Vietnam isn’t always at the top of every traveler’s list for vacation spots, but it should be. While it can be overshadowed by places like Thailand and China, Vietnam offers a travel experience off the beaten path. It’s a place for those who’d like to experience sightseeing in a place full of hidden gems. If you decide to make Vietnam your next travel destination abroad, here are some places you should make sure to see.
Located off the coast of northeast Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, Halong Bay is known for its limestone pillars and tiny islets topped with forestry. It’s northern Vietnam’s number-one tourist site, and for good reason. The water is a picturesque emerald green and some have been known to call the area one of the most beautiful sites in the world. It was named a World Heritage Site in 1994 and has been a popular spot for much longer.
Hội An, Ancient Town
Hội An is an ancient Vietnamese town on the central coast. Once a port city, it’s filled with ancient architecture from many different cultures. Expect to see ornate Chinese temples, a Japanese bridge, and French colonial homes. The town also has a network of old canals running through it, but many of the businesses have been modernized for today’s visitors.
Huế, Imperial City
Also located in central Vietnam, Huế was once the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital. This city was similar to China’s forbidden city, in which only the emperor and his entourage could step foot. This was the case for 100 years, so the things to do in the city mainly revolve around this dynasty’s history. In Huế, you can visit the Imperial Citadel, the Imperial Tombs, and visit the Mu Pagoda, the symbol of the city.
Ho Chi Minh City
Also commonly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is in southern Vietnam, and it’s famous for the role it played in the Vietnam War. When you visit this city, you can find a great deal of history documented in Ho Chi Minh – from the War Remnants Museum to the Reunification Palace, there is a story to be told here. You can also enjoy famous street markets for the best food around, temples, and fine art during your visit to this energetic city.
Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi, is known for its old architecture and rich culture made up of Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences. If you visit, make sure to stop by the Old Quarter in the middle of town. You’ll find numerous little temples down the narrow streets and a popular marketplace called Đồng Xuân Market.
Located on the coast of central Vietnam, Da Nang is known for both its beaches and its history as a French colonial port. It’s also known for its Marble Mountains, located just south of the city. The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five marble and limestone hills, each named for an element. Da Nang is also a great base for travelers seeking to visit the Bà Nà hills to the west.
So Pa is a town located in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains to the northwest. The area overlooks the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley, and it’s a popular hiking location for visitors. Those who do wish to make the trek will likely come across some of the hill tribes along the way. Those of the Hmong, Tay, and Dao are settled among the hills.
If you’re looking more for a coastal resort city, Nha Trang should be your Vietnamese destination. It’s located in southern Vietnam, and it offers diving spots and offshore islands galore. The main beach hosts hotels and seafood restaurants as well as aerial cable cars to cross over to the islands, which are also reachable by boat. Make sure to check out the coral reefs in this area if you are doing some aquatic exploring.
Another great location for those looking to simply relax, Da Lat was once used by Vietnamese emperors and French colonials as a summer retreat. It’s located in the south central highlands of Vietnam, and it’s a walkable city with year-round cool weather, misty valleys, and nature to be enjoyed. Visit this city for both the French colonial architecture and villas, and for the escape into nature’s breathtaking scenery.
Vietnam is full of interesting sites thanks to its history and its unique landscape. Many travelers are finding not only that they love visiting, but that they’d also like to get more involved with the country. Whether you’re looking to move abroad there for good, or simply to learn more about it, these top sites can’t be missed!
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