Top 15 Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the most fascinating countries to backpack through. Every region presents its own set of unique wonders. In this article, I’ll give you a brief intro to the top 15 places to visit in Vietnam.

When I first started backpacking through Vietnam, I thought 30 days would be more than enough to cover the whole country. Boy was I wrong! There are so many great places to visit in Vietnam that it left me scrambling to see them all!

Towards the end of my travels, I was on an overnight bus for literally 5 days at a stretch. I would reach my destination, explore it all day, and then move on to the next. I couldn’t see all the places I wanted to see, but I still saw plenty.

Anyway, I hope you don’t make the same mistakes I did. If you have enough time, go to Vietnam for 2 months, at least. If not, this article will help you determine which are the best places to visit in Vietnam.

Arranged from South to North, these are the top 15 places to visit in Vietnam.

1. Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc island is located off the southern coast of Vietnam. It’s a pretty chill island with some great beaches and amazing trekking opportunities. It’s not as crowded as some of the other islands in Southeast Asia, but it’s every bit as stunning.

Important Things to do in Phu Quoc Island:

1. Explore the various Phu Quoc Beaches, especially Cay Sao Beach and Long Beach.

2. Check out the fabulous Phu Quoc Beach Clubs, especially Paradiso Beach Club.

3. Climb up to Suoi Tranh Waterfall.

4. Eat gross crustaceans at Dinh Cau Night Market.

5. Explore the whole island on a bike.

Read: Top 5 Things to do in Phu Quoc Island

long beach phu quoc island rohan tandon
Overlooking the tumultuous waves of Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island.

Best Hostel Accommodation

Q Hao Hostel

Approx. ₫ 120,000 ($5.50 | ₹350)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Phu Quoc Agoda page.

2. Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta, located on the southern tail of Vietnam, is popular for its floating markets. They use boats to navigate canals that are used for trading and commerce purposes. I personally didn’t much care for Mekong Delta. However, a lot of people really seem to enjoy watching people trade fruits and vegetables.

Read: Exploring the Mekong Delta Floating Markets

mekong delta floating market morning
At the floating markets early in the morning.

Best Hostel Accommodation

Mekong Delta Inn

Approx. ₫ 110,000 ($5 | ₹320)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Can Tho Agoda page.

3. Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh is usually either the first or the last city that people explore. It all depends on where you start traveling from. Either way, I’d suggest that spending 2-3 days in Ho Chi Minh City is more than enough. It’s definitely a city you must explore, especially because of its connection to the Vietnam War. But beyond that, it doesn’t come close to being one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

ho chi minh city vietnam
View of Ho Chi Minh at night from a Rooftop Bar.

Important Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City:

  1. Explore Cu Chi Tunnels.
  2. Take a day trip to the Mekong Delta Floating Markets.
  3. Spend a day sightseeing. You can check out the Museum of Ho Chi Minh, the War Remnants Museum, the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and Starlight Bridge.
  4. If you enjoy partying, you can spend a night or two at the (in)famous Bui Vien Backpacker Street.
  5. Finally, check out the local markets and get some cheap souvenirs!

Read: Top 5 Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Best Hostel Accommodation

Bui Vien Hostel

Approx. ₫ 150,000 ($6.50 | ₹420)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Ho Chi Minh Agoda page.

4. Mui Ne

Mui Ne acts as a beautiful and relaxing punctuation between travels through Vietnam. It doesn’t offer a lot of great attractions or activities. However, it features some lovely beach clubs and resorts.

mui ne vietnam rohan tandon
At Mui Ne, a quaint coastal town in South Vietnam.

Important Things to do in Mui Ne:

  1. Chill out at the Beach Clubs, such as Joe’s Cafe and Garden Resort.
  2. Take Kitesurfing lessons.
  3. Go sandboarding at the White and Red Sand Dunes.
  4. Hike along the Fairy Stream.
  5. Explore the Fishing Villages.

Read: Top 5 Things to do in Mui Ne

Best Hostel Accommodation

Mui Ne Backpacker Village

Approx. ₫ 110,000 ($5 | ₹320)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Mui Ne Agoda page.

5. DaLat

After the quaint coastal bliss of Mui Ne, you can get amped up for some heady activities at DaLat. This is a mountain town popular amongst backpackers for one primary reason — Canyoning.

Most people go to DaLat for abseiling, rappelling, cliff jumping, and other freaky activities. You can read more about my experiences in my blog The Thrill (and Terror) of Canyoning in Dalat.

canyoning dalat vietnam
Canyoning in Dalat… pushing through my terror.

Important Things to do in DaLat:

  1. Go Canyoning.
  2. Wander amongst the labyrinthine corridors of Crazy Houses.
  3. Explore Pongour Waterfall.
  4. Get lost in the dizzying cavernous Maze Bar.
  5. Take a cable car to Truc Lam Temple.

Read: Top 5 Things to do in DaLat

Best Hostel Accommodation

Mooka’s Home

Approx. ₫ 100,000 ($4.50 | ₹280)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Da Lat Agoda page.

6. Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a coastal city a short drive from DaLat. It’s not nearly as amazing as Mui Ne or Hoi An, the coastal cities that come before and after it. However, you’ll be passing it one way or the other. So you can make a shortstop.

nha trang vietnam
I didn’t spend enough time here to take pictures. So here, have a generic picture that makes it look like the best place in the world! | Image Source: Vietnam-Guide

Important Things to do in Nha Trang:

  1. Go to Bai Duong Beach.
  2. Explore Ba Ho Waterfall.
  3. Explore the Po Nagar Cham Towers complex.
  4. Check out the Long Son Pagoda.

Read: 8 Fun Things To Do In And Around Nha Trang

Best Hostel Accommodation

iHome Nha Trang

Approx. ₫ 110,000 ($5 | ₹320)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Nha Trang Agoda page.

7. Hoi An

Hoi An is definitely one of the top 3 places to visit in Vietnam. And when it comes to cities, it’s perhaps the best in all of Southeast Asia. It has everything you can ask for.

It’s a coastal city so it’s got some peaceful beaches. There’s a countryside full of lush green fields waiting to be explored and limestone hills waiting to be scaled. And finally, the city itself is stunning and glows up in beautiful embers every night.

hoi an vietnam
Hoi An Ancient Town… undoubtedly the most stunning city I’ve ever been to.

Important Things to do in Hoi An:

  1. Explore Hoi An Ancient Town.
  2. Check out the Lantern Market.
  3. Get a tailor-made suit for yourself.
  4. Explore the countryside.
  5. Dig your toes in the sand.
  6. Scale the Marble Mountains.
  7. Take a Day-Trip to BaNa Hills.

Read: Top 7 Things to do in Hoi An

Best Hostel Accommodation

Vy’s Seaside Homestay

Approx. ₫ 160,000 ($7 | ₹450)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Hoi An Agoda page.

8. BaNa Hills

BaNa Hills is one of the most popular hill stations in Vietnam. It’s a charming French medieval-esque town that you can only access via cable cars. Getting there is difficult and expensive but it’s well worth it.

It’s more of a European themed amusement park than it is an actual town. As such, they have street performances every 30 minutes, rides, street food vendors, etc.

ba na hills vietnam
The Ba Na Hills Skyline as seen from the cable cars.

Important Things to do in BaNa Hills:

  1. Explore the Botanical Gardens.
  2. Wander amongst the French Village.
  3. Check out the Street Performances.
  4. Go on a Rollercoaster Ride.
  5. Explore Fantasy Park with its arcades and wax museums.

Read: Exploring BaNa Hills, Vietnam’s French Medieval Fantasy Town

Best Resort Accommodation

Mercure Danang French Village Bana Hills

Approx. $80 | ₹5,200

9. Hue

Hue is the ancient heart of Vietnam. It can be compared to Siem Reap in Cambodia. As such, it’s one of the most important places to visit in Vietnam for history buffs. Popular for its vast swathes of ancient temple grounds and complexes, you can spend 2-3 days here. Unfortunately, this is one of the locations I had to skip, though my friends said they loved it.

vietnam hue
A Monuments in Hue, Vietnam | Image Source: Youtube

Important Things to do in Hue:

  1. Enter the Forbidden City.
  2. Take a Dragon Boat to Thien Mu Pagoda.
  3. Wander amongst the Tombs of the Emperors.
  4. Walk along the Japanese Bridge.
  5. Explore Hue Imperial City.

Read: 7 Awesome Things to do in Hue, Vietnam

Best Hostel Accommodation

Freedom Hostel

Approx. ₫ 110,000 ($5 | ₹320)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Hue Agoda page.

10. Phong Nha

Phong Na is popular for its vast swathes of stalagmite and limestone caves and grottoes. The most popular cave here is the Phong Nha Cave, which has been inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Phong Nha cave vietnam
The Phong Nha caves | Image Source: VietnamTravel

Read: Things to See and Do in Phong Nha

Best Hostel Accommodation

Phong Nha Gecko Hostel

Approx. ₫ 130,000 ($5.75 | ₹380)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Phong Nha Booking page.

11. Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is one of my most cherished travel destinations from Vietnam. Even though it’s not extremely popular, I think it’s one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

It’s often referred to as an Inland Halong Bay. That’s mostly because it’s popular for the limestone cliffs that rise out of the rivers. However, unlike Halong Bay, it isn’t crowded with tourists all the time and is quite peaceful.

Ninh Binh rohan tandon
Ninh Binh offers complete peace and serenity.

Important Things to do in Ninh Binh:

  1. Explore the Grottoes of Tam Coc and Trang An.
  2. Trekking and Exploring the Local Ninh Binh Villages.
  3. Visit Cuc Phuong National Park.

Read: Top 3 Things to do in Ninh Binh

Best Hostel Accommodation

Tam Coc Homestay

Approx. ₫ 160,000 ($7 | ₹450)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Ninh Binh Agoda page.

12. Hanoi

Hanoi forms the central triumvirate of attractions in the Northern Vietnam portion, the others being SaPa and Halong Bay. It’s not one of my favorite places to visit in Vietnam and it isn’t particularly noteworthy as a city. It’s not as visually stunning as Hoi An, and it doesn’t have a lot of attractions in close vicinity either. However, it’s used as a base to explore SaPa, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh on either side.

hanoi vietnam
A bird’s eye view of Hanoi | Image Source: Vietnam-Guide

Important Things to do in Hanoi:

  1. Go sightseeing to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
  2. Explore the area around the Hoan Kiem Lake.
  3. Go to the Hanoi Opera House.
  4. Watch a Water Puppet Theatre.

Read: 12 Things to do in Hanoi that you shouldn’t Miss

Best Hostel Accommodation

Central Backpackers Hostel — Old Quarter

Approx. ₫ 110,000 ($5 | ₹320)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Hanoi Agoda page.

13. SaPa Valley

SaPa is one of the most visually stunning places to visit in Vietnam. It’s a quiet mountain town popular for its vast green hills offset by rice terraces carved on the sides. Most people stay at local homestays here and trek around the rice terraces and local villages for 2-3 days.

sapa rice terraces vietnam Rohan Tandon
Staring wistfully at the rice terraces of Sapa… sigh.

Important Things to do in SaPa Valley:

  1. Explore the Rice Terraces.
  2. Visit Cat Cat and Ta Phin Villages.
  3. Climb Fansipan Mountain.
  4. Check out the Cat Cat, Thac Bac, and Thac Tinh Yeu waterfalls.
  5. Eat local street food.

Read: Top 5 Things to do in SaPa

Best Hostel Accommodation

Sapa Odyssey Hostel

Approx. ₫ 130,000 ($5.75 | ₹380)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the SaPa Agoda page.

14. HaLong Bay

HaLong Bay is often the last (or first) stop for most tourists. It’s another one of the most popular places to visit in Vietnam. In fact, most of the Vietnam travel brochures you read probably feature scenes from HaLong Bay. You can set upon a cruise here for 2-3 days, exploring hidden caves and islands.

halong bay vietnam
Halong Bay, Vietnam | Image Source: Sinhbalo

Important Things to do in HaLong Bay:

  1. Discover hidden caves and grottoes.
  2. Go Island Hopping to Cat Ba Island and others.
  3. Go Kayaking.
  4. Take an overnight Cruise.

Read: 5 alternative things to do at Halong Bay

Best Hostel Accommodation

Halong Happy Hostel

Approx. ₫ 110,000 ($5 | ₹320)

Best Cruise

Halong Paloma Cruise

Approx. ₫ 4,855,500 ($215 | ₹13,750)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the HaLong Agoda page.

15. Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba is the largest of the islands in the Cat Ba Archipelago. It’s accessible via boats taken from HaLong Bay. This is a popular overnight destination for tourists who have embarked upon a HaLong Bay cruise.

Cat Ba Island Vietnam
Cat Ba Island | Image Source: Youtube

Read: 5 Things to do on Cat Ba Island

Best Hostel Accommodation

Central Backpackers Hostel — Catba

Approx. ₫ 230,000 ($10 | ₹650)

You can find other resorts, hotels, and accommodations in the Cat Ba Agoda page.

Well, so these are the top 15 places to visit in Vietnam. I hope this will help you plan your travels through Vietnam better than I did.

If you want any other information on traveling through Vietnam, such as the rates, transportation, food, visa, etc, you can read my Comprehensive Vietnam Travel Guide for First Timers.

If you’re concerned about Visa, you can use the services of Vietnam-Visa to apply for Vietnam Visa on Arrival.

Having said that, I hope you enjoy this amazing country.

Do comment down below and let me know about your personal favorite places to visit in Vietnam as well!

places to visit in Vietnam