Are you planning a visit to the land of the ascending dragon any time soon? If you are, I am guessing you have a limited amount of time to experience as much of this country’s wonders as possible. That is why I hope this list of top five places to visit in Vietnam will help you get the best out of this adventure of yours:
- My Son Sanctuary: An Ancient Religious Center
I have decided to open my list of top five places to visit in Vietnam with one of the outstanding examples of Southeast Asia’s archaeological sites, My Son, a religious complex dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses, most notably Shiva.
With over 70 discovered monuments and religious structures, all of them built by red bricks and sandstone blocks — and with fantastic skillfulness, too — this Hindu sanctuary will be a real treat for architecture and history enthusiasts.
It will be a tremendous eye-opening experience, too. I do not know anyone who visited My Son without realizing the horror of war and all that it leaves in its wake. In my experience, My Son is one of those places you enter once, and can never really get out of your head.
- Cu Chi Tunnels: Claustrophobia-Inducing View Of Vietnam
Accompanied by a guide, you will be able to experience the underworld tunnels dug up during the war. That is not the only attraction, though. If you feel like it, you can also try the typical meals soldiers used to eat while they were living in the tunnels or even fire a rifle at the site’s shooting range.
I have to add one thing, though:
As fascinating as it is, it is not for everyone. While the sections of the tunnel open for visitors are entirely safe and you will have a guide with you at all times, if you are not a fan of small, narrow spaces, you probably will not enjoy the hands-and-knees approach to browsing through Cu Chi tunnels.
- Ha Long Bay: The Descending Dragon Bay
Okay, let us brighten things up a bit.
The next suggestion on my list of top five places to visit in Vietnam is something entirely different. Imagine the gentle sea breeze, the calming sound of waves, paired with breathtaking cliffs everywhere you look; that is Ha Long Bay summed up in a sentence.
The best way to experience the iconic Ha Long Bay’s views is by boat, and overnight. Trust me on this: a day trip just will not do it any justice. Sleeping on a junk boat will take the entire thing to the next level, but make sure you pick a reliable, higher quality boat, even if it means spending few dollars more.
- Hoi An: Witness The Beauty Of The Old World
The best way to feel out the atmosphere of the old Vietnam is to visit Hoi An, an adorable coastal town in Central Vietnam, packed with heritage and old-world charm.
Get lost in the town’s narrow lanes, try the authentic seafood-based dishes, and marvel at the architectural elements of the old merchant houses. And if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, by all means, do not miss out on the chance to visit one of their signature full-moon parties, also known as the Lantern Festival.
- Sa Pa: The Endless Green Lands
As a fan of long hikes, I had to visit Sa Pa at one point during my journey, of course, and I recommend you do, too. I was hoping to have a day-long hike along the terraced paddy fields and enjoy the view of the mountaintops, but what I experienced was much more than a walk.
There is an entire tribe culture tucked away in those picturesque landscapes and as you go along the trails, from one tiny village to the next, you get the opportunity to see (even if it is just for a moment) their way of life, customs, and traditional cuisines.
If you are looking to escape the hectic lifestyle of the 21st Century and breath in some fresh air, ask around to see where you can pitch your best instant tent and have a nice, relaxing afternoon in Sa Pa.
Final Thoughts On The Top 5 Places To Visit In Vietnam
While I thoroughly enjoy writing about my trips, summing up an entire country and all its beauty into such a short list like this one about the top five places to visit in Vietnam is always a daunting task. I never feel like this type of article can be truly complete, which is why I want to ask you something:
Consider this a “starter kit” for your trip, and let Vietnam’s unique atmosphere take you from there!
Melanie Campbell is an outdoor and camping enthusiast behind Ardent Footsteps, enjoying this wonderful world since 2010. She shares expert advice when it comes to camping and outdoor trekking. With the main focus on making the most out of camping and outdoor adventures, Melanie will make you want to go out today!