If you are traveling to Vietnam for the first time, these are the best 6 places you should not miss in your Vietnam tours. These best Vietnam travel destinations listed from North to South
Hanoi, capital - the second biggest city of Vietnam is political, economic and culture centre of the country. Hanoi is also an attractive, friendly and safe tourist destination in the region and the world as well. With Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi is main entrance to Northern Vietnam for foreign tourists. Besides visiting Hanoi itself, from there travelers can visit other Northern Vietnam attractions: Halong Bay, Mai Chau, Ninh Binh, Sapa, north-east & north-west.
Things to see in Hanoi:
- Hoan Kiem Lake and Old Quarter Area:
Hanoi has many lakes, but Hoan Kiem Lake is in the city’s cultural and historic heart. The lake is surrounded with streets and trees with Old Quarter close by. Dotted in the middle of the lake is Turtle Tower which is one of Hanoi symbols. Ngoc Son Temple is also inside the lake with red-painted The Huc Bridge
- Temple of Literature:
Just few minutes away from Hoan Kiem lake is The Temple of Literature which was constructed in 1070 under Ly Kings dynasty, first to honor Confucius and nowadays to celebrate the doctorates and high rank scholars of Vietnam. The temple is one of the MUST SEE places in Hanoi
- Ba Dinh Square:
The area include Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Museum, Uncle Ho’s House on Stilts, One Pillar Pagoda, Presidential Palace
- Imperial Citadel of Thang Long:
This newly opened place is the cultural complex comprising the royal enclosure first built during the Lý Dynasty. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was announced and included in 2009 in the top ten national treasures of Vietnam, and in 2010 ranked into the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The monument consists of two areas: the archaeological site at 18 Hoang Dieu Street and the central area of the Citadel of the Nguyen Dynasty
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology:
The biggest museum of Vietnam focuses on the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam and is one of the best tourist attractions in Hanoi with displays well labeled in Vietnamese, French and English
2. Halong Bay
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, let’s see what lonelyplanet.com wrote about Halong Bay:
“Towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay's spectacular scatter of islands, dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam's number one tourism hub.
Sprawling Halong City is the bay's main gateway but its dowdy high-rises are a disappointing doorstep to this site. Most visitors sensibly opt for cruise-tours that include sleeping on board within the bay, while a growing number are deciding to eschew the main bay completely, heading straight for Cat Ba Island from where trips to less-visited but equally alluring Lan Ha Bay are easily set up.”
Things to see in Halong Bay:
- Cruise on the bay to visit its beauty with islands and islets on calm water
- Thien Cung, Dau Go caves: The two big caves next to each other namely Heaven Palace, Hidden Woods with stalactites and stalagmites inside
- Sung Sot Cave: Biggest cave in the Titop island area
- Ga Choi: The two islets namely flight cocks make shape of 2 fighting cocks in a right position
3. Ninh Binh
Only 100 KM to the south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh Province has many interesting things to see
- Hoa Lu:
Hoa Lu, one of the attractions in Ninih Binh, which is 100 KM from Hanoi, was the capital of Dai Co Viet (an old name of Vietnam) under the Dinh and Le dynasties. Hoa Lu still keeps the remaining of ancients fortress built by Dinh dynasty more than 1000 years ago
- Tam Coc, Bich Dong:
Tam Cốc - Bích Động is a popular tourist destination in Ninh Binh and is part of the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Trang An tourism complex:
Trang An Eco-Tourism Complex is a complex beauty - landscapes called as an 'outdoor geological museum' with numerous caves, mountains, valley water, trees and the historic relic. Trang An cave ecosystem almost belongings to Hoa Lu District and a part of northwest city of Ninh Binh province.
- Van Long lagoon
- Bai Dinh Pagoda
4. Hoi An
- Ancient town
This UNESCO heritage site is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. The town is famous with peaceful street, ancient building, friendly people. The town reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) that combined to produce this unique survival.
- Pagoda Bridge
As a part of the Ancient town, Pagoda Bridge is consider the symbol of Hoian. It is considered that the Bridge belongs to the Japanese community in Hoi An, and was built in the early seventeenth century. No trip to Hoi An would be completely without visiting the Bridge.
- Hoian nearby villages
Villages around Hoian are of among typical Vietnam countryside villages and are very interesting with visitors. These villages should be in your consideration: Tra Que Vegetable & Herb Village, Fishing and Coconut Tree Villages, Thanh Ha Pottery Village
- Beaches near Hoian
Not far away from the town, travelers can spend time on beaches namely: Cua Dai, My Khe, Son Tra, Non Nuoc or an excursion to Cham Island
5. Ho Chi Minh City
- Independence Palace
Independence Palace (Dinh Độc Lập), also known as Reunification Palace (Vietnamese: Dinh Thống Nhất), built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
- Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
The Cathedral was built between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists, is one of HCMC's architectural marvels. It is one of the most popular things to see in Ho Chi Minh City for tourists, along with Ben Thanh Market and the Reunification Palace. The official name of the church is “Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception”.
- Bến Thành Market
Located in the center of Saigon, Ben Thanh Market is a must-see attraction of the most dynamic city of Vietnam. It is a great place to buy local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs
- Cu Chi Tunnels
60 KM from Ho Chi Minh City, Chu Chi Tunnels are part of a massive war museum that offers a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948
6. Mekong delta
The biggest delta of Vietnam with complex river system namely Cuu Long or Nice Dragons with interesting floating markets, Khmer pagodas and villages surrounded by rice paddies