Each town, city and province in Vietnam offers something unique and special. Explore these different locations by finding the best things to do in each place. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, these are the top tourist attractions around.
Tourist Attractions by Towns and Provinces
The major tourist destinations all feature a myriad of bucket list items that you’ll want to add to your itinerary. Saigon is known for its rooftop bars, Bui Vien and Nguyen Hue streets, and other sights that are a staple of the city. Hanoi has its lakes around the city and wonderful Old Town to explore.
Guide to Visiting Tourist Attractions in Vietnam
Vietnam is a vibrant country that has several kinds of attractions in a wide range of categories. Whether you’re in town to see the beaches, museums, or famed rice fields, the diversity of Vietnam’s activities is suited to all types of tourists.
Each city and region has its own points of interest, so it’s worth it to take some time to see which hot spots are in the area that you’re staying in.
For those looking to set up a cerebral itinerary, Vietnam has plenty of options. From its traditional pagodas, temples and historical landmarks, to touring museums, some of which were former prisons, the mind will be well stimulated.
Pagodas are ancient temples that have been in Vietnam for hundreds of years and are distinguishable by their multiple tiered roofs. Influenced by Buddhism, these beautiful structures are located in areas that are typically peaceful and quiet. Some of the most popular pagodas include the Huong Pagoda in Hanoi, Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue, and the Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh.
Vietnam has a large variety of museums all across the country, but especially in the larger cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. War and fine arts are two of the most popular categories of museums, but there are numerous others in other cultural areas as well. Some of the most frequented museums are the War Remnants Museum, Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum, Vietnam Military History Museum, oh the Ho Chi Minh City Museum.
Vietnam is home to many stunning landmarks, especially ones that have been around for centuries or have a lot of historical significance. The Cu Chi Tunnels are one of the most famous landmarks. They had a big impact during the war with America and even before that during the 1940s during turmoil with the French colonial authority.
Given the dramatic past with wars and political turmoil in Vietnam, many prisons have been repurposed for decades until they eventually became museums. Visiting these prisons gives tourists a good picture of their roles over the years and what conditions were like for the incarcerated.
Many of the items used in the prisons are on display in exhibits, so visitors can also see the tools and torture devices that came into play. Two of the most frequented prison museums are the Hoa Lo Prison, where U.S. Senator John McCain was captive, and Phu Quoc Prison.
For those looking to experience the fresh, cosmopolitan side of Vietnam, venture out for some of the nightlife and live performances found in the bustling big cities. Peruse some of the markets, tallest buildings and other manmade highlights from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh.
The bigger cities in Vietnam offer fantastic options for nightlife, especially on the weekends when the street markets are vibrant and busy. Tourists looking for snacks, meals, souvenirs, jewelry, or even household goods can find many choices at the night markets and practice their bartering skills with the vendors. Two of the most visited evening markets are the Hoi An Night Market and the Ben Than Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City.
Another hit with the tourists is going out for a night on the time. Saigon is especially noted for its stunning rooftop bars, which tower over the surrounding metropolitan.
Vietnam has a plethora of places to watch live performances ranging from opera houses to walking streets. Some of the more traditional arts include orchestra concerts, plays, water puppetry, and dancing. Street performances have all types of entertainment and live music at places like the Hanoi Weekend Night Market.
Maybe you wanna get the adrenaline going or burn a few calories. Vietnam has plenty of activities for this, from its beautiful waterfalls and caves, to hiking up some of the tallest peaks you wouldn’t expect to find here.
Scenic Drive Tours
Booking a private tour or bus ride through the Vietnamese countryside is a perfect way to experience some of the most stunning scenery you’ll find in Asia. Routes like the Hai Van Pass and Ma Pi Leng offer some of the most unique environments you’ll see and fantastic photo opportunities.
Vietnam is home to many breathtaking waterfalls that are sure to quench your thirst for some adventure in the great outdoors. One of the most famous ones is the Ban Gioc Waterfall, an impressive multiple-tiered cascade right on the border of Vietnam and China. Others like the Elephant Waterfall, Thuy Tien Waterfall, and Dray Nur Waterfall are equally impressive and should be visited at least once in a lifetime.
Vietnam might not be the first place that comes to mind for spelunkers, but the country is actually home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong, and several others. Many underground cave systems can be toured with a local guide and showcase some of the most unique sights in all the land.
Photos of the floating markets and boats traveling along the Mekong Delta are some of the most recognized worldwide, making it a must-see area for a lot of tourists. Scheduling a guided tour of the delta, markets and even combining them with an activity like biking are fun ways to get some exercise and have a truly authentic Vietnamese experience.
Hiking & Mountains
Especially for tourists staying near rural towns like Sapa, there are plenty of hiking opportunities to reconnect with nature and have a break from the chaos of metro city life. The Marble Mountains near Da Nang have a highly visited mountain with an easy to moderate hike, great views and a giant sculpture and cave at the end.
Vietnam’s tallest mountain, Fansipan, is in the northern region and is an attractive place to visit. Even those who aren’t hikers can enjoy the mountain by taking a cable car ride to the top, but outdoor enthusiasts can tackle it the long way on a two to a three-day hiking trip.
Vietnam has a handful of impressive and entertaining amusement parks that have something for everyone. Some of the most popular ones are the Sun World Ba Na Hills Da Nang, Sun World Halong Complex, and VinWonders Nam Hoi An. These parks usually have thrill rides, a swimming area, a cultural area, and unique dining and shopping experiences.
There are a few zoos in Vietnam, but the most popular one is the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City. Other, smaller attractions are scattered throughout the country. Many amusement parks also include a zoo or wildlife area. Other places to see the native wildlife in their natural settings is at national parks and preserves.
With 2,000 miles of pristine coastline, it’s hard to be disappointed with the beaches in Vietnam. Many prime beach areas have unspoiled white sands and teal water, resembling what you might see in Greece or the Caribbean. Numerous beach towns have multiple resorts and oceanfront hotels to stay in that provide a taste of the coastal life at an affordable price and easy access to the beaches.
No matter what city you’re traveling to in Vietnam, you can rest assured that there will be plenty to do. The many types of activities in the country provide something for everyone to enjoy and motivate you to come back for another trip soon.