Vietnam’s thriving urban culture is a sight to behold. The country balances its contemporary lifestyle with the traditions of the old. That’s why Vietnam is becoming one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world. Experience the flourishing culture of Vietnam as the country embarks on a whole new age of tourism.
To help with your travel, here’s a list of the best cities to visit in Vietnam, in no particular order:
Welcome to the City of Bridges! Da Nang is one of the more developed cities in the country and is known to be a fascinating place to do nature-inspired travel. The city has a blend of historic structures and contemporary skyscrapers.
Because of the fast-paced urban culture in Da Nang, you may find yourself short on time since there are a lot of locations you can visit while you’re in town. And due to the improved public transportation process in the city, it’s easy to travel from Da Nang to anywhere else in the country.
One train ride will bring you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hoi An, a city about 30km away from Central Da Nang.
Da Nang Destinations You Wouldn’t Want to Miss
There are a lot of attractions in Da Nang you can visit while staying in this iconic coastal city. But there are a few places that have a bigger impact in representing the city’s history.
- Son Tra Peninsula – Over 4,000 ha of rainforest that’s connected to the shoreline, the Son Tra Peninsula is one of the most pristine beaches in Da Nang. From the city, you can rent a scooter and drive via the newly built roads towards Quan Am. Once you arrive, you can explore the rainforest or swim at the beach.
- Cham Museum – This is the world’s largest museum of Cham artifacts. Though it’s smaller than more famous museums, the Cham Museum has been an icon for Da Nang’s history. Founded by École Française d’Extrême Orient in 1915, the museum features over 300 pieces of Cham culture like altars, images of Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu.
- Han Market – If Marrakesh has the Square, Da Nang has the Han Market. Ever since the French colonial era of the 1940s, the market has been a central part of local trade. Now, this two-level town market still represents the local craftsmanship of Da Nang. The market has hundreds of stalls where you can buy memorabilia like t-shirts, adornments, and fresh produce. They also have local tailors who can make you traditional attire.
Where to stay in Da Nang – We’ve compiled the best luxury hotels in the city. Check out Da Nang’s best luxury hotels.
Hai Phong is the third-largest city in the country and it’s known for being the “true Vietnam.” During the colonial era, Hai Phong used to be the capital of the country. So, if you’re seeking a more traditional city, this is the finest place to visit.
The city used to be the French’s major colonial port. The city is crowded with ancient buildings that are still maintained or repurposed to this day. Though tourism efforts have been improved (especially with the establishment of its own Cat Bi Airport), the city still feels like the 90s. The streets are still low key and you can see a lot of vendors with their carts along the roads.
Unlike other cities, Hai Phong’s streets are not as busy. People usually use bikes and scooters or just walk. It’s relatively more peaceful to stroll around the city because of this.
Places in Hai Phong You Wouldn’t Want to Miss
In this list, we will take a look at the quieter parts of the city. For the major attractions in town, visit our compilation for Hai Phong’s top things to do.
- Hai Phong Temples and Pagodas – The city has a dominant Buddhist culture. Just a couple of minutes from town, you can go to the Du Hang Pagoda and see the most extravagant temples and pagodas that are not renovated. These structures still have the mark of the very first artists who built them centuries ago.
- Cho Tam Bac – This is the central market in town. Locals call this the Tam Market. It’s an idyllic building filled with hundreds of stalls that sell textiles, food, and mementos. If you want to connect with the locals in the city, this is the best place to be. Meet colorful personalities and learn more about their culture.
Where to stay in Hai Phong – We’ve compiled a list of the top luxury accommodations in town. Visit Hai Phong’s best luxury hotels to know more.
Hanoi is perhaps one of the cities you’ve heard before when you hear about Vietnam travel. The reason this has been the emblem of modern tourism in the country is because of the government’s steady support for the capital. It’s currently ranked as one of the top 10 destinations in the world, according to TripAdvisor.
Tourists flock here every year and some keep on coming back. Because of the endless activities, you can do in the city, Hanoi’s experiences are ever-changing. Striking the perfect balance between honoring its millennium-old history and embracing the dawn of the new age, Hanoi is a great symbol of modern tourism.
Urban Districts You Can Explore in Hanoi
The city has various districts that have their own contrasting and unique vibes. For other attractions in town, check out our list of the top things to do in Hanoi.
- Long Bien District – Located near the Red River, this is the home of the romantic Long Bien Bridge. During festival season, the district transforms into a lively community conducting traditional ceremonies and dances. This is also the district where you can find the ceramic village of Bat Trang.
- Hoan Kiem District – There’s a chance you’re staying in this Hanoi District. As the central part of the city, it features buildings inspired by French architecture. It’s also home to various historical and art museums.
- Tay Ho District – For a more relaxed ambiance, visit the Tay Ho District. This is home to the largest natural lakes in the country.
Where to stay in Hanoi – To get the best 5-star hotel suggestions, visit our compilation of Hanoi’s best luxury hotels.
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
With an intriguing history that is still carried in the heart of its streets and a rich character that no other city poses, Saigon is a sight to see. Ho Chi Minh has one of the most complex transformations Vietnam has seen which is what makes it exceptionally alluring for tourists.
Since it’s near the Mekong River Delta, the entire region used to be farmers and fishermen. Khmer people immigrated here from Cambodia and named the village Prey Nokor. Then, when the area was annexed by Vietnam, they called it “Saigon”, a name that’s still used by foreigners and locals alike.
After the French occupation, the country renamed the city as a symbol of its new start. In 1976, it was finally named Ho Chi Minh City and now accounts for 20 percent of the country’s GDP. Vietnam’s persistent policies on historical structures have helped the city maintain its connection to its past. While it looks like any other business center in the world, the distinct culture remains.
Places in Ho Chi Minh City to Explore
Browse the best attractions in HCMC to get a feel of the magnitude of activities around town. If you’re interested in getting to know the best coffee locations in town, here’s a comprehensive guide to the most famous coffee shops in Saigon.
Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City – We’ve compiled the top 5-star hotels in HCMC.
This city is a thriving hub for business, politics, and tourism. Can Tho’s vibrant culture centers around the three rivers in the Mekong Delta. Though it has a mix of urban lifestyles, Can Tho’s tourism focuses on the local community.
Unlike other cities, it’s the small business owners that dominate Can Tho. Though there are modern establishments in the city, tourists have more fun interacting with the locals. There are various day and overnight cruises along the Mekong River. You can also explore the network of canals surrounding the city.
Exploration of Can Tho‘s rivers and scenic landscapes is better done during the daytime. At night, there’s a bustling entertainment lifestyle that happens in the central part of the city, along Hai Ba Trung Street.
Spots You Wouldn’t Want to Miss in Can Tho
Though most know Can Tho for its floating market, here are more suggestions on the other spots in the city that bring you views of the mystical waterfront culture.
- Nguyen Trai Bridge – This is one of the most romantic bridges in Vietnam. If you’re planning a proposal or you just want to appreciate the river’s beauty, Nguyen Trai Bridge is one of the lesser-known locations that’ll take your breath away.
- Entertainment Park Luu Huuc Phuoc – For a taste of the lively nightlife in Can Tho, check out this park. Vietnam locals fill the area with boom speakers and they play extremely loud music. Prepare for a night of dancing and camaraderie as you explore this corner of Can Tho.
- Bang Lang Stork Garden – This is a 1.3 ha bird sanctuary that features snowy egrets and storks. Take a peaceful stroll and immerse yourself in the incredible views of this park. It’s highly recommended to spend afternoons here so you can watch the magnificent sunset views from the garden.
Where to Stay in Can Tho – Here’s a shortlist of the best luxury hotels in Can Tho.
Whether you’re with your family or you’re a solo traveler, there has never been a better time to explore the wonders of Vietnam. Visiting these cities can bring you fascinating adventures and moments that last a lifetime.