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5 Extremely Gorgeous Vietnam Locations You Just Can't Miss When Visiting

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By Augustine Mbam - - 5 Mins Read
Aerial view of the Golden Bridge is lifted by two giant hands in the tourist resort on Ba Na Hill in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hill in Da Nang, Vietnam | Hien Phung Thu/Shutterstock

Vietnam, a country adorned with rolling landscapes, pristine beaches, and bustling cities, continue to captivate travelers seeking an extraordinary experience.

The diversity in its attractions encourages careful planning to ensure you take advantage of the gems that make Vietnam a unique destination

In this travel guide, we unveil five of the best Vietnam locations, each offering a distinct experience that will leave a mark on your journey.

From the sun-soaked beaches of Phu Quoc to the historic charm of Hanoi, the breathtaking beauty of Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay to the dynamic energy of Ho Chi Minh City, and the wonders of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam beckons with allure.

1. Phu Quoc: Best for Beach Lovers


Sunny day at Bai Sao Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Bai Sao Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam | Anna Levan


As your plane descends towards Phu Quoc, the southernmost island that seems to float in the Gulf of Thailand, you know you are heading to a beach paradise.

This haven for beach lovers boasts jewel-blue waters and fine sandy beaches that invite you to slow down and savour the moment. While Phu Quoc has become a popular destination, it still retains tranquillity, especially if you venture beyond the well-trodden tourist spots.

Phu Quoc's charm lies not only in its pristine beaches but also in its diverse offerings. Families often flock to the island for the thrills of VinWonders, a theme park that promises a day of excitement for all ages.

The world's longest overseas cable car provides breathtaking views over the turquoise waters, creating an unforgettable experience. The island's dense jungles offer a different adventure for those seeking a break from the tourist scene.

Planning Tip

If Phu Quoc is on your radar, consider flying directly to the island from key Asian hubs such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Seoul. This eliminates the need to pass through Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, saving time and allowing you to immerse yourself in the island's tranquillity sooner.

2. Hanoi: Best for City Slickers

Hanoi skyline cityscape at twilight period. Cau Giay park, west of Hanoi
Aerial view of Hanoi skyline cityscape | Vietnam Stock Images


Embarking on any journey through Vietnam typically starts in Hanoi, the country's historic capital.

Steeped in history, Hanoi offers a blend of tradition and modernity, making it an ideal point of arrival, especially for first-time visitors.

The city's easy infrastructure, affordable accommodation, world-class dining, and rich history are an excellent introduction to Vietnam's diverse tapestry.

Beyond being a logistical hub, Hanoi is the gateway to destinations such as Halong Bay and the mountainous northwest. Indulge your senses in Vietnam's renowned street food scene, exploring the vibrant offerings in the Old Quarter.

Take time to absorb the atmosphere in cozy cafes, where the rhythm of daily life unfolds around you. Hanoi is not just a city; it's an immersive experience that sets the tone for the adventures ahead.

Planning Tip

Bia Hoi Junction is a must-visit for those seeking a budget-friendly nightlife experience. Sip on draft beer at streetside stalls, surrounded by the lively ambience of this drinking strip, creating lasting memories without breaking the bank.

3. Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay: Best for Iconic Photos


Nature view of lake and hills at Lan Ha Bay
Lake view at Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam | Ashim D’Silva


While Halong Bay may be the headline act, the neighboring Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay steal the show due to breathtaking views and fewer crowds. These bays to the north and south offer a more relaxed alternative to the highly commercialized Halong Bay.

Trade the crowds for tranquillity as you kayak between the limestone outcrops, each telling a silent tale of Vietnam's geological wonders.

Cat Ba Island, the gateway to Lan Ha Bay, invites exploration with its tropical trails, perfectly balancing nature and adventure. Bai Tu Long's Co To Island offers an idyllic setting for those seeking a quiet escape, where the sand meets the sea, creating postcard-perfect moments.

Planning Tip

To truly escape the crowds, explore the trails around Cat Ba National Park when visiting Cat Ba Island. Guided treks allow you to immerse yourself in the region's natural beauty, away from the hustle and bustle.

Also Read: 15 Countries With the Tastiest Cuisine in the World

4. Ho Chi Minh City: Best for a Sense of the Past


Aerial overview of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at dusk
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | Dang Cong


The southern counterpart to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), pulsates with a dynamic energy that reflects its cultural influences from the Mekong Delta and neighbouring Cambodia. This cosmopolitan hub is a fast-paced, frenetic adventure, offering a taste of the past interwoven with the vibrant present.

As night falls, the sidewalks transform into a mobile buffet adorned with street food stalls and roadside bars. The remnants of the war years linger at sites like the War Remnants Museum, providing a poignant look into Vietnam's history.

Wander past colonial-era landmarks that echo the ghosts of French Indochina, then savour a drip-brewed ca phi in a quaint coffee shop, embracing the city's rich tapestry.

Planning Tip

For a reprieve from the city's hustle, venture to Tay Ninh, where the Cao Dai Holy See offers insight into the all-encompassing Cao Dai religion. This excursion provides a unique cultural experience just a short distance from the vibrant heart of HCMC.

5. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: Best for Unique Experiences


River at sunrise in the National Park of Phong Nha Ke Bang, Vietnam
National Park of Phong Nha Ke Bang, Vietnam | Dudarev Mikhail


Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a perfect trove for those seeking exciting natural wonders.

While the world may know Hang Son Doong Cave as the largest cavern globally, the park offers a myriad of caves waiting to be explored at a fraction of the cost.

Phong Nha, Paradise, and Tu Lan caves give unique experiences where you can clamber, crawl, boat, or zipline through subterranean marvels. On a modest budget, you can look into the depths of these caves, each revealing a different facet of Vietnam's geological marvels.

For those seeking a more immersive adventure, Hang En awaits, where trekkers set up tents on an underground beach, creating a surreal experience illuminated by natural light.

Planning Tip

While Hang Son Doong Cave may require a substantial investment for guided treks, exploring other Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park caves offers equally enchanting experiences without stretching your budget.