Exploring Vietnam’s Most Epic Natural Wonders

Vietnam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world because it has so much to offer. Besides beautiful cities and rice paddies, the country features some of Earth’s most breathtaking natural treasures. From wildlife-rich national parks to breathtaking limestone peaks, this country is a must-visit for all nature lovers.

One of the highlights of Vietnam’s natural wonders is its national parks. These protected areas are like magical kingdoms, home to a diverse range of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. Imagine trekking through dense forests, hearing the calls of exotic birds, and spotting monkeys swinging from tree to tree. Vietnam’s national parks offer incredible opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most beautiful places in Vietnam that should be on your bucket list.

Vietnam’s National Parks and Landscapes Explored

Ha long bay.

vietnam tourism landscape

Ha Long Bay is probably one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions. This area features several limestone mountains protruding from a calm, blue sea, making it attractive. 

Most people like visiting this area since it offers a perfect spot for outdoor activities. One of the things you’re likely to take pleasure in is kayaking through the bay’s imposing karst islands as you enjoy the up-close view of the spectacular terrain. This area also boasts challenging and scenic routes, perfect for rock climbing and hiking .

You can also take a boat tour across Ha Long Bay to enjoy the stunning scenery. Additionally, you’ll get an opportunity to visit some of its limestone islands, such as the well-known “Surprise Cave,” known for its enormous stalagmites and stalactites. A boat tour can be a day excursion or an overnight trip where you get to sleep on the boat and witness amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Besides the breathtaking landscape and exciting outdoor activities, Ha Long Bay has a rich cultural history, and it was even designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The bay and its adjacent islands feature indigenous fishing communities with a unique culture and have lived there for centuries. Visiting the region allows you to experience the cultural heritage of other communities and learn new things.

Mui Ne Sand Dunes

vietnam tourism landscape

Mui Ne is conveniently located on Vietnam’s south-central coast. This area features huge white and red sand dunes. The “white dunes” lie on the northeastern portion of the main strip, while the “red dunes” are to the north.

Mui Ne sand dunes cover a wide area, offering an ideal hand or foot sandboarding spot. These dunes also have slopes with varying steepness for leisurely or adrenaline-pumping rides, depending on your skill level or personal preference. Try “dune bashing” on a quad bike to make things more interesting.

If you want more fun, visit the dunes late in the afternoon or early evening. This allows you to see the breathtaking colors as the sun sets over the desert environment. Remember to pack enough water and sunscreen since the dunes can get extremely hot.

Ba Be National Park

vietnam tourism landscape

Ba Be National Park should be at the top of your list when choosing the places to visit during your trip to Vietnam. Located in the country’s mountainous northern region, it is centered around Ba Be Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the country.

Ba Be National Park boasts some of Vietnam’s most spectacular and diverse terrain, including steep limestone mountains, large valleys, and caves. This area also contains waterfalls, lakes, and green forests with a wide range of unique plants and animal species, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

The best way to enjoy the Ba Be National Park experience is by trekking or cycling through the forest. You can also go kayaking or hiking, depending on your preference.

Cuc Phuong National Park

vietnam tourism landscape

Cuc Phuong National Park is a very old and special place in Vietnam. It is located in the northern part of the country and has many beautiful things to see. The park has big forests with tall trees and colorful plants.

You can find many different animals there, including some very rare ones like the Delacour’s langur. It is a leaf-eating monkey that is native to the forests of northern Vietnam. It is known for its striking appearance, with black fur covering most of its body and a white face. 

People who love nature can go on guided walks in the park to explore and enjoy the peacefulness of the jungle. Cuc Phuong National Park is a great place to see and learn about Vietnam’s amazing plants and animals. 

Hang Son Doong Cave

vietnam tourism landscape

Hang Son Doong Cave, also known as Mountain River Cave, is the biggest cave in South East Asia and the entire world. It’s more than 660 ft tall, 16,400 ft long, and 500 ft wide in numerous spots.  

Hang Son Doong Cave was discovered by Ho Khanh, a hunter from a jungle settlement in the early 1990s, making it one of the latest discoveries in the region. In 2009, he led some British explorers to the cave, and they were amazed at how big it was, declaring it the largest in the world.

In 2013, the cave was opened for tourists worldwide, provided they have a valid Vietnam evisa . Since then, Hang Son Doong Cave has become a popular destination for tourists worldwide. Therefore, you have to book in advance before visiting the area.

One of the things that attracts people to this cave is the massive caverns with a unique setting, including rivers and forests. It also has unusual “doline” formations, which are enormous sinkholes created by erosion and tall stalagmites and stalactites.

Exploring the Hang Son Doong Cave is physically engaging. You’ll be required to wade through underground rivers and walk through the jungle. Therefore, you have to be physically fit. Also, you have to know how to swim. Spend at least four days in the cave so you can explore many spots.

vietnam tourism landscape

Tam Coc, also known as “Ha Long Bay on land,” s located in Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. This place is about 62 miles from Hanoi, making it easily accessible. The best way to reach Tan Coc from Hanoi is through a shuttle or train.

This area features three caves, including Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba, formed millions of years ago due to cliff erosion. It’s part of the larger Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts tourists from around the world. Other features that make this region attractive are the stunning limestone cliffs, large valleys, and mountains covered in lush rainforest.

The best way to experience the beauty of Tam Coc is by taking a boat ride or hiking. When visiting, stop at specific points to take pictures and videos for future memories. If you visit during summer, start early in the morning since the area normally receives heavy rainfall in the afternoon, affecting your overall experience.

Mount Fansipan

vietnam tourism landscape

Mount Fansipan, often known as “The Roof of Indochina,” is approximately 13 310 miles tall, making it the highest point in Indochina, comprising Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

If you’re an adventure-seeker, Mount Fansipan is one of the best tourist attraction sites to visit when you go to Vietnam. As you climb to the highest point, you’ll enjoy viewing breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Additionally, the walk offers a rare chance to see endangered bird species, including:

  • Plumbeous Water-Redstar
  • Black-headed Greenfinch
  • Golden Breasted Fulvetta

Mount Fansipan features rough terrain with extremely steep and slippery sections. Sometimes, during Winter, it even snows there . Therefore, you should prepare for the hike adequately by carrying the appropriate hiking gear. Also, ensure you learn about the mountain’s environment and history in advance and hire a local tour guide who knows the region well for safety reasons.

Mekong Delta

vietnam tourism landscape

The Mekong Delta was formed when the massive Mekong was divided into nine rivers in southern Vietnam. This area is mainly characterized by miles of productive rice terraces and winding river canals. Additionally, it has a large mangrove forest with many bird species.

The best way to explore this region is by taking day tours to popular villages such as My Tho, Tre, and Cai Be. These villages are famous for their handicrafts, regional cuisine, and traditional music, offering a genuine experience of Vietnamese culture.

You can also leisurely boat ride along the river canals that pass through picturesque riverbank villages, floating markets, and Buddhist shrines. On lucky days, you may spot water buffalo grazing on the lush rice fields. Make a quick stop at the rice fields to observe traditional rice farming practices and expand your knowledge.

Dong Van Rock Plateau

vietnam tourism landscape

Dong Van Rock Plateau is home to a number of geological and stratum heritages that bear witness to the evolution of the Earth’s crust over time. When you visit this area, you’ll be blown away by the untouched natural scenery.

Most areas are covered with snow-white plum blooms and bright yellow canola flowers, which normally bloom during spring. If you want to get the chance to experience the beauty of purple heart flowers, visit the area between October and November.

Other areas of the plateau are mainly covered by rice fields. When rice ripens during summer, the region turns into a beautiful golden-yellow hue. This phenomenon is often referred to as the “golden season” or “harvest season” in Vietnam.

Ban Gioc Waterfall

vietnam tourism landscape

If you are looking for a beautiful place to visit, consider Ban Gioc Waterfall. It’s formed by the water flowing from Quay Son River, creating an impressive scenery for photography.

This tourist destination site is 187 miles away from Hanoi , making it accessible by bus or train. Alternatively, you can rent a car from various car rental providers for convenience and flexibility.

The best time to visit Ban Gioc Waterfall is between June and September. During this period, the area experiences rainfall, making the waterfall pour a lot of water. Ensure you reach the place by noon when the upstream dam is allowed to flow fully for a more exciting experience. Use a bamboo raft to get close to the waterfall and experience the spray of water on your face and enjoy an up-close view of the white foam created by the rushing water.

In the dry season, the waterfall has an entirely different vibe. The area is normally peaceful and quiet, and the golden rice fields at the waterfall’s base create a romantic scene, perfect for couples.

When is the best season to travel and visit Vietnam?

vietnam tourism landscape

The best season to travel to Vietnam and explore its national parks and landscapes varies depending on the region and park you wish to visit.

In general, the dry season is often considered the ideal time for outdoor adventures and nature exploration. For the northern national parks, such as Cuc Phuong National Park, the best time is during spring (March to April) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant. 

In central Vietnam, the dry season from February to August is recommended for optimal conditions. Southern national parks and places like Miu Ne can be visited year-round due to the consistently warm climate.

Still, the dry season from December to April is preferable to avoid heavy rainfall.

Remember to check the specific weather patterns, park regulations, and yearly events beforehand to plan your visit accordingly and fully enjoy Vietnam’s magnificent national parks and landscapes.

Final Words

vietnam tourism landscape

Vietnam features one of the best natural wonders on Earth, and some are yet to be discovered. These attraction sites offer the best endless opportunities for outdoor activities and allow you to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Ultimately, the choice of which national park to visit depends on your preferences and the region you plan to explore in Vietnam.

To get the best experience, ensure you plan your journey in advance and research everything you need to know about the country. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a wildlife enthusiast, a hard-core foodie , or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, Vietnam has something for everyone . So, get your Vietnam visa today and prepare for an epic journey ahead.

vietnam tourism landscape

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Landscape of Vietnam - Picture Perfect Diversity

Iconic river deltas, the central highlands, the central coastline, the northern mountains.

Many first-time visitors to Vietnam are surprised to find it is not all just one giant jungle. Many movies about the US–Vietnam War depict scenes of intense fighting in humid jungles, which has given some tourists the idea that this is all the country has to offer.

In fact, Vietnam is home to various landscapes that can be divided into four general categories: river deltas, the central highlands, the central coastline, and the mountainous northern region.

No matter what kind of landscape you would like to see, chances are you can find it in Vietnam. Follow the links at the end of the article for information on tours to different regions with Asia Highlights.

No trip to Vietnam would be complete without laying your eyes on one of the country's mighty river deltas. These sprawling ecosystems have come to symbolize the landscape of Vietnam, where river and ocean meet.

The Red River Delta

The Red River Delta is one of the most densely populated areas outside of a major city. Its fertile land provides plentifully for its inhabitants. Most of the land is dedicated to rice farming, but tourists who are unfamiliar with paddy farming will still find this landscape unique and exotic.

What to Expect: Expect the rural landscape of the Red River Delta to offer you a glimpse of traditional Vietnamese life, as it merges with the modern age. The delta resembles a sprawling maze of rivers cutting through rice fields. You can explore these on guided boats, or by bus.

The Mekong River Delta

Somewhat more famous and considerably larger than the Red River Delta is the Mekong River Delta, in the south of the country.

Located due west of Ho Chi Minh City and spanning 39,000 square kilometers, the Mekong Delta is easy to reach. It's difficult, however, to see all of it, made up as it is of a system of distributaries that empty the Mekong River into the gulf below.

The delta represents one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the world and is home to thousands of unique plants and animals. It also provides generously for its inhabitants. Visit the famous floating markets to see locally-grown produce and to find souvenirs.

What to Expect: The Mekong River Delta is a massive expanse of land, so what you should expect to find depends on exactly where you are going.

If you travel with Asia Highlights on one of our tours, a guide will take you to the largest floating market and assist you in navigating its confusing waterways.

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The Central Highlands region refers to well, just that – the central part of the country. Typically when talking about the central highlands, locals will be referring to the area between the cities Dalat and Hoi An.

This area is less traveled than the deltas and coasts, which makes it an attractive destination for travelers looking for a more isolated or 'off the beaten track' experience.

What to Expect: This part of the country features rolling hills, mixed forests, and drier air than the coastal regions. Navigating through the central highlands can be difficult, as public bus or private car are the only two reliable options. You can expect to see sweeping vistas and cascading waterfalls.

The city of Dalat looks like it could belong in the mountains of Europe, as it is surrounded by pine forests and large hills. It is equipped for tourists and will feel comfortable and familiar to westerners. Dalat is an excellent hub for travelers interested in hiking or biking.

From Halong Bay to the southern tip of the country, Vietnam's coastline is one of the most magnificent in the world. The whole central coastline, however, is dotted with beautiful beaches and serene islands, and all of these are tourist-friendly.

An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach is close enough to Hoi An to make it a good destination for a day-trip from there.

An Bang offers clean sand and clear blue waters. Take a boat from the main beach to the Cham Islands, or just enjoy the sun in a rentable chair. Vendors may approach you, but generally the atmosphere is peaceful.

Nha Trang Beach

Nha Trang is a realatively small coastal city located on the southern end of the Central Coastline. Its beaches are beautiful, as the city relies on tourism and frequently maintains them.

The city, however, has developed considerably over the last few years and some visitors think this has tended to destroy the scenery. The mutual proximity of city and beach make it a good destination for travelers seeking both.

Visitors who wish to see something other than beaches and deltas may find the cool air of the northern mountains more pleasing.

Be aware that the mountains here rise to an average of around 1,600 meters above sea level and temperatures can change quickly and dramatically. Pack more than a swimsuit, if the mountains are your destination of choice.

For the best experience possible, travel with Asia Highlights on our 13-day tour, including a stop for trekking in Sapa. The tour will start with a walk around the village of Cat Cat and continue with a 3-hour walk to Y Linh Ho village, where you can enjoy lunch with views of the mountain valleys.

After two more hours of trekking the tour concludes in Lao Chai. On the way, you will experience rice paddies and breath-taking views.

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8 Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam

8 Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam

List of Vietnam Site Recognized by UNESCO

Rachel Tran

The diverse and alluring charms of Vietnam can make it difficult for you to decide where to visit on your next trip to the S-shaped country. If that’s the case, checking out the 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam may help start off your exploration into the country’s rich history and its unrivaled natural landscapes. 

1. Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Being the only World Heritage Site in Vietnam to locate in the capital city – Hanoi, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long has long been known for its unmatched historical and cultural values. 

Constructed in the 11th Century of the Imperial Era, the Citadel has since transformed and evolved numerous times throughout its long-standing history. During the Vietnam War, the Headquarter of the Communist Party was situated within the site with an impressive underground bunker and an impenetrable war room in case of American bombings. The house was built in 1967; hence the name D67. 

The Citadel was actually closed off from the public until 2004. It officially became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 during the celebration of Hanoi’s 1000th birthday.

Location: 19C Hoang Dieu, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi

Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily except for Mondays

Year of recognition: 2010

2. Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (Thanh Hoa Province)

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

Perhaps the more obscure destination compares to the other World Heritage Sites in Vietnam, the Ho Dynasty citadel dates back to the 14th century. While the Ho Dynastic itself only lasted 7 years, the Citadel with an imposing arched gateway is a testament of Vietnamese’s exceptional ingenuity and superior craftsmanship in a flourishing period. 

Climb up the towering stone steps to the top of the main gate and have a walk along the wall, you’ll fall in love with the scenic view of the serene Vietnamese countryside. While taking in a deep breath of the fresh air, you can have a chat with the welcoming villagers nearby as they work on fields golden rice paddies that seemingly stretch out to infinity.

The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty may not be as glamorous as other World Heritage sites on the list but its modest beauty will certainly take visitors away from the big buzzing cities into a world of peace and tranquility.

Location: Vinh Tien, Vinh Loc District, Thanh Hoa

Opening hours : 7:30 AM to 6 PM daily

Year of recognition : 2011

3. Complex of Huế Monuments (Hue)

Complex of Huế Monuments

Hue was the capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty that closes the historical Imperial Era of Vietnam. The complex of Hue Monuments harmoniously lies along the banks of the Perfume River , giving it a nostalgic and equally romantic setting as if you’re transported back in time.

This Vietnamese World Heritage site covers an extensive area, consisting of many monuments such as the Imperial City, royal residences, temples, tombs and fortresses. A visit to the site will for sure bring visitors into an exploration of the historical, cultural and spiritual essences of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty.

Location: Hue City, Thua Thien Hue Province

Opening hours : 8 AM to 5:30 PM daily except for Thursday (opening from 8 AM to 10 PM)

Year of recognition: 1993

4. Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Known for its hypnotic, heart-stopping sceneries, Halong Bay has always been a popular travel destination and perhaps the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam. 

Attracting millions of visitors each year, Halong Bay entices travelers with the enchanting landscape of magnificent mountainous peaks rising and piercing through the soothing emerald water. Take a rowing boat inside of one of the mystical caves and you’ll witness the hidden limestone pillars as they glisten when the lights touches the reflective water.  

An adventure in Ha Long Bay is a journey that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. What else are you waiting for? Get up and book your next trip to Ha Long Bay for a one-of-a-kind experience. 

Location: Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province 

Year of recognition : 1994

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5. Hoi An Ancient Town 

Hoi an ancient town

Its past as a bustling trading hub from the 15th to 19th century has left an everlasting mark on Hoi An as a city with a mixture of diverse influences. A stroll around Hoi An Ancient Town , which is situated in the very heart of Hoi An, will bring you to the postcard-perfect Japanese bridge, the historic Chinese temples and not to mention the iconic yellow houses of the French colonial era.

One may call Hoi An a dreamy Lantern Town as the place becomes illuminated in the warm amber hues of candle-lit lanterns at night. Through the test of time, the lively spirit of Hoi An still remains and it’s easy to see why it is among the most magical World Heritage Sites in Vietnam.  

Location: Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province

Year of recognition: 1999

6. My Son Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary

 Approximately 1h-drive away from Hoi An, a trip to the My Son Sanctuary will take you into a historic period like no other in Vietnam. Built during the Champa civilization between the 4th to 13th century, this Vietnamese World Heritage Site is a striking architectural ensemble of more than 70 tower structures that are believed to be temples and tombs to worship Hindu Gods. 

Cradled in a valley between two dramatic mountain ranges, the unique architecture of the temples is said to mirror the glory of the sacred Mount Meru – a mythical mountain at the center of the universe where Hindu gods reside.

Visitors will be able to witness the skillful mastery and technological prowess of the Cham through the intricate carvings on the temples, depicting scenes and iconography of Hindu mythology.

Location: Duy Phu, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Opening hours : 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM daily

Year of recognition : 1999

7. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (Quang Binh Province)

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Along with Halong Bay, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the second of Vietnam’s only 2 natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

With a massive network of caves and underground rivers, including the world’s largest cave, many parts of this natural wonder has yet to be discovered. The elaborate karst formation of this mysterious natural World Heritage Site is thought to have been around for over 400 million years. 

Exploring the Paradise Cave inside the National Park is a popular activity among visitors. There’s always something for every travelers to enjoy from mud bathing for spa-lovers to thrilling adventures on kayaks and zip lines for adrenaline junkies.

Location: Phong Nha, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province

Opening hours: 7 AM to 4 PM daily

Year of recognition: 2003

8. Trang An Landscape Complex (Ninh Binh)

Trang An Complex in Ninh Binh

Inscribed in 2014, the Trang An Landscape Complex is Vietnam’s latest attraction to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the first mixed heritage for both its natural and cultural significance. 

Enjoy a relaxing boat ride as you float along the mellow water to discover hidden caves and visit elegant temples and pagodas. The waterway gracefully curls around perching mountain peaks to reveal open valleys filled with lush golden rice paddies on the river banks. 

While the destination is a popular day trip from Hanoi, visitors are highly recommended to stay overnight to fully experience the enchanting magic of this World Heritage Site where the raw natural beauty harmoniously blends in with a folksy, down-to-earth culture of the Red River Delta.

Location : Red River Delta, Ninh Binh Province

Year of recognition: 2014

Vietnam is the ideal travel destination that caters to anyone and everyone. Whether you’re a foodie, a culture-snob or a thrill-seeker, the endless list of attractions including these 8 UNESCO Heritage Sites in Vietnam will always offer something you want. 

Grab your passport and go. Your adventure in Vietnam awaits!

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Ba Be Vietnam Nature Trail Mountains Sunrise

Vietnam’s Natural Beauty and Landscape

Nestled on the eastern side of the Indochina Peninsula, Vietnam is a country rich in biodiversity and natural splendor. Its towering mountains and stretches of dense, luscious forest are known the world over, and tourists from all over flock there every year to its nature.

Vietnam’s tropical climate and oceanside location create a perfect storm for plant and animal life. With its soaring mountains, deep valleys, and sky-blue oceans, it’s one of the best countries in the world for nature-lovers.

Vietnam’s landscape is a mix of large cities and towns , as well as rural countryside villages and still some native tribes. Wildlife numbers include an estimated 15,986 species of flora, 260 reptiles, 310 mammals, 120 insects, and 840 birds. The country is blessed with over 3,000 km of coastline and millions of acres of meandering woodland.

Ba Be Vietnam Nature Trail Mountains Sunrise

There are dozens of national parks and reserves in Vietnam where the natural landscape has been perfectly preserved. If you’re interested in seeing what Vietnam looked like before human civilization, explore these parks and become immersed in the dazzling nature on display.

Vietnam’s amazing landscape features include:

  • Nature Attractions
  • National Parks

Mountains in Vietnam

Sapa Vietnam Flag and Mountain

Millions of years worth of tectonic activity have resulted in the numerous mountain ranges of Vietnam. From the dizzying height of Fansipan Mountain to the wildlife of Son Tra, there are plenty of mountains to explore.

Fansipan Mountain

Known as the roof of Indochina, Fansipan Mountain rises 3,147 meters above the ground . It’s the highest peak in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and takes around two days to scale on foot.

Of course, you could always take Sun World’s cable car to the top and explore the pagodas and statues situated at the peak. You’ll be treated to unparalleled views of the Lao Cai Province and the dense forests resting below.

There are over 1,600 tree species living in the ancient rainforests around Fansipan’s base. The dense jungle is also populated by shrubs, vines, and blooming flowers. Since its formation during the Mesozoic era, Fansipan Mountain has become an integral facet of the Vietnamese ecosystem.

Black Virgin Mountain

Also known as the Ba Den Mountain , this soaring peak is the highest in Southeastern Vietnam. Considered a highly important spiritual landmark, Ba Den Mountain has a long and illustrious history in Vietnamese society.

According to legend, the mountain was named after a woman who committed suicide after her love for a soldier went unrequited. During the War, Ba Den’s high elevation and birds’ eye views were duly utilized by both Vietnamese and American forces.

Like Fansipan Mountain, you can take a cable car to easily reach the summit. The journey will reveal stunning panoramic views of the rainforests below. There are also statues, pagodas, and shrines at the peak. Several festivals take place here throughout the year.

Son Tra Mountain

Located in beautiful Da Nang, Son Tra Mountain is a stunning national park located almost 700 meters above sea level. It’s also referred to as Monkey Mountain due to the presence of the rare red-shanked douc in the area. This rare primate is famously shy and can be found living in the forests.

Nature-lovers will appreciate the views from the Ban Co peak – the highest mountain in the Son Tra formation. As Da Nang is situated by the sea, visitors will be treated to incredible views of the landscape and surrounding waters.

Caves in Vietnam

Hang En Cave Vietnam

Vietnam’s nature isn’t limited to above the ground. Down below, there is a complex network of sprawling caves and huge grottos which are perfect for those who enjoy cave-diving.

Sung Sot Cave

Located in the magnificent Ha Long Bay, Sung Sot Cave (also known as Surprise Cave) was discovered by French colonists in 1901. Nicknamed the Grotte des Surprise, this massive cave features incredibly tall ceilings and smooth walls.

Overhanging stalagmites and large, spacious openings await visitors upon arrival. After traversing through the initial waiting room, you’ll find the Royal Garden – a serene pond area inhabited by flowers, birds, and monkeys.

Nestled at the top of a 50-step climb, Sung Sot Cave can be found on Bo Ho Island – one of the many islets of Ha Long Bay.

Hang Son Doong Cave (Phong Nha -Kẻ Bàng National Park)

Remarkably, Hang Son Doong Cave lay undiscovered until 1990. A local man stumbled upon it whilst sheltering himself from a vicious storm only to forget its location. Nineteen years later, it was rediscovered and entered for the first time.

Hang Son Doong is large enough to house an entire town. Reaching heights of 503 m and lengths of 9.4 km, the cave is so huge you could fly a jumbo jet inside it without any worry of scratching the wings.

A variety of plant and animal species can be found inside the huge cave, including birds, monkeys, bats, and even an internal jungle featuring 50 m high trees. So massive is Son Doong that it has its own weather system and visibility is limited due to the cave’s cloud formations.

Lakes in Vietnam

Northern Vietnam River Nature

Vietnam is home to numerous natural lakes and manmade reservoirs. On a hot summer’s day, these Vietnamese lakes are the perfect location for a breezy afternoon.

The largest natural lake in Vietnam, Ba Be Lake sits in the middle of Ba Be National Park . Comprising three smaller lakes, this massive body of water stretches 8 km and reaches depths of up to 35 meters.

The lake’s limestone islets can be explored whilst kayaking. Formed over millions of years, these islands are covered in vegetation and other plant life. There’s also an intricate cave network running through the lake. The most famous of these, Puong Cave , is 30 meters wide and 300 meters deep.

The sprawling West Lake spans over 17 km and is Hanoi’s largest lake . Found in the Tay Ho District, West Lake is home to floating restaurants, ancient pagodas, and numerous luxury resorts. West Lake’s serene views and abundance of luxury hotels result in it being a hugely expensive area to live in.

The home of many wealthy Vietnamese and foreign residents, there’s no shortage of things to do in the area. The body of water also features the Tran Quoc Pagoda – the oldest pagoda in Vietnam. This ancient shrine was completed in the 6th century and is located on a small island on the lake’s southeastern shore.

Thac Ba Lake

The Yen Bai Province houses the massive Thac Ba Lake. Located 180 km from Hanoi, this massive man-made lake was built between 1964 and 1971. Thac Ba Lake is notable for the 1,300 green islands sitting on its surface. There’s also an abundance of caves which can be explored by boat.

Thac Ba Lake can be thought of as a mini-Ha Long Bay, with its emerald islets and intricate cave network. It was constructed by the Thac Ba hydroelectric plant and serves as a man-made oasis for numerous species of animal, plant, and marine life.

Rivers in Vietnam

Mekong River Canoeing Vietnam

Flowing rivers can be found all over Vietnam. An important source of vitality, scenery, and transportation of goods, Vietnam’s rivers have played an important role in the country for centuries.

Mekong River

The largest river in Southeast Asia, the mighty Mekong River spans over 2,700 miles. Flowing through China, Tibet, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, the Mekong River is the 12th longest in the world.

In Vietnam, the Mekong is known as the Nine Dragons River (or Cuu Long) and is a vital facet of Vietnam’s agricultural trade. Rice is the most popular food source grown on the wetlands of Mekong and several agricultural villages can be found on its banks. The Mekong Delta Region (located just south of HCMC) is home to a famous floating market as well as pagodas and other places of worship.

The 1,149 km Red River, also known as the Hong River , begins at the Yunnan Province in Southern China before meandering into Vietnam and departing at the Gulf of Tonkin. The river gets its name for carrying large amounts of fragile silt from the red lands, giving the water a burgundy tint at certain points.

The volume of the Red River is famously fluctuating and floods are common. During the 19th century, it was seen as a valuable trade route from China, before the invention of the railway became the standard method of transport. The main tributaries of the Red River are the Black River and the Lo River.

Dong Nai River

The 586 km Dong Nai River spans from Vietnam’s Central Highlands region down to the country’s southern area. Dong Nai flows past Bien Hoa and merges with the Saigon River southbound of Ho Chi Minh City. In the northwestern reaches of Dong Nai, flowing rapids and grand waterfalls can be found.

Waterfalls in Vietnam

Ban Gioc Waterfall Vietnam

Vietnam’s scenic waterfalls are popular spots for photographs, activities, and general relaxation. They are the perfect addition to any road trip, as it’s easy to include one when traveling long distances.

Ban Gioc Waterfall

The photogenic Ban Gioc waterfall is one of Vietnam’s hidden gems. Located in the Cao Bang Province, this stunning waterfall sits between the Vietnam/China border.

The tall, cascading waterfall is surrounded by deep valleys and dense forests. Due to its remote location (approximately 8 hours from Hanoi) not many know of the Ban Gioc Waterfall, however, the long journey to visit is certainly worth the effort.

Pongour Waterfall

The terraced Pongour Waterfall looks like it was sculpted by man. Rising 40 meters high and 100 meters wide, this waterfall can be found 50 km from Da Lat.

Pongour Waterfall is one of the most romantic natural attractions in Vietnam. With its wide steps and majestic waters, the waterfall is perfect for a relaxed sightseeing day. It’s also the site of an annual festival. On the 15th of January, you’ll see locals engaging in rituals and participating in games at the foot of the waterfall.

Mu Waterfall

Thriving green forests surround the beautiful Mu Waterfall . Nestled in Pu Luong Nature Preserve, this cascading waterfall is admired by locals and tourists alike. Mu Waterfall is the centerpiece of a humble agricultural village. Here, the friendly locals grow vegetables and catch fresh fish. They also reside in rustic stilt houses.

Pu Luong Nature Preserve is located in the Lac Son district of the Hoa Binh Province. It takes around two days to travel there from Hanoi, which is 130 km away.

Bai Truong (Long Beach) Phú Quốc, Vietnam

With its thousands of miles of coastline and plethora of serene islands, Vietnam has plenty of beautiful beaches at its disposal. Halong Bay and Phu Quoc Island are famous for their stunning beaches, but there are plenty of other Vietnamese shores that are equally mesmerizing.

Long Beach (Bai Truong), Phu Quoc

The 20 km Long Beach is one of Vietnam’s top beach attractions. There are plenty of plush hotels, delicious restaurants, and chilled-out seaside bars for you to spend your time in and the beach offers spectacular sunset views. The most touristy beach in Phu Quoc , Long Beach is extremely busy and is jam-packed with beach attractions.

Bars and clubs are easy to find and are bustling during the summer months. However, due to the size of the beach, finding a tranquil spot isn’t too difficult. The waters around Long Beach are warm and relatively shallow – meaning that children can swim in them safely.

Adding to the tropical vibe is an abundance of palm trees lining Long Beach’s perimeter, making you feel as if you’re in the heart of a sun-kissed oasis.

Non Nuoc Beach, Da Nang

The five-kilometer Non Nuoc Beach may well be the best family-friendly beach in Vietnam. Suitable for watersports, swimming, and casual exploration, Non Nuoc Beach is located 20 minutes away from Da Nang City.

Ideal conditions for surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding fall between April and September. During this time, waves are prominent and water temperatures are at a comfortable temperature.

Da Nang houses some of Vietnam’s most impressive beaches and Non Nuoc Beach is certainly no exception. There’s also a number of beachside hotels on the premises.

Tran Phu Beach, Nha Trang

The most popular beach in Nha Trang, Tran Phu Beach is renowned for its pale gold sand and sky blue seas. With Trang Phu street on its doorstep, visitors can combine shopping, eating, and sightseeing with a relaxing day on the beach. You can also hire a sun-bed and watch the world go by. In the evening, visitors can enjoy an array of clubs and nighttime bars.

Vietnam Plantlife

Banyan trees, Vietnam

Though deforestation, urban planning, and war have greatly reduced the size of the Vietnamese jungles and forests, there is still an abundance of tree, flower, and bush species residing in the country.

Between 1997 and 2007, over 1,000 new plant species were discovered in Vietnam. The distinctive crown flower (known as Chi bòng bòng in Vietnam) can be seen throughout the country. These photogenic flowers are known for their violet colors and delicate appearance.

Banyan trees are an iconic part of Vietnamese jungles. The basis for many myths and legends, these sprawling trees can be found towering over Vietnam’s dense, intricate rainforests. You’ll be able to spot one by observing its twisted, tangled root system.

Vietnam Wildlife

Water Buffalo and Farmer, Hoian

Vietnam’s unique biodiversity has resulted in an eclectic range of flora and fauna. The country’s official national animal is the water buffalo . These docile, peaceful animals have a long history in Vietnam – being used in agriculture for thousands of years. Living off a diet of marine vegetation, these beloved animals are prey for crocodiles, who also have a strong presence in Vietnam.

Burmese pythons are common, non-venomous snakes often found near bodies of water. If you come across one during your travels, try not to worry as they will not hurt you or become aggressive.

The white-headed langur is a critically endangered primate residing on Cat Ba Island. These rare primates can be found resting high up in the area’s national parks and nature preserve trees. Only a handful of these animals exist, so be sure to take a photo of one if you’re lucky enough to see one.

The Vietnamese seas are home to thousands of aquatic species. The unique horned sea star can be found in the waters around Phu Quoc. Resting just beneath the surface, these formidable starfish pose no real threat to tourists, so feel free to take a picture of one up close.

Past the horizon is where the spectacular Japanese flying squid can be found. Once in the presence of danger, they can propel themselves up to 30 m across the surface of the water.

There are thousands of unique, charismatic animals residing in Vietnam . One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Vietnam’s tropical climate and vast natural resources have made wildlife thrive.

Nature Attractions in Vietnam

Ha Long Bay

You’ll be spoilt for choice when exploring Vietnam’s natural attractions. One of the world’s most beautiful counties, there’s an abundance of natural wonders awaiting you when you visit.

One of the country’s most famous and well-regarded sites, Halong Bay’s turquoise waters and towering cliffs have become iconic. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bay features over 3,000 islands and islets of differing shapes and sizes. The islands are home to monkeys, birds, bats, and countless plant species.

There’s a lot more to Halong Bay than photogenic scenes and Instagrammable views. In fact, the area can be considered a microcosm of plants and wildlife. Behind the dense forests of the miniature islands lies a deep and intricate cave system.

The most well-known of these, Sung Sot Cave , is a deceptively large grotto spanning 10,000 square meters. The overhanging stalagmites almost resemble the ancient chandeliers from a long-lost music hall and views from the cave’s openings are truly mesmeric.

Halong Bay is also home to over 150 species, and the reefs have become an integral part of the local ecosystem. Housing countless numbers of fish, algae, and plants, these stunning reefs play a key role in the country’s aquatic food chain. Snorkeling in these reefs is a popular activity, as visitors can familiarize themselves with the local marine life.

Humans also have a rich history here. Numerous archeological digs have uncovered evidence of a prehistoric society in the Bay, where ancient humans sustained themselves on the rich diet of plants and marine life.

With over 500 million years of history, Halong Bay represents the best of Vietnam’s nature. Sculpted by coastal erosion and oceanside winds, this paradise is more alive than ever.

Cham Islands

The legendary Cham Islands are a recognized UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. As a popular tourist attraction, the stunning landscape is the perfect place for water-based activities. It provides an immersive insight into Vietnam’s coastal nature.

Cham Islands

The abundance of maritime resources includes over 400 acres of coral and 1,500 acres of seaweed. There are also close to a thousand aquatic species on the islands, with colorful fish and bright corals clearly evident in the shallower areas.

Nature-lovers should head to Cu Lao Cham Marine Park . This beautiful nature reserve showcases coastal Vietnam at its very best. With dense rainforest, near-transparent waters, and grand limestone cliffs, the park is quintessentially Vietnamese.

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc is one of the most underrated destinations in Vietnam. Though the famous cable car ride has brought publicity to the area, it still retains all of its authentic and original wonders.

Phu Quoc National Park , for example, is rich with dense forests and spellbinding hiking trails. The most popular of these, the Ganh Dau Trail, displays the area’s ancient trees and serene, photogenic views.

The marine life of Phu Quoc lives in the An Thoi Archipelago . Much like Halong Bay and the Cham Islands, this underwater nirvana is home to thousands of species of fish, coral, algae, and aquatic mammals. The fishing villages of Phu Quoc have been living off the abundant marine life for generations.

Nature-enthusiasts and seafood connoisseurs will love Phu Quoc . The area’s pristine beauty and ancient woodlands house some of the country’s most valuable exports and the undisturbed serenity is something definitely worth seeing.

City Parks in Vietnam

Tao Dan Park

If you’re in the city and wish to escape the hustle and bustle, then head down to these peaceful parks for a relaxing, free detour. There are many public parks in Vietnam, and below you’ll find some of the best.

Tao Dan Park

The most famous park in Saigon, Tao Dan Park plays an important role in the city. The 24-acre park is lined with tropical trees, blossoming flowers, and small wildlife. In the early morning hours, tourists and locals utilize the park for exercise and meditation.

The Zen-like surroundings and abundance of nature are both relaxing and inspiring. Be sure to listen to the park’s singing birds for an immersive experience in nature.

Tao Dan Park can be found in the District 1 area and is open year-round. Be sure to visit the park in the morning, before the heat of the city takes hold.

Van Thanh Park

Also located in Ho Chi Minh City, this government-owned park is much quieter than Tao Dan Park. Its artificial lake and array of trees provide relief from the sweltering temperatures of the Vietnamese summer.

There’s also a swimming pool (which can get crowded on hot days) and a lakeside cafe. The park’s decorative statues evoke an old-world feel and make for interesting photography subjects. Van Thanh Park can get hectic on weekends, so try and visit during the week if you’re longing for some solitude.

Thong Nhat Park

Thong Nhat Park offers a welcome retreat from Hanoi’s surging energy, though not as large as other Vietnamese parks. Spanning 50 hectares, the park is popular with young and old alike. You’ll catch people jogging, cycling, meditating, running, and working out in this luscious green space.

The park features towering trees, colorful flowers, and a tranquil lake. It’s the perfect place to unwind, have a picnic, and escape the hustle and bustle for a few hours.

National Parks in Vietnam

Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam

National parks are perfect for explorers. If you’re longing to be immersed in nature, then a visit to these stunning national parks is highly recommended.

Cat Tien National Park

This sprawling, 72,000-hectare park is an oasis of tropical beauty. Featuring ancient trees, botanical gardens, and dense rainforests, the flora on display is some of the best in the country. The park is also home to an eclectic mix of wildlife including rare birds, massive reptiles, and acrobatic primates.

Crocodile Lake is a major attraction where visitors can see these charismatic beasts up close and in the flesh.

Although larger animals (such as leopards and elephants) reside in the park, they are seldom seen due to them living deep within the rainforest. However, if you get lucky you may witness them during your visit. Cat Tien National Park showcases the absolute best of Vietnam’s nature. It’s usually very busy on weekends and public holidays, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.

Cat Ba National Park

The expansive Cat Ba National Park is located 30 km from Hai Phong. A UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the park houses some 32 species of wildlife, including the rare white-headed langur. The massive park spans over 17,0000 ha, so a tour guide is definitely recommended.

Cat Ba National Park

The landscape of this park is quintessentially tropical. Featuring humid rainforests, dense wetland, and flowing rivers, the park is a true natural wonder. It’s also situated around the sky-blue waters of the country’s northeastern shore.

For a panoramic view of the jungle, head to the summit of Ngu Lam park . Ascending may be taxing, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Cat Ba National Park is best avoided during the rainy season, and be sure to take appropriate clothing and nutrition with you.

Nui Chua National Park

Nui Chua National Park is the crown jewel of Vietnam’s natural landscape. Located in the Ninh Thuan Province, this beautiful park is home to over 300 animal species and 600 plant species. The park’s cinematic landscape and near-transparent waters make it a true wildlife haven.

Visitors can hike, walk, explore, and observe the plethora of life at Nui Chua National Park . You can even dive underwater and witness the intricate coral reef system beneath the ocean’s surface. There are plenty of plush and upmarket resorts around the park, including the famous Amanoi Resort – one of the best hotels in the whole country.

You can spend a lifetime exploring Vietnam’s expansive nature. A country rich in plant and animal life, plus stunning natural beauty it’s a lovely place for a vacation any time of year.

Cameron Gorrie

About Cameron Gorrie

Cameron Gorrie is a writer specializing in travel, culture, and world events. A natural explorer, his curiosity and zest for life are reflected in his work.

Riverfront Walkway, Dong Hoi City, Vietnam

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Where To See Out-of-this-world Landscapes in Vietnam

Rong May glass bridge, which has just opened since mid-November, has become a special attention in Sapa. Scattering of waterfalls, staggering mountains, plains dotted with wild animals, Vietnam is breathtakingly beautiful if viewed from above.

While pinpointing some of Vietnam’s most authentic spots (both untouched and man-made), note that these out-of-this-world landscapes and awe-inspiring wonders—from North to South—need to move to the very top of your travel list to Vietnam.

1. Fansipan – The Roof of Indochina

“The Roof of Indochina” is another famous name for Fansipan, which is located in the Hoang Lien Son mountain chain. That’s right! Fansipan is the highest mountain in Vietnam and in Indochina, with the height of 3,143 meters. People coming back from our trip to this record-breaker destination shared that they have been on “cloud 9”. Though to conquer this legendary site, you have to spend 2 to 3 days patiently climbing up hills and slopes, all the effort you put into it will be paid off. Soon as you reach the top and the whole scenery opens up with purifying, airy and glistening cloud floating around, with endless gradient blue of limitless sky, a feeling of fulfillment, satisfaction and all the positive adjectives one could find will fill you up completely.

For those who would want to see the top right away, Fansipan Cable Car is available. It takes only 15 minutes and then after 600 steps, you will get to the Roof of Indochina. 

Stunning View From Fansipan Cable Car

The period from September to March is suggested to be the most appropriate time for climbing. Yet the most fascinating time to visit Fansipan is late February when the blooming of enchanting flowers starts along the mountain. 

2. O Quy Ho Mountain Pass – King of the Mountain pass in the Northwest

Located right next to the National Road 4D running through the Hoang Lien Son range, which connects the two provinces of Lai Chau and Lao Cai, O Quy Ho pass is referred to as the Cloud pass since it is covered with white clouds all year round. This is among the highest and most majestic mountain passes in Vietnam.

On the route of O Quy Ho pass, it would be a huge miss if you forget to check-in at Silver Falls – one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Lao Cai or the breathtaking Heavenly Gate gazing out Fansipan peak. Another worth-seeing site is the newly launched Glass Bridge. Opened in mid-November, the Cloud Dragon Skywalk features a lifting system with a transparent glass cabin at an altitude of 2,200m above sea level and 548.5m above the top ravine of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. Imagine walking on transparent glass at that much of a height. It could literally take your breath right away.

>> Read More:  O Quy Ho Pass – Stunning Beauty of Sapa

3. Tu Le Terraces – Golden Staircases of Mu Cang Chai

The scenery is speechless. It truly is! Tu Le Terrace is pieces after pieces of sloped plane that has been cut into a series of successively receding flat surfaces or platforms, which resemble steps. When it is harvest time, all seems like a vast ray of sunshine covers every square meter of rice paddy fields.

Unlike other places, Tu Le lays a much closer feeling, rather than lying on hills or in the valley. Located along the highway, it’s very easy to admire the transcendent beauty of Golden Staircases from the main road.

Tu Le sticky rice needs to go to your food list when visiting this place. The cooking technique is much different from other regions in Vietnam; it is more complicated, takes more time. And as more effort is put in it, this dish will not disappoint food lovers.

Harvest usually happens around 15th of September to the end of October. During the period, paddy is slowly coming into its bloom, radiating a slick and sweet scent that easily set anyone in the mood of relaxation. 

Tu Le Terrace is the most famous attraction of Mu Cang Chai

4. Glass Love Bridge – First 5D-effect glass bridge in Moc Chau

Located in Dai Yem Waterfall, Moc Chau district, the bridge, named Glass Love Bridge, measures 80 meters long and two meters wide, with 5D technology. It also boasts a photoelectric sensor system together with 30 special effects, such as flowers blooming, fish swimming, and heart shapes, etc.

Designed with the theme of love, with models of hearts and romantic spaces, including a Japanese-style village with cherry blossoms, this place secures an ideal place for couples and photography fans.

Spanning a river and surrounded by immense mountains, hills and forests, the bridge will offer an exotic view resembling a watercolor painting of the Moc Chau Plateau.

5. Ban Goc Waterfall – Top choice waterfall in Cao Bang

Located in north-eastern of Vietnam, along the Vietnam & China border, Ban Gioc Waterfall boasts an impressive natural sight with multiple levels and green jade water flowing down the vast lake below. Despite its irresistible charm, Ban Gioc still remain unknown to most tourists, even Vietnamese. Thanks to the low frequency of travellers here, Ban Gioc  still preserves its intact beauty, and is still considered an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ site in Northern Vietnam. 

The cave is nested in a grandiose setting of rock and primitive forest.  This site is so distinctive that one immediately knows it’s Ban Gioc upon seeing it – the fall is gigantic with more than two levels of rock setting, white mist blowing up, a backdrop of green mountains and a big alluring blue mirror lake at the bottom.

If you hire a bamboo raft, expect to pay about 50,000 VND or more for a 10-minute ride to get closer to the cascade. Do expect to get wet please preserve your electrical devices carefully.

6. Bach Moc Luong Tu Mountain – Newly discovered beauty of Lao Cai

Bach Moc Luong Tu is the fourth tallest mountain in Vietnam , trailed by Fansipan (3,143m), Pu Ta Leng (3,096m), and Pu Si Lung (3,076m). Lying between two northern provinces of Lai Chau and Lao Cai, the mountain with hasty and rocky terrain was newly discovered by adventurous tourists in 2012.

Here, you will experience different emotions when passing the terrains of bare hills, wood, bamboo forest or high sheer rock; reaching to authentic majestic “dinosaurs” spines. In the end, all your hard work climbing is deserved of the marvelous mountainous scenery.

The best time to explore Bach Moc Luong Tu is in the dry season which is from late October through April . During the winter months (November, December, January), it is extremely cold, and there may be snow, too. During November and December , you’ll find yourself trekking amid “an ocean of clouds” with unreal scenery all around. In February and early March , there are rhododendron flowers, which add a delicate touch of nature to an already refined scenery.

7. Ma Pi Leng Pass – King of Vietnam’s mountain passes

Riding motorbike on Ma Pi Leng Pass guarantees you exhilaration. However, we only recommend those who already have adequate riding experience to take on the challenge because the road following Ma Pi Leng is not a joke: it’s winding, narrow and two-way.

8. Poem Mountain – Sublime view over Halong Bay

Located at an altitude of 200m with half lying on land, half lying on the sea, Poem Mountain (Bài Thơ Mountain) is one of the highest mountains in Ha Long. The whole panorama of Halong City reveals itself soon as you climb to the top of the mountain.

Despite not being the highest mountain in the coastal city, thanks to the side overlooking the bay, this site is considered the most ideal sightseeing spot here. It is surely not easy to conquer this mountain since the path up was flickered in the alley of the families on Hang Noi Street, Bach Dang Ward. The path is not too long but fairly steep. Yet thanks to solid stone steps built years ago, you don’t have to worry, just focusing on walking up the stairs. Along 2 side aisles grows hundreds of plants from the limestone cliffs. Blessed with the melodic birdsong as if you’re walking in a royal garden, you can also catch the sight of goats grazing on the slopes, or monkeys perching on tree branches.

After reaching the top of Poem Mountain, there it is: the Bai Chay Bridge where the building is equipped with LED lighting systems; the Cai Lan port with shimmering water in the distance; Tran Quoc Nghien road swarming with traffic;  Fairy Mountain; … Every houses suddenly become smaller with the roof undulating.

9. Mua Cave – Ngoa Long Mountain Ninh Binh – The Great Wall of Vietnam

Located in Khe Ha Village, Ninh Xuan commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province, the attraction is filled with peace, blessed with huge karst mountains and impressive landscape around.

The path leading to the cave is formed by a long stone staircase zigzags through the karst. Some have called this entrance “The Great Wall of Vietnam as it may seem similar to “The Great Wall of China ”. 500 steps will always be there challenging any avid travellers. But believe me, no matter how tired you get or how impatient you’ll be, as soon as you reach the top, the scenery will recharge every bit of energy inside. Only then is before your eyes the limitless expansion of golden rice crops, the microscope view of life happening far below your standing point. Hard work does pay off.

10. The Marble Mountains – Ngu Hanh Son in Da Nang

The Marble Mountains includes five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It’s also a widely acknowledged pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all deserve recognition. Named after 5 elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth , Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area renowned for stone-cutting and sculpture.

According to ancient folklore, a dragon emerged from the water on Non Nuoc Beach then laid an egg. After a thousand days and nights, the egg hatched, a beautiful girl appeared. The remains of the shell were left on the beach and eventually grew into the five mystical Marble Mountains.

Each hill of Marble Mountain owns a unique beauty. But among 5 hills we’re talking about, Earth Hill and Water Hill are the 2 highest, biggest and perhaps most worth-seeing. 

Blessed by nature, the Marble Mountains are wonderful to visit at any time year around. Yet it is suggested that to best experience these tropical coastal mountains, travellers can set plan in the summer (June – August), the time of nature blossoming.

11. Ba Na Hill – A wonderful mix of international and classic beauty

Located on the high of 1.487 meters above sea level, the temperature of this place is cool, the average temperature in the summer is about 18 Celcius, Ba Na is an ideal eco – tourism in the Central Vietnam. 

There are many things to discover here: from Giant Buddha Statue to Le Jardin D’Amour – the French style garden to the Funicular tour – a Swiss style train and the Fantasy Park, which is 21,000 square meters of indoor fun and games. The landscapes are also top-notch as from the top of Ba Na hill, West is the Truong Son mountain, East is Hoa Vang rice field. From here, you are free to see the Son Tra Peninsula, Thu Bon River, Hoi An and Da Nang city. 

But that’s not everything. The one specular site that grabs everyone’s attention lately is the Golden Bridge. This phenomenal bridge has a rather striking appearance with two enormous stone-made hands holding 150-meter-long golden footbridges, showing vividly how creative architecture could get. The “golden” in its name is highlighted as the whole bridge is covered with metallic yellow paint. Inspired by the idea of a golden silk strip floating elegantly in the white clouds, its shape wows every first-time-visitor. 

To wrap up:

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  • Fresh charm, old world hospitality
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  • Son Doong – 3 Facts of The Largest Cave in the World

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War Remnants Museum

Ho Chi Minh City

To understand the US invasion of Vietnam, and contextualize its devastating impact on the country's civilians, this remarkable and deeply moving museum is…

vietnam tourism landscape

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

North-Central Vietnam

Designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2003, the remarkable Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia, formed…

Hang Son Doong cave in the heart of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam.

Hang Son Doong

Hang Son Doong (Mountain River Cave), located in the heart of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, is known as the world's largest cave, and is one of the…

Tu Lan Cave.

Tu Lan Cave

The Tu Lan cave system comprises of more than 20 wet and dry caves, which are thought to be between three and five million years old. Huge caverns,…

Unoccupied beach at the Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam

Cat Ba Island

Lying to the south of Halong Bay off the north-eastern coast of Vietnam, the 300-or-so karst islands and limestone outcrops of Lan Ha are just as…

The Ban Gioc Waterfalls on the border with China, Cao Bang, Vietnam.

Ban Gioc Waterfall

Ban Gioc is one of Vietnam’s best-known waterfalls, and its image adorns the lobby of many a cheap guesthouse. The falls, fed by the Quay Son River that…

Paradise Cave,Vietnam.

Paradise Cave

Surrounded by forested karst peaks, this staggering cave system in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park extends for 31km, though most people only visit the…

vietnam tourism landscape

Phu Quoc Island

With picture-perfect white sand, the delightful curve of beautiful Sao Beach bends out alongside a sea of mineral-water clarity just a few kilometres from…

Top picks from our travel experts

The 15 best things you can do in vietnam in 2024.

Entrance to Vinh Moc Tunnels, Quang Tri, Vietnam.

Vinh Moc Tunnels

Demilitarised Zone

A highly impressive complex of tunnels, Vinh Moc is the remains of a coastal North Vietnamese village that literally went underground in response to…

Vietnam, Tay Ninh, Cao Dai Holy See, (Great Divine Temple) with pair towers and blue sky above

Cao Dai Holy See

Home to the Cao Dai Great Temple (Thanh That Cao Dai), the Cao Dai Holy See, founded in 1926, is 4km east of Tay Ninh in the village of Long Hoa. As well…

vietnam tourism landscape

HCMC Museum

A grand neoclassical structure built in 1885 and once known as Gia Long Palace (and later the Revolutionary Museum), HCMC’s city museum is a singularly…

Tomb of Gia Long

Tomb of Gia Long

Emperor Gia Long founded the Nguyen dynasty in 1802 and ruled until 1819. Both the emperor and his queen are buried here. Badly damaged during the…

Nui Ba Den

Located 15km northeast of Tay Ninh, Nui Ba Den rises 850m above the rice paddies, corn, cassava (manioc) and rubber plantations of the surrounding…

vietnam tourism landscape

Thien Mu Pagoda

Built on a small hill overlooking the Song Huong (Perfume River), 4km southwest of the Citadel, this seven-storey pagoda is an icon of Vietnam and as…

vietnam tourism landscape

Tomb of Khai Dinh

This hillside monument is a synthesis of Vietnamese and European elements. Most of the tomb’s grandiose exterior is covered in darkened, weathered…

Planning Tools

Expert guidance to help you plan your trip.

Best Things to Do

Vietnam is a dream destination for travelers but what to do when you finally get there? Here are 15 can't-miss experiences in 2024.

Things to Know

Vietnam serves up a lavish buffet of Asian sights, sounds, scents and flavors, but there are things to know before you come. Try these tips.


Whether it's bus, train, private car, motorcycle, bike, plane or boat, you can plan your trip around Vietnam with this guide to getting around.

Visa Requirements

The process for obtaining a visa for Vietnam can be confusing, but for a short trip, you may not need a visa at all. Here’s what you need to know.

Money and Costs

One of the many great things about Vietnam is how much you spend is within your control – just choose wisely. Here's how to visit Vietnam on a budget.

Traveling with Kids

From family beach days to hiking in the highlands, here are the best activities for kids in Vietnam, along with some top planning tips.

Best Road Trips

Vietnam was made for exploring by road. From the mountains to the Delta, here are our top road trip routes.

Plan with a local

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Let a local expert craft your dream trip.

vietnam tourism landscape

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Above and Below photo series of Vietnam by Justin Mott

See gorgeous pictures of Vietnam—from above and below

Honoring his adopted home, a photographer travels to Vietnam to show its landscape and people in a new light.

When he moved to Vietnam in 2007, photographer Justin Mott didn’t really know the language—he’d fallen in love with the region on reporting trips, and decided he was just going to make it work. He was living in Hanoi , wandering the “raw, visual” city, camera in hand. A group of new Vietnamese friends would show up at his home, working through the language barrier to take him along on spur-of-the-moment photography trips.

Vietnam from photographer Justin Mott

“I missed the sharing part of photography,” Mott says of his time in the competitive American photojournalism world, “and in Vietnam it was about sharing.”

A Rhode Island native who studied journalism and photography in San Francisco , Mott felt instantly welcome in Vietnam. Sixty-year-old Nguyen Kim Thuy, a public-school English teacher with whom Mott worked for years on a story about the generational trauma of Agent Orange , helped him acclimate to life in a new city.

“I’m like the American son she never wanted,” Mott jokes.

Above and Below photo series of Vietnam by Justin Mott

Mrs. Thuy, as her students call her, introduced Mott to translator Quynh Anh, called Q, who began working with Mott’s production company. She and Mott married legally in 2017, followed by ceremonies in Vietnam and Rhode Island.

Traveling around Southeast Asia and the Pacific for commercial and documentary projects squeezed Mott’s time for more experimental, creative work. Looking for a meaningful personal project, he thought of honoring his adopted home with a project “that could be used [to showcase] Vietnam in a positive way.”

Above and Below photo series of Vietnam by Justin Mott

“I have this gratitude to [Vietnam],” he says. “People have let me into their homes, let me tell their stories.”

Where his earlier work was done solo, this new project— “As Above So Below” —is very much a team effort. A drone pilot, Nguyen Hai Nam, makes aerial images under Mott’s direction; Q, who co-runs their photography company, has also had a hand in the project's development. Though he’s protective of copyright, Mott intends to set up an online gallery to share the photos for free use in promoting Vietnam tourism.

“It’s sort of full circle,” he says. “I came here as an American … now, 10 years later, my wife is Vietnamese, my friends are Vietnamese. We’re doing this project together in this kind of American-Vietnamese bond that I think is neat for people to see.”

Above and Below photo series of Vietnam by Justin Mott

Travel tips & tricks

Travel to Vietnam tends to be “very regimented,” Mott says. “Backpackers follow this path, stay on this line; tours go here, then there, then you’re done. You can do more than that in Vietnam.”

For experienced riders, Mott recommends renting a motorcycle to wander on a self-directed adventure outside the city to experience the countryside, which promises beautiful views throughout the nation’s northern , southern , and central regions. [ See the palatial Vietnamese hotel inspired by the apocalypse. ]

Above and Below photo series of Vietnam by Justin Mott

Hiring a translator or local guide is another good strategy: “That’s what a journalist would do, and maybe a tourist wouldn’t think to do it, but it’s not that expensive and you see things way differently.”

And when it comes to Vietnam’s world-renowned cuisine , don’t be intimidated, Mott says, even when the menus are only in Vietnamese (as they are at the best spots). Instead, take a food tour or two to learn what you like, how to piece meals together, how much to order, and how much to pay—then strike out on your own. [ Learn more travel tips on our Vietnam guide page. ]

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  • Vietnam Tourism

Landscapes In Vietnam : Explore The Beauty Of Vietnam

vietnam tourism landscape

Vietnam is a beautiful country with a diverse landscape that ranges from towering mountains and lush forests to tranquil rice paddies and pristine beaches. Each Vietnam region has its unique landscape and beauty, offering visitors an unforgettable experience. Vietnam tourism industry has experienced significant growth, making it a popular destination for travelers. In this blog, we'll explore some of the stunning landscapes of Vietnam. Try out a Vietnam tour package !

Mountain Landscapes

Vietnam is home to some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in Asia. The two major mountain ranges are the Annamite Mountains in the north and the Truong Son Mountains in the south. These mountains are home to some of the country’s most breathtaking views, including the majestic Fansipan peak, which is the highest mountain in Vietnam. The mountains are also home to a variety of wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and rare species of birds.

Sapa is a small town in the northern mountains of Vietnam that is known for its stunning rice terraces and traditional hill tribe villages. The terraces are carved into the steep slopes of the mountains and are at their most vibrant during the rice planting and harvesting seasons. Visitors can also trek through the mountains to visit the hill tribe villages and learn about their customs and way of life.

Rice Field Landscapes

Vietnam is known for its stunning rice field landscapes. From the terraced rice paddies of the north to the lush emerald-green fields of the south, these landscapes are a sight to behold. The terraced fields in the north are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are a must-see for any traveler. The paddies in the south are also incredibly beautiful and provide a unique view of rural life in Vietnam.

  Coastal Landscapes

Vietnam’s coastline stretches for more than 3,000 kilometers and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From the white sand beaches of the north to the turquoise waters of the south, these landscapes are truly breathtaking. The beaches are also home to some of the country’s most vibrant coral reefs, making them a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Nha Trang is a coastal city in central Vietnam that is known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. The city is also home to the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area, one of Vietnam’s most biodiverse areas. Visitors can go snorkeling or diving to explore the coral reefs and see the colorful marine life up close. You can enjoy your trip by booking a Vietnam honeymoon package .

Rivers and Lakes

Vietnam is also home to some of the most stunning river and lake landscapes in Asia. The Mekong Delta is a popular destination for travelers looking to explore the region’s rivers and lakes. The Delta is home to a variety of wildlife and is a great place to explore the local culture. Other popular lake destinations include the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi and the Ba Be Lake in the north.

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is a vast network of waterways that spans across six provinces in southern Vietnam. This area is known for its lush green rice paddies, colorful floating markets, and bustling fishing villages. Visitors can take a boat tour to explore the waterways and visit the various villages, where they can learn about local traditions and sample fresh seafood.

Some of landscapes are Historical

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bay is home to more than 1,600 limestone islands and islets that tower out of the water like pillars. These incredible rock formations are covered in lush vegetation and have been shaped over millions of years by the forces of nature.

The city of Hue is located in central Vietnam and is known for its historical significance and stunning landscapes. The city is situated on the banks of the Perfume River and is surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. The landscape around Hue is dotted with tombs, temples, and pagodas, each with its own unique beauty.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is located in central Vietnam and is home to some of the most spectacular cave systems in the world. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the Son Doong Cave, the largest cave in the world. The landscapes of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park are rugged and wild, with towering limestone cliffs, dense forests, and pristine rivers.

In conclusion, Vietnam is a country with a diverse landscape that offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. From the towering limestone cliffs of Ha Long Bay to the tranquil rice paddies of Sapa, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country. Whether you're a nature lover or a history buff, Vietnam's stunning landscapes are sure to leave you breathless.

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Vietnam tourist map

We would like to introduce a great companion for your journey to explore Vietnam: Vietnam Map , which includes all the types of maps you need, such as region, transportation, and city map. We have compressed them to the highest quality, so you can print them on paper and use them on your trips.

Topography and climate of Vietnam

Based on geography and climate, Vietnam is divided into eight regions: Northwest, Northeast, Red River Delta, North Central Coast, South Central Coast, Central Highlands, Southeast, and Mekong River Delta. Each region has relatively different climatic and topographic characteristics.

Map of regions of Vietnam - Vietnamnomad

1. Northwest

Topography of Northwest Vietnam

Northwest Vietnam consists of 6 provinces: Dien Bien, Son La, Hoa Binh, Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Lao Cai. The famous tourist destinations: Sapa (Lao Cai), Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai), Dien Bien Phu (Dien Bien), Mai Chau (Hoa Binh), Moc Chau (Son La). It is a mountainous area which shares the borderline with China and Laos. This is home of magnificent fold mountains and extremely unmatched landscapes.

The region has two distinct seasons: summer and winter. The summer (April to October) is hot and humid. Winter (November to March) is cold, cloudy that is characterized by drizzle. The average annual temperature is about 25 ºC. In winter, the lowest temperature is in December and January; some places have temperatures below 0 ºC.

2. Northeast

Topography of Northeast Vietnam

Northeast Vietnam consists of 9 provinces: Ha Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Kan, Cao Bang, Lang Son, Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Quang Ninh. The famous tourist destinations: Dong Van (Ha Giang), Ban Gioc Waterfall (Cao Bang), Ba Be Lake (Bac Kan), Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh), Mau Son (Lang Son). The region is geographically distinguished with the Northeast by the Red River. There are middle-high mountain ranges blended with vast plateaus. The complicated system of water bodies carving into the limestone mountains creating deep valleys across the region.

The climate is quite similar to the Northwest, but the region is more affected by the humid monsoon climate than the Northwest. Therefore, the Northeast is directly affected by tropical storms in the summer.

3. Red River Delta

Topography of the Red River Delta

Red River Delta consists of 10 provinces: Bac Ninh, Ha Nam, Ha Noi, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Hung Yen, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thai Binh, Vinh Phuc. The famous tourist destinations: Hanoi, Cat Ba (Hai Phong), Do Son (Hai Phong), Trang An (Ninh Binh). The delta is situated in the North of Vietnam, this is one of the most densely-populated regions across the country due to the fertile soil and a large concentration of waterways, which are advantageous for agricultural activities.

Like the Northeast and Northwest, the Red River Delta also has two distinct seasons: the summer is from April – November; the winter is from December – March. However, the weather here is milder than in the other two regions.

4. North Central

Topography of North Central Vietnam

North Central consists of 6 provinces: Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien Hue. The famous tourist destinations: Thien Cam Beach (Ha Tinh), Cua Lo Beach (Nghe An), Phong Nha – Ke Bang (Quang Binh), Hue (Thua Thien Hue). This region is a long-stretching land and also the most narrow part of the country, which is one of the most important economic regions featuring aquaculture and tourism. The area is home of a great collection of three out of eight UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Vietnam.

Due to the monsoon in the northeast, the whole area is affected by cold weather with rain in the winter. This is different from the dry weather in the winter of the North. In the summer, there is the southwest monsoon (also known as Laos wind), so the whole region will have a hot and dry climate. At this time, the daily temperature can reach over 40 ºC; meanwhile, air humidity is very low.

5. South Central Coast

Topography of South Central Coast

South Central Coast consists of 8 provinces: Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan. The famous tourist destinations: Da Nang, Hoi An (Quang Nam), Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh), Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa), Mui Ne (Binh Thuan). South Central Coast has a strategic position in terms of economic and transport values. The landscapes are dominated by the fertile whale-shaped hills, which is beneficial for herding activities. Bordering a large sea area, the economy strongly relies on marine resources. Here is also a potential travel hub thanks to its well-developed transport system.

The weather here is different from the North Central Coast due to the northeast monsoon blocked by the Bach Ma mountain range. The remarkable feature of the Central climate is that there is a rainy season and the dry season does not occur at the same time in a year in the two climatic regions of the North and the South.

6. Central Highlands

Topography of Central Highlands Vietnam

Central Highlands consists of 5 provinces: Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kom Tum, Lam Dong. The famous tourist destinations: Dalat (Lam Dong), Mang Den (Kom Tum), Buon Me Thuot (Dak Lak). The region consists of many plateaus, which are surrounded by mountain ranges. Central Highlands is known as the coffee capital of Vietnam as the fertile basalt facilitates the growth of this industrial crop. Some distant and remote mountainous parts of the area are also home to various minority ethnic groups.

Located in the tropical savanna region, the climate in the Central Highlands is divided into two seasons: the rainy season from May to the end of October and the dry season from November to April, in which March and April are the hottest. Particularly, the lands are over 1.000 m high, the climate is cool all year round.

7. Southeast

Topography of Southeast

Southeast Vietnam consists of 6 provinces: Ba Ria Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City. The famous tourist destinations: Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau Beach (Ba Ria Vung Tau), Con Dao Island (Ba Ria Vung Tau), Black Virgin Mountain (Tay Ninh). Southeast is the highly industrialized zone. A massive landmass is used for industrial trees and factories. The landscape highlights the midlands and low mountain ranges. This is where the major river systems meet and concentrate on the most vital ports as well as tourism.

The South is located in a region characterized by the equatorial tropical climate, abundant sunshine, and high humidity. The annual average humidity is about 80 – 82%. The climate has two distinct seasons: dry and rainy. The rainy season is from May to November and the dry season is from December to April.

8. Mekong River Delta

Topography of the Mekong Delta

Mekong River Delta consists of 13 provinces: Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Can Tho, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau. The famous tourist destinations: Can Tho, My Tho (Tien Giang), Tram Chim (Dong Thap), Chau Doc (An Giang), Phu Quoc (Kien Giang). It is the southernmost part of the country and dominated by flat floodplains. The low basin of the Mekong Delta is rich in sediment from its mother source and greatly contributes to the agricultural practice of its people for centuries. The region is covered by very little forestry, mainly mangrove forests and swamps to prevent waves and preserve land.

The climate of the Mekong Delta is similar to the Southeast: the tropical monsoon climate, there are two distinct seasons: the rainy season (May to November) and dry season (December – April).

Best time to  visit Vietnam

The ideal time to visit Vietnam is during the dry season. In which the period from December to March is the best time to visit Vietnam. You can rely on the detailed map below to choose the appropriate time to visit each place in the country.

Best time to visit Vietnam

Vietnam Visa

It’s easy to come to Vietnam! Vietnam offers visa exemptions to tourists from 24 countries and e-Visas to travellers from 80 countries.

Vietnam visa exemption

Citizens of 24 countries are exempted from visa when entering Vietnam:

List of countries with Vietnam visa exemptions

Vietnam visa application

Now you can easily apply for Vietnam Visa with an electronic Visa, E-Visa is available to nationals of 80 countries. What you need to do is visit the official website of the Immigration Department ( click here ) and follow the instructions.

The e-Visa costs 25 USD, takes three working days to process, and is a single-entry visa, valid for 30 days.

Learn more about Vietnam Visa >

Money and Exchange

Vietnamese currency is known as “Dong” or “VND” as currency code. There are no longer coins but only paper and polymerized money, so it is quite easy to carry around. Vietnamese banknotes, however, have many zeros: the smallest bills commonly in circulation are 500 VND, 1.000 VND, 2.000VND, and 5.000VND; and the highest one is 500.000VND.

Cards are widely accepted in restaurants, hotels, and other public amenities (but not at street-food stalls), and ATMs are placed densely. The most popular exchange rate when travelling in Vietnam is from USD to VND. It is known among travellers that the best exchange rate is given at jewelry shops; however, it is now considered illegal to exchange currency at those shops. So, the best way is to change money at the airport, local banks, or ATMs.

Learn more about the Vietnamese currency >

Transportation in Vietnam

Vietnam’s transportation network is quite complete with international and domestic airport systems in many provinces, the “famous” North-South railway system, and the extensive road system with the backbone of National Highway 1A. Below is a transportation map in Vietnam with train stations and airports.

Learn more about transportation in Vietnam >

Vietnam Transportation Map official by vietnamnomad

Cost of living in Vietnam

I t is totally possible to live on a budget in Vietnam as the cost of living is claimed to be inexpensive. Most of the items cost less than half of what you would pay in the West or even relatively cheaper in comparison with some tourist hubs in Asia.

Although in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi Capital, things could be a bit pricey, there are still lots of opportunities to lead a comfortable lifestyle with an income of under 700 USD (of course, if you are willing to eat local food and enjoy a Vietnamese standard lifestyle). If you live outside of these two major cities, living expenses could be much less. Your lifestyle will determine your cost of living, but generally, Vietnam has a competitive yet fertile job market for both locals and expats and an average rate of living expenses. As long as one has a job and not too bad at money management, they can assure an enjoyable life and travel if they wish.

Cost of living in Vietnam

Internet and Telecommunication

Vietnam offers a very accessible Internet connection that covers most parts of the country. Wi-fi is available in every corner: at restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, or even at small food vendors sometimes. So there would be very little chance that you lose touch with the world while travelling here.

There are also many SIM card providers that offer 4G data service along. So if you are mostly on the road or wish to keep in touch with people, here is an option. Some of the most reliable telecommunication companies known are Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphone. SIM card’s price normally starts from 50.000 – 100.000 (2 – 4,5 USD), and you can add money to buy data packages that are totally affordable, ranging from just 30.000 VND for unlimited access.

Accommodation in Vietnam

Accommodation in Vietnam varies from around under 10 USD to as much as you could imagine, catering to different budgets and preferences. There are many types of accommodation that you can choose from, from hostels and guesthouses to homestays and luxurious resorts which keep popping up throughout the country. Although hospitality is a huge industry in Vietnam, it is obviously popular among the locals as the young Vietnamese tend to travel more and more these days. So, it is ideal to book your accommodation in advance to make sure of a preferable stay. Booking could be made easily through online booking websites or, particularly for homestays, through direct messages on their Facebook pages.

The vast majority of accommodations are considered very stylish and full of character, of which homestay is one form of accommodation you have to get yourself into. They are not only a place to crash after a long day exploring, but are experience itself. Most places have English-speaking staff, and they accept both cards and cash.

Best places to stay in Vietnam >

Vietnam accommodation

Shopping in Vietnam

It is no exaggeration that Vietnam is one of those shopping paradises. There is a whole range of shopping activities that you could take part in, which serve your craving for shopping and offer insight into the country’s culture. You could wander around the local open-markets to embrace the vibrance and dynamic energy of the street business culture of the Vietnamese, or opt for a less hustle and bustle shopping vibe in the shopping malls. A new breeze of shopping experience that is enjoyed by the millennials is the flea-markets, which are often held on weekends gathering the participation of local clothing and handicraft brands. Each market in Vietnam brings the characteristics and colors of the local community here. Going to the market is not only for shopping, but it is also a journey to discover the local culture.

For great trips, convenience stores are a good choice for you. There are many convenience stores in Vietnam, especially in big cities as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang, which have almost everything you need. There are many well-known brands such as 7-Eleven, Vinmart, FamilyMart, and Cycle K. Therefore, if you need food or necessities, convenience stores are a quick choice.

Supermarkets or shopping malls are also an option, but most of them only appear in big cities with brands such as Vinmart, Co.op Mart, Vincom, and Lotte Mart.

Vietnam is also known as the manufacturing location for many big fashion names such as Nike and Adidas, so you are likely to get a very competitive price for those.

Due to the variety of items, affordable prices, and a wide range of shopping experiences, shopping would be a great part of your traveling in Vietnam.

15 best places to visit in Vietnam

Coming to the S-shaped country, you can admire the poetic and charming scenery wherever you go. The natural beauty, unique culture have made Vietnam become a tourist destination worldwide. At each place, we have designed an “all-in-one” travel guide page; click on the photo of the destination and explore it your way.

1. Ha Long Bay

Best destinations in Vietnam - Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a famous tourist destination of Vietnam, located in the western part of the Gulf of Tonkin in the northeastern region of Vietnam. With thousands of magnificent islands, Ha Long Bay has been recognized by UNESCO as a natural heritage of the world since 2003.

Ha Long City is a coastal region with two distinct seasons: winter (November to April) and summer (May to October). Affected by the climate of Northeast Vietnam, there are two distinct types of monsoons: the Northeast wind in the winter that brings coldness and drizzle; and the Southwest wind in the summer that brings warmth and rain. The best time to visit Halong Bay is in the spring and autumn (from April to October) because of the chilly weather.

Looking down from above, Ha Long Bay like a picture with thousands of unique rocky islands such as Dau Nguoi, Rong, La Vong, Trong Mai, and Canh Buom. Hidden inside the rocky islands are beautiful caves such as Thien Cung, Dau Go, Sung Sot, Trinh Nu, and Tam Cung.

2. Ninh Binh

Best destinations in Vietnam - Ninh Binh

About 100 km away from Hanoi, Ninh Binh is a gem of Northern Vietnam. It is located in the southernmost region of the Red River Delta, which is the intersection of two large rivers: the Red River and the Ma River. This is known as the ancient capital of Vietnam, with many historical relics remaining.

You can travel to Ninh Binh at any time of the year. However, the ideal time for tourists to visit this land is in early spring, between the second and third month of the lunar calendar. At this time, the weather is mild, suitable for those who want to admire the spring beauty, and join the temple ceremony at the beginning of the year. If you come to Ninh Binh in late May and early June, you will admire the breathtaking scenery by the bright yellow rice fields along the banks of the Ngo Dong River. The golden color of rice interspersed with the green of the mountains creates a beautifully natural picture. In fall, you will be surprised by the peaceful beauty of the sky clouds combined with the blue Sao Khe River blooming full of lotus flowers and water lilies. The faint pink of the lotus flower combined with the pure white of water lilies creates a beautiful picture like in a fairyland.

Best destinations in Vietnam - Hoi An

Hoi An is located downstream of the Thu Bon River, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. It is a famous tourist city, only about 30km from Da Nang to the South. The Ancient Town of Hoi An carries the diversity of settings and the history of hundreds of years of cultural interference between the three countries of China, Japan, and Vietnam. You will be fall in love with the mix of vibrant lifestyle and ancient architecture of this little town.

As the most beautiful city in Vietnam, Hoi An is crowded year-round; the tourist season starts from November to the end of February. If you want to enjoy a “real” Hoi An, April to June is the right time for you, when there are the least tourists.

Hoi An is famous for traditional architecture’s beauty, the harmony of houses, walls, and roads. Along with many ups and downs of history, Hoi An ancient town retains the ancient beauty in every corner.

Best destinations in Vietnam - Da Nang

Da Nang is located in Central Vietnam, with an almost equally divided distance between Hanoi Capital and Ho Chi Minh City. Possessing one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet – My Khe and many incredible natural landscapes, Da Nang City is one of the most attractive tourist destinations of the Central region.

Da Nang’s climate is divided into two distinct seasons: the dry season (from December to August) and the rainy season (from September to November). The best time to travel to Da Nang is from January to July; at this time, the weather is not too hot; the temperature is about 25 – 32 °C, suitable for outdoor activities.

Da Nang is a “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” city in Vietnam, where there are mountains, forests, beaches, and delicacies. The famous tourist attractions in Da Nang include Ba Na Hills, My Khe Beach, Marble Mountains, and Asia’s largest Fantasy Park indoor amusement park. Da Nang also has many fascinating landscapes such as Hai Van Pass, and the primeval forest in Son Tra Peninsula.

Best destinations in Vietnam - Hue

Once was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue is considered a royal land with many palaces and tombs of the Kings. If you want to learn about the glorious Vietnam history, you cannot miss this land. Hue also attracts visitors by the poetic and beautiful natural landscapes and friendly people.

The weather in Hue is generally quite harsh, with high temperatures in the dry season (35 – 40 °C), but the dry season is also a good time to visit this city because the weather is less rain, suitable for visiting the palaces and tombs.

In addition to the Hue Imperial Citadel and mausoleums, you should also visit places such as Lang Co Bay, Hon Chen Palace, Thien Mu Pagoda, and Thuan An Beach.

Hue dishes are extremely delicious and cheap. The delicacies can be mentioned such as mussel rice, Hue beef noodle soup, and Hue sweet soup.

Best destinations in Vietnam - Sapa

Sapa is a scenic spot located in the Northwest of Lao Cai province in Vietnam. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Vietnam . Situated at an average altitude of 1.500 – 1.800 m above the sea, Sapa is always in the thick fog, creating a fanciful scene.

Sapa is a mountainous region with a cool climate all year round. The weather in Sapa has four seasons; the average temperature of Sapa is 15 °C. Summer in Sapa is not too hot; winter is often cloudy and cold, sometimes it snows.

Tourists come to Sapa to enjoy the fresh air and admire the wild beauty of the Northwestern mountains. Terraced fields, waterfalls, and majestic mountains create an impressive beauty for Sapa. Besides, visitors also can explore the customs and cultural beauty of ethnic minorities such as Black H’Mong, Red Dao, Tay, and Giay.

Referring to Sapa, it is impossible not to mention famous tourist destinations such as Fansipan Peak, Ham Rong Mountain, Stone Church, Muong Hoa Valley, and some villages such as Cat Cat, Ta Phin, Ta Van. Come to this foggy land, don’t forget to enjoy a salmon hot pot, drink a cup of Tao Meo wine.

7. Nha Trang

Best destinations in Vietnam - Nha Trang

As a coastal city in Khanh Hoa Province, Nha Trang is the top destination of Vietnam. Nha Trang is surrounded by beautiful beaches , majestic mountains, and pristine islands, an ideal place for your vacation. Besides the beautiful beaches, the islands as Hon Tre, Hon Chong, and Hon Mun are always attractions to visit this coastal city.

T he most significant advantage of this city is the long sunny season during the first eight months, the temperature difference is not considerable. The rainy season of Nha Trang lasts from September to December and reaches its peak in October and November.

From fine dining restaurants facing the sea to favorite pubs, all are located along the beach in front of Nha Trang city. Coming here, you definitely have to try the famous specialties such as Banh Can, Banh Canh Cha Ca, and Nem Nuong.

8. Ho Chi Minh City

Best destinations in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the biggest city in Vietnam, which has long been known as the Pearl of the Far East, a lavish metropolis.

Ho Chi Minh City left a deep impression for the first time with anyone who has ever been to. The bright light of night streets, the colorful signs, the fresh beer pubs, the playgrounds that last all night; all turned Ho Chi Minh City into a paradise of shopping and food in Vietnam. People here are famous for being enthusiastic and generous. For strangers, they are willing to guide every intersection and street corner.

Ho Chi Minh City weather does not have four seasons like Hanoi but only two: rainy and dry. The rainy season is from May to November. In general, you can visit Ho Chi Minh City at any time of the year; the rainy season is also the most beautiful season of this city.

Ho Chi Minh City is subdivided into 22 district-level subdivisions. Urban areas include districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh, Go Vap, Tan Binh. The suburbs include Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Binh Chanh, Nha Be, Can Gio and Thu Duc City (sub-city).

District 1 is the administrative, economic, and transactional center of Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, if you are a first-timer, you should visit the famous spots such as Ben Thanh Market, Nguyen Hue walking street, Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, and Bui Vien Street. District 1 is also the place where the majority of tourists choose to stay while in this city.

District 2 and District 3 are the ideal residence with spacious street, elegant and quiet villas.

District 4 is the place where people mainly live by working in warehouses and docks. So coming here, you will discover the daily life of ordinary workers in the city.

District 5 is where more than half a million Chinese people have been living there for a long time. It is also an attractive tourist destination with the name “ China town “.

In the suburbs, a destination not to be missed when coming to Vietnam is Cu Chi Tunnels, a massive underground tunnel system; it is heroic evidence of the history of the “ Vietnam war “.

Coming to Ho Chi Minh City to sip a bottle of Saigon beer on Bui Vien Street, sometimes that’s enough.

Best destinations in Vietnam - Hanoi

Hanoi – the capital, is Vietnam’s important cultural, political, commercial, and tourist center. Over a thousand years of history, Hanoi has become a famous tourist destination in the world.

Hanoi attracts tourists by its ancient beauty, historical colors, and hospitality from local people. The best time to visit Hanoi is in the fall, from mid-August to the end of October. At this time, the weather in Hanoi is cool, and the scenery is extremely romantic.

Hanoi has more than 4.000 monuments and beautiful landscapes. In particular, there are more than 9.000 relics in the ranking of national monuments, with hundreds of temples, structures, and famous attractions. Some prominent relics of Hanoi are the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple, Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi Cathedral, and Opera House.

Also, the unique culture of the Hanoi people fascinates many tourists around the world. Hanoi is famous for its fine handicraft products in craft villages such as Bat Trang ceramics, Ngu Xa bronze casting, and Yen Thai village. Besides, Hanoi also owns unique cuisine and many different cultural festivals throughout the year.

Hanoi is also remembered as the city with the best street food in the world. Come to Hanoi, do not forget to enjoy specialties such as Pho, Bun Cha, Cha Ca La Vong, and Bun Thang.

Best destinations in Vietnam - Mui Ne

Located 22 km northeast of Phan Thiet City center, Mui Ne is one of the most beautiful and famous destinations in Binh Thuan Province. In 2014, Mui Ne ranked 2nd on the top of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia by Canadian traveler site voted. According to Skyscanner, this place has been listed on the list of 10 impressive beaches of Asia Pacific.

The period from April to August is considered to be the best time to travel to Mui Ne. From September onwards, Mui Ne often rains, so it is inconvenient for outdoor activities.

Besides the poetic and idyllic scenery, Mui Ne attracts visitors by the desirable and affluent culinary features. Coming here, you definitely have to enjoy the delicately processed seafood dishes such as Dong, fish salad, Banh Can, and Banh Xeo.

11. Ha Giang

Best destinations in Vietnam - Ha Giang

Famous for the majestic scenery, the endless terraced fields, the long buckwheat flower fields, and the cultural identity of upland ethnic people, Ha Giang is one of the destinations that attract many tourists in Vietnam recently. Located in the mountainous north of Vietnam, Ha Giang is a majestic mountain complex, with an average height of 800 m to 1.200 m above sea level.

The northern highland is Dong Van Plateau, including Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van, and Meo Vac districts, with 90% of the area is limestone mountains, typical for karst terrain. There are sharp rocky mountains, deep and narrow ravines, and cliffs. On October 3, 2010, Dong Van Rock Plateau joined the Global Geopark Network. The western include Hoang Su Phi and Xin Man districts, which are part of Bac Ha Plateau, commonly known as Chay River lift arch, with elevations from 1.000m to over 2.000m. The terrain here is usually domed or semi-arched, interspersed with steep, sometimes sharp, or jagged terrain. The low mountainous region covers the remaining districts and towns, stretching from Bac Me, Ha Giang town, through Vi Xuyen to Bac Quang. This area has strips of old forest interspersed with relatively flat valleys located along rivers and streams.

The best time to visit Ha Giang is from October to December in the buckwheat flower season. Another great time to visit this land is from September to October, which is the rice season.

Coming to Ha Giang, visitors also have access to mountainous residents’ culture through highland markets; one of them is Khau Vai Love Market, a dating place for couples. At this fair, people also sell various handmade products such as embroidered towels, cloth bags, dresses with bright and delicate patterns. Another thing that attracts visitors to come to Ha Giang is the specialties such as dried buffalo meat, Thang Co, Buckwheat flower pancake, and Chao Au Tau.

Moreover, Ha Giang has a rich and diverse cultural treasure, with more than 20 ethnic groups living here. Each ethnic group has its own unique cultural identity, expressed through customs, festivals, and religions.

Best destinations in Vietnam - Dalat

Dalat is a city in Lam Dong Province, located on Lam Vien Plateau, at an altitude of 1.500 m above sea level, which has many beautiful landscapes. Dalat is one of the most famous tourist cities in Vietnam, a little Paris of Vietnam.

Dalat has an ancient, romantic beauty with many architectural works and old villas from the French colonial period. Dalat has a typical climate of the Central Highlands region with two distinct seasons: rainy season and dry season. The rainy season lasts from May to October, and the dry season lasts from November to April next year. The ideal time to visit Dalat is from October to December, when the flowers bloom throughout the mountains.

Dalat attracts tourists by famous attractions such as Tuyen Lam Lake, Xuan Huong Lake, Bao Dai Palace, Linh Son Pagoda, Truc Lam Zen Monastery, and many beautiful coffee shops. Come to Dalat, don’t forget to enjoy the delicious food such as Lau Ga La E, Banh Mi Xiu Mai, and Banh Can. At night, in the chilly air, visitors can stroll around the night market and Xuan Huong Lake edge to enjoy a cup of hot soy milk, or a Dalat baked rice paper.

13. Phu Quoc

Best destinations in Vietnam - Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is also known as a gem island, the largest island in Vietnam, located in the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc Island, together with other islands, form the Phu Quoc Island District of Kien Giang Province. In 2006, Kien Giang coastal and island biosphere reserve, including Phu Quoc, was recognized by UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve.

As a tropical monsoon island equatorial, the Phu Quoc climate is divided into two distinct seasons, which are the rainy season and the dry season. Because it is the gateway to receive the west-southwest monsoon, the humidity in the rainy season is very high, from 85 to 90%. In the dry season, the island is affected by the northeast monsoon, so that the temperature will increase in April and May. The best time to visit Phu Quoc Island is the dry season, from the end of October to March next year. At this time, the weather in Phu Quoc is less rain, which is convenient for travel and relaxation.

Phu Quoc has many beautiful beaches stretching from the north to the south and 99 hills covered by vast primeval forests. In the north of the island, there are Rach Vem, Bai Thom, and Hon Mot fishing villages – with outstanding wild beauty. In the South Island, there are 12 large and small islands such as Hon Thom, Hon Mong Tay, Hon Gam Ghi, Hon May Rut – the ideal places for nature exploration activities such as night squid fishing, diving to see corals, and discovering pristine forest.

Phu Quoc not only attracts tourists with beautiful views but also the delicious dishes made from a rich source of seafood. Some dishes that you cannot miss when visiting Phu Quoc are Herring Salad, Grilled Squid, Quay Noodle, and Sim wine.

14. Quy Nhon

Best destinations in Vietnam - Quy Nhon

If talking about a hidden pearl of Vietnam, Quy Nhon is a leading candidate. Located in Binh Dinh Province, Quy Nhon is known as one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the South Central Coast with many ideal beaches such as Eo Gio, Ky Co, Cat Tien, Nhon Hoi, and Hai Giang, where visitors can immerse themselves in the majestic natural scenery.

Binh Dinh climate is characterized by humid tropical and monsoon with 2 distinct seasons in a year. The dry season lasts from January to August and the rainy season lasts from September to December. The ideal time to visit Quy Nhon is from January to September when the weather is sunny and less rain.

Coming to Quy Nhon, not only immersed in the clean beaches but also infatuated in the food here. Great dishes in Quy Nhon can be mentioned as Banh Xeo, Bun Ca, Banh It La Gai, and Bao Da wine.

15. Quang Binh

Best destinations in Vietnam - Quang Binh

Quang Binh is known as the “cave kingdom” with more than 300 different large and small caves, including Son Doong Cave, En Cave, Thien Duong Cave, Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave, Chay River – Dark Cave, System of Stunted Caves in Le Thuy. Not only that, but Quang Binh also has unbelievably pristine beaches such as Nhat Le Beach, Rock Jump Beach, Vung Chua, and Yen Island. And most importantly, Quang Binh also has attractive spiritual attractions such as the Tomb of General Vo Nguyen Giap, relics of Hang Tam Co, General Memorial Hall, and Hoang Phuc – a pagoda is over 700 years old.

The ideal time to visit this land is from March to September when the weather is pleasant and less rain. From September to March, there are usually heavy rains.

The two famous of these destinations are Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and Son Doong Cave. Recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2003, the Phong Nha – Ke Bang Complex is a destination not to be missed when traveling to Quang Binh. Son Doong Cave, located in the core area of ​​Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, is a new cave discovered by the Royal Cave Research Association of England, which was announced as the largest cave in the world in 2010; it was put into operation in the form of adventure travel in 2013. Tourism activities of Son Doong Cave are limited to the number of participants, so the number of people who have conquered Son Doong cave is even less than the number of people who have ever stood on Mount Everest.

In addition to owning a beautiful landscape, Quang Binh also attracts tourists with rich and featured cuisine. With only 100.000 VND, you can enjoy many delicious dishes, including Banh Bot Loc, Banh Canh Ca Loc, and Banh Khoai.

10 must-try foods in Vietnam

Vietnam has been long known as a culinary paradise; for thousands of years of civilization, Vietnamese people have created countless beautiful, harmonious, and delicious dishes. To explore Vietnam is to dive into its diverse cuisine as not only does it always burst with flavors but also is an incarnation of a prosperous breadth of history.

Top Vietnamese food - Pho

Pho is considered the national dish of Vietnam, a must-try food when coming to this S-shaped country. It has been voted by CNN, BBC, and Business Insider as the best dishes in Asia. In 2016, Pho was voted as one of the top 3 most delicious Vietnamese dishes in the world.

The main ingredients of Pho include noodles, broth, thinly sliced ​​beef, and herbs. A qualified broth has to fulfill three strict criteria: firstly, the broth has to be clear to guarantee visual attractiveness; secondly, it has to come with the subtle sweetness extracted from the pork bones slowly cooked for hours; and thirdly, it has to bring up the herby aroma of cinnamon, anise, ginger. When eating Pho, we usually eat with hot sprinkles and spices such as chili sauce and sauté.

Top Vietnamese food - Banh Mi

Culinary experts and international media recognized Banh Mi as the must-try dish when coming to Vietnam. The Guardian of England ranked Banh Mi in second place in the top 10 most delicious and attractive street food in the world. This newspaper once wrote: “There is a little known secret that the best sandwich in the world is not in Rome (Italy), Copenhagen (Denmark) or New York City (USA), but on Vietnamese streets.” David Farley, a BBC travel and food writer, praised Banh Mi as “the best sandwich in the world.”

Banh Mi makes of flour, like the Baguette but smaller, with fillings inside. Typically, the fillings have grilled pork, Vietnamese sausage, pate, egg, herbs, and cucumbers.

Banh Mi is sold in almost every street in Vietnam. Thanks to its simplicity and convenience, Banh Mi has become a familiar breakfast for Vietnamese people.

3. Goi Cuon

Top Vietnamese food - Goi Cuon

Goi Cuon is one of two Vietnamese dishes featured in CNN’s list of the world’s 50 best dishes in 2011. It is a favorite dish in Southern Vietnam.

Goi Cuon is usually made from boiled pork, boiled shrimp, fresh vermicelli, thinly sliced ​​cucumber, long-stemmed chives, split onions, pickled carrots, or chopped green mango, herbs, and lettuce. All the ingredients are then rolled with rice paper. Saigon people like to eat Goi Cuon with black sauce. The habit of using black sauce is the culinary touch between Vietnamese and Chinese.

4. Bun Bo Hue

Top Vietnamese food - Bun Bo Hue

In an episode of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” on CNN, the famous American chef said: “Hue beef noodle is the best soup in the world.” The Asian Record Organization had also put Hue beef noodles into the top 100 delicious Asian dishes in 2016. This is a popular dish of Hue. Hue beef noodle ingredients include pork leg meat, a piece of boiled pork blood, beef ball, and lemongrass.

To have a good bowl of Hue beef noodles, choosing the ingredients is very important: Beef should be bright red, smooth, and yellow fat. The broth is stewed with beef bones for a naturally sweet taste.

Nowadays, you can enjoy a bowl of Bun Bo Hue anywhere, but a proper bowl must be enjoyed at a roadside restaurant near Trang Tien Bridge, Hue.

5. Mi Quang

Top Vietnamese food - Mi Quang

Mi Quang is a typical dish of Quang Nam, a province known for many famous tourist destinations such as Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary.

Mi Quang is a Vietnamese soup, which has all kinds of proteins that you could think of. For a “special” bowl of Mi Quang, there are noodles, sliced pork, shrimps, and quail eggs. Mi Quang is not complete without a handful of green herbs, crispy “Banh Da” – a type of rice paper that is thick, cracky, and added sesames.

6. Banh Xeo

Top Vietnamese food - Banh Xeo

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese crepe) was one of the Vietnamese dishes participating in the 2016 Street Food Congress (WSFC), which was held in Manila, Philippines. According to CNN, this was one of the most popular street food in the world in 2016. There are two types of Banh Xeo, Banh Xeo of the Mekong Delta people (usually bigger and softer) and Banh Xeo of the Central Vietnam people (smaller and more brittle).

Due to the popularity it has gained among the foodies from all over the world, the fillings have been added to maximize the dining experience. Authentically, however, Banh Xeo is stuffed with pork belly, shrimp, bean sprouts, and mung beans. The “right” Banh Xeo batter is mixed with coconut milk, added garlic chives, and has to be fried in pork fat. Banh Xeo is no good as take-away food as what makes it really stand out is the dining vibes: the constant sizzling noise on the background, the scent of coconut milk, and turmeric powder as well as the vibrant talking of the eaters who gather to share not only food but stories.

Top Vietnamese food - Bun Cha

Bun Cha has been voted CNN’s top 10 delicious summer food, National Geographic’s top 10 best street food in the world, which was more famous after president Obama enjoyed this dish in Hanoi in 2016.

Bun Cha consists of three main parts: dipping sauce, grilled pork, and rice noodle. The success of Bun Cha is determined by the dipping sauce. Sauce to eat Bun Cha is a combination of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, chili, green papaya, and carrots.

Bun Cha is a perfect combination of five flavors: bitter (from herbs and pickled papaya), spicy (from chili), sour (from lemon and vinegar), salty (from grilled pork), and sweet (from meatballs).

Top Vietnamese food - Hu Tieu

For thousands of years of wet rice cultivation, Vietnamese have processed rice into many different dishes, typically noodles, Pho, vermicelli, and Hu Tieu. Hu Tieu is a delicacy born from the essence of rice in one of the largest rice-growing regions in the world: the Mekong Delta.

When being ordered, the cook blanches noodles in a separate pot of boiling water before presenting them in the bowl with blanched bean sprouts, chopped scallions, sliced pork, shrimp, and quail eggs. It is often served with green vegetables and basil.

Top Vietnamese food - Cao Lau

Cao Lau was voted the best street food in Asia by Australia Traveler News. This dish has been mentioned many times by CNN as one of the best dishes in Vietnam. Cao Lau is a specialty of Hoi An ancient town.

A special feature of Cao Lau is the yellow noodles, which make from rice soaked with ash – from trees in Cham Island, Hoi An. It does not need much broth, but instead, Cao Lau must have minced meat, soy sauce, and roasted pork skin.

Cao Lau is often sold in restaurants with two floors, which are hanging red and blue lanterns. Tourists have enjoyed the delicious taste of Cao Lau and the ancient tourist atmosphere of street corners.

10. Vietnamese Coffee

Top Vietnamese food - Vietnamese Coffee

You may not know it, but Vietnam is the second biggest exporter of coffee in the world. And the coffee here is unlike any you’ve ever seen, Vietnamese often drink coffee with condensed milk, coconut, and sometimes with … eggs. Vietnamese coffee is usually Robusta, stronger than any other type of coffee; a cup can make you awake all day.

Vietnamese drink coffee anywhere and anytime, coffee is so popular that you can find coffee shops anywhere for about 15.000 VND (less than 1 dollar).

Tips and notes

1. Watch carefully when crossing the road: As you know, traffic in Vietnam is quite messy, especially in big cities, so always follow closely and obey traffic signals when crossing the road to ensure your safety. Don’t be afraid as it would be a highlighted experience of your travel. You can always follow a local nearby to cross, we are sure they will happy to help.

2. Keep your phone and wallet carefully when visiting crowded attractions: Anyplace in the world has good and bad people, so remember to keep your personal belongings carefully, especially valuable items. If you visit crowded places, it is a good idea to wear your package on your front.

3. Mo torbike Safety: If you are planning to rent a motorbike in Vietnam, you must have an international driving license and always wear a helmet when driving. Make sure to test the bike carefully to see if it fully functions before going on a long trip.

4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: Vietnam is a land with many interesting, strange and unexpected things, especially in cuisine, the street food looks gruesome such as “flipped duck eggs” (aka baluts) or “Bun Dau Mam Tom”, but believe us, they are delicious! Even if it is not tasty for you, it is still a unique experience, isn’t it?

5. Tip or not tip? In Vietnam, there is almost no “tip culture”, in most cases, you don’t need to tip; but at the following services, tips are often accepted: Spa, massage, nails, foot-massage, tour guide: 3 – 5 USD.

6. Saving the phone number of the embassy (or consulate) of your country in Vietnam. An additional copy of passport, travel insurance, and air tickets to provide in case of loss.

Vietnam itineraries

Here are some suggested Vietnam itineraries you can refer to. The itineraries include detailed information on maps, routes, and costs. Click on the images to learn more!

Vietnam itinerary for 10 days

Vietnam travel guide book

Vietnam Travel Guide Book Cover

We would like to recommend a great companion: the Vietnam Travel Guide. The book contains travel information from overview to detail, consists of 6 chapters, 135 pages, which is designed in the form of graphics and visual images.


Vietnam travel FAQs

What zone is vietnam in.

Vietnam is GMT/UTC + 7h during Standard Time  (GMT +7) .

Is Vietnam worth a visit?

As a country that owns beautiful beaches, magnificent natural caves, delicious street food, fascinating history, and unique culture, Vietnam must be on the list of destinations to visit at least once in your lifetime.

What is the main language spoken in Vietnam?

Vietnamese’s native language is known as Vietnamese or the Kinh dialect, which is widely spoken by the majority of the Vietnamese. The language is written in the form of Latin alphabets with the addition of five tones. It may be tricky to learn, however, considered as tourist-friendly compared to other character languages in the area.

Do people in Vietnam speak English?

English is the  common  language in Vietnam. Vietnam ranks  31st  among 72 countries in the world and seventh among 19 Asian countries in English proficiency, according to the latest annual English Proficiency Index released by the Swiss Education First (EF).

Is Vietnam safe for tourists?

Do you know? Vietnam is one of the safest countries in the world. A country without war, without ethnic conflict, without guns, without violence, and without terror. According to a recent survey,  78%  of Vietnamese people feel that their life is  happy  or  very   happy .

What can you buy in Vietnam for 1$?

1 USD  is equivalent to about  23.300 VND , a nutritious breakfast such as Pho or Hu Tieu, 2 cups of coffee, 2 loaves of bread, 4 bus tickets in Ho Chi Minh City, 4 500ml bottles of mineral water,… even a dinner!

How many days do you need in Vietnam?

Two weeks is sufficient time to explore Vietnam’s famous localities, but if you want to enjoy more fully, then four weeks would be ideal; 30 days is also the maximum stay for Vietnam E-Visa.

Is street food safe in Vietnam?

Street food is a Vietnamese specialty, mostly safe, but sometimes you can have a little stomach ache with strange foods. But it’s okay, you are traveling, right?

Should you tip at a restaurant in Vietnam?

To be honest, in Vietnam, we don’t have (or very little) “tip culture”. So if you eat in small or medium eateries, you don’t need to worry about it, just pay the right amount on the menu. Of course, you can tip a small amount if you wish to (we’re sure the server would be happy too) but note that it is not necessary.

Thank you for reading the Vietnam travel guide!


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Reimagining tourism: How Vietnam can accelerate travel recovery

This article is part of the ongoing Future of Vietnam series, which explores key topics that will shape the country’s future growth. Separate articles discuss Vietnam's post-COVID-19 economic recovery , its longer-term growth aspirations  and ways for ecosystem players to win in Vietnam .

Download the Vietnamese translation  (PDF – 2.4MB).

For most players in the travel industry , the idea of vacationers lounging on a beach thousands of miles from home or sailing the high seas seems like a distant memory. Globally, countries experienced a decline of 35 to 48 percent in tourism expenditures last year compared with 2019 . Vietnam, with its ten-month international border closure, has not been exempted.

Tourism contributes a significant share to Vietnam’s GDP, and the economy has relied on domestic travel to buoy the sector. Local tourism resumed shortly after the country ended its relatively brief lockdown—just in time for 2020’s summer holiday season. Our analysis shows that demand for domestic travel in Vietnam will continue to grow and will recover relatively fast because of growing domestic spending: vacationers who cannot yet travel abroad are redirecting their money locally, at a higher level than in 2019.

As Vietnam’s travel sector continues to evolve and as prospects of international travel become increasingly feasible with vaccination rollouts, travel and tourism players have to adapt to survive. This article gives an overview of the state of Vietnam’s tourism sector, looks ahead at how the industry is likely to recover, and maps out a way forward for the country’s travel and tourism companies.

The state of travel in Vietnam today: Staying afloat

Vietnam’s tourism sector relies heavily on international travel, which plunged last year. International flights dropped 80 percent in October 2020 from the same time period a year earlier (Exhibit 1). Hotels, in turn, filled only 30 percent of their rooms.

The sharp drop in foreign travelers has had an outsize impact on tourism expenditures—and Vietnam’s overall economy—because they spend significantly more than their local counterparts. In 2019, a year in which the tourism industry accounted for 12 percent of the country’s GDP, 1 “Total revenue from tourists in the period of 2008–2019,” Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, May 29, 2020, vietnamtourism.gov.vn. international travelers made up only 17 percent of overall tourists in Vietnam, yet accounted for more than half of all tourism spending—averaging $673 per traveler compared with $61 spent on average by domestic travelers (Exhibit 2). The tourism sector created 660,000 jobs between 2014 and 2019, 2 Global Economic Impact & Trends 2020 , World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), June 2020, wttc.org. and this sharp expenditure dive has also stunted the country’s food and beverage and retail industries.

As a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of international tourism may be far off, the travel sector’s short-term revival could depend on local tourism. In 2019, Vietnamese tourists spent $15.5 billion, of which $5.9 billion flowed overseas. The majority of tourists are unable to leave the country, so they are looking domestically to scratch their travel itch. Travel companies should therefore rise to the occasion and capture value from this opportunity.

Looking ahead: Vietnam’s tourism industry can recover by 2024 if it implements a zero-case-first approach

Even with favorable tailwinds driven by domestic tourism, Vietnam will be dependent on international markets, which represent around $12 billion in spending. The majority of Vietnam’s international tourists come from Asian countries, with those from China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan accounting for around 80 percent of Vietnam’s foreign tourism spending. Vietnam’s strong economic ties with these countries could lead to a relatively fast tourism-industry recovery compared with other key tourist destinations in Europe and North America (Exhibit 3).

To make the most of these ties, Vietnam has been pursuing a zero-case-first strategy  since the start of the pandemic. This strategy is associated with markets in which COVID-19 transmission rates are low and—as a result—traveler confidence, at least on a domestic level, is relatively high.

By implementing the zero-case-first approach and taking into account Vietnam’s currently resilient local economy and proactive government campaigns, Vietnam’s tourism sector could recover to precrisis levels in 2024 (Exhibit 4).

Under this scenario, three paradigms are changing the way travel companies plan for Vietnam’s recovery:

  • Shifts in tourism behavior could result in high-end domestic trips. With borders remaining closed for outbound travel, an increase in domestic luxury trips could occur as travelers reallocate their budgets. Of course, as noted above, the spending power of domestic tourists is weaker than that of foreign tourists, so this type of travel cannot completely fill the gap created by the lack of international travelers.
  • Price cuts could be used to stimulate demand but aren’t sustainable for the long term. Many travel companies offered discounts in the immediate aftermath of the crisis in order to compete for business and stimulate demand. This may result in price dilution, especially for hotels across the country, and thus may not be a sustainable strategy for the long term.
  • International travel bubbles have to be explored with caution. Currently, Vietnam has strict travel restrictions in place and allows only a select number of weekly international flights for travel by experts and diplomats, who are subject to mandatory quarantine on arrival. Vietnam needs to protect the status quo of having near-zero rates of COVID-19 cases and cannot risk opening its borders freely until herd immunity is reached, most likely through mass vaccinations. Thus, it could take some time before inbound foreign tourism returns at scale. In the meantime, there might be some opportunity to pursue more gradual and less risky measures. For instance, there have been discussions about establishing travel bubbles to allow travel between other countries with zero or near-zero transmissions, such as Australia, China, and Singapore. Travel companies should be prepared for two scenarios: one in which travel bubbles open up for inflows of international tourists, and the other in which domestic tourism remains the main driver of value.

Six actions to jump-start Vietnam’s tourism recovery

As travel companies reimagine their pathways to recovery, it is important to address the risks and anxieties related to COVID-19, while also solving for the pain points and trends that existed before the crisis. Below are six steps that Vietnam, and other countries operating in a zero-case-first market approach, can take as they embark on this road to recovery.

Focus on domestic travelers

Local demand can be revitalized by focusing on emerging destinations with the joint cooperation of local governments, online travel agencies, attractions, hotels, and airlines. Outdoor tourism that involves sunshine, beaches, mountains, and nature were among the top choices for Vietnamese travelers after the lockdown was lifted in mid-May last year, and airports at the two big travel hubs of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi were busy. To further tap into the domestic opportunity, operators will have to focus on affordability while striving to maintain high-quality products and experience.

Consider new pricing models to rebuild demand

Rebuilding demand and propelling volume, through discounts and presales, are key tactics during the early stages of recovery, especially for high-end operators that will not be able to tap into international demand for some time. However, the crisis has also forced operators to set aside their existing commercial playbooks. Historical booking patterns and trends normally used as key reference points for price optimization and yield management may no longer be as relevant. In this context of depleted demand, the paradox is that while price cuts are necessary, they could also be dangerous. In this light, companies can also explore opportunities to bundle products—which can offer upselling and cross-selling opportunities—as well as diversify their revenue stream and enhance premium product and pricing.

Five-star hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, for example, can provide full “staycation” packages for families, complete with home pickup by luxury car, a suite, and discounts on food and drinks. Tourism companies and hotels could work together to provide end-to-end travel packages that include flights, train tickets, limousine and bus services, and accommodations. Other companies could capitalize on booming demand for luxury and outdoor activities, such as yacht tours or farm stays.

As demand grows and confidence increases, operators will naturally be inclined to revert to a more dynamic pricing model, based on indicators such as hotel occupancy and domestic-air-travel passenger numbers—and how they grow toward achieving prepandemic levels. That will then give companies an opportunity to refine optimal pricing mechanisms, especially around key domestic holidays such as Tet (the Vietnamese New Year). This is not something that all countries are getting right. Many hotels in Germany , for example, missed pricing or revenue-management opportunities when demand for summer travel reemerged last year.

In the future, dynamic pricing models and the revenue-management function will need to be revisited, based on three new axioms: traveler segments will not be the same for a long period of time and will be a stronger and more diverse domestic mix; demand elasticities will be different, with health concerns playing a more influential role in decision making; and demand will remain very volatile, as observed in Vietnam during the Tet holiday this year, when a small spike in COVID-19 cases led to a big drop in bookings and travel demand throughout the country.

The time for digital (really) is now

Even before the pandemic, consumer reliance on digital for travel-related bookings had been growing. In 2018, online travel activity made up 19 percent of the total tours and activity market size. The pandemic has made the adoption of mobile and digital tools even more essential. Strategic collaborations—such as online travel agencies providing ticket-booking services via instant messaging and social-media platforms—could offer an opportunity for increased market penetration.

At the same time, travel companies should revamp their online touchpoints and experiences to improve customer experience. This is already starting to happen: the website of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has virtual tours for its most popular destinations, and some tour guides have organized real-time online tours for international customers. In addition, a commercial titled, “Why not Vietnam” aired on CNN in October 2020 to drive international traffic to the website, and on the domestic level, a reality show with the same name offered up weekly online travel photo contests to engage viewers.

Furthermore, companies could also think about placing digital tools in new places within the customer journey. They must recognize that factors promoting customer loyalty may have changed; near-term uncertainty may mean, for example, that the ability to cancel a reservation matters more than brand choice or price. Taking this into account, companies could empower customers to build their own itineraries using connected digital tools that make it easier for them to modify or cancel their plans. Solutions and policies that provide choice and control will help build the long-term trust and confidence necessary to get travelers back on the road and in the air.

Lay the groundwork for inbound demand

To capture early outbound demand, travel players could benefit from tracking the development of travel bubbles. This is especially relevant for Vietnam, as the majority of tourists to Vietnam are from nearby regions with strong economic ties and relatively low transmission rates. As stated earlier in this article, our analysis finds that nearby countries such as China, Malaysia, and Thailand could provide inbound expenditure growth of at least the CAGR between 2020 and 2025 (Exhibit 3).

In this context, travel companies will need to be flexible and nimble to capture early international-travel demand—and should be prepared to implement strict health and safety protocols that fulfill the stipulations of both domestic and destination security policies. That said, betting on travel bubbles cannot in itself be a strategy in the short term, as international arrivals are expected to remain low in 2021, and foreign demand will not return to 2019 levels before 2025.

Reinvent the traveler’s experience beyond accommodation—and ‘redistribute’ tourism investments toward unconventional and more diverse destinations

Globally, travelers are personalizing their trips through destination adventures. Tourism spending is shifting away from accommodation to activities—a trend that holds true for Vietnam. According to a report released by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, Vietnamese travelers have allocated smaller budgets for accommodation in the past few years, accounting for approximately 15 percent of travel expenditures in 2019, down from 23 percent in 2011.

Instead of spending on luxury accommodations, travelers are saving money for destination experiences. Many tourists are booking activities before they travel, which suggests the in-destination experience has a bigger impact in the overall tourist decision-making process. Many adventure activities, such as cave discovery, highland hiking, isolated island stays, water sports, and food festivals have become the main reason for travelers to visit a destination in the first place.

In Vietnam, examples of efforts aimed at developing a distinct experience—rather than specific infrastructures—have emerged recently, such as the development of Ho Chi Minh City’s “night economy,” and diversified marketing from the Binh Duong province to spotlight its festivals as main attractions. VNAT is also participating in this effort, specifically making farm stays in mountainous areas an axis for the development of more indigenous experiences. Meanwhile, other regions are also marketing unique experiences: Dalat is promoting its hiking and camping attractions, Mui Ne its golf and water sports, and Ninh Binh and Phong Nha-Ke Bang their nature activities.

Local operators, who often lag behind big travel companies in terms of resources but are more agile in organizing personalized activities, can leverage increasingly popular online players to connect directly with customers and provide these options. International online travel agencies such as TripAdvisor, as well as closer-to-home players such as Traveloka  and Triip.me, have been building dedicated “experience” platforms to inspire users and allow them to choose the most suitable tours by providing a range of attractive options for destination adventures. Tourism companies could shift their efforts away from building resorts and selling sightseeing tickets to designing exceptional activities and leverage these platforms to take advantage of travel-experience trends.

Reimagine government’s role in tourism

In most countries, reinventing the tourism industry will involve industry professionals working in concert with industry groups and governments . Vietnamese tourism administrators have an exciting opportunity to reimagine their roles and lead the sector through recovery and beyond—first, by boosting domestic demand to make up for lost income from international travelers, and second, by promoting Vietnam’s image as a country that has managed the pandemic fairly well. To do this, three things should occur:

  • In the short term, government and industry associations need to ensure the survival of operators. The government can experiment with new and sustainable financing options such as hotel revenue pooling, in which a subset of hotels operating at higher occupancy rates share revenue with others. This would allow hotels to optimize variable costs and reduce the need for government stimulus plans.
  • In the midterm, government-backed digital and analytic transformation is necessary, especially to level the playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises, which made up more than 50 percent of travel suppliers in 2018. Encouraging and helping local operators adjust to the demand for online travel services is critical to help them stay competitive. Government can play a vital role as a matchmaker, connecting suppliers to distributors and intermediaries to create packages attractive to a specific segment of tourists, and then use tourist engagement to provide further analytical insights to travel intermediaries. This ability allows online travel agents to diversify their offerings by providing more experiences off the beaten track. The Singapore Tourism Analytics Network (STAN) and the Tourism Exchange Australia (TXA) platforms are examples of how this mechanism can work at scale.
  • Finally, Vietnam has a solid opportunity to boost its stature as an adventure destination. Governments and industry associations can leverage the overall momentum of the country, as well as the expected return of international travel, to boost demand. Our analysis finds that in the Asia–Pacific region, adventure remains the leading travel trend searched by travelers, so Vietnam is well positioned to leverage this trend. Similarly, investments are also expected to shift away from mega development projects, such as Phu Quoc and Nha Trang, toward small- and medium-scale projects and cities that offer specialized offerings like sports tourism, medical tourism, and even agricultural tourism.

Travel players in Vietnam can seek to accelerate the industry’s recovery by capturing emerging growth opportunities domestically as they gradually rebuild international travelers’ confidence. Our six steps should set the stakeholders in Vietnam’s travel industry in the right direction and help them thrive in the tourism economy of the future .

Margaux Constantin is a partner in McKinsey’s Dubai office; Matthieu Francois is an associate partner in the Ho Chi Minh City office, where Thao Le is a consultant.

The authors wish to thank Celine Birkl, Bruce Delteil, and Alex Le for their contributions to the article.

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  • Virtual travel to Trang An Landscape Complex

Virtual exhibition about Trang An Landscape Complex on Google Arts & Culture has officially been launched on 18th April 2024, created by the Management Board of Trang An Landscape Complex with the support from Google Arts & Culture and UNESCO World Heritage.


The electic scenery of limestone mountains and the golden shade of ripe rice fields, historical and cultural relics or the breathtaking beauty of the magical cave system in Trang An Landscape Complex (Ninh Binh) have been on air via the digital platform of Google Arts & Culture. The exhibition includes vivid, high-resolution photos posted on the Google Arts & Culture - a place known as a "virtual museum" that preserves and promotes the cultural and artistic quintessence of humanity.

In 2014, Trang An Landscape Complex was the first mixed heritage site in Southeast Asia to be recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site with three protected areas: the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape, and the Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest.


The virtual exhibition on the Google Arts & Culture platform gives visitors excellent perspectives of Trang An Landscape Complex - one of the most attractive destinations of Vietnam. In this land, visitors can witness with their own eyes the magnificent million-year limestone mountains and the pristine caves containing archaeological evidence from ancient ages.

Or visitors can free their souls in the picturesque natural scenery of golden rice fields beside the gently winding Ngo Dong river, to fully capture the brilliant colourful picture: the yellow of ripe rice, the green of tropical rainforests, the grey of limestone cliffs and the blue of the sky.

In addition to the magnificent natural landscapes, historical and cultural relics in Hoa Lu ancient capital such as King Dinh Tien Hoang Temple, Vu Lam Palace, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Bich Dong Pagoda... are hotspots not to be missed when coming to Trang An.


Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Located just 20 minutes by car from Trang An . Back in time, Hoa Lu was once the capital of the country. This historical site has now become a famous tourist spot There are 47 historical relics belonging to different dynasties, such as the Dinh, Le, and Ly dynasties, including King Dinh Tien Hoang Temple, King Dinh’s Tomb, King Le Dai Hanh Temple and Tomb, and King Ly Thai To Memorial Stele House.

Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape


The area has two main types of ecosystems: the limestone ecosystem and the aquatic ecosystem. A paddleboat tour in Trang An or Tam Coc is highly recommended since some of Ninh Binh’s best sceneries can only be accessed by boat. Boats will paddle you along the gentle streams, in the shadow of enormous, jungle-covered karsts. Visitors would feel overwhelmed by the natural environment here. Full of different animals, mountains, forests, caves, and bodies of water that all get along.

Besides travelling by boat, cycling, walking or trekking are also essential experiences. Attractions include Bich Dong Mountain and Pagoda, Tien Cave, Mua Cave, Co Vien Lau’s ancient residence, and Thai Vi Temple’s Thien Huong Cave. Absorbing tranquillity and admiring the Bich Dong Pagoda. Its ornate gate is one of the most iconic sights in Ninh Binh. A stone bridge spans a large lotus pond, which explodes with bright pink blossoms in the summer.

Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest

The Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest protects the area’s interconnected ecosystems and the many rare plants and animals found there. Another option is to hike Cuc Phuong National Park. Just only an hour away from Ninh Binh City, Cuc Phuong is one of the oldest national parks in Vietnam.

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