Best Places To Visit In Vietnam In 2024

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Award-Winning Food Travel Journalist, Sommelier & Outdoor LoverAuthor information
About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a a food travel journalist with awards to her credit, such as World Best Food Travel Journalist. She holds a certification as a sommelier and she is also an ardent lover of the outdoors. Aside from this, Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant and co-owns multiple websites that cater to a global audience.
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Vietnam, a country with a rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, offers many unforgettable experiences, and the best places to visit in Vietnam are a must for people traveling to the country. From Hanoi’s bustling streets to Ha Long Bay’s tranquil waters, Vietnam is full of contrasts and surprises.

This article explores the best places to visit in Vietnam, showcasing the diversity and beauty of this Southeast Asian nation. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or culture enthusiast, Vietnam has something to offer everyone.


Hanoi’s Old Quarter is not just a place; it’s a journey back in time. This historical heart of the city is a vibrant tapestry of Vietnamese life, where the past and present merge to create an utterly captivating lively atmosphere. The narrow, winding streets of the Old Quarter are lined with beautifully preserved shophouses, each telling its own story of centuries gone by. These buildings, with their faded facades and wooden shutters, are a living museum of traditional Vietnamese architecture, offering a rare glimpse into a way of life that has endured the test of time.

As you wander through the labyrinthine alleys, the air is filled with the tantalizing aromas of Vietnamese cuisine, a testament to the country’s rich culinary heritage. Street food vendors, each a master of craft, invite you to sample dishes garnered global acclaim for their complexity and flavor. From the savory delights of Pho Bo (beef noodle soup) to the crisp, fragrant sensation of Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), the Old Quarter is a food lover’s paradise, where every bite tells a story of Vietnam’s cultural and gastronomic richness.

At the heart of this bustling city lies Hoan Kiem Lake, a tranquil oasis that offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The lake’s still waters reflect the sky and the lush greenery of its surroundings, creating a serene atmosphere that beckons visitors to slow down and savor the moment. This is a place for leisurely strolls along the shaded pathways, for watching the gentle rhythms of daily life unfold, and for finding a moment of peace in the midst of a busy world.

Hoan Kiem Lake is a natural wonder and a repository of legend and history. The lake is home to the iconic Turtle Tower, a solitary sentinel amid the water, and the elegant Ngoc Son Temple, accessible by the striking red bridge that arches gracefully over the lake. These landmarks are steeped in myth, telling the tale of the Golden Turtle God and the magical sword bestowed upon a legendary emperor to drive invaders from the land. Today, they stand as symbols of the resilience and spirit of the Vietnamese people, adding a layer of mystique and allure to the lake’s natural beauty.

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a testament to nature’s artistry, a mesmerizing expanse of emerald waters cradling thousands of majestic limestone karsts, each cloaked in verdant rainforest. This natural marvel, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, offers an otherworldly landscape that seems as though it has been plucked from the pages of a mythical tale. A journey through Ha Long Bay aboard a traditional junk boat unfolds as a serene voyage through a maze of towering islands, each revealing its unique shape and story, sculpted by the hands of time and the elements.

For the intrepid explorer, Ha Long Bay reveals its secrets to those willing to venture beyond the beaten path. Kayaking through the bay’s calm waters opens up new vistas of exploration, allowing for close encounters with the bay’s geological wonders. Paddling through narrow inlets and around uninhabited isles, adventurers may stumble upon secluded lagoons and hidden caves, untouched by time, offering a rare glimpse into the bay’s beauty. This immersive experience in nature showcases the serene allure of Ha Long Bay and underscores the importance of preserving this fragile ecosystem for generations to come.

Ha Long Bay’s allure lies not just in its stunning natural beauty but in the sense of peace and timelessness it imparts to its visitors. Whether basking in the awe-inspiring scenery from the deck of a boat, exploring ancient caves steeped in legend, or silently paddling through waters that reflect the sky above, Ha Long Bay offers an escape into a world where nature’s grandeur is on full display. It’s a place where the hustle and bustle of modern life fade into the background, replaced by the gentle lapping of waves and the soft whisper of the wind, inviting all who visit to pause, reflect, and connect with the earth’s magnificent splendor.

Our advice
Ha Long is exceptional, but it’s also very crowded. We suggest setting sail for Lan Ha Bay, a serene gem nestled in the inner reaches of the bay. Here, you’ll find a tranquil haven far removed from the bustling activity of more frequented areas. Lan Ha Bay offers a peaceful alternative, where the calm waters invite a more relaxed exploration. As you navigate these quieter waters, you’ll still have the chance to behold the majestic beauty of Ha Long Bay, but from a perspective free from the usual congestion and chaos.

Hoi An

Hoi An

Nestled on the central coast of Vietnam, Hoi An Ancient Town is a living museum that embodies the fusion of diverse cultures and epochs. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is celebrated for its well-preserved architecture, a picturesque blend of indigenous and foreign influences that tell the story of its prosperous trading past. As twilight descends, Hoi An transforms under the warm glow of silk lanterns, a vibrant testament to the town’s rich cultural tapestry and enduring traditions.

Wandering through Hoi An’s cobblestone streets is like walking through the pages of history. Each turn reveals meticulously preserved merchant houses, historic temples, and lively markets, each building echoing the stories of the town’s multicultural heritage. The fusion of architectural styles— from the Japanese Covered Bridge to the French colonial buildings—illustrates Hoi An’s historical role as a bustling trade center where merchants worldwide left their mark.

But Hoi An’s charm extends beyond its architecture. The Ancient Town is also the heart of Vietnam’s culinary landscape, offering a palate-pleasing array of traditional dishes that reflect the city’s trade history and cultural intersections. From the rich flavors of Cao Lau noodles to the delicate texture of White Rose Dumplings, Hoi An’s cuisine is a celebration of both innovation and tradition.

Perhaps the most magical time to experience Hoi An is during its Lantern Festival, held on the full moon of every lunar month. This enchanting event sees the town come alive with color and light, as thousands of lanterns float down the Thu Bon River and illuminate the night, a spectacle that captures the spirit of Hoi An—timeless, serene, and utterly captivating.

<strong>Hoi An</strong>
For the seasoned traveler, Hoi An might be too touristy and not genuine. Often bustling with tourists, the town can sometimes feel like a well-curated theme park, where much of its charm and activities are tailored primarily for visitors. This atmosphere might not resonate with those seeking an authentic cultural immersion. Instead, we suggest making Da Nang your base. This vibrant city is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and natural beauty. Allocate just an evening to explore Hoi An, where you can still capture the essence of its lantern-lit streets and architectural beauty but spend most of your time savoring the unspoiled coastal splendor and dynamic urban life of Da Nang. This approach allows you to experience the best of both worlds – the serene allure of Da Nang’s beaches and a taste of Hoi An’s historical charm without the feeling of being in a tourist-centric locale.


Hue Vietnam

Hue is nestled along the banks of the serene Perfume River, as a monumental tribute to Vietnam’s imperial past. This ancient city, once the vibrant capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that mesmerizes visitors with its historical depth and architectural splendor. The centerpiece of Hue is the sprawling Imperial City, a fortified palace complex that once buzzed with the affairs of emperors and their courts. Within its walls lie the Forbidden Purple City, a sanctum once reserved for the emperor and his closest confidantes, now a silent witness to centuries of history.

The majesty of Hue extends beyond its imperial enclosures to the elegant Thien Mu Pagoda, an iconic seven-story temple that overlooks the river, symbolizing the spiritual essence of the city. A leisurely boat ride on the Perfume River not only offers a respite from the everyday hustle but also serves as a moving vantage point to appreciate the tranquil beauty of Hue’s landscape, dotted with historical sites and lush greenery.

But Hue’s allure is not confined to its monuments. The city’s cuisine is a royal feast, with dishes that were once served at the emperor’s table now available for all to savor, offering a taste of regal culinary traditions. Hue’s vibrant culture, embodied in its art, music, and festivals, continues to thrive, inviting visitors to delve into the living heritage of this timeless city. Through its compelling blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Hue invites explorers to traverse the corridors of time, offering an immersive journey into the heart of Vietnam’s storied past.

Da Nang

Da Nang

Da Nang, a jewel in Vietnam’s coastal crown, is celebrated for its extraordinary Marble Mountains, an enchanting ensemble of five limestone and marble hills named after the five elements of earth, water, fire, wood, and metal. These natural wonders are not just a feast for the eyes but a sanctuary of deep caves, inviting intrepid explorers to discover their hidden chambers and secret passages. The journey to the summit rewards adventurers with breathtaking panoramic views of Da Nang’s coastline, stretching into the horizon. Scattered across these mountains are ancient pagodas and statues intricately carved into the rock, echoing this mesmerizing site’s spiritual and cultural significance.

Just a stone’s throw away, My Khe Beach unfolds as a pristine paradise, its shores ranked among the world’s most beautiful beaches. The soft, white sands seamlessly merge into the clear, turquoise waters, creating a serene setting for relaxation and contemplation. For those seeking thrills, My Khe Beach is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, offering superb conditions for surfing, paddle-boarding, and more. Its gentle waves and welcoming breeze make it a favorite among novice and experienced surfers. Whether you’re basking in the sun, diving into the refreshing waters, or catching a wave, My Khe Beach promises a perfect blend of leisure and adventure, making it an unmissable destination in Da Nang’s vibrant landscape.

Sa Pa


Sa Pa, nestled in the northern highlands of Vietnam, is celebrated for its breathtaking terraced rice fields, sculpted over centuries into the mountainsides, creating a stunning patchwork of green that cascades into the valley below. These terraced fields, a testament to human ingenuity and harmony with nature, offer more than just picturesque landscapes; they invite adventurers to embark on hikes that weave through an emerald sea, unveiling panoramic vistas at every turn. Along these trails, the true essence of Sa Pa reveals itself in the form of quaint local villages, where time seems to stand still.

This region is a mosaic of ethnic diversity, home to several minority groups, including the Hmong, Dao, and Tay, each preserving their distinct heritage and way of life amidst the changing tides of modernity. Venturing into these communities, visitors are welcomed with warm smiles and a chance to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of local cultures. Engaging with the villagers, one learns about the intricacies of their traditional attire, each stitch and color telling a story of identity and belonging. The local markets burst with the vibrancy of handicrafts, from intricately woven textiles to hand-carved wooden artifacts, each piece a labor of love and a symbol of the enduring spirit of the Sa Pa people.

Therefore, Sa Pa stands as a bridge between the past and present, offering a journey through its stunning landscapes and the heart of its communities. It’s a place where every path and every encounter enriches the soul, weaving together the beauty of nature with the depth of cultural heritage into an unforgettable tapestry of experiences.

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc Island, the crown jewel of Vietnam’s marine treasures, stands out for its idyllic beaches, characterized by their powdery-soft sands that glide through your fingers, and the inviting, warm turquoise embrace of its waters. This island paradise, the largest in Vietnam, is not just a sanctuary for those seeking tranquil beachfront repose but also a vibrant underwater world waiting to be explored. The crystal-clear waters surrounding Phu Quoc are a diver’s and snorkeler’s dream, boasting an underwater spectacle of colorful coral reefs bustling with a diverse array of marine life. It’s a place where the wonders of the aquatic world are within reach, offering an unparalleled opportunity to swim alongside schools of exotic fish and witness the intricate beauty of coral formations.

As the sun sets, Phu Quoc transforms into a vibrant culinary hub at the Phu Quoc Night Market, a bustling center of local life and a feast for the senses. Here, amidst the lively and colorful stalls, visitors can indulge in a gastronomic journey that captures the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. The market is a treasure trove of seafood fresh from the ocean, local specialties that tell the tale of the island’s culinary heritage, and the irresistible charm of Vietnamese street food. Each stall offers a unique flavor and experience, from succulent grilled seafood to traditional Phu Quoc dishes that delight the palate. The night market is not just about food; it’s an experience that blends the tastes, smells, and sounds of Phu Quoc into an unforgettable cultural adventure, under the canopy of a starlit sky.


Da Lat

Dalat, often hailed as the “City of Eternal Spring,” is Vietnam’s unique blend of French colonial heritage and refreshing natural beauty. Nestled amidst the misty mountains of the Central Highlands, Dalat captivates with its mild climate and scenic vistas, making it a perfect retreat from the tropical heat. The city’s landscape is dotted with elegant French colonial villas, serene lakes, and vibrant flower gardens that bloom all year round. Among these, the iconic Xuan Huong Lake stands as a tranquil centerpiece, inviting leisurely walks along its banks.

Adventurers and nature lovers will find their haven in Dalat’s surrounding wilderness, which offers many outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and canyoning through its lush forests and waterfalls. Dalat is also renowned for its agricultural bounty, particularly its flourishing coffee plantations and terraced vegetable farms that offer a glimpse into the region’s farming practices. The local markets brim with fresh produce, and the city’s burgeoning café culture offers the perfect setting to savor locally grown coffee. Dalat’s unique charm lies in its ability to offer tranquility, adventure, and a taste of local life all within its enchanting highland embrace.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh city

Ho Chi Minh City, the vibrant metropolis formerly known as Saigon, pulses with the energy of modern Vietnam while retaining deep connections to its complex history. This dynamic city is a tapestry of contrasting experiences, where sleek skyscrapers tower over incense-infused temples and bustling markets. The city’s historic core is a testament to its colonial past, with architectural landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon and the Saigon Central Post Office standing as elegant reminders of French influence.

Ho Chi Minh City’s energy is most palpable in its streets, filled with the ceaseless buzz of motorbikes and the aromatic allure of street food stalls offering culinary delights that have earned global acclaim. The city’s food scene is a vibrant exploration of Vietnamese flavors, from the sizzling banh mi vendors to sophisticated restaurants that fuse traditional and contemporary tastes.

Beyond its urban allure, Ho Chi Minh City serves as a gateway to the Mekong Delta’s watery landscapes and the historic tunnels of Cu Chi, offering a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s heritage and resilience. This city is not just the economic heart of Vietnam but also a cultural melting pot, where tradition and modernity coalesce to create a continuously evolving tapestry of life.

Are you looking for the best Vietnam itineraries?
Check our customised guides to spend 5 or 10 days in Vietnam. And if you have more time, head over to our Vietnam and Cambodia itinerary and travel guide.

Best Places To Visit In Vietnam: Tips and Advice

Traveling to Vietnam offers an enriching experience filled with breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. To ensure you see the best things and have a memorable journey, consider these essential tips and advice:

  • Plan Your Route: Vietnam stretches a thousand miles from North to South, offering diverse climates and experiences. Key regions to consider include the cultural richness of Hanoi, the natural beauty of Ha Long Bay, the historical sites of Hue and Hoi An, the dynamic energy of Ho Chi Minh City, and the serene beaches of Phu Quoc.
  • Embrace Local Cuisine: Vietnamese cuisine is a highlight of any visit. Try local specialties like Pho (noodle soup), Banh Mi (sandwich), and fresh seafood. Street food tours in major cities can offer a guided taste adventure. Read our guide on the best Vietnamese food.
  • Respect Local Customs: Understanding and respecting local customs and etiquette will enhance your experience. Simple gestures like removing shoes before entering someone’s home, dressing modestly at religious sites, and using both hands when giving or receiving something are appreciated.
  • Use Local Transportation: To truly experience Vietnam, use local transportation options like motorbikes, cyclos, and local buses. They’re cost-effective and offer a closer look at daily life. For longer distances, consider domestic flights or overnight trains. Plan your backpacking trip to Vietnam.
  • Stay Connected: Upon arrival, purchase a local SIM card for easy access to maps, translation apps, and local information. Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels and cafes, but having mobile data ensures connectivity on the go. If you need fast and unlimited internet access for your trip to Vietnam, you can check our article on the best e-Sim for travel to install on your device before arriving in Vietnam.
  • Learn Basic Vietnamese Phrases: While many Vietnamese speak English, especially in tourist areas, learning basic phrases in Vietnamese can go a long way in connecting with locals and showing respect for their culture.
  • Pack Appropriately: Vietnam’s diverse climate means packing can be tricky. Bring lightweight and breathable clothing for the heat, a sturdy pair of shoes for exploring, and a raincoat or umbrella for the rainy season. Don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Be Open and Flexible: Vietnam can surprise and challenge travelers. Approach your trip with an open heart and flexibility, allowing yourself to explore beyond the guidebook and embrace unexpected adventures.

By following these tips and immersing yourself in the beauty and complexity of Vietnam, you’re set to have a journey filled with unforgettable experiences and discoveries.

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Do not miss the best places to visit in Vietnam

With its stunning landscapes, profound historical roots, and enthralling cultural tapestry, Vietnam presents an unparalleled journey through its heart. The timeless allure of Hoi An’s cobblestone streets and the tranquil beauty of Sa Pa’s terraced rice fields offer distinct windows into the country’s soul. Whether venturing through vibrant urban centers, navigating the emerald waters of majestic bays, or relaxing on pristine beaches, Vietnam is a treasure trove of experiences, promising to enrich your life with unforgettable moments and stories. Each corner of this remarkable country reveals a new layer of its identity, ensuring that every traveler finds their unique adventure in the rich tapestry that is Vietnam.

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