Must See Vietnam: 5 Places to Visit

Vietnam is one of those countries that has everything from a traveller’s point of view. It has big busy cities, interesting historical sites, breathtaking natural scenery, great beaches, thrilling adventure activities and mouth watering food. In fact, Vietnam has so much to offer that you could keep coming back time and time again and always have something new to do.

With a country as diverse and interesting as Vietnam, narrowing it down to only five places to visit isn’t easy, but here are five places that I think you shouldn’t miss.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Skyline at night in Saigon, Vietnam

Saigon is the true definition of a huge, hectic Asian city, and it is a must see on any trip to Vietnam. An ever changing skyline towers above traffic clogged streets lined with interesting street side vendors, shops and markets. The old and modern combine into a huge culture pot here and you’ll often find yourself feeling like you’re in a different world. Saigon also has the best museums in Vietnam. It is a city full of history.

Read my Saigon Travel Guide.

Halong Bay

Beautiful view in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Located in the north of the country, Halong Bay is a natural wonder of the world. Imagine an ocean filled with a maze of tiny limestone karst islands sticking out of the water. You can spend a couple of days here just cruising around on a boat, kayaking, swimming and just enjoying this amazingly beautiful place. The nearby Han La Bay is another, lesser visited, but just as beautiful alternative.

Read about cruising and kayaking in Halong Bay and Han La Bay, or check out my Cat Ba Island Travel Guide.

Hoi An

Boats on the river in Hoi An, Vietnam

In central Vietnam, Hoi An is a small town with a large history. It was once an important trading port for Chinese and Japanese merchants, and its Old Town is world heritage listed. Beautiful old buildings line little narrow pedestrian only streets, while at night hundreds of silk lanterns light your way. Hoi An is probably the most picturesque town in Vietnam, and definitely should not be missed.

Check out my Hoi An Travel Guide or read about places to visit in the Old Town of Hoi An.

Hanoi

Crazy traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam

The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is another big, hectic city, but its true charm is in the city’s Old Quarter. It is here that you will find crumbling old buildings lining busy little streets. You’ll find character here, with little street corner cafes and bars, hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve amazing food, and plenty of historical sites to check out. Hanoi is a real assault on the senses.

Read about walking around the Old Quarter of Hanoi, or check out my budget travel guide.

Mekong Delta

Cai Rang Floating Market in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

The Mekong Delta is perhaps the most important part of Vietnam. This rich and fertile land is where the huge Mekong River splits into a maze of channels to eventually exit into the sea. It is a large area, and it is here that you can learn a lot about rural Vietnam. You can spend a lot of time on the river, exploring farms and local living, while also visiting floating markets and interesting cultural sites. A tour of the Mekong Delta is a must on a trip to Vietnam.

Read about visiting Cai Rang Floating Market or making rice noodles.

These are just a few of the amazing places to visit in Vietnam. In fact, I could probably write a top 50 article about it. I can’t wait to go back to visit even more places!

Have you been to Vietnam? What was your favourite place?

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5 comments… add one
  • Kathy Marris Jan 17, 2015

    I have been to all of these places in Vietnam and through everyone was unique and interesting. However I think I enjoyed Hoi An the most. Beautiful beaches, interesting township on the river, great places to eat and the shopping was divine!

    • Dean Wickham Mar 9, 2015

      Hi Kathy. I agree with you – Hoi An is my favourite place in Vietnam. So much to offer and I could stay for weeks.

  • Deb Jan 23, 2015

    Nice suggestions. I’d also add Sapa, it is extraordinary.

    • Dean Wickham Mar 9, 2015

      Hi Deb. I really wanted to head to Sapa when I was there but my wife got quite sick and trekking wasn’t a possibility. Decided to put it off for another trip. Just a good excuse to go back, right? 😉

  • Miguel Apr 4, 2017

    I haven’t been to all of them but I admit that Halong Bay is spectacular! I really like the north of the country.. the area close to Sapa and further north like Bac Ha and all the rice paddies up there. Truly beautiful!

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