Vietnam is known to be the hidden charm of South East Asia as it is perhaps one of the most exotic countries you may visit. It is the latest of the Asian dragons to fully emerge. From its long and beautiful coastline packed with vibrant cities to the impressive mountains and rice fields in the heart of the country, Vietnam is a jewel for every traveller. Indeed it is a country of vivid colours, amazing smells, breathtaking views and warm people. From the North to South, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City and the island of Phu Quoc, passing by the spectacular Halong Bay, Vietnam is definitely a place to visit.
View the top sights and best rated hotels on our interactive map of Vietnam with a slideshow, full screen images and HD video.
Vietnam top destinations
As one of Southeast Asia primary tourist hub, Vietnam has an abundance of exciting destinations from its busting cities to its natural wonders such as Halong Bay.
The top destinations in Vietnam include:
- Hanoi: South-east Asia’s oldest capital
- Ho Chi Minh City: AKA Saigon, Vietnam’s largest city
- Halong Bay: world’s most beautiful natural wonder
- Hoi An: Vietnam’s most charming city
- Hue: former Nuguyen imperial capital
- Nha Trang: Vietnam’s most popular resort town
- Mui Ne: charming coastal resort town
- My Son: unique archaeological site
Hanoi is the oldest capital in South-east Asia and the second largest city in Vietnam right after Saigon (HCMC). It is located in the North of the country some 150 kilometres from the South China Sea and the breathtaking Halong Bay. Hanoi is not only the centre of politics but also offers many exciting historic and cultural places to be discovered and a vibrant street life to be enjoyed day and night.
Ho Chi Minh City
The city of Ho Chi Minh (HCMC) also known as Saigon is located on the banks of the Saigon River and on the edge of the Mekong Delta in the South of Vietnam, some 60 kilometres from the South China Sea. What was once known as the Khmer sea port of Prey Nokor in the 17 century, has today became Vietnam’s largest city and the most important economical and industrial hub of the country. It is a dense, crowded, noisy and very busy metropolis with a city population of around 5 millions. Many believe that HCMC is the essence of the nation with many exciting historic and cultural places to be discovered and a vibrant street life to be enjoyed day and night. It is a perfect mix of old and modern, French and Asiatic influence.
Halong Bay located about 170 kilometres northeast of Hanoi is one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonder. The bay is formed by thousands of limestone karsts and isles of different shapes and size emerging from the waters. This unique and mystical landscape has been honoured twice in 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is believed to be Vietnam’s most beautiful place and the number-one tourist attraction in the northeast.
Hoi An, located half way between the North and South Vietnam is one of the most charming cities of the country. It is a remarkable place off the coast of the South China Sea in the heart of the Quang Nam province with about 120,000 inhabitants. This small riverside town lies on the banks of the Thu Bon River and is filled with beautiful wooden houses, assembly halls, silk shops and chapels.
Hue located in the central region of Vietnam is the capital city of the Thua Thien Hue province, with a population of about 340,000 people. It is mostly known as the former Nuguyen imperial capital from 1802 to 1945, when the Emperor Bao Dai abdicated in favour of Ho Chi Minh’s revolutionary government.
Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most popular and famous resort town. It is said to have one of the top 30 most beautiful bays in the world. It is a lovely coastal city surrounded by a beach, warm waters, and islands on one side and mountains on the other. It is located on the southern eastern coast of the country and is ideal for a beach holiday or for a diving adventure. It has a very lively character with many places to eat, drink and numerous places to visit, with a bit more action then other favourite Vietnam’s beach destinations such as the town of Mui Ne or the island of Phu Quoc.
Mui Ne is a coastal resort town located in South-eastern Vietnam close to the city of Phan Thiet and some 200 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. What was once a traditional fishing village became a popular leisure destination since the 90’s. Indeed, it is one of the country’s top resort destinations, offering a beautiful beach, amazing weather and many beach front hotels, restaurants and bars to choose from. Its kilometres-long beach is quiet and peaceful, ideal for morning walks and jogging. It is also a good destination for water sport lovers, especially popular for kite surfing and windsurfing due to strong sea breezes.
The My Son archaeological site, located in the Quang Nam Province, some 50 kilometres from the magnificent Hoi An is one of the top destination when visiting central Vietnam. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the remaining of the Champa kingdom. This imperial city was built between the 4th and 12th century AD and once served as the capital of the Cham dynasty. It is believed that during that period, this religious sanctuary was the Holy Land of the Cham people.
Vietnam top experiences
Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia best tropical treasure with its long coast off the South China Sea and numeours bustling cities and resort towns. Some of Vietnam’s top experiences include:
- Take a motorcycle journey from Hanoi to the Gulf of Thailand
- Enjoy cheap beer at a Bia Hoi with a streetside of pho, Vietnam’s flat rice noodle soup
- Enjoy the beautiful sandy white beaches of Phu Quoc island
- Kayak near the islands of Halong Bay
- Discover the chaotic city of Ho Chi Minh on a pedal power cycle
Vietnam best hotels
Vietnam has some of Southeast Asia most sought after accommodations with very competitive prices. We have divided our selection into some of the finest 5 Stars and 4 Stars hotels offering some great value for money.
Check out the best hotel deals in Vietnam, with up to 75% discount.
Vietnam is a country with a great history. From its independence with China more than a thousand year ago, to the French colonial influence and more recently to the economic boom after the war, it offers a great deal of historic sites for a better understanding of the country’s past. Perhaps the most impressing is the seven Royal Tombs in Hue where the remains of the last Vietnamese dynasty, the Nguyen Dynasty are held. Another interesting site includes the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, dedicated to the goddess of mercy.
Vietnam is a country blessed by Mother Nature, will it be with beautiful sandy beaches, amazing islands, impressive mountains and passes or the unique Halong Bay. Vietnam is also a place of contrasts. Indeed the buzz of the cities with its flow of motorbikes where people live in the fast lane is opposed to the calm and Zen attitude of the sleepy villages.
The people of Vietnam are worth being mentioned as they are an inspiration for us all. Even after surviving the worse with colonialism and the war, they still manage to have a contagious optimism towards the future. Not to mention that they are quickly catching up with capitalism.
Key Facts about Vietnam
Some important facts about Vietnam include:
- The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.
- Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest and the South China Sea also known as East Sea to the east.
- Vietnam has a population of over 86 million making it the world’s 13th most populous country.
- Vietnam has an area of 331,688 km2 (128,065 sq mi)
- Vietnam’s topography consists of hills and densely forested mountains, with level land covering no more than 20%.
- The people of Vietnam regained independence and broke away from China in AD 938 after their victory at the battle of Bạch Đằng River.
- Successive dynasties flourished along with geographic and political expansion deeper into Southeast Asia, until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century.
- Efforts to resist the French eventually led to their expulsion from the country in the mid-20th century, leaving a nation divided politically into two countries.
- Fighting between the two sides continued during the Vietnam War, ending with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
- Emerging from this prolonged military engagement, the war-ravaged nation was politically isolated.
- In 1986, the government instituted economic and political reforms and began a path towards international reintegration.
- By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations.
- Its economic growth had been among the highest in the world in the past decade. These efforts resulted in Vietnam joining the World Trade Organization in 2007.
The following is a selection of some of Vietnam’s best photographs. It includes some of the country’s most important destinations such as the Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue and My Son.
Click on the images to view them in full-size within a lightbox.
The following is an HD Film about the best place in Vietnam created by Mat Siems. It includes some of the country’s most important destinations such the Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue and My Son.