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10 Best Things to Do in Vietnam

Vietnam Best Attractions

Attractions in Vietnam are plentiful, ranging from stunning natural landscapes, untouched islets and quaint villages to war museums, colonial structures, and ancient citadels. The Cu Chi tunnels, located outside Ho Chi Minh City, represent the sheer grit and ‘can-do’ attitude of the Vietnamese while a visit to the War Remnants Museum brings home the horrible reality of war. On the more positive side, the marvellous Hue Monuments, along with the My Son Sanctuary will awaken your spiritual side.

Attracting millions of visitors all year long, its colonial heritage also means that many hotels feature a unique blend of French and Asian influences while its cuisine is highly regarded as one of the best in the world. With so many things to see and do in Vietnam, planning your travel itinerary as a first-time visitor can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a general list of Vietnam’s must-see attractions.

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1

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, in northern Vietnam, is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500sqkm. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, for many visitors, this surrealistic place is like something right out of a movie. Approximately a four-hour drive from downtown Hanoi, the area is also home to different kinds of limestone caves such as phreatic caves, karstic foot caves and marine notch caves. Activities include exploring the many cave formations, kayaking around rocky outcrops and watching the wildlife.  Read More...

  • Location: Gulf of Tonkin, Quang Ninh Province

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing 40 metres high, the central flag tower is the most recognizable feature of the Imperial Citadel and is often used as a symbol of Hanoi. This was the centre of ancient Hanoi and served as the political centre for eight centuries. Located in Ba Dinh, the Imperial Citadel houses foundations of old palaces, relics, ancient roads, ponds and wells. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 – 12:30 & 13:30 – 19:30
  • Location: Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An Ancient Town offers a breathtaking mix of ornate Chinese temples, a Japanese-designed bridge, wooden shop-houses, French-colonial houses, and old canals. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, most of the old shops have been carefully converted to modern businesses aimed at tourists including countless tailors, souvenir shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafés. An entrance fee of VND 120,000 is required for foreign tourists and VND 80,000 for locals - each ticket is valid for 10 days and covers entrance to entrance to Hoi An Ancient Town, six points of interest, and street entertainment (folk dancing, singing, and traditional games). Read More...

  • Location: Hoi An Town, Quang Nam Province
Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh is arguably the most popular political figure in Vietnam, and is known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’. His body is preserved here in a glass case at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in central Hanoi (albeit against his wishes). Started in 1973, the construction of the mausoleum was modeled on Lenin's mausoleum in Russia. Entrance is free of charge, and visitors are required to dress appropriately out of respect for Vietnam's departed leader. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 07:30 - 10:30, Saturday & Sunday 07:30 - 11:00
  • Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
5

Cu Chi Tunnels

Ho Chi Minh City
Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels are basically a huge war museum offering visitors a sneak peak at the underground life of Viet Cong-era soldiers. Comprising more than 120km of tunnels, they were first started around 1948 when the Viet Cong were fighting the French. The work never stopped and resulted in a massive collection of tunnels. Today, it is one of Ho Chi Minh’s most iconic attractions where visitors can enjoy activities such as following the claustrophobia-inducing routes of the underground army, firing an M16 assault rifle, as well sampling meals that the underground soldiers had to live with years ago. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 - 17:00
  • Location: 70km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Tel: +84 83 794 8820
My Son Sanctuary in Danang

My Son Hindu Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a great sample of the ancient Champa civilization located in the southern part of Vietnam. It was an independent state from around the 2nd to the 17th century, at which time it was occupied by Vietnam. The complex houses around 70 structures devoted to Hindu gods and goddesses and the most noticeable one, Shiva, was considered the protector of the Champa’s kings. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: Daily 06:30 - 16:30
  • Location: Duy Tan Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province
  • Price Range: VND 150,000
Complex of Hue Monuments

Hue Imperial City, set along the northern bank of the Perfume River, features hundreds of monuments dating back to early 19th century, including the Forbidden Purple City, royal tombs, pagodas, temples, royal quarters, a library and museum, Also called the Complex of Hue Monuments, this UNESCO World Heritage Site also hosts daily cultural performances at 09:00, 10:00, 14:30 and 15:30. Entrance fee is priced at VND 150,000, which combines visits to both Hue Imperial City and Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities. A 30-minute drive from Phu Bai International Airport, Hue Imperial City is a must-visit for any visitor to Central Vietnam. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00
  • Location: Hue City Centre, Hue
  • Price Range: VND 150,000
8

War Remnants Museum

Ho Chi Minh City
War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum once known as the ‘Museum of American War Crimes’ first opened to the public in 1975. It’s a shocking reminder of the long and brutal Vietnam War with many graphic photographs and American military equipment on display. All these weapons were used by America against the Vietnamese.The War Remnants Museum is in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City and is run by the government. It is open all year round from 07:30 to17:00. A visit to this war museum is a disturbing experience for most people and may not be suitable for children (though they are allowed to enter). Read More...

  • Opening Hours: Daily 07.30 - 12.00 & 13:30 – 17:00
  • Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Tel: +84 43 930 2112
  • Price Range: VND 15,000
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a popular option for adventurous travellers looking to explore its many limestone caves and grottoes. Set within the Quang Binh Province, it’s home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, with sections reaching up to 200m in height, as well as Paradise Cave, which boasts spectacular shapes of limestone stalactites and stalagmites. Entrance to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park costs VND 40,000, plus additional fees (between VND 80,000 and (VND 150,000) to enter the caves. Hiking, mountain-biking, and cave expeditions are regularly organised by tour operators in Vietnam. Read More...

  • Location: Quang Binh Province
  • Price Range: VND 40,000
The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne

The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne are two geological wonders no visitor should ever miss out on their travel itinerary. There are numerous tour operators in Mui Ne that organise daytrips to these Saharan-like red and white sand dunes, but you can easily make your way to both locales if you prefer exploring according to your own pace. Visitors can rent plastic sleds and it is a wise idea to check the price and agree on it beforehand. Another interesting activity is kite flying as well as catching the beautiful sunset here. These dunes are a popular picnic place for locals too. Read More...

  • Location: Mui Ne, Phan Thiet
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