Vietnam is a nation with plenty to offer the tourist. It’s packed with history and peerless natural beauty – to the point that seeing it all would take many, many trips.
As such, it’s a good idea to prioritise. So, what are the best places to visit while you’re holidaying in Vietnam?
This amazing bay is one of the crown jewels of Vietnam when it comes to tourist appeal. Millions of travellers flock here every year in search of cruises through a multitude of little islets, with their grottos and limestone cliffs ready to be explored. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to be found in the Gulf of Torkin, in Quang Ninh. The place’s name actually translates to ‘Descending Dragon’; it’s said that the limestone formations in the region were actually the result of a dragon’s effort to repel those who sought to invade the country.
If you’re planning on taking a tour of Vietnam, then you’ll almost certainly be including this place in your itinerary.
Cat Ba Island
The Cat Ba archipelago comprises 367 distinct islands, but the Cat Ba island itself is the largest. There are three beaches on the island, which are referred to by number. If you’d prefer a relaxing trip, then you might spend your time on the sand, soaking in the sunshine and the spectacle. On the other hand, the island is packed with opportunities for more adventurous travellers. Hiking, rock-climbing, snorkelling and kayaking: they can all be done here. Just make sure that you’re wearing the right clothes.
The hotspot for tourists on the island is the Cat Ba National park, to which millions of tourists flock every year. In fact, you’ll struggle to spend time on the island without visiting the park. The mangrove forests are home to thousands of amazing species!
Temples and Pagodas
If you really want to understand Vietnam, then you’ll want to set aside a little bit of time for the many religious sites on offer. There’s the Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, the Cao Dai Temple in Long Hoa, and the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue. All of these offer spectacle of a different sort, and all of them are worth checking out for their own reasons.
But arguably more important than these major structures is the multitude of smaller shrines that are to be found throughout the country. If you happen to stop near to one, then why not take a closer look?
This small town sits in Lao Cai province, in the country’s northwest. Despite its size, it punches well above its weight when it comes to interesting things. For those looking to see what rural Vietnam is about, there are few better places. You can explore the Muong Hoa Valley, either on foot or on a bike; you can ascend Fansipan, the highest peak in the country; or you could go and take a look at the amazing waterfalls of O Quy Ho pass.