Apart from being the easternmost country of South East Asia, vibrant and bustling Vietnam is one of the most populated countries of the world. With an estimated 90.5 inhabitants, this small country gives you the best up and close encounters with Asian culture and people.
So, if you are anyway planning a trip to this Asian country this year, then I must say you are going to get spoilt for choices as I was during my first trip. The country has an abundance of charm that will entertain you and mesmerize you at the same time. While you are planning to visit this colorful country, check out these wonderful places from my personal list of favorites.
Visit the beautiful beaches of Nha Trang
Nha Trang located in the south of Vietnam is popular for its pristine beaches, scuba diving and other water sport attractions. This idyllic city gets thousands of visitors every year. While you are here I will suggest you to make sure you get a famous mud bath for ultimate relaxations and exfoliation. I simply loved it during my stay here and crave for it again!
The city has a vibrant nightlife and with many restaurants and bars you will not get bored.
Apart from that I would recommend to hire a cyclo—driver for a day and go around the city using green energy.
Do not forget to do some snorkeling and scuba diving as well as this is one of the best places where you can find an exotic marine life.
Unleash your adventurous self in the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne
Do you know that even Vietnam is one of the lush green tropical countries of Southeast Asia, it has a small desert with sand dunes as well? Yes, I am right! From my personal experience, Mui Ne is one of the hot spots for travelers for its Sahara like sand dunes just a little away from the beaches of Mui Ne. The white and red sand dunes are very popular and a great place to visit.
If you are looking to experience something really different in a tropical country then this is the place for you.
I like the adventure activities of this place a lot. You can visit this spot for various activities like dune bashing and sand sledding.
You can bask in the hot sun and sand in this small desert or get some cool shade under the pine trees that are lined across the dunes.
Crawl inside the intriguing Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi tunnel is located 70 kms away from the Ho Chi Minh City and it is actually a part of the large war museum of the country. The tunnel is 120 kilometers long with trapdoors, kitchens, living area, armory hospital, storage facilities and command centers. After the war with the French the tunnel was expanded during the war with America. The Vietnamese soldiers incorporated efficient air filtration systems that helped the soldiers while there was a carpet-bombing.
The facts about the prolonged war and the historical evidences in this tunnel will surely amaze you and glide you into the past.
My best experience was that this tunnel took me back in the lost epoch of 1948 when the Vietnamese soldiers were fighting the French and later the Americans.
I was hypnotized on my visit as it shows the real life of the soldiers who used this tunnel as a secret passage. You can visualize the entire journey of the soldiers being here.
Explore the Ancient Seaside Town of Hoi An
The seaside town of Hoi An used to be one of the major trading posts in the 16th and 17th centuries. The town still resembles the old and ancient city it used to be back in those forgotten centuries. But to my wonder, it has not forgotten its history and glory and thus Hoi An still has the old world charm of Vietnam. It has little streets dotted with old colonial houses all painted in bright colors.
It would be amazing to take a walk down the chic old streets that are lined with century old houses and try one of the famous french baguettes.
The best thing that I loved the most is that there are various heritage architectures that still stand strong in this beautiful yet traditional town.
Some of these architecture wonders that are worth seeing include Japanese-designed bridges, Chinese temples, wooden shop-houses pagodas, old canals and French- colonial houses.
The lively riverside is the best place to be when you are looking for a peaceful nightlife. Hoi An has some great restaurants to experience the traditional Vietnamese cuisine. For lunch or dinner I can recommend Morning Glory or Lantern Town both serve delicious Vietnamese food.
If you want to visit some nice beaches in Hoi An then visit the little fishing community of Ang Bang. It has a broad white sandy beach and it is quite. It really gives a countryside vibe and a peek into local life. We loved the food on the corner from restaurant Cay Me. Their spring rolls are the best we’ve ever had! Another good place at the beach is The White Sail. We ordered the fish in tomato sauce with coriander and the pumpkin with garlic. Fabulous!
For more insider tips about Hoi An and what to do check our blog The Best Local things To Do in Hoi An
Witness the wonders at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is much more than just a National Park! Phong Nha-Ke Bang is in the north central Vietnam and the crust of the earth that has developed in this part of the country started 464 million years ago and it is the oldest major crust formation in Asia. The park consists of a limestone zone and grotto and cave formations that stretches till 70 kilometers.
From my personal experience I can say this is a must see place in Vietnam. If you love the wonders of nature then you just cannot miss this one.
The splendid caves resembling some time-swept castles, the mystical landscapes nestled amid wondrous limestone mountains and other amazing sceneries will keep you spell-bound.
Son Doong, the largest and biggest cave in this planet is a part of Phong Naha cave system. The memory of witnessing this natural wonder still gives me goose bumps!
Before visiting it in real collect some more info about it from here
Take a peek into the beauty of Ha Long Bay
I must say the mystical land of natural wonder, Ha Long Bay, is a must visit for every traveler. Although it is not without tourists we have found some lesser-known places.
Amid many other wonderful natural wonders, I feel the Ha Long Bay is one of the distinguished tourist spot of the country as it offers luxury along with beautiful natural vistas. The bay is adorned with 1600 limestone islets and islands and stretches over a vast area of 1500sqkm. In 1994 UNESCO has declared this place as a World Heritage Site.
This exceptionally picturesque place looks like a movie set and I can claim without any doubt that you will love every moment spent viewing its panoramic beauty.
If you are looking for a place a bit more off the beaten track then go to Bai Tu Long Bay as it has similar natural landscape as its sister Halong Bay, but remains unexplored in a wide area. It is far away from the popular Catba Island and Halong Bay. Less junks, less tourists and a cleaner bay!
Quan Lan Island is another great place to visit. It is located in Bai Tu Long Bay and has two very nice beaches, Quan lan beach and Minh Chau beach. The beaches have beautiful white sand, which spans over several kilometers. You can camp overnight.
Hike in the northern mountains of Sapa or Ha Giang
If you are looking for some great hiking then most people go to Sapa. Although Sapa has magnificent landscape the area of Ha Giang is lesser known and even more stunning.
Visit for example Dong Vang Geo Park. Especially the road between Meo Vac to Dong Van is magnificent. If you can drive a motorbike then this is the way to go, but you also can go by car. In October is the flower blossom season, which makes this area even more stunning. The people here are not used to tourists yet and super friendly!
Also If you are in this area then the Dong Van Sunday market should definitely be on your bucket list. The mountains provide a fantastic backdrop of the festivities.
The Hoang Su Phi rice terraces were announced a World Heritage in 2012. End of September and beginning of October the ripen rice season begins which colors the rice terraces magnificent yellow and green. In addition to the beautiful terraced fields you will also meet the hospitable, friendly local people.
Check out some valuable hiking and activities in Ha Giang and Sapa on our website.
Believe me, with so many beautiful gems in its store, Vietnam is simply mesmerizing and a must to visit place at least once in a lifetime. Starting from jaw-dropping landscapes to lively villages, white and red deserts to limestone mountains and caves, mystical seaside cities to exotic nightlife, Vietnam is the store house of all natural wonders and fun-filled activities, which every traveler want to experience during the tour.
Pack your bags to set your feet on the divine land of Vietnam this year and take a dip into its insanely beautiful and wondrous treasures that it has kept in store for you. Here you will get to see and experience something unusual and out o the track that you had never ever thought of. If you ask me how to make your tour even more special, my suggestion would be don’t forget to try the Vietnamese cuisine and also dress yourself in the colorful ethnic dresses of this lovely country!!!