Best Places To Go In Vietnam
I spent a month in Vietnam and wanted to share the Best Places To Go In Vietnam according to my own experiences while traveling around as a digital nomad and tourist. I absolutely loved Vietnam, there were so many cool places to go and fun things to do plus the cost of living is very affordable. Unfortunately, I’ve also never experienced being ripped off so regularly and blatantly, so that was a huge disappointment and something I will never forget. I want to focus on all the positives. If you want more specific details you can comment below or privately on my social media.
Over the month staying in Vietnam I visited Ho Chi Minh City, Da Lat, Da Nang, Hoi An and Hanoi. Below I will go over the many cool places I visited and listed them in order of my travels from South to North Vietnam. This start at my Ho Chi Minh Mekong Delta River Float and ends in Halong bay. While I was in the country I went to the Mekong Delta River Float, Elephant Waterfalls, Pongour Waterfalls, My Khe Beach, Son Tra Peninsula, Marble Mountains, Hell Cave, Ling Ung Pagoda, , Ban Co Peak Viewpoint, Helio Center, Hoi An Old Town, An Bang Beach, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, The Temple of Literature, Turtle Tower, Ngoc Son Temple, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and Halong Bay.
Ho Chi Minh City
I only spent two days in Ho Chi Minh City, it was very crazy compared to the rest of Vietnam, and even most other places I have been in Southeast Asia. Coming from Bali, I was quickly ready to live this busy, noisy and dirty city but still found something worthwhile to do here other than party on pub street.
Outside Ho Chi Minh City you can catch a peaceful and beautiful river ride through the Mekong Delta. It’s a nice getaway from the crazy Saigon City life.
Da Lat Vietnam
Da Lat is a romantic little city about 5-hour bus ride north of HCMC. Better known as “Little Paris” or “the Honeymoon City”, it has plenty of appeal for domestic and international visitors alike. Colorfully decorating building decorating intertwining hillside streets with flowers and swan river paddle boat floats. This is an excellent place to come as a couple. Although I found the city very interesting, I enjoyed many of the attractions outside the city limits more personally entertaining. Below you can see one of the building at Quang Truong Lam Viet in Dalat.
Named after a large rock that allegedly resembles an elephant’s head, these powerful curved falls are reached via a steep cliff hike down which requires a very careful descent. Elephant waterfall is located in Nam Ban town, over 40km from Dalat. It also makes for a beautiful ride into the country where you can walk through hillside coffee fields.
The waterfall is located at a deserted eco-tourism area 40km from Dalat, Pongour Waterfalls are the largest in the area. I rode a motorbike to both here and Elephant Falls, turning at the km-post No.260, you just keep going 6 km more. Driving in Vietnam is probably the scariest places to ride in all southeast Asia, but the convenience of being in control and keeping costs at a minimum is well worth it. (There is a UFO in the above pic)
These waterfalls are truly massive! You can climb up them but only on the outer edge of the falls as there is security there making sure no one gets too crazy and gets hurt or drowns.
Da Nang Vietnam
Da Nang is probably my favorite city in Vietnam, vastly different than the north or south, it is probably the cleanest and nicest place to spend your time. Located on the coast and known for its sandy beaches and history as a French colonial with plenty of local attractions. It’s also a popular base for visiting the inland Bà Nà hills to the west of the city.Between all the cool things to do in and outside of the city, including a dragon bridge that occasionally spits flames and water, Danag was my favorite city.
The main Beach of Da Nang is littered with these cool local boats and has an excellent panoramic view. Its usually pretty much deserted and is an ideal spot for beach sports like kite surfing, beach volleyball or any other beach sport. Located on your way to Monkey mountain, Ling Ung Pagoda and Son Tra Viewpoint.
Son Tra Peninsula
Beautiful and tropical, just like monkeys, this mountain side ride was surprisingly exotic coming from right outside of the city. There are many places to stop and enjoy the view on your way up to the Ling Ung Pagoda and Son Tra Viewpoint.
Driving 9km south of Danang city center on the famous beachfront boulevard Truong Sa, travelers can find the Marble mountains which are one of the most popular attractions of the region. It is a group of five marble and limestone mountains with a bunch of different attractions included within.
This place is fun for kids and adults, with pagodas, dragons and giant Buddhas, a visit here is sure to not disappoint.
The hell cave is located on site beneath the Marble Mountains, it’s an interesting caving experience. Not like spelunking, this cave is full of mythical hellish decorations. However, after making your way through “hell” you can then ascend the super steep steps up to the “Heaven” area where you can enter one of the mountain-top viewpoints.
The most prominent part of the pagoda complex is the highest statue of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (or the Goddess of Mercy) in the Southeast Asia at 67 meters high.
This other pagoda is located on the same side of the mountain as Ling Ung, so take a right at where you would otherwise go left to get to Ling Ung.
Ban Co Peak Viewpoint
Your next stop is Ban Co Peak. The entrance here is free, but you need to pay 2000 VND for the parking. From here you can usually enjoy panoramic views over the city, but only if the day is clear enough. Da Nang is a very humid place and the humidity here turns into a mist and covers the city. I ended up going late in the day so the mist and clouds had already started coming in for the night, so try and make it earlier in the day.
If you’re traveling as a family with kids, or just want to have some good adult fun as well as enjoy a variety of food then head over to the Helio Center. I did not ride the Ferris Wheel but I did participate in a “So you think you can dance” video game dance off in front of hundred of people and won first place, it was a lot of fun!
Hoi An is an incredible little city located not too far north from Da Nang. This is another romantic place for couples but I still managed to have a good time while I was there. You can go explore the old town which has many French and Chinese cultural influences or head out to the beach during the day. I recommend renting a bike or staying somehwere that offer bikes for their guests.
An Bang Beach
This beautiful beach is located about a halfhour bike ride outside of Hoi An and as you can see it’s very nice, the water is warm and you can even see the city far off in the distance.
Hanoi is the Capital of Vietnam and also the largest and oldest city. There are many tourists attractions in and outside of the city. I enjoyed my time here before flying out back to Thailand.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi is the oldest pagoda in the city. There is a great deal of Buddhist symbolism and historic relics to be seen here. If you’re traveling around the city site-seeing then this is a great place to visit.
Unlike many other structures in Hanoi, the Flag Tower was not destroyed during the French invasion of 1896 and was continuously used as a military post. You can see this around many of the other local sites centered around the same area as the Mausoleum and the statue of Lenin.
This is a heavily guarded giant Marble Mausoleum marking the final resting place of Vietmin leader Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a large building located in the center of Ba Dinh Square, where Minh served as the Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1951 until his death in 1969.
One Pillar Pagoda
The One Pillar Pagoda is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. This is located in the same area as HCM mausoleum.
The temple of literature was probably the least exciting place I visited, but is so conveniently located near Flag Tower and Lenin Park I went anyways.
The tower was erected on the Turtle islet, the former fishing site under King Le Thanh Tong. This can be seen as you walk aroudnd Hoan Kien Lake.
Ngoc Son Temple
This is the most visited temple in Hanoi which sits on a small island in the northern part of Hoan Kiem Lake. The temple is connected to the lakeshore by an elegant scarlet bridge, constructed in classic Vietnamese style. The temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Construction began in 1886 with an architectural style described as resembling Notre Dame de Paris. The church was one of the first structures built by the French colonial government in Indochina when it opened in December 1886. It is also the oldest church in Hanoi.
Last but not least is the incredible (and expensive) Halong Bay. Made up of towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forests that rise from the green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Halong Bay’s spectacular scatter of islands is truly a spectacle, which also makes it northern Vietnam’s number one tourism spot.
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