There are so many places to visit in Vietnam. Many people travel Vietnam in 2 weeks whilst many others spend one month in Vietnam. Either way, here are the top 5 places I recommend you visit in Vietnam to ensure you see the best bits of the Country no matter how long you are visiting Vietnam for!
Must Visit Places in Vietnam
1. Halong Bay
Halong Bay is one of the natural wonders of the world and it certainly didn’t disappoint me on my 2 day Halong Bay trip so a visit here is a must.
The port where you leave to see Halong Bay is a good 4-5 hour drive from Vietnam’s Northern City of Hanoi. I liked Hanoi but a day there is enough if you’re short on time so make sure you get to Hanoi and leave for Halong Bay asap.
Halong Bay tours are sold in the many many travels agents all around Hanoi so it won’t be hard to get a next day booking and although there are day tours available with the amount of travel time it takes to get there you should definitely factor in a 1 or 2-night trip. I did a 1-night trip and it was probably the highlight of my time in Vietnam. Read a Guide to Halong Bay here for more information.
Make sure to read these top things to know before visiting Vietnam!
2. Hoi An
Hoi An is probably one of the prettiest towns that I’ve been to and a lot of people say the same. It’s full of brightly coloured French Colonial buildings and you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking that you were no longer in Asia.. in a good way!
There’s a river running right through the town, Chinese lanterns hanging over the streets, plenty of places to eat, plenty of markets to buy some cheap souvenirs and there’s even a beach nearby!
Before Hoi An I was in Hue which I got an overnight bus to from Hanoi. From Hue, I hired a bike and driver and did the ‘top gear’ route to get to Hoi An which took a few hours.
If you have time to get to Hue and then bike down to Hoi An then this is an absolute must! If not then you can fly into Danang which is a short journey away from Hoi An as Hoi An doesn’t have an airport.
Definitely factor a few days in Hoi An to do all the things to do in Hoi An like biking around the town, soaking in the culture, going to the beach and basically feel like you’re on holiday!
There are so many activities to do in Vietnam, look here for all of the fun things to do in Vietnam!
3. Da Lat
After Hoi An the next stop on most people’s itinerary (including mine) is Nha Trang however I would say to skip Nha Trang! Yes, it has got a fairly decent city beach and nightlife but it’s just a city with lots of holidaymakers and you really don’t feel like you’re in Vietnam there.. in a bad way!
Instead, head straight to Da Lat. A small town a few hours inland and South of Nha Trang.
Da Lat is most commonly known for its Canyoning. Personally I didn’t fancy jumping down one of the waterfalls in Dalat into freezing water but the braver people who do it love it!
On arrival I wasn’t sure what I was actually going to do there but as it turns out I really enjoyed it. Firstly due to its inland location, you see a completely different side of Vietnam. The weather is a lot cooler than the coast which is quite welcoming and its surrounded by Countryside and Mountains.
I spent a full day visiting the Crazy House which is definitely a sight to be seen, taking the cable car to a monastery and finally wandering around the town’s lake and streets and enjoying a coffee in a cool cafe and watching the world go by.
This town may seem out of the way and a bit quiet if you’re short for time but it is worth a visit for a day or two!
4. Ho Chi Min City
From Da Lat I got a day bus to HCMC, it did take pretty much a full day but to save time it’s also possible to do it as a night bus or you could fly from Da Lat or head back to Nha Trang and fly from there.
In the end, I only spent a day in HCMC but I think it’s a must-visit even for a short amount of time and as its Vietnam’s main international airport its likely you’ll have to visit. It’s the capital city of Vietnam, once known as Saigon and has a totally different feel to it than Hanoi and its a lot bigger.
In a day you can check out the War Remnants Museum which although sad gives a good insight into the Country’s history. There are also some great European style buildings to see, especially the Notre Dame Basilica and the Post Office opposite.
For a totally different look at the city check out District 1 and Pham Ngu Lao Street which is the ‘backpacker’ district full of lots of shops and cheap eat cafes with amazing food and come evening it really livens up and is good for a night out!
Dave at Man Vs Globe has an awesome Backpacker’s Guide to Ho Chi Minh City!
5. Phu Quoc
Finally, if you have the time then a visit to Phu Quoc is a must! It’s a small island off the coast of Southern Vietnam, just a 40-minute flight from HCMC and flights are really cheap with Jetstar especially if you book in advance.
Even if you just manage to visit for 2-3 days it’s a welcome relief from the crazy and manic streets of HCMC and other parts of Vietnam.
Long Beach is where all the accommodation is along with lots of restaurants which go right onto the beach. The water is gorgeous and it’s West facing so each night provides an amazing sunset. I did a snorkelling day tour which was really good and took us to a beautiful beach on the Southern part of the island. Personally I didn’t think it was as nice as the Thai islands but its a great way to end a trip to Vietnam!