Experiencing Vietnam – Places You Must Visit

Vietnam is one of the most mystical and attractive world destinations to many travellers. The country has a population of almost 100 million people, and it’s one of the most historically rich places you can visit. From history to luxury, Vietnam ticks all boxes for a truly life-changing journey, and experiences that will become life-long memories. 

There are so many places and important locations to visit, from historical monuments and significant landmarks to religious temples and modern buildings. Vietnam can be experienced both on land or cruising. Whether you decide to cruise Vietnam, floating on the Mighty Mekong River, or roam the sheer Vietnamese land, you’ll get to experience the essence and spirit of exceptional nation and tradition.

Let’s travel through some of the most significant spots and commonly chosen destinations by tourists to discuss their uniqueness and importance.

The streets of Vietnam where people sell food and spend the day reading newspapers while waiting for customers.

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Vietnam’s Hot Spots

#1 Ho Chi Minh

Since we’re mentioning Vietnam’s historical side, we feel like kicking things off with Ho Chi Minh is pretty appropriate. The locals still call it Saigon, and it’s the biggest city in Vietnam (although not the capital, we’ll get to that later). It was renamed Ho Chi Minh after the fall of Saigon, after the founder of the Indochinese Communist Party, and president of the Democratic State of Vietnam.

Kicking things off with the historical side, Ho Chi Minh has some truly stunning remains. A notable example is the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, which is a historical remnant from the French Colonial period, and was made between 1863 and 1880. It’s truly a beautiful sight to visit. Then, you can do a little throwback to the war and check out the network of tunnels that are spread beneath the city. Known as the Cu Chi tunnels, the network was used as routes for supplies and communication, and as hiding spots during the war. Oh, and did we mention the stunning Buu Long Pagoda? 

But Ho Chi Minh isn’t all about the history and the war. It does have a modern aspect, and as a visitor, you’ll be able to enjoy various shopping centres, as well as restaurants that will give you a glimpse of the local cuisine. And if you’re up for that and have the ability to do so, there’s also incredible nightlife throughout.

Ho Chi Minh city was once known as Saigon.

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#2 Halong Bay

Considered by many to be paradise on Earth, Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places you can treat yourself to. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and seeing as it’s one of Vietnam’s most popular places to visit, it doesn’t really need an introduction.

This is an excellent spot if you’re on a cruise because it’s a location that’s best enjoyed by water. You’ll feel like you’re sailing through a dream, surrounded by limestone karsts and a variety of caves that are left to you to explore. Our suggestion would be to see if your cruise allows for you to grab a kayak. This will give you the possibility to get up close and personal and paddle through some crystal clear waters.

If you’re visiting any of the caves, here’s our suggestion – the Thien Cung cave, known as the Heaven Palace thanks to a colourful environment that’s unlike anything you’ve seen. While it’s a bit complex to get to it, inside is a massive structure with high ceilings, and the legend says that it used to be the ancient home of a Dragon King, and his Queen.

Halong Bay  is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests.

Copyright: Unsplash | CC0 Public Domain

#3 Hanoi

Known as Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi is quickly becoming one of the go-to places for people who want to visit and enjoy Asia. It’s got a lot to offer for visitors, and you’ll find incredibly helpful people who are always friendly.

An interesting aspect of Hanoi is the fact that, while it’s historically very significant, it actually does a great job of balancing the modern and the historical aspect. Sure, on one hand, you have a vast variety of crumbling markets and archaic shrines that will definitely take you back in time. But on the other hand, you also have majestic palaces that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

What a lot of people love about Hanoi is the fact that it’s really easy to get to, and that makes it a prime destination for tourists.

Hanoi in Vietnam is their capital city

Copyright: Unsplash | CC0 Public Domain

#4 Dalat

Some will say we’ve saved the best for last, with Dalat being known by many people as the City of Eternal Spring. While the city itself isn’t all that big, you should also consider its surroundings, as it’s got some stunning landscapes for you to visit.

One of the absolute musts is the Truc Lam Pagoda, a Japanese Zen-Buddhist temple that has been greatly influenced by Vietnamese culture. There’s also the Datanla Waterfall, which has quite the history behind it, and also offers you a roller coaster that will show you everything worth seeing.

Last but not least, the Dalat Flower Gardens are another absolute must. You’ll find that Dalat goes under another nickname, which is the City of Thousand Flowers, and the gardens are the reason why. If you only have time to visit one, head to the garden on the southern end of the Xuan Huong Lake. Cultivated in 1866, it’s now a sight anyone can enjoy.   

Have you visited Vietnam? Is there a specific area you would recommend that others visit? Perhaps you are thinking of  doing a tour of Asia and Vietnam is one of the locations on your list. If so, where else are you planning to visit?

Thank you to Aqua Expeditions for sponsoring this article. I have been paid for my time but all views and opinions mentioned in this piece are my own.

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South East Asia is one of the most popular destinations for those looking to travel further afield. Vietnam is one of the most popular but where in the country should you visit? Check out our suggestions via @tbookjunkie

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