Are you thinking of traveling to Vietnam? In this post, you have all the information about the best places to visit in Vietnam that you can’t miss on your next trip to this beautiful country.
Vietnam is home to many tourist attractions in the lively Ho Chi Minh City, or explore one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the land.
With so many places to choose from to map out your trip to Vietnam, I have curated a list for you of the best options from where tourists love visiting most.
Before I explore the 10 best places to visit in Vietnam in 2024, let’s first discuss some administrative steps you have to take prior to visiting the country.
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- Tips To Apply for A Visa To Visit Vietnam
- 10 Best Places To Visit in Vietnam
- Final Thoughts on Traveling From the United States to Vietnam
Tips To Apply for A Visa To Visit Vietnam
Americans can stay in Vietnam for up to 90 days. United States residents were originally allowed to visit Vietnam any time within a 30-day period of applying for the country’s eVisa. As of August 15, 2023, the new validity period for a Vietnam eVisa is 90 days.
It’s recommended to allow at least a 5-day grace period between the time you apply for the Vietnam eVisa and the time that you plan to leave for your trip to the country. You do not want to cut yourself short on time that it is going to take for the eVisa application to process and get approved.
10 Best Places To Visit in Vietnam
1. Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites in Vietnam with the name of the island having a majestic meaning that translates in English to descending dragon. Along with the Angkor Temples in Cambodia, are two of the most beautiful places I visited in Asia.
Ancient legend states that the Vietnamese were invaded and their gods sent dragons as their allies to fight alongside them in combat.
There are over 1,900 limestone inlets that enhance the beauty of its overall tropical climate. The dragons in the old folklore had spat out jade jewels that eventually turned into limestone inlets. Of course, this is all ancient legend without much true backing to the story, so it’s just a pretty story to go alongside the allure of the World Heritage site.
Only 40 islands of the more than 1,900 of them have people living on them. If you go to one of the populated islands that are floating fishing villages on Ha Long Bay, you can enjoy fishing, boat tours of the area, and the freshest seafood meals nearby.
2. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, otherwise known as Saigon to the locals, is home to over 9 million people and is the true epitome of hustle and bustle when you visit Vietnam.
It would behoove you to plan a few days in Ho Chi Minh City to explore as much as you can of the area.
Here are a few ideas of how you can spend your time when visiting Ho Chi Minh City:
- Visit the Cao Dai Temple to learn about the faith that mixes Buddhist, Confucionist, Christian, and Islamic views.
- Shop at the Binh Tay Market for produce and meats.
- Goddess Mariamman Temple to learn more about Hinduism.
- The Reunification Palace for a history lesson about the Vietnam War.
- Take a guided tour of the Chu Chi Tunnels.
- Listen to the best music at the Saigon Opera House.
3. Mekong River Delta
Take a trip to the Mekong River Delta to explore one of the globe’s longest rivers that empties into the South China Sea. The overall delta is home to 20% of the Vietnamese population with about 85% of the delta’s area being a beautiful rural territory.
Go to the Cai Rang Floating Market to browse food and other merchandise wares from the biggest wholesale floating market in the area.
Visit the Ong Temple for a journey of prayer and peace. Dive into a peaceful, serene journey in the Sadec Flower Village surrounded by many varieties of blooming buds. One of the best places to visit in Vietnam!
4. The Cham Islands
The Cham Islands in Hoi An, Vietnam is home to eight total islands made of granite.
Hon Lao is the largest of those eight islands with a historical background of the Cham people coming to live there back 3,000 years ago.
Embark on a diving trip in the island waters between February and October when the weather is at its best for the activity.
Bai Lang Village is bustling with many restaurants that serve up the freshest seafood dishes that you can imagine. Plus, their tourist maps are written in English for better understanding of exploring the attractions.
5. My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary is rooted in Indian Hinduism primarily steeped in its cultural influence between the 4th and 13th centuries. It was designated as one of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1999.
The towers at the sanctuary took 10 centuries to amass during the rule of the Dua Clan. These towers honor the Hindu gods and the pureness of their overall symbol, Mount Meru.
Such architecture is thanks to the Cham people who eventually joined with the Dua Clan over the centuries of the towers being erected.
6. Citadel of the Ho Dynasty
The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty is one of Vietnam’s other UNESCO World Heritage sites that was designated as such in 2011. Originally built in 1397, it contains the Inner Citadel, the Nam Giao Altar, and the La Thanh Outer Wall.
The overall site was known as the capital of Vietnam between 1398 to 1407 as Buddhist practices were more common until advances in technology made it so that the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty was no longer Vietnam’s capital.
Explore the ins and outs of the citadel on a self-guided or guided tour to be immersed in part of Vietnam’s history.
7. Ba Be National Park
Ba Be National Park is known as an ASEAN heritage site with many limestone mountains decorating the area. It’s also home to Ba Be Lake which is one of the 20 local freshwater lakes that Vietnam seeks to protect and preserve.
Embark on a journey through the dark depths of Tham Phay Cave with headlamps, of course!
Bask in the sights of the Silk Waterfall. Enjoy many other activities including kayaking, hiking, camping, caving, and sampling some of the best cuisine of the area at nearby restaurants.
8. Taste the Best Pho Noodles in Hanoi
Pho noodles are one of the dishes you need to try during your visit to Vietnam as it’s one of the best dishes in which the country is known. Pho Thin is one of the best places in Hanoi near Lo Duc.
This noodle house goes the extra mile by having the beef cooked with garlic for a more infused flavor before they mix with the pho noodles.
Because of its popularity, there may be a longer wait to be served your food, but the great taste will make it all worthwhile.
9. Mai Chau
The sounds of chickens clucking and seeing the many rice paddies in the river are only the start of what you will experience when you visit Mai Chau.
Witness the White Thai people weaving the most stunning-looking fabrics. Once you have seen it for yourself, you can even give weaving fabrics a try!
Fuel up with local dishes like pork skewers and bamboo-tube grilled rice. Go kayaking at the Hao Binh Reservoir or embark on a guided tour through Mai Chau via your hotel accommodations.
10. Go Lantern Lighting in Hoi An During Tet
If you visit Vietnam during Tet, otherwise known as the Vietnamese New Year, then you should light a lantern to celebrate. Book a trip in February to experience the fun!
Tet is a seven-day event where more than 50 workshops embark on a quest to make the best-looking lantern in town.
Come to the designated area between Cau An Hoi Bridge and the Japanese Covered Bridge to discover the annual fun!
Final Thoughts on Traveling From the United States to Vietnam
Whether you want to go kayaking at Ba Be National Park or taste the best pho noodles in Hanoi, I hope you have a better idea of your itinerary when you visit Vietnam!
Have fun planning your trip!