29 Unique & Beautiful Places to Visit in Vietnam (+ Tips from a Local)

by Jackie
Published: Updated:
A river with sampan boats flows between green fields and limestone karsts in Ninh Binh, one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

When planning a trip to Vietnam, the top question comes up – Where are the best places to visit in Vietnam? 

Whether it’s your first time visiting Vietnam or a return trip, it’s a tough question since Vietnam is a long S-shaped country. There are many factors involved on where to visit in Vietnam such as the amount of time in the country, personal preferences on things to do, weather, travel budget, and much more. 

Even though we’ve lived long-term in Vietnam for over 4 years and had a chance to explore a lot of Vietnam cities from North to South, there are too many epic and pretty places to see in this country. 

Without further ado, here are the 29 unique and beautiful places to visit in Vietnam. These are our favorite Vietnam destinations to visit from North, Central, to South Vietnam. We’re ranging from the popular, must-visit touristy cities to the off-the-beaten locations, pretty islands, hiking spots, and more. We’re also sharing fun things and bucket list activities to do in each of the cities and other helpful travel tips.

This post is a work in progress as we’ll continue to add more places when we travel around the country. 

Let’s bring out the wanderlust and get you excited for your future trip to Vietnam. 

To help you navigate this post more efficiently, click on the following links to jump to certain sections of Vietnam’s best places to visit. 

Before reading on where to go in Vietnam, check out Vietnam travel posts to help with your planning:

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you. Appreciate the support.

Map of Where to Go in Vietnam

Map of the best places to visit in Vietnam

Click on the map to see a larger view of the top places to visit in Vietnam. Credit: Map data: Google

Must Visit Places in Vietnam

1. Hanoi 

A trip to Vietnam would not be complete without visiting the capital city, Hanoi (Hà Nội in Vietnamese). It’s a fantastic starting point for any Vietnam itinerary as an introduction to the country. 

Most visitors stay in the Old Quarter area. It’s a bustling area to wander through the small shops for souvenirs and shopping. You’ll notice that each street specializes in something such as toys, silk, bamboo, etc. You can also wander around to try street food and hang out at the cafes. Just be careful when you’re crossing the street as the cars and motorbikes will not stop for you. 

Stop by the iconic spots such as Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh, the main proponent of Communism, is embalmed, and Ho Kiem Lake in the center of the city. Other cultural places to visit include Tran Quoc Pagoda, The Temple of Literature, and One Pillar Pagoda. One of the coolest experiences is to see a train pass by when relaxing at a cafe along Train Street. 

From here, you can visit other areas of Northern Vietnam by train or overnight bus.

2. Halong Bay

Halong Bay (Hạ Long Bay) is a famous place to visit in North Vietnam. Located in Quang Ninh Province, it’s recognized as one of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visitors take a day trip, overnight, or a multi-day (2-3 days) cruise on a junker and travel through the limestone karst of the bay. 

While a day trip along Halong Bay is doable, it’s recommended to spend at least one night on the boat. It’s what we did! You don’t want to feel rushed with this amazing bucket list experience.

As the junker sails around Halong Bay (our cruise went around Bai Tu Long area) sit on a lawn chair on the deck of the junker and watch hundreds of limestone karst of different sizes pass by. It’s a peaceful experience and a much-needed rest as you’ve traveled through Vietnam already. 

Since we participated in a 2 day/1 night tour, there is a kayak/swimming opportunity in the afternoon. While it’s only an hour, it’s a fun way to get some exercise after sitting on the junker. Also could do a short hike through the Thien Canh Son Cave. On the second day, you’ll sit in a sampan and pass through the Vung Vieng fishing village, fishing farm, and pearl farm. 

Taking a cruise isn’t cheap, especially if taking a luxury cruise. Expect to pay around $200 USD per person for a 2-day excursion. Yet it’s worth the splurge as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Plus, the fresh seafood caught daily is delicious. 

If you have the time and want to experience a less touristy area of Halong Bay, head to Cat Ba Island. 

One of the top reasons to visit Vietnam is to see the gorgeous Halong Bay with the limestone karst and the opportunity to stay overnight on a junker boat.

Halong Bay is a top destination to visit in Vietnam. Photo credit: SimonDannhauer via Depositphotos.com

3. Hue

Hue is the ideal city to visit in Vietnam if you’re a history buff. While we only had one day to spend in Hue, it’s an opportunity to explore the UNESCO-recognized Imperial City and wander through the various palaces and pagodas. You’ll need a few hours up to half a day to explore a lot of the Imperial City. Thien Mu Pagoda and Khai Dinh Tomb are two additional places to not miss in Hue.  

A unique place to visit is the Thuy Tien Lake Abandoned Water Park. While it’s technically not allowed to enter, you can pay a small fee to the guard to enter. You’ll get some incredible (maybe eerie?) photos here.

Hue has some incredible street food. Don’t miss trying steamed rice cakes (bánh bèo) and beef noodle soup (bún bò Huế) as they originated from this area. 

We can’t wait to return for a longer trip to Hue and explore other areas of the Thua Thien Hue Province. 

Colorful Hien Nhon Gate (East Gate) which leads to the Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam

Hue is the perfect city to visit to learn about Vietnam’s history. Photo credit: efired via Depositphotos.com

4. Danang

Danang (Đà Nẵng) is one of the top places to visit in Vietnam for a blend of coastal beach life and city life. It’s considered the fifth largest city in Vietnam, so you’ll have tons of things to do here. 

Hanging out on the My Khe beach is a good place to relax. A more adventurous activity is walking up the stairs to reach the Marble Mountains in southern Danang. There are also lots of pagodas and good street food to try. 

If you’re a fan of theme parks, add the Sun World Ba Na Hills to the list so you can see the iconic Golden Bridge of two giant hands holding up the walkway. Check out our experience visiting Ba Na Hills here. 

Another recommended theme park is Sun World Danang Wonders which is a mini Disney World Epcot with the theme of international countries. You’ll see the giant Ferris wheel when you’re in the center of the city. There are also more thrill rides here versus at Ba Na Hills. Read our Sun World Danang Wonders travel guide here. 

Danang is a central hub to visit other areas in Central Vietnam such as Hue and Hoi An. One of the coolest things to do is to ride a motorbike along the Hai Van Pass. It’s a bucket list adventure to ride through the windy roads from Danang or Hoi An to Hue. If you can’t drive a motorbike, it’s not a problem as you can join a motorbike tour or car tour to experience this.

Check out our 3 days in Danang itinerary for ideas on what to do. 

The Dragon Bridge in Danang, Vietnam glows a bright yellow and different colors and has a purple and pink skies during sunset.

Danang is a top city to visit during your Vietnam travels. Photo credit: richie0703 via Depositphotos.com

5. Hoi An

Located in Quang Nam Province and near Danang, Hoi An (Hội An) is a swoonworthy and beautiful destination to visit in Vietnam. The picturesque yellow buildings, colorful lanterns, and cobblestone roads attract many visitors. We can see why it received the UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition due to its preservation of the Ancient Town, a former port area. 

Walking through the Ancient Town is the highlight of visiting Hoi An. Due to Hoi An’s former trading area, there are lots of influences in the building facades from Chinese, Japanese, and European countries. If you love architecture, then this is a place to visit!

Also, cars and motorbikes are not allowed in Ancient Town, so you won’t get disturbed when browsing boutique shops with handicrafts and souvenirs. The only thing to watch out for is the cyclos (part bicycle-part carriage) passing by on the narrow roads. 

Hoi An is the place to get tailored clothes and shoes done. Whether you need a business suit, dress, shirts, or shoes done to your style, spend a few days here to get customized clothes. 

At night, the streets illuminate with multi-colored silk lanterns around the walking area. You’ll get the popular night shot of the lanterns here. You can ride a boat along the Thu Bon River and release a candle lantern in the waters for good luck. (Although, we would advise that since it litters the riverside.)

There are also a few night markets that sell touristy souvenirs such as dresses, Hawaiian shirts, hats. Since the same printed materials are used, your family can be stylish and have a matching set. 

If you’re short on time, you can visit Hoi An as a day trip from Danang. It’s a short 30-40 minute car ride away. 

Hoi An, Vietnam is a charming city with yellow buildings and a river that has boats.

Hoi An Ancient Town is a popular spot to visit in Vietnam. Photo credit: efired via Depositphotos.com

6. Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (Hồ Chí Minh and referred to as Saigon and HCMC) is the vibrant, super busy city in South Vietnam that never sleeps. With a population of 9 million people, it’s a BIG city. Many tourists tend to overlook Ho Chi Minh City in their itineraries, yet, there are so many fun touristy attractions and nighttime activities to experience.

If HCMC is your first visit to Southeast Asia, you’ll experience memorable “firsts” – crossing the street with oncoming vehicles coming towards you, seeing motorbikes and cars navigating the roads without traffic lights, sharing the sidewalks with motorbikes, and much more. It’s a bit chaotic yet we love it which is why we’ve stayed in HCMC for over 3 years!

Ho Chi Minh has some of the prettiest buildings with French-influenced architecture. Check out the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral (still in restoration), Opera House, Tan Dan Church (a pink church), and City Hall (the building behind Uncle Ho Statue on Nguyen Hue Walking Street.) 

Other iconic landmarks include the Independence Palace, War Remnant Museum, Cafe Apartment, Saigon Skydeck, and Landmark 81, the tallest building in HCMC with 81 floors.  

Foodies will love the food options in HCMC. You can get any type of Vietnamese cuisine and street food at local restaurants or sidewalk kiosks. They’re plentiful and available at any time of the day, even at 3:00am if you have the munchies. If you miss eating Western food or international cuisines, HCMC has delicious options to try. Check out our food posts with recommendations: Burgers, Desserts, Pizzas, Japanese food, and Vegetarian/Vegan Options

Depending on how much time you have here, check out our recommendations on how to spend one day, 3 days, and 5+ days in HCMC

Related: What to do in HCMC during the rainy season 

Ho Chi Minh bronze statue with a beige French style building in the backdrop

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

7. Ben Tre

Ben Tre (Bến Tre) is one of the best day trips to take from Ho Chi Minh City. Located along the Mekong Delta, this capital city of Ben Tre Province is known for growing the most delicious coconuts in the country

If you see signs for dừa xiêm anywhere, these are the small, young coconut with the sweetest coconut water. You must try them, especially on a hot, humid day. 

Many tourists head to Ben Tre for a day tour as it’s the closest city to Ho Chi Minh City to explore the Mekong Delta. 

A typical one day Mekong Delta tour consists of visiting a coconut candy factory (definitely buy the coconut candy as souvenirs), tasting fresh honey and honey tea from a local honey farm, riding a sampan along the Mekong River, catching snakeheads, freshwater fish, in the muddy waters for lunch, learning about the Coconut Monk, listen to traditional music, and much more. 

It’s touristy, yet it’s a fun introduction to the Mekong Delta and to see endless coconut trees in the area.

Rowers wearing conical hats row their wooden sampan boats ride along Ben Tre, one of the top places to visit in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.

Ben Tre is a special place to visit to experience life along the Mekong Delta.

Beautiful Places in Vietnam

8. Sapa

Sapa (Sa Pa) is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam! It’s the perfect destination if you want a mix of breathtaking landscapes, relaxing, and trekking through the ethnic villages

Located in Lao Cai Province, many locals and tourists flock to Sapa from Hanoi to witness the golden rice terraces and harvest during the late August/September time frame. Yet, it’s still a gorgeous place to visit and see the green rice terraces during the other months of the year. 

Hiking Sapa is one of the highlights of the area. Adventure travels will love to spend at least 2-3 days trekking through the rice fields, pass through ethnic villages, and enjoy the scenery. We recommend exploring Lao Chai and Ta Van Valley, although Cat Cat Village is also a popular trail to visit. 

You get the chance to stay overnight at homestays, meet and interact with the owners and family of the homestays, and enjoy a home-cooked meal with them. It’s a meaningful experience to interact with the locals. 

Read our blog on trekking tips for Sapa so you can be fully prepared. 

An ambitious and challenging hike to conquer is Fansipan Mountain. It’s the highest peak in Vietnam at 3,143 meters (10,312 feet). Allocate 1-2 days to reach Fansipan’s summit (or take the cable car up). Check out our experience on how to hike Fansipan in 1 day here.

Otherwise, plenty of breathtaking ecolodges overlook the rice terraces and is perfect for relaxing for a few days. 

Read our post on how to spend 3 days in Sapa, including restaurant picks and where to stay.

Afternoon sun shines on the rice terraces in Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa’s mountains and rice terraces are gorgeous to see in person.

9. Ninh Binh 

Ninh Binh (Ninh Bình) is a popular place to visit in Vietnam. It’s referred to as “Halong Bay on land” due to the beautiful limestone karsts in the Trang An Grottoes area and the jaw-dropping rice fields and landscapes.

You may also recognize Ninh Binh as one of the main filming locations for the Hollywood movie, “Kong.”

The top things to do in Ninh Binh include riding a sampan along the Trang An area and watching the landscape pass by and wandering through the numerous temples such as the photogenic Hang Mua temple and Bich Dong Pagoda. This area is also perfect to spend the day cycling through the rice fields and seeing a calmer lifestyle.  

We visited Ninh Binh Province on our first trip to Vietnam. Although it was a quick day trip from Hanoi, we would love to return to spend a few more days here. 

A blonde woman wears a white dress and is walking along the stairs with the Hang Mua viewpoint in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Ninh Binh is a memorable destination to visit in Vietnam since it’s so pretty here. Photo credit: Jessica May via Scopio Photos

10. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Want to visit the “Adventure Capital of Asia”? Head to Phong Nha, home of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, and located in Quang Binh Province. It’s a beautiful area with the Son River flowing through the town and the tall limestone mountains in the backdrop. 

The must-thing to do in Phong Nha is to wander through caves and see stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over many years. There are over 500 caves to explore in the national park! The most popular ones are Paradise Cave and Phong Nha Cave which are more accessible. 

The adventure travelers will love going on multi-day caving and trekking tours to explore hidden caves. Oxalis Adventure and Jungle Boss are two companies that offer tours. 

We personally loved going on Oxalis’s Hang En Cave 2-day trek and staying overnight in the world’s third-largest cave. It’s a memorable experience trekking through the jungle and scrambling through the dark cave areas. 

A bucket list trek is hiking to Son Doong, the world’s largest cave to see the natural ecosystem and unique views. You’ll need to save up some money since this trek is $3,000 USD per person. 

Other fun adventures that do not include caves are hiking through the Botanic Garden to see a waterfall, taking a motorbike or bicycle to see the rural areas of Bong Lai Valley, and kayaking. 

Otherwise, you’re more than welcome to relax on a hammock next to the river and lounge around for the day.

Read this Phong Nha itinerary on how to spend 2-4 days here. 

Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, sit on the swing with a view of the Son River in Phong Nha, Vietnam

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is a gorgeous place to visit during your Vietnam trip.

11. Dalat

Dalat (Đà Lạt) is such a refreshing area to add to your Vietnam itinerary. It’s one of our favorite places in Vietnam to spend a weekend. Due to the location in the Central Highlands mountain range, it’s much cooler than the rest of South Vietnam. You will need to bring a jacket and wear long pants. The chances of rain are also higher here. 

Dalat is known for its fresh produce and fruits. You can visit a farm to pick fresh fruits or head to the main Night Market area to buy the produce. We’ve visited a few times and there are a few staple items of artichokes, strawberries, and avocados. As a heads up, do not touch the produce unless you plan to buy them. Otherwise, the seller will yell at you.

The main Dalat City has tons of things to do such as visit Botanical Gardens, go coffee shop hopping, see some French-inspired architectural buildings, and visit the whimsical Crazy House. If you need snacks to bring back home, stop by Langfarm which has tea, dried fruits, candies made with fruit juice, and more. 

Some day trips from Dalat include visiting the pretty waterfalls, such as Pongour, Elephant, Dantala, Tam Tham, and Prenn, and hiking to the peak of Langbiang at 2,167 Meters (7,109 feet). When you leave the main area, you can see how pretty and green the entire area is. 

Read how to spend 3 days in Dalat here. 

Three farmers wearing conical hats work on the farm in Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat is one of the coolest places to visit in Vietnam to see agriculture and nature.

12. Bao Loc

Most tourists haven’t heard of Bao Loc (Bảo Lộc or B’Lao), yet it’s a fun place to visit if you’re a tea lover. Located in Lam Dong Province of the Central Highlands, it’s a good stopping point either before or after visiting the neighboring Dalat City. 

Bao Loc’s green mountains are covered in luscious tea plantations. It’s gorgeous to see in person. The popular store selling tea is Tam Chau where you can try tea and also buy some as souvenirs. The store sells oolong, green, jasmine, and artichoke tea in loose-leaf or tea bags. 

The local tourist attraction is visiting the towering Dambri Waterfall at the Dambri Tourist Area. It also has a neighboring Dasara Waterfall. This is a family-friendly place as there is a swimming pool, Ferris Wheel, and children’s rides available. You can spend the entire day here in this tourist area. 

Another fun place to visit is the Linh Quy Phap An Pagoda to see the sunrise. Since you’re up on the mountain, you can see the sun peek through the clouds. 

Check out the must-do things to do in Bao Loc here. 

Justin Huynh, Life Of Doing, posing next to the Dambri Waterfall.

Dambri Waterfall is a fantastic spot to see a beautiful waterfall in Bao Loc, Vietnam.

13. Con Dao Islands

Con Dao Islands (Côn Đảo) is our little secret of a dreamy destination to visit in Vietnam. Con Dao is made up of an archipelago of 16 islands, while Con Son Island is the largest and habitable one. 

Con Son has some of the cleanest beaches that we’ve seen in Vietnam. We can’t stop raving about the white sand, turquoise water, and trash-free beaches. The must-visit beaches include Nhat Beach or Dam Trau Beach and see the airplanes fly by. 

Some of the other best things to do in Con Dao Islands include visiting the Con Dao prisons and seeing the tiger cages in person, exploring the Con Dao National Park, snorkeling at nearby islands, and relaxing. We can’t stress enough how you must swim in the turquoise waters since it’s the bluest water that we’ve seen in the country!

While there are small, local guesthouses to stay at, splurge at the Six Senses and enjoy the isolated area and private beaches. 

Can Dao Islands in Vietnam is the perfect beach destination The white sandy beaches and the clear blue waters is rare to see in Vietnam.

Con Dao Islands is a beautiful spot to visit in Vietnam as the beaches and waters are clean!

Unique Places to Visit in Vietnam

14. Ly Son Island

Love eating garlic? Head to Ly Son Island (Đảo Lý Sơn) in Quang Ngai Province. This is a small, unique island to visit in Vietnam as it’s well-known for growing the small pearl-shaped garlic and shallots. Since the island is an inactive volcano, the nutrients from the lava and sand provide a gentle flavor to the garlic. 

There are only a handful of noteworthy attractions to visit on Ly Son Island, such as hiking Gieng Tien and seeing a natural arch at To Vo Gate. If you want to hang out at the beach, take a boat ride to the neighboring island, An Binh. The waves are not as rough here yet the waters are so clean and blue!

You have to try the fresh seafood here. It’s one of the memorable places that we’ve eaten for fresh seafood. Choose your seafood and shellfish and have it cooked any way you’d like. Also, don’t forget to eat any dishes with garlic! 

Ly Son doesn’t have a tourism boom yet and it’s a bit challenging to get here. It’s worth the effort to get here to enjoy the untapped area and quietness of this island. 

Read our Ly Son Island travel guide here. 

15. Quy Nhon

Quy Nhon (Quy Nhơn or Qui Nhơn) is one of the most underrated cities to visit in Vietnam. It’s a small, coastal town in Binh Dinh Province with plenty of attractions to keep you busy for a few days. 

Head to the beaches and go snorkeling at Ky Co Beach and visit the historical Cham Towers. The Cham Towers incorporate the Hindu culture from the Cham people and are scattered around Vietnam. The architecture is similar to what you see at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Plus, visiting Eo Gio to see some of the bluest waters in Vietnam is another must-see attraction. 

The tourism infrastructure is still in its infancy so you can enjoy the relaxed vibe here. Plus, there aren’t too many resorts in Quy Nhon yet!

It is hot here, so get up early to join the locals and exercise on the beach or swim in the ocean. The afternoon is best to relax in the air-conditioning cafes and coffee shops.

Check out the top things to do in Quy Nhon here. 

Eo Gio (also called "Windy Waist") is a beautiful place to visit in Quy Nhon, Vietnam. The mountainside juxtaposes with the oceanside which provides a curve shape.

Eo Gio is one of the beautiful and unique spots to check out in Quy Nhon.

16. Bidoup Nui Ba National Park

Bidoup Nui Ba National Park (Vườn quốc gia Bidoup Núi Bà) is not on a typical itinerary, yet it’s a memorable spot to go on a multi-day trek through the forest. Located in the Lam Dong Province, you can combine this visit with Dalat as they’re nearby. 

On your 2 day/1 night trekking tour of Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, you get the chance to travel along the two highest peaks along Langbiang mountain range. The summit is at 2,287 meters (7,503 feet). 

It’s quite an adventure to hike up the mountain as the plant foliage isn’t maintained and is super tall. Plus, there are some steep areas so be careful when hiking. You’ll also need to watch out for leeches as they’ll crawl up the hiking shoes and legs. 

Once you reach the campsite, the tents will be set up and then you can relax and enjoy the BBQ dinner. 

Read our intense trekking experience at Bidoup Nui Ba National Park here. 

17. Nha Trang

Nha Trang, located in Khanh Hoa Province, is a quick getaway from Ho Chi Minh City for some sunshine and beach life

Lounging on the beaches is a must-do when visiting Nha Trang. Nha Trang Beach is the most visited and crowded since it’s easy to access from most guesthouses and resorts. Plus, it stretches over 6 kilometers (3.7 miles). 

Nha Trang is famous for the mud baths and mineral spas so you must try one when you’re here. We loved visiting I-Resort and getting pampered for half a day. The mud bath is relaxing and feels silky smooth. 

Other day trips from Nha Trang City that you can take are visiting VinWonders Nha Trang theme park (also referred to as Vinpearl Nha Trang) or lounge at Hon Tam Island and do water sports. 

Check out what to do in Nha Trang in 3 days here. 

Related: Taking the overnight train from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang 

View of Nha Trang that overlooks the city and the coastline.

Nha Trang has good weather to spend on the beach and outdoors.

18. Mui Ne

Mui Ne (Mũi Né) is a small coastal area in the Phan Thiet City of Binh Thuan Province. We say that it’s the younger sister of Nha Trang since there are lots of beaches, sand, and plenty of relaxation opportunities here. We’ve been here with friends and family and love spending a few days in this area. 

The famous attractions in Mui Ne are the sand dunes. There are the red and white sand dunes and you can either visit them by motorbike or on a Jeep Tour for a sunrise or sunset view. You can rent a metal sheet to slide down the dunes. We recommend the Jeep Tour since you can also stop by the fishing village and walk through a small stream (Fairy Stream). 

Kitesurfing is the main outdoor water sport here. You can take lessons and practice your kitesurfing skills. 

Check out other fun things to do in Mui Ne here. 

If you have an extra day, consider taking a motorbike or a taxi to visit the longest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia at Ta Cu Mountain. This place is located an hour away from Mui Ne. You can either take the cable car or hike the mountain. Check out how to hike Ta Cu Mountain here. 

19. Cat Tien National Park

If you’re itching for some nature, head to Cat Tien National Park (Vườn Quốc Gia Cát Tiên) in the Dong Nai Province. This national park is a decent size at over 70,000 hectares. 

It’s recommended to spend a few days here to enjoy the wildlife on the night safari or sunrise trek to see wild gibbons, nature walks through the forest, and visit ethnic villages. You can also take a boat ride along the Dong Nai River and may see monkeys along the river. All tours are organized through the National Park, so ask your accommodation to help arrange a spot. 

The entire area is quiet and it isn’t crowded with tourists, so you can have the park to yourself!

Check out the other things to do in Cat Tien National Park here. 

Walking in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam with stunning trees surrounding us

Cat Tien National Park is an ideal place to visit in Vietnam for outdoor adventures and nature walks.

20. Ma Da – Tri An 

Ma Da – Tri An (Mã Đà -Trị An) is not on a typical Vietnam itinerary as this attraction is catered to local Vietnamese tourists. Located in Dong Nai Province, this place is perfect for those who want to spend the day outdoors. 

Wandering through the Ma Da Forest is the main highlight since it’s so quiet and beautiful here. You can either run, walk, or cycle through the red clay-colored dirt path. Heads up, the dirt does stain light-colored clothes and shoes. 

Afterward, go stand up paddleboarding (SUP) in the manmade Tri An Lake and cool off from your earlier walk. 

You’ll need to join a local tour group as the infrastructure for foreign tourism is not developed yet. This would be a fun day trip from Ho Chi Minh City if you’re staying in the area long-term and can meet new people. 

Check out our Ma Da Tri An visitor guide here. 

21. An Giang 

An Giang Province is an undiscovered area along the Mekong Delta. This area is at the Cambodia-Vietnam border so you can use it as a border crossing (if permitted). Otherwise, this area doesn’t receive many foreign tourists as it’s far from Ho Chi Minh City (it’ll take 5+ hours by bus one-way). 

The two main cities are – Chau Doc and Long Xuyen. Most of the attractions are nearby the Chau Doc area. 

The top things to do in An Giang Province is to visit the Tra Su Cajuput Forest and take a sampan through the mangrove forest and visit Cam Mountain tourist attraction. There is also a floating market, an area to explore the Cham Village since many of the ethnic Cham people live here, and Masjid Jamiul Azhar Mosque. 

This is one area that we would love to return and explore further. 

Read our An Giang visitor guide on how to spend 1 day here. 

Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, sits under a wooden house with a view of the cajuput forest and river.

Tra Su Cajuput Forest is a gorgeous place to visit in An Giang!

22. Binh Phuoc

Binh Phuoc Province (Bình Phước) is an untapped area of Vietnam that most people haven’t heard about. This area borders Cambodia and is north of Ho Chi Minh City. 

It’s known for growing the best cashews around the country. These cashews are plump and large and often have roasted skin outside which is edible. You’ll see cashew trees everywhere even on the side of the road. It’s cool to see the colorful cashew fruit and nut growing from the bottom of the fruit. 

Tip: Do not eat the raw nut from the fruit as there is a toxic oil called urushiol and you’ll get intense rashes and blisters. 

If you’re in the area, consider hiking up Ba Ra Mountain (White Virgin Mountain) as it’s the third highest peak in South Vietnam at 736 meters (2,415 feet). (The second highest is Chua Chan Mountain in Dong Nai Province.) Currently, the hike isn’t open to the public and you’ll need to make arrangements in advance to visit the summit. The hike is a steep walkway up the mountain to reach the pagoda. You’ll feel the burn in your legs! 

Check out our Ba Ra Mountain hiking guide here. 

23. Cu Chi Tunnels

Technically, Cu Chi is part of Ho Chi Minh City, but on the northern side. Located over 2 hours away from the city center and in the countryside, it’s a popular and unique place to visit in Vietnam to see the underground network of tunnels at Cu Chi Tunnels. 

During the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese soldiers (Viet Cong) lived underground in over 250 kilometers (155miles) of tunnels and used the tunnels for shelter, medical aids, and moving equipment around.

There are two tunnels – Ben Duoc and Ben Dinh, to visit depending on your preference. While you can’t visit the entire tunnel, about 121 kilometers (75 miles) have been preserved for tourists. We’ve visited the Ben Duoc as it contains portions of the original tunnels that the soldiers used. 

Justin Huynh, Life Of Doing, has his hands up while going down one of the holes in Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam.

Cu Chi Tunnels is a popular day trip from Ho Chi Minh City and a recommended spot to experience the underground tunnels.

24. Tay Ninh

Does Tay Ninh Province deserve to be on this list? Yes, it does! 

If you have an extra day in Ho Chi Minh City and love hiking, take a trip to Tay Ninh. It’s located in the countryside and is home to Ba Den Mountain (Black Virgin Mountain), the highest peak in South Vietnam at 986 meters (3,235 feet).

You’ll need up to a half-day to hike this mountain since it’s a strenuous hike up giant boulders. Prepare yourself with lots of water since it is HOT and humid on the trail. Another option is to take the cable car to the peak.

Once you reach the top, you can enjoy the Sun World Ba Den theme park with the colorful flower gardens and topiaries and take a photo with the triangle-shaped summit sign. 

Read more about this Ba Den Mountain day hike here. 

Tay Ninh also has the famous Cao Dao Temple, and you can see the Caodaism religion and the people worshipping. Inside the temple is a must-visit to see the colorful architecture and dragon sculptures. 

25. Vung Tau

Vung Tau (Vũng Tàu) is the capital of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and is a coastal beach town. It’s only two hours away from Ho Chi Minh City which makes it a fantastic spot for a day trip or a weekend trip. 

The area is popular for eating fresh seafood and relaxing on the beaches. To be honest, the beaches are not the cleanest as garbage is in the sand. Yet, you can rent a hammock and relax for an afternoon. 

Vung Tau is surprisingly hilly as there are two mountains – Big Mountain and Small Mountain. Big Mountain has some incredible hiking which we recommend that you do if you know a local. Check out our Big Mountain hiking experience here. Small Mountain has a mini Christ of Jesus statue that you can see. 

Other awesome hikes to do in the area are Dinh Mountain and Minh Dam. Both of these hiking locations require transportation as they aren’t in Vung Tau city center. Check out our Dinh Mountain hiking guide or Minh Dam hiking guide here. 

Panoramic view of Vung Tau neighborhoods and the bay from a summit point on hiking Nui Lon Big Mountain in Vung Tau, Vietnam

Vung Tau is known for the beaches, coastline, and also has some amazing views!

26. Can Gio

If you have extra days in Ho Chi Minh City and want to visit a place with monkeys running around everywhere, head to Can Gio Mangrove Forest (also referred to as “Monkey Island.”) Can Gio (Cần Giờ) is one of the southern districts in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Spending a day in Can Gio is a fun day trip from HCMC. Explore the mangrove area, see hundreds of monkeys in the forest, and wander through a former base used during the Vietnam War in the forest area. 

Tip: Beware of any belongings such as sunglasses and hats sticking out from your purse or backpack. The monkeys will snatch anything within reach immediately and you won’t see your belongings ever again. 

After visiting this place, head to the coast to eat grilled seafood and shellfish on the black sand beach. 

Read our Can Gio Island travel guide here. 

27. Tan Lap Floating Village

One of the unique attractions to visit in South Vietnam is Tan Lap Floating Village (Làng Nổi Tân Lập). It’s an eco-tourism site in Long An Province, one of the areas along the Mekong Delta. This place is surrounded by the cajuput forest and mangroves, so it’s a quiet and peaceful area to explore.

Spend the day walking along the paths through the cajuput forest and taking photos, ride a sampan boat for 30-minutes through the Melaleuca Forest, and check out the views from the Observatory Deck. During your visit, you may see gorgeous lotus flowers blooming in the waters. 

This is a nice getaway from Ho Chi Minh City and is recommended to visit if you have extra time. 

Check out our Tan Lap Floating Village visitor guide here. 

Tan Lap Floating Village, Long An, Vietnam Walk Through Melaleuca Forest

Tan Lap Floating Village is a unique spot to visit in Vietnam and walk through the Melaleuca Forest.

28. Can Tho 

Can Tho (Cần Thơ) is another favorite destination to visit in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta area. It’s the fourth-largest city in Vietnam yet the vibe is more relaxed and calm compared to Ho Chi Minh City. 

Can Tho is known for growing much of the rice along the Mekong Delta. Rice production contributes to about half of the country’s production. 

The main attraction is visiting the Cai Rang Floating Market early in the morning. You ride a sampan boat to the market and get the chance to see large boats overflowing with seasonal fruits (pineapples and watermelons) and vegetables (pumpkin). The seller must sell everything before heading back home. 

The main city area is walkable as there are many temples and pagodas to wander through. The evening has a night market that sells clothes and street food. Try the grilled Vietnamese rice paper (bánh tráng nướng) as it’s so delicious here. 

Check out our Can Tho travel guide for more details on what to do here. 

29. Phu Quoc Island

Want to get away from the craziness of Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi? Head to Phu Quoc Island (Phú Quốc)! Located south of the country and close to Cambodia, it’s a popular weekend destination to relax on the beach or hang out at a 5-star resort. Since the island has an international airport, there are plenty of visitors who visit this island for the much-needed sunshine. 

Since you’re on one of the best islands in Vietnam, there are plenty of things to do here. Choose from many of the beaches to relax on (we recommend Sao Beach), take a day trip snorkeling on the smaller islands, visit a pepper farm, learn how fish sauce is made, visit the night market, and more. Luckily, the island is large enough and spread out so it never feels too busy with tourists. 

A memorable meal to try is bún kèn, a hot noodle soup with ground fish, lemongrass, and papaya salad.   

Read how to spend 2 days on Phu Quoc Island here. 

Sao Beach on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Sao Beach is a recommended spot on Phu Quoc Island to relax.

Final Thoughts

How many of these 29 best places in Vietnam are now on your bucket list? 

Whether you’re into culture, architecture, history, landscape, or food, there is a place for you to visit in this country. We hope you get a chance to visit many of these amazing cities on a future trip to Vietnam. Even if it’s your second or fifth return trip to Vietnam, you’re bound to discover something new when revisiting sites. 

We’ll continue to explore Vietnam and will update this post on the cool places to visit!

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A river flows between two green fields in Ninh Binh, a beautiful spot to visit in Vietnam

Featured photo credit & pin photo credit: HCThanh via Depositphotos.com

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Megan Lawrence May 18, 2021 - 1:05 pm

Gosh – this makes me realise that I need longer than the week I’d planned for my trip to Vietnam. Thanks for opening my eyes to so many wonderful destinations and experiences.

Jackie May 24, 2021 - 3:54 pm

You’re welcome Megan!! I hope you get to visit Vietnam in the future. One week in Vietnam barely scratches the surfaces so two weeks would be better. Feel free to reach out at any time if you have any questions about the places you visit.


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