20 best destinations in Vietnam

Be ready to fuel your heart with loving hospitality, rich cultural & spiritual discovery. Enlighten your vision with diverse natural sceneries from high rock mountains to immense stretching beaches, tropical forests & colorful islands.

20 best destinations in Vietnam
Photo by Doan Tuan / Unsplash

These most amazing 20 locations in Vietnam will give you an unparalleled experience and get you to love this place for its genuine charm! Get all your senses prepared because you will be surprised by how this humble country will present itself. Be ready to fuel your heart with warm hospitality and rich cultural and spiritual discovery. Enlighten your vision with diverse natural sceneries, from high rock mountains to immense stretching beaches, tropical forests and colorful islands. And don't miss the experience of unique and hearty local dishes as Vietnam got nominated as a new leading Asia culinary destination*.

(* Nominated by the World Travel Award 2020)

Ha Giang - An epic melody by Mother Nature

  • Transportation: Motorbike, hiking
  • Time to travel: All year round
  • Budget: $ $$$
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5
Dawn upon Dong Van (Photo by Quinny)

This land is the best place to visit in Vietnam if you are wildly in love with pristine, marvelous scenery. Situated at the farthest north frontier, Ha Giang is a faraway land that has yet to be significantly affected by the mass tourism wave sweeping through the country.

Get your adrenaline rush by hopping on a motorbike trip through Dong Van Karst Plateau Geo-park. Roaming 2,356km² across the north of Ha Giang, the trip really is a challenge for you: Can you stay calm and not scream in excitement when astonishing black karst appears in your sight?


Sunrise on Hoang Su Phi - Ha Giang (Photo by Quinny)

A place that is guaranteed to take a lot of your camera storage is Hoang Su Phi District. The best time to travel is harvesting season (Aug-Sep) and the new water season (Apr-Jun) when the colorful terraced rice field of ethnic people is at its most majestic beauty.


Moc Chau & Ta Xua Mountains - Where land & sky unite

  • Transportation: Motorbike, hiking
  • Time to travel: Dec-Mar
  • Budget: $$ $$
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 3/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5
Moc Chau flourishing in plum blooming. Photo by MotoGo.vn

Exotic cultural and movie-like sceneries are what you can expect here, in this northern mountain area of Vietnam. Moc Chau’s residents are mostly ethnic people from 12 different tribes, which helps keep this land full of cultural diversity and maintain its original landscape. All year round traveling reveals different versions and customs of this land, however, if you have limited time, the winter-spring season (Dec-Mar) is ideal in terms of weather conditions for sightseeing.

The endless white of the plum blossom stretches to the horizon with a lot of spring festivals and local people’s market fairs, where young people dress up, dance, and find their other half.

Trekking in Ta Xua. Photo by Vietyouth.vn

130 km up north of Moc Chau, Ta Xua mountain range is in the same province of Son La, comprising three peaks, the highest one of which is 2850m (asl) where Vietnam’s flag proudly guards the country from above the clouds. For trekking and camping lovers, 3 days and 2 nights might be the ideal duration (and even better if you can have a local guide). For those who enjoy motorbike trips, stay a night at Nghia Lo in one of H’mong minority people's homestay, then get real chill in the traditional famous herbal bath, in order to recharge for the upcoming ride to Ta Xua the next morning.


Sapa - Health & Wellness Heaven

  • Transportation: Motorbike, hiking, car
  • Time to travel: All year round
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 4/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 3/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 5/5
Sapa from above. Photo by Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa

This land is one of Vietnam’s top locations to enjoy high-quality retreat & spa facilities. And if you are mindful about sustainability in traveling, there definitely are some great places to get both outstanding experiences and also blend into the environment.

Fansipan summit (Photo by Bestpricetravel.com) 

This location doesn't attract tourists only for retreat purposes. Situated 9km away from Sapa town is “the Roof of Indochina" - Fansipan peak (3,147.3 meters). This summit represents the life goal for some adventurers - to set foot on the highest point of Southeast Asia by hiking up to 2-3 days. Alternatively, a more relaxing way is to hop on the cable ride, going straight to the clouds within 15 mins.


Ha Long Bay & Lan Ha Bay - Descending Dragon

  • Transportation: Motorbike, boat, kayak
  • Time to travel: Sep-May
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 3/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 4/5
Ha Long Bay. Photo by Ammie Ngo

Ha Long is listed as one of the most unique geographic areas with over 1,600 mostly uninhabited & undisturbed islands and islets (UNESCO). Cruising this place or sailing your own kayak on the charming emerald water, you will feel how time helps form such mysterious natural karst structures.

Kayaking on Ha Long Bay. Photo by Jordan Opel

Lan Ha Bay is the next-door neighbor with a similar geographic landscape. For first-time tourists, it’s hard to tell one from the other. However, because Lan Ha Bay has just recently opened for tourism, it would be quite a nice choice for people who want a more peaceful trip with unexpected private small beaches for resting and camping.

Lan Ha National Park exploration is a light-medium physical activity that’s worth adding to your list of ‘things to do in Vietnam’. The trail across the mixed tropical jungle on karst stone is marked carefully with arrows and signs so you can get going on your own or with your traveling partners quite easily.


Tam Coc & Trang An- Feel the flow of time

  • Transportation: Motorbike, boat, car
  • Time to travel: All year round
  • Budget: $$ $$
  • Natural sightseeing: 4/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 4/5
Trang An floating temple. Photo by Thai Tong/Unsplash‌‌

Trang An & Tam Coc are among the locations in Vietnam packed with many natural sceneries as well as historical and spiritual relics. Thus, it’s convenient for travelers to visit them all within a limited time frame. Trang An is famous for being the old citadel of Vietnam under the Dinh Dynasty back in the 10th century due to its treacherous terrain.

Bai Dinh pagoda is also located here. It held many regional records such as having the biggest gold-plated copper statue of Asia and the longest lobby in Asia.

Tuyet Tinh Coc - Trang An. Photo by Giau Tran/Unsplash

Getting on an eco boat tour sailed by local people is the best way to enjoy the peacefulness of this place. 2-hour and 3-hour trips cost around $11/adult and $13.2/adult, respectively. You can get here in any month of the year, but the most beautiful time is around the rice harvesting season (May-Jun) and the Spring Festival of Bai Dinh Pagoda (Jan-Mar).


Ha Noi - The Capital of Ascending Dragons

  • Transportation: Motorbike, public transport, car, bike, walk
  • Time to travel: all year round
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 2/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 5/5
Life beside Ho Tay Lake/ West Lake. Photo by Tran Phu/Unsplash

Hustle, bustle, and ‘full of life’ are words used to describe this special location of Vietnam, but those words just describe the surface, not the spirit of this old-new land. Let’s take some time to come, to see and to ‘live’ lifelike the locals such as waking up early, doing some morning walk by Ho Tay Lake, wandering the Old Quarter in the chilly morning of Fall, enjoying street foods, going to the old cafes of Ha Noi, etc.  

It will take just around 2-3 days to experience such a simple/slow life, and you will definitely figure out your own words to describe this capital.

On the other hand, if you are expecting fine places for staying, good cafes, or cool bars/pubs/restaurants, there are many places to recommend as the people of Hanoi work hard to provide such experiences.


Phong Nha -Ke Bang National Park - The painting of Nature

  • Transportation: Motorbike, Car, Bike
  • Time to travel: Apr - Aug
  • Budget: $$ $$
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 3/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5
Explore Son Doong Cave. Photo by Daniel Burka/Unsplash

This is one of the most stunning Vietnam locations when it comes to the natural blessing of Mother Nature. Recently, the discovery of the planet's biggest cave, Son Doong, has turned this humble land into a promising destination for global explorers.

However, the physical requirement for such an extreme trekking tour (the toughest level can go up to 4 days of trekking) requires lots of preparation.  (Visit the National Geographic's website to get a good look at this wonder.)

Phong Nha-Ke National Park. Photo by www.jethuynh.com / Getty Images

Besides, this place has in its heart the beautiful Son river flowing through the green rural land of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, and the chain of dry and water caves appeared in diverse sizes and shapes. Those destinations make this land suitable for everyone, not just for adventure seekers.


Hue- The city of the last dynasty

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, cyclo, walk
  • Time to travel: Feb - Sep
  • Budget: $ $$$
  • Natural sightseeing: 4/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 5/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5

Most people come to this land because of their love for the old, cultural, and historical values of the last imperial capital in Vietnam. On the north riverbank lied the well-preserved historical complex of this city.  Many tombs and private mansions of the royalty under the Nguyen Dynasty located across the city are also open to the public.

Hue in flowering season. Photo by Tom Hoang

Together with such grand historical stories, rich cultural values can be found everywhere, from the local lifestyle and home garden designs to culinary delicacies. With a very reasonable(even cheap) price, you will be more than satisfied and happy with the tastiness and healthiness of street food here.

The poetic vibe of this land doesn't just come from the astonishing architecture but also from the calm Huong River in the heart of the city, and the loving, gentle local people.


Da Nang - City by the sea

  • Transportation: Motorbike, car, public transport
  • Time to travel: Apr-Oct
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 4/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 3/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 5/5
Dragon Bridge Da Nang at night. Photo by Jet Dela Cruz/ Unsplash

To local people, this city is often known as the new rising dragon of the country. It‘s one of the favorite beach locations of Vietnam, where the clean, well-protected beach stretches along the length of this city.

Accompanying it are many fresh seafood restaurants varying in price, and there are lots of choices when it comes to accommodation. You can easily pick any hotel/resort near the beach, wake up early to catch the beautiful sunrise and go for a morning swim (water temperature here is pleasant all year round).

Open pool. Photo by Sala Danang Beach Hotel

Da Nang also offers you theme parks like Ba Na Hill with multiple world records for the cable trail that take you to see the marvelous beauty of the mountains, eventually carrying you up to its own world on top of Ba Na. Alternatively, spending some time submerging yourself in the hot spring of Than Tai mountain is also quite an enjoyable thing to do here.


Hoi An - Silk Road’s ancient town

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, cyclo, walk, sampan
  • Time to travel: Feb-Sep
  • Budget: $$ $$
  • Natural sightseeing: 3/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 4/5
Sail Hoi An. Photo by Marek Okon/Unsplash

Hoi An was a crucial destination on the legendary Silk Road. This place still preserves the vibe of an old prosperity trading town. Local people still make and sell silk, so it's a great idea to buy some delicate silk clothes/accessories as a souvenir and as a pleasant reminder of your time being here.

Staying at a beautiful local homestay is worth giving a try to truly feel the vibe of daily life from living space to cuisine in this antique town. Banh Mi, My Quang, Cao Lau, and Chicken rice are hearty dishes representing the culinary culture of Hoi An.

Local life in Hoi An. Photo by Peter Wall/Unsplash

Nha Trang - The White Pearl

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, cyclo, walk, cruise
  • Time to travel: Feb-Sep
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 4 /5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 2/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 5/5
Pagana Tower inNha Trang City. Photo by Arvydas Arnasius/Unsplash

Besides Da Nang, this location is known as the top destination for visitors in the beach cities category. Miles and miles of white sandy beach along the city are both close and distant enough for a relaxing sunbathing. Splendid resorts & spa facilities are located alongside the sea and in Nha Trang’s ravishing offshore isles and islands.

This place is also a paradise for water sports like kitesurfing or jet ski riding. For ocean explorers, snorkeling/ freediving/ scuba diving into the water of thriving seabed ecosystems from Hon Mun Island, Mot Island & Tranh Island will complete your experience in a satisfactory manner.


Côn Đảo Island  - The Pure Peace

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, walk, kayak
  • Time to travel: Mar-Sep
  • Budget: $ $$$
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5
Con Dao. Photo by Six senses Con Dao

Con Dao is known for its infamous prison, a war relic used by the French and American soldiers to torture war prisoners.

However, today, it’s a paradise for those who love undisturbed natural islands where the local authenticity is untouched. Thus, renting a bicycle and cycling to find your own beach is quite an experience on this tropical island. Besides, Hon Tai, Bay Canh, Cau islands, Dam Tre Lagoon are ideal places to soak up the scenery under the clear blue water for snorkeling/diving adventurers. If you also like hiking, pack your back with necessities and go on the trail past Con Dao National Park.

Except for the stormy season in Vietnam, around Oct-Feb, any other time would be great for your trip here!


Mui Ne- Vietnam’s oasis

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, walk, car
  • Time to travel: Nov - Apr
  • Budget: $$ $$
  • Natural sightseeing: 4/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 3/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 4/5
Mui Ne. Photo by Anton Shuvalov/Unsplash

Mui Ne is a small tropical beach area - the harmonious infusion of local life and tourist attractions. It’s perfect for two-wheel trips on the sea-side road, strolling down to the old fishing village & local fish markets.

In Mui Ne, you can also have your skin tanned and get your heart pumping by trying kitesurfing or windsurfing. Because this land is the perfect location in Vietnam with suitable weather and wind conditions for outdoor sports. Climbing sand-dunes to get a higher view of the town is also an interesting activity to enjoy with your traveling partners.


Da Lat - Mountain city for wanderlust

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, car
  • Time to travel: Nov-Jun
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 4/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 4/5
Night in Da Lat. Photo by Viet Quoc Duong

Not just popular with foreign tourists, this place is near and dear to many Vietnamese as well. Da Lat is a heaven for both leisure and exploring travel thanks to its beautiful landscapes, which offer both temperate climate and tropical types of jungles, hills, springs, lakes, waterfall & hot springs. Thus, accommodation is the real deal when enjoying the highland city. Your options include almost anything you could imagine, from a French-style resort in the middle of a pine hill to a cozy wooden homestay with a persimmon garden in the heart of the city.

Da Lat’s pine hill. Photo by Viet Quoc Duong

This place is also known for producing high-quality Arabica coffee beans and green tea. So don’t forget to enjoy an excellent cup of local coffee or get on the farm tour to see how coffee is produced here.


Dak Nong province- The great west high land

  • Transportation: Motorbike, car
  • Time to travel: Nov-Jun
  • Budget: $ $$$
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 2/5
  • Leisure travel/facility:2/5
The stunning sunrise on Ta Dung Lake. Photo by Gonatour

This place is often overlooked and not listed as one of the favorite Vietnam locations for traveling. However, it’s a top destination packed with many untouched gifts from nature. Perhaps the most famous attraction here is Ta Dung Lake, also known as ‘Ha Long Bay of the west highland’.

Besides, Dak Nong has so many spectacular attractions worth checking out, including Dak P’lao waterfall, Lieng Rom waterfall, Luu Ly waterfall, Bay Tang waterfall, mineral spring Dak Mol and the stunning Ea Sno Lake. The exotic culture of local ethnic tribes here comes with exciting accommodations and delicious dishes.


Ho Chi Minh City - The symphony of old & new

  • Transportation: Motorbike, public transport, walk
  • Time to travel: all year round
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 3/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 5/5
Night falls at HCMC. Photo by Duong Quoc Viet

Ho Chi Minh City is the second heart of Vietnam, bringing vitality to the other regions of the country. The city’s residents are people from all areas of Vietnam and many other countries in the world, so this place is a mix of cultures, mindsets, values, and human wills.

Bui Vien Road. Photo by Robert Metz/Unsplash

Both old and young generations and their values coexist in a dynamic, changing way of living. That’s also the most charming quality that both local and international tourists look for when coming to HCMC. To experience this city in the most authentic way, check out different vibes of local cafes, restaurants, or street vendors, walk into the narrow, crowded alley, and ride a motorbike on the highway.


Phu Quoc Island - Paradise on the sea

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, cruise, walk
  • Time to travel: Nov- Mar
  • Budget: $$$ $
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 2/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 5/5
White beaches of Phu Quoc. Photo by Paul/Unsplash

The slow, chilling vibe of this white sand tropical island lingers in the minds of travelers to this place long after they leave. Whether you travel by yourself or on a romantic vacation or even adventure trips, this place is for you.

Daytime is perfect for outdoor activities like hiking in the national park, sunbathing, water sports, or seabed discovery. The An Thoi Archipelago offers Vietnam’s best destinations for diving and snorkeling. Nighttime, on the other hand, is ideal for a beach party or simply enjoying the starry night sky unpolluted by the city light.


Mekong Delta - Life on the water

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, sampan
  • Time to travel: all year round
  • Budget: $ $$$
  • Natural sightseeing: 4/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5
Floating market on Mekong river. Photo by Hamzy Selamat/Unsplash‌‌

The Mekong Delta appeared in many Netflix documentaries as a must-try cultural and culinary destination. However, experiencing this land will be a more warm-hearted and satisfying journey than you would think.

The most impressive is the unique geographic feature of this land with mazes of canals, rivers, ponds, and lakes. In the old days, the main transportation of the locals was sampans and ferries. Floating markets such as Phong Dien, Cai Be, Phung Hiep, Cai Rang along the Mekong River are cultural highlights and a great culinary experience for you to discover!

Some small tips for you when visiting float markets include waking up early, bargaining hard, and smiling as much as you can. You will receive more smiles than you give!


Ben Tre - Home of coconut trees

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, sampan
  • Time to travel: All year round
  • Budget: $ $$$
  • Natural sightseeing: 3/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5
Coconut sampan in Ben Tre. Photo by Minh Tan/VnExpress

Two things that represent this land are the countless number of coconut trees and the incomparable truthfulness and hospitality of the locals.  About a 2-hour drive south of HCMC, this place has been the crucial coconut supply for the whole country.

Exciting activities await you here include trying various types of coconuts, from small to big, from red, yellow, to green, from round to oval shape. And they all taste different!

Ben Tre local life. Photo by Minh Tan/VnExpress

Discovering the islets by bikes and filling up your stomach with coconuts (just kidding) and other tropical fruits that you pick yourself from the fruit gardens are also essential activities while staying here.

Fun fact: Most Vietnamese people understand the name Ben Tre as ‘Bamboo Port’, but coconuts are the trees that cover most of this land, not bamboos. You can ask local people about the story behind the name (hint: it might have nothing to do with bamboos)!


Ca Mau - The south end of the S shape

  • Transportation: Motorbike, bike, sampan
  • Time to travel: All year round
  • Budget: $$ $$
  • Natural sightseeing: 5/5
  • Historical/Spiritual destination: 4/5
  • Leisure travel/facility: 3/5
U Minh Ha forest. Photo by Quinny

Furthest to the south of Vietnam, this place is known as Ca Mau Cape. Located in this place is the U Minh forest, the planet's second-largest mangrove forest (after Amazon). This 1000km2 area is the habitat of some endangered animals, including the fishing cat and the hairy-nosed otter, and also home to 187 bird species.

Eco boat tours are available for tourists to explore the conservation enclosure. You can also climb up the watchtower to see the endless stretching forest under the thick layer of fog to learn why people name this forest “U Minh” (in Vietnamese, this name refers to the state of being mystic, both dark and light).

You can find out more details about traveling here as COVID-19 is loosening its grip on Vietnam.

Apart from the 20 places listed, there are many more unique Vietnam locations that will bring you nice surprises and emotional experiences.

See you soon!