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Things to do in Vietnam

Things to do in  Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam

As chaotic as it is captivating and as fast-paced as it is traditional, Vietnam is a country of contrasts. However, one thing is indisputable—there's no place on earth quite like it. Hanoi, Vietnam's bustling capital, with its atmospheric Hanoi Old Quarter, striking Do Temple, and West Lake, is best explored on foot, by motorbike, cyclo (three-wheeled taxi), or scooter. Hanoi is also a convenient jumping-off point for junk boat cruises on Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Red River Delta, home to remote tribal craft villages. Continuing down the east coast, the Forbidden Purple City in Hué is a glorious reminder of Vietnam's Imperial past; the Old Town of Hoi An—arguably Vietnam's prettiest city—is a hotspot for Vietnamese street food; and Nha Trang is known for its idyllic beaches. Hanoi's southern rival, Ho Chi Minh City, is Vietnam's largest and most modern city in which sightseeing tours reveal cultural treasures such as the Saigon Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Vietnam Cookery Center—great if a cookery course is on your travel menu. Plus, just a short drive away from Ho Chi Min City, the Cu Chi Tunnels are a poignant reminder of the tragedies of the Vietnam War, and the winding canals, lush rice paddies, and traditional villages of the Mekong Delta stretch all the way to border of Cambodia, allowing you to continue your South East Asia adventure with ease.

Top 15 attractions in Vietnam

Cu Chi Tunnels

Built by the Viet Cong in the 1940s as protection from French air raids during the Indochina conflict, the Cu Chi Tunnels extend underground for more than 155 miles (250 kilometers) in the vicinity of Ho Chi Minh City alone. This network of subterranean passageways later provided vital access to and strategic control over the rural areas surrounding the city during the Vietnam War (also known as the Second Indochina War or the American War), when the tunnels housed living quarters, hospitals, booby traps, and storage facilities for the Viet Cong.More

Marble Mountains

One of Da Nang’s top attractions, the five outcrops that make up central Vietnam’s Marble Mountains (Ngũ Hành Sơn) each are named after a different element: fire, wood, metal, water and earth. Visit the mountains to take in views of the landscape, to explore caves, Buddhist and Hindu grottoes, pagodas, and shrines, and even to shop.More

Ha Long Bay

A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is renowned for its spectacular scenery. One of the most popular tourist attractions in northern Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is home to sparkling emerald waters, more than 1,600 towering limestone islands and islets, caves, and traditional floating villages.More

Hoi An Ancient Town

Renowned throughout Southeast Asia for its antique charm, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town is a must-see for first-time visitors to Vietnam. The pedestrianized streets provide a calming break from chaotic traffic, while the colorful facades of lantern-clad houses harbor history that dates back more than 2,000 years.More

Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old Quarter, a triangular area surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake, has been the cultural heart of Hanoi for nearly 2,000 years. Daily routine starts early and builds to a friendly bustle in this ancient neighborhood, where streets have distinct character and are named after the crafts once made there, such as silver, silk, and paper.More

Surprise Cave (Hang Sung Sot)

Amid the lush islands and karst cliffs of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay; Surprise Cave (Hang Sung Sot) is one of the most memorable highlights. The bay’s largest cave earned its name for its startling natural scenery—a trio of immense caverns adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, and karst formations.More

Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh, located in the Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam, is an ideal base for exploring the nearby karst scenery, particularly at Tam Coc (Three Caves). At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, limestone formations tower above verdant rice paddies in what is considered one of Vietnam’s most spectacular areas.More

Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

Over a century old, the Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon is a national landmark due to its neoclassical French architecture and Gothic embellishments. Home to the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra, the opera house also hosts the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Ballet, and both traditional and modern local productions.More

My Son Sanctuary

Visit the ruins of ancient towers and temples on the emerald hills of central Vietnam at the My Son Sanctuary (Mỹ Sơn), a complex of brick and stone temples built by Hindu Cham kings between the fourth and 13th centuries. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site makes an easy day trip from Hoi An or Da Nang.More

Hue Citadel (Dai Noi)

The renowned Hue Citadel (Da Noi) in Hue attracts history buffs from around the globe. The sprawling fortress, which was constructed in 1804 for the Gia Long Emperor, is surrounded by a 68-foot (21-meter) defensive barrier and is home to the tallest flagpole in Vietnam.More

Lan Ha Bay (Vinh Lan Ha)

Remote Lan Ha Bay (Vịnh Lan Hạ), situated off the southeast coast of Cat Ba Island, is an idyllic spot and quieter alternative to the popular and often busy Halong Bay. The area features some 300 karst islands and limestone outcrops, as well as several white-sand beaches. Active travelers come here for swimming, rock climbing, hiking, and kayaking.More

War Remnants Museum (Bao Tang Chung Tich Chien Tranh)

A must-visit when in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City’s War Remnants Museum (Bảo Tàng Chứng Tích Chiến Tranh) is a poignant reminder of the horrors of war. The grounds house American planes, tanks, helicopters, and weaponry captured during the Vietnam War. Pictorial displays cover everything from the My Lai Massacre to the traumas of Agent Orange and the work of war correspondents.More

Hon Mun Island

One of a cluster of islands that stud Nha Trang Bay, Hon Mun island is the epicenter of the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area. Spanning 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of protected ocean, the zone is home to colorful coral and marine life. Visit to snorkel one of Vietnam’s favorite underwater spots.More

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

The art form of water puppetry originated at least 1,000 years ago in the rice fields of north Vietnam. Particularly if you’re traveling with kids, you’d be remiss to leave Hanoi without catching a show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. A Vietnamese orchestra accompanies the water puppets, with some modern special effects.More

Thien Mu Pagoda

The 7-story Thien Mu Pagoda towers over the banks of the Perfume River (Song Huong River). The pagoda, which sits among the buildings of a Buddhist monastery, became known as a site for anticommunist protests after Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist clergy member, self-immolated and brought attention to the plight of his people.More

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Top activities in Vietnam

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All about Vietnam

When to visit

Typhoons, monsoons, and drastic differences in regional climates mean that a trip to Vietnam takes more planning than most countries. The far north avoids humid summers and monsoons, while central and south are generally sunny during winter, when the beaches beckon. Keep in mind that much of the country vacations during Tet (Vietnamese New Year) in January or February.

People Also Ask

What are 2 famous attractions in Vietnam?

Two famous Vietnam attractions are Halong Bay, in the north near Hanoi, and the Cu Chi Tunnels, in the south near Ho Chi Minh City. The former is a UNESCO-protected landscape of forested cliffs near emerald waters; the latter is a network of underground tunnels used in the Vietnam War.

Is Vietnam safe to visit?

Your personal safety and health are likely not at risk in Vietnam. That said, petty theft is common in both towns and cities, as is bribery and corruption (always agree on a price beforehand). It’s encouraged that you leave your valuables at home or in a safe at your hotel, and always keep a close eye on your purse or bag when venturing into crowded areas.

How can I have fun in Vietnam?

How you have fun in Vietnam depends on where you travel in the diverse, varied country. Experience modern life in spots like Ho Chi Minh City, go off-grid in a national park, explore old French resort towns like Da Lat, and tour the Central Highlands in search of great coffee.

Is Vietnam a good place for tourists?

With comparatively cheap prices and loads to do and see, Vietnam is a great country for tourists. Food, lodging, and transport are all a fraction of the cost compared to many destinations, and getting from city to city is easy. With both mountains and coastline, the country is scenic, too.

What is the most visited place in Vietnam?

Vietnam doesn’t keep strict visitation numbers, but a few of the top places include Halong Bay, a UNESCO-protected landscape of emerald, cliff-lined waters; Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s metropolitan juggernaut in the south; the Mekong Delta, famous for its slower pace of life; and Hanoi, the country’s capital city.

What traditions do the Vietnamese have?

The Vietnamese have a rich, storied culture with roots linking back to Confucianism, Buddhism, and Catholicism. They also have many traditions, from honoring deceased family members with holidays to celebrating the Lunar New Year (aka Tết). Many weddings are traditional, with tea ceremonies and candle rituals making up the festivities.


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