It would be challenging to include all of the most beautiful places in Vietnam in one article, but if you want to learn where to find the most stunning scenery, you’ve come to the right place. Each region of the country has its own unique set of impeccable features and hidden gems, so no matter which city you’re off to, you’ll undoubtedly have plenty to swoon over.
Because Vietnam is so long, narrow, and has both jungle and coastal points of interest, it’s wise to check up on the weather before traveling. Even though these destinations are breathtaking year-round, certain months accentuate their charm more than others. Especially if you intend to hit the beach or hiking areas, it’s best to plan around the seasons if possible.
When it’s time to pack your bags and head to this incredible part of Southeast Asia, consider these top beautiful places in Vietnam to visit.
Ha Long Bay
Located in northeast Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay features hundreds of tiny islets capped with jungles. Most of the islands are made of limestone, while some have sheer cliffs that tower over the water and create an incredible backdrop.
The bay was appointed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, so it’s no surprise that this destination has been one of the most attractive tourist spots in northern Vietnam. Hanoi is only about 170 km(105 mi) from Ha Long Bay, making this an option for a day trip.
The best way to explore this majestic area is to stay a few days. Numerous accommodations range from five-star resorts to standard hotels and homestays. Activities in Ha Long, like taking a junk boat around the islets for a sunset, kayaking, and exploring nearby fishing villages, are fun ways to discover this bucket list attraction.
Set in Nothern Vietnam’s Hoàng Liên Son Mountains, Sapa is one of the most picturesque parts of the country. Although mostly rural, outdoor enthusiasts love this area for its hiking, photo opportunities, and cooler temperatures than the rest of Vietnam. There are two must-see parts of Sapa that everyone should put on their bucket list.
Tiered Rice Fields
You would be hard-pressed to find a view more iconic in Vietnam than the tiered rice paddy fields in Muong Hoa Valley. No matter what time of year you visit, this beautiful landscape is stunning. Come between September and November to glimpse the fields before they’re ready to be harvested, or from March through May, for warm, dry weather ideal for outdoor activities.
The least favorable time to head north is June to August when it’s rainy and crowded with local tourists.
As Vietnam’s tallest mountain, Fansipan deserves a visit. The top of the peak reaches 3,143 m (10,311 ft) and allows visitors to feel at the top of the world. If you’re not up for the massive, potentially multi-day hike, take the 20-minute cable car ride to the top. No matter how you reach the peak, you’ll be greeted with unforgettable mountain views that only dreams are made of.
Fansipan Mountain is also home to the Sun World Fansipan Legend Park which begs visitors to explore its grounds and enjoy the attractions on the “roof of Indochina.”
Bana Hills – Da Nang
Sitting at an elevation of 1,500 m (4921 ft), Bana Hills is a lovely mix of a mountain retreat and theme park attraction in Da Nang. Colonized by the French in 1919 and used as a vacation spot, it wasn’t until 2013 that the area was renovated into what it is today. Many people liken this property to Disney’s Epcot Center, but it definitely has its own twists and unique things to do within itself.
Bana Hills has multiple areas to explore, including a French village, a castle, a spiritual site, a rollercoaster section, and their famous Golden Bridge featuring giant hands holding it up. Vehicles aren’t allowed in the park, so visitors must arrive by cable car, which is to the west of Da Nang’s city center. There is an entry fee to go inside, including access to everything except the wax museum.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc Island is one of the most serene places on Earth. Surrounded by tropical beauty, it’s easy to be enchanted by the clean atmosphere. With many beaches and endless fresh seafood options for dining, this island is the perfect getaway for locals and foreigners. There are two spots on the isle, in particular, that shouldn’t be missed:
Bai Sao Beach
Bai Sao Beach is one of Phu Quoc’s treasures, as it’s located about 25 km (15 mi) away from Duong Dong and located near the coast by An Thoi Town. The white sands stretch for about 7 km (4 mi) and are bordered by the bright teal waters. Rent a beach chair or lay on the soft sand for a mid-day nap by the shore, or grab a bite from a couple of local restaurants.
Phu Quoc is known for its beaches, but the jungle areas have their own notable highlights. The Tranh Stream near Duong Dong is a picture-perfect retreat under the cool forested canopies. Visitors enjoy taking a little hike out to the area, about 15 minutes away by motorbike. Take a dip in the wading area or spend some time hiking, picnicking, or camping here for some quality time outdoors.
Ban Gioc Waterfall – Cao Bang
Outdoors enthusiasts shouldn’t miss Ban Gioc Waterfall, one of Southeast Asia’s most breathtaking natural waterfalls and Vietnam’s most comprehensive. These giant, roaring waters tumble down from 30 m (98 ft) high and spread across 300 m (984 ft), smashing over multiple tiers to create a stunning sight.
The falls sit right on the border with China, making it an attraction for both countries. To get up close to the falls, book a boat ride or visit through an organized tour. The best time to visit Ban Gioc Waterfall is in September and October, right after the rainy season ends and the falls are full and calm. However, if you’re traveling to Vietnam in the spring, you’ll witness the gorgeous flowers in bloom.
In the thick of the fall season, the plant life becomes lifeless but golden, making the area shimmer with beauty. The months with the most rain are in the summer; while it’s not always the most fun to sightsee in this type of weather, you’ll get to see the falls at their most animated.
Hue Imperial City
Hue was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945, and the Imperial City is a citadel that encompassed the majority of its buildings like temples, tombs, palaces, and cultural structures. Today, it’s a stunning attraction to visit the days of the past and has retained a lot of its charm throughout the decades.
The city is preserved in time as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and shouldn’t be passed up by history or architecture lovers. Plan on spending the majority of a day here when visiting, as there is so much to walk, see, and learn about this incredible city’s past. Organized tours can be arranged, but exploring solo is also an option.
Son Doong Cave
Discovered in 1991 and opened to the public in 2013, the jaw-dropping Son Doong Cave is the largest in the world. This amazing underground structure reaches an impressive length of 9 km (5.6 mi) and a depth of 150 m (490 ft). There are gorgeous rare findings inside the cave, such as a 90 meter/290-foot-high calcite wall, giant cave pearls, and massive stalagmites.
Son Doong is a real treat to explore, which currently can only be arranged through the Oxalis Adventure company that works with the British Cave Research Association. Multi-day journeys are most common because the cave can only have people in it for a certain amount of time per day due to specific preservation laws.
The cave is set in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, which is incredibly picturesque in itself.
Cat Ba Island
Also home to the Cat Ba National Park, this island is the largest of 367 in the Cat Ba Archipelago near Ha Long Bay in the northern region. It has become a popular place for tourists to admire local wildlife and a hub for outdoor activities that include hiking and boating.
The mix of ocean and jungle scenery found here is some of the most beautiful in Vietnam, and it won’t take much to be enchanted by the atmosphere. Many accommodations are set up on Cat Ba, offering a stunning place to relax and enjoy a disconnect from hectic city life.
Cat Ba is one of a few locations in Vietnam that has been named a UNESCO site, specifically a World Biosphere Reserve. Many tourists, locals, and ex-pats rave about the clean air and range of outdoor activities, making certain times of year much more crowded than others. The island is also home to The Cannon Fort, a military location used during the American and French wars.
Hai Van Pass
One of the most famous roads in Vietnam is the Hai Van Pass, an incredibly scenic route that weaves through stunning mountain scenery along the coast. With the extraordinary combination of land and sea views, this road is second to none to capture some of Vietnam’s prettiest natural areas.
To get the most out of a trip down the Hai Van Pass, rent a motorbike and from Da Nang to Hue, or vice versa. There are also many organized tour group options for this region. The pass is approximately 21 km/13 miles long and used to be a divider of the Cham and Dai Viet Kingdoms.
Since the addition of the tunnel, traffic accidents on this road have reduced, but it’s still a good idea to be extra mindful if you are driving it yourself.
The Mekong Delta
Vietnam’s iconic network of tributaries, the Mekong Delta, is one of the most unique places in the world. These beautiful waters are home to an array of stunning wildlife, jungles, and cultural floating markets where things like fruit, vegetables, coffee, and souvenirs are sold.
Tours of the delta region are very popular among sightseers, who get to take a boat through the vein-like wonder and witness some of the most authentic cultures of Southern Vietnam. This is also one of the most significant parts of Vietnam for fishing, as the country’s largest fisheries are located on the Mekong River.
If you’re planning to visit a floating market, consider taking an early morning tour. This is one of the most authentic ways to experience the culture of the Mekong Delta because it’s a local resource just as much as it is a tourist attraction. If you stay at a short-term rental or homestay in HCMC, plan for a day cruise on the delta and purchase some fresh produce to bring back.
Hoi An is a charming coastal town that served as one of Southeast Asia’s most important trading ports between the 15th and 19th centuries. Today, it represents a beautiful fusion of cultures ranging from Chinese, French, to Japanese, and is known for its well-preserved historic architecture throughout the city.
Water canals flow through the town’s infrastructure, and the buildings mirror what life was once like in Hoi An. A popular backpackers’ destination, many tourists come for the historical scenery, especially at attractions in the Old Town, like the Japanese Covered Bridge and Quan Cong Temple.
Visiting Hoi An is most desirable from February through July when there isn’t has much rain and temperatures are pretty moderate. Consider timing your visit to the city around their regular lantern festival that happens on the full moon of each month. The views of the moonlight glistening on the water amongst the paper lanterns is worth every bit of the effort to be there.
Cat Tien National Park
Cat Tien National Park offers breathtaking views of one of Southern Vietnam’s most beautiful tropical jungles, which also happens to be home to many types of monkeys, reptiles, and birds. There are about 74,000 hectares/182,856 acres of impressive forests and wetlands that combine to make up the national park.
This location is labeled a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Zone as of 2001, making it a great place to hike and take in the views on foot. Based only about 150 km (93 mi) from Saigon, it’s possible to stop by on a day trip, but most would prefer a day or two to explore if time allows.
The best time to visit Cat Tien National Park is December through May, when there isn’t as much rain and the jungle trails aren’t sopping wet. Most people reach the park by private car, motorbike, bus or organized tour.
Also known as “Le Petit Paris,” Da Lat is a town set in the hills that’s been a popular retreat since the French Colonial days. The French originally developed the area as a resort area with European-style features, and there’s even a mini Eiffel Tower in the city center as a nod to its history.
Nature-lovers should be sure to spend extra time in Da Lat, as the region is home to several stunning wonders like Elephant Falls, Datanla Waterfalls, and Pongour Falls. Other prominent historical attractions include the Linh Phuoc Pagoda and the Da Lat Railroad Station.
While much of the world experiences harsh winters at the end and the start of every year, the best months to visit Da Lat are between November and March when it’s mostly dry. There are also several luxury hotels and budget-friendly options for those looking to spend the night.
Con Dao Islands
The Con Dao Islands is an archipelago made up of 15 islands, with Con Son being the largest. It’s located roughly 230 km (140 mi) from Ho Chi Minh City, and most people take a short flight to the island. After arrival, you will discover a haven of ideally sea and shore amenities, perfect for diving, snorkeling, swimming, and casual beach fun.
Accommodations are set up on Con Son, allowing guests to wake up to a view of paradise. And with stunning 5-star hotels right on the water, you’re sure to be taken care of during your stay.
Aside from its magical, dream-like tropical views, Con Son Island holds a lot of historical significance too. The Con Dao Prison was built in 1861 by French colonialists to imprison political threats, but it also played a role in the conflict with the Americans. The grounds are now a museum worth a visit, regardless of whether or not you’re a history buff.
Mui Ne Sand Dunes
Located in the South-central part of Vietnam, the Mui Ne Sand Dunes are one of the country’s most breathtaking, unique features. The red dune and white dune areas are near each other and resemble landscapes straight out of the Sahara Desert, giving visitors a chance to sled, dune-buggy, trek, and even picnic on the sand.
Book a sunrise or sunset tour to capture the most brilliant photographs of light reflecting on the sand. Private and group tours are offered, and most include a stop at the Fairy Stream, too.
Vietnam is jam-packed with beautiful sights, and this list only scratches the surface of what the country has to offer. These selections are some of the focal points that first-timers should look into adding to the itinerary. Still, they will be so unforgettable that you’ll have to return multiple times to fully discover each one’s trove of treasures.