The 20 best places to visit in Vietnam

 

In the south of the country, north west from Saigon, close to the border with Cambodia is the provincial city of Tay Ninh, famous for the spectacular Cao Dai Holy See, the temple headquarters of the Cao Dai movement. Built in the 1930's, the building with its bright colourful facade, multi-coloured pagodas and carved ornamentation is the most spectacular of all the Cao Dai temples, and one of the finest religious buildings in Vietnam.

20. Cao Dai Holy See

 

Halfway up the country, to the west of the city of Da Nang in the Truong Son Mountains is the Ba Na Hill Station, known as the Da Lat of Danang Province. Situated approximately 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) above sea level it was founded by the French in 1919, where a resort was then constructed to be used as a leisure destination by French tourists. Though it is a resort, the view from the top of the mountains, as well as the amazing sight of this French styled fortress among the peaks of Truong Son range makes for a fantastic if slightly surreal sight.

19. Bà Nà Hills French Village

 

In the extreme south of the country where the Mekong River empties into the sea via a network of separate river branches is a vast area known as the Mekong Delta, sometimes known as the Nine Dragon River Delta. Varying in water coverage depending on the season, this busy landscape of boats, floating houses and floating markets has become a favourite location for tourists taking traditional boat tours through the narrow canals and streams that criss cross through this swamp like terrain.

18. Mekong Delta

 

Completed in 2006, in the extreme south west of the country, right on the border with Cambodia is the Maitreya Buddha statue, seated on the peak of the Cam Mountain. Weighing approximately 600 tons, measuring 33.5 metres (110 ft) high, this very striking statue is the largest Maitreya Buddha statue in Asia.

17. Maitreya Buddha Statue

 

In the centre of the country, just north from the city of Da Nang is the historical city of Hue, once the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty. Dating from the late 18th century, the city centres around what remains of the citadel at the heart of the Imperial City. The grounds of the citadel are protected by thick walls and fortified ramparts that measure 2 kilometres by 2 kilometres and ringed by a moat. The Imperial City along with its former royal palaces of the Purple Forbidden City, the Royal Canal, the Museum Of Hue and the Lake Of The Serene Heart make up the Complex Of Hue Monuments UNESCO World Heritage Site.

16. Huế

 

Opened in 2018, to the west of the city of Da Nang in the Truong Son Mountains, part of the Ba Na Hills resort is the Golden Bridge, offering visitors a fantastic overlook of the surrounding landscape. Measuring 150 metres (492 ft) in length, this very striking pedestrian bridge has two giant stone hands designed to appear as if they are supporting the structure.

15. Golden Bridge

 

Around the centre of the country, south from the city of Da Nang is the historical city of Hoi An, regarded to be an exceptionally well preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to 19th century. Known for its old quarter and its symbolic Japanese Bridge dating from the 16th century, Hoi An has become a major stop for tourists heading through Vietnam, being a renowned place for having clothing tailor made, and its monthly lantern festival. The historical city of Hoi An has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

14. Hội An

 

In the north west of the county, to the north west of the capital, Hanoi, is the district of Mu Cang Chai, located at the foot of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. To get here visitors must travel the Khau Pha Pass, with an elevation of 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) above sea level it is considered one of the most imposing passes in northern Vietnam. The steep sided mountains with narrow layered rice terraces has been recognised as one of the most iconic and unique landscapes of Vietnam.

13. Mù Cang Chải

 

Completed in 2010, around the centre of the country, just north from the city of Da Nang in the Linh Ung Pagoda on the Son Tra Peninsula is the Son Tra Quan Am, depicting the Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess Of Mercy. Standing at 70 metres (230 ft) high it is the tallest statue in Vietnam, and the fourth tallest Guanyin statue in the world.

Click here to see the Tallest Statues On The Planet...

12. Son Tra Quan Am

 

Constructed throughout the 1960's, in the extreme northern centre of the country, close to the border with China is the Ma Pi Leng Pass, reaching a maximum elevation of 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) above sea level. Nicknamed the Hanh Phuc, meaning Happiness Road, it is known as the king of Vietnamese mountain passes. The winding mountain drive takes visitors around steep sharp and blind curves, twisting and turning through sheer drops at dizzying heights, all the while offering breathtakingly beautiful views of the valleys and mountains it cuts through.

11. Mã Pí Lèng Pass

 

In the south east of the country, north east from the city of Saigon on the Langbian Plateau in the Central Highlands is the city of Da Lat, known as the City Of A Thousand Pine Trees. With its year round cooler weather, beautiful mountain scenery and rolling green hills, Da Lat has become a major tourist destination away from Vietnam's otherwise tropical locations.

10. Đà Lạt

 

In the south of the country is Vietnam's most visited and most populated citiy, Ho Chi Minh City, also known by its former name, Saigon, once the capital of French Indochina at the end of the 19th century and the capital of South Vietnam until its fall in 1975. Today the cities core is still adorned with elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings, though the roads swamped with motorbikes and huge bunches of hanging power lines remind us we're in Asia. Notable landmarks in the city include the Reunification Palace, the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica and the always busy Ben Thanh Market.

9. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

 

In the extreme northern centre of the country, close to the border with China is the 2,356 square kilometre (910 square mile) Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, a terrain of steep limestone mountains. Home to the Asian black bear and the Tomkins snub nosed monkey, among the 25 most endangered primate species in the world, the park is defined by its caves, karst features, rugged mountains and deep canyons.

8. Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark

 

In the north of the country is the capital and second largest city in Vietnam, Hanoi, sometimes dubbed the Paris Of The East due to its French colonial influences. With a history that dates back over a thousand years, many tourists generally head into the Old Quarter and the French Quarter, with their small street alleys and traditional Vietnamese feel. With a whole host of incredible landmarks, the most noteworthy attractions include the famous Huc Bridge and Turtle Tower on Hoan Kiem Lake, St Josephs Cathedral and the One Pillar Pagoda.

Pictured is the famous Train Street.

7. Hanoi

 

In the north west of the country, close to the border with China is the frontier township of Sa Pa, home to several ethnic minority groups that live among the rice paddies and the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The beautiful natural mountainous terrain in this largely untouched area of Vietnam has made Sa Pa arguably the most famous hiking location in the country.

6. Sa Pa

 

Directly south from the capital, Hanoi, situated near the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks and deep valleys surrounded by steep almost vertical cliffs. A place of temples, pagodas, paddy fields and small villages, the natural karst landscape is the real star, considered one of the finest locations in Vietnam. Renowned for the boat cave tours that are certainly the best way to view this wondrous terrain, The Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex

 

In the north west of the country, close to Sa Pa and the border with China is the 3,143 metre (10,312 ft) Mount Fansipan, the highest mountain in the Hoang Lien Son range and the highest mountain on the Indochina Peninsula. The peak can be reached by cable car, though most visitors enjoy the steep and strenuous hike to the top, which usually takes between 2 and 3 days. One of the newest features of the peak is the 21.5 metre (70 ft) high Amitabha Buddha, a magnificent looking bronze statue that sits and stares out across the clouds and Hoang Lien Son mountains.

4. Fansipan

 

Between the city of Hue and the capital, Hanoi, close to the border with Laos is the 857 square kilometre (331 square mile) Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, created to protect one of the two largest karst regions on Earth, with over 300 caves and grottoes and the limestone forest of the Annamite mountain range. Discovered in 1991 within the park is the Hang Son Doong, the largest known cave passage in the world. Home to some of the largest stalagmites on the planet, some measuring up to 70 metres (230 ft) high, this otherwordly site can today be accessed on a guided tour. Permits are required, are extremely limited, and as you can imagine, very costly. The entire protected landscape has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park

 

Directly north of the capital, Hanoi, forming the international border with China is the Ban Gioc Waterfall, undoubtedly the most beautiful waterfall in Vietnam. Pouring through the forest, over the karst hills with a maximum drop of 30 metres (98 ft) into the calm waters below, its stunning location back dropped by the steep vegetated sharp mountains makes for one of the most beautiful sights in Southeast Asia.

2. Ban Gioc Waterfall

 

Located in the north east of the country, covering an area of some 1,553 square kilometres (600 square miles) is the world famous Halong Bay, a natural landscape featuring thousands of limestone karsts and monolithic islands rising spectacularly from the ocean. Each topped with thick vegetation, several of the islands are hollow, housing enormous caves containing numerous large stalactites and stalagmites. The spectacular seascape of limestone pillars of outstanding scenic beauty has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Hạ Long Bay

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