix of minerals.

#7. Po Nagar Cham Towers in Nha Trang

To get a closer look at the history and architecture of Vietnam, definitely add a trip to the Cham Towers to your itinerary. These ornate towers, which were built more than a thousand years ago, are still standing to this day! Although the complex originally had eight towers in total, only four survived the test of time. The entire complex is dedicated to the goddess Yang Ino Po Nagar, the founder of the Cham ethnic group, and was intended for religious rituals. Even today, the territory is used for Buddhist ceremonies and worship of ancient ancestors.

vietnam top travel destinations

Another interesting fact is that locals have come for centuries to the towers to meditate, and because of this, there is special energy felt here. Likewise, there is an extensive observation deck that opens up to a lovely panorama of the city of Nha Trang.

#8. Kao Prak Bang National Park

Southeast Asia is known for many beautiful waterfalls (such as the one in Krabi’s Kao Prak Bang National Park!), and Vietnam is no exception. The Ban Gioc–Detian Falls is located near the city of Cao Bang, right along the border with China. Wide rice fields, mangroves, and lush forests encircle the Detian waterfalls, which, together with the pointed peaks and mountains in the background, further complement this picturesque place and give it a magical atmosphere. The waterfall itself is a huge three-tiered cascade of water that falls from a height of nearly 30 meters. To fully enjoy the waterfalls, visitors can take a ride on a bamboo raft to the bottom of the falls.

Wrap Up: The Top Places to Visit in Vietnam

If these eight locations have piqued your interest in Vietnam, you’re all set for an unforgettable experience! Here is a vlog we made back in the day about our time in Vietnam (and a post from our sister site, VeganVsTravel, about how it was my trip to Vietnam that made me eventually go vegan):

What about you, have you ever been to Vietnam? Feel free to share any tips & advice below!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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