South-East Asia has one of the oldest and (most popular) backpacking trails in the world and many adventurous types begin their journey in Thailand and include Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in their travels.
There is also an increasing amount of people taking holidays to Vietnam – drawn by a killer coastline and a curiosity about this fiercely independent country. Vietnam is filled with beautiful and exotic sights ranging from rural countryside to ancient Temples and tombs. Here is my Top 10 most beautiful places to visit in Vietnam…
1. Son Tra Peninsula
Close to Da Nang the peninsula landscape includes white beaches, crystal clear water, forest-covered mountains and coral reefs just beneath the sea surface.
The numerous beaches include North, South and Buddha beach. Also known as Monkey Island the best views can be had from the mountain top as you look down on Da Nang City, the turquoise sea and clean beaches below.
2. The Nguyen Dynasty Tombs
The tombs are not far from Hue and are spread out along the banks of the Perfume River. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Vietnam and I personally think the most beautiful of the tombs are Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Doc, Thieu Tri and Dong Kanh.
The tombs were built according to religious outlines including symmetrically balanced geometrical angles and symbolic motifs. Each tomb has its own character with surrounding gardens, small bridges and walkways.
In the Khai Dinh tomb you can see intricate ceramic and glass work and it is perhaps the most beautiful of the tombs.
3. Phu Quoc Island
The beautiful beaches of Vietnam deserve a place on this list. A few years ago Nha Trang was one of the most popular beaches in the country, but for a more pristine and tourist-free beach try Phu Quoc Island. Apart from the dense inland forests, the coast of Phu Quoc has long stretches of white sandy beaches and translucent water.
The beauty continues under the water in the surrounding coral reefs. The 99 Peaks mountain range covered with unique plants, trees, waterfalls and inhabited by seldom seen indigenous animals are the best place to see the island from.
4. Mekong Delta
The fertile land around the delta has allowed plant life to run wild, apart from the agricultural opportunities the delta offers untouched nature reserves.
Explore the river life of floating markets and small villages as well as the islands close to the delta mouth. The beautiful landscape includes rice paddies, small rivulets and water channels meandering through the countryside towards the sea.
5. Tram Ton Pass
Sapa is a mountain town in the northwest of Vietnam known for its picturesque mountain scenery, green valleys, quaint traditional tribal villages inhabited by the ethnic minorities, bamboo forests, rice terraces and breathtaking views.
The best view of Sapa can be had from the Tram Ton Pass or Heaven’s Gate, the highest mountain pass in Vietnam. Also in the area is the Bac (silver) Waterfall, if you have the energy continue up the Fansipan Mountain for a truly magnificent view.
As yet unspoiled by tourism this is one of the beautiful hidden gems in Vietnam.
6. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
This nature reserve is recognized by UNESCO and is the location of Son Dong, the largest cave in the world as well as another 300 caves and grottos. Within Son Dong is a 13-meter long underground river and beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Other significant and beautiful caves in the park include Tien Son Cave, Thien Duong Cave, and the Von cave system. The unusual and beautiful rock formations are due to the area being in a 2000km square limestone zone.
Enjoy the tropical vegetation and evergreen forests with 500-year-old trees.
7. Halong Bay – Bay of Descending Dragons
Within the still waters rise up out of the water 3000 island limestone formations in all manner of shapes and sizes. The water is often covered in mist giving it an eerie atmosphere.
The Karst limestone formations can be seen by taking a cruise in a traditional wooden junk, you can also canoe or swim here. There are some beautiful caves in the small islands which are lit making the area even more mysterious.
8. The One Pillar Pagoda
In the heart of the capital city of Hanoi the One Pillar Pagoda was built in 1049 to resemble one seen in Emperor LyThai Tong’s dream, this dreamlike Buddhist temple appears to float above a lotus pond.
It is built of wood and stands on a small single pillar, the temple is designed to look like a lotus blossom and has ornate beautifully painted carvings. The One Pillar Pagoda we see today is a reconstruction of the original which was destroyed in the war.
9. Ghenh Da Dia
Not as often visited as other beautiful places in Vietnam this hidden gem is a natural wonder formed from volcanic basalt rocks that appear to be sculptured columns of different heights.
As if created by an artist millions of years ago the volcanic eruption met with the water and cooled forming these unique naturally made sculptures.
The phenomenon has remained untainted by tourists as it’s a little out of the way in An Ninh Dong Commune in Phu Yen Province.
10. Hue Imperial City
Once the hub of the Nguyen Dynasty the tranquil collection of temples, ceremonial gates, streams, moats, pavilions, bridges, gardens and pagodas make this a beautiful site with plenty to see.
The Thai Hoa Palace and the Truong Sanh Residence are two of the most beautiful structures here as well as the ornate Thien Mu Pagoda isolated over the river. The beautiful city displays the essence of Vietnamese artistry.
We also have posts on…
- The most beautiful places to visit in Laos
- The most beautiful places to visit in Malaysia
- The most beautiful places to visit in Cambodia
- The most beautiful places to visit in Myanmar
- The most beautiful places to visit in Thailand
Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh – writer and photographer
With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook.