is a country of rich history and incredible beauty. Whether you’re travelling to the country for only a short time or as part of an extensive South East Asia holiday, there are some wonderfully unique destinations that you need to visit, to see the true culture of Vietnam.
When travelling to Vietnam, a visit to at least one of the major towns and cities is a must! One such place is Hoi An, located in central Vietnam, it is often overlooked in favour of Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi.
Hoi An offers tourists a colourful, animated city scene that is incredibly traditional in its roots. You can take a stroll through the UNESCO listed Old Town and walk across the 17th century Japanese Bridge, explore the Quan Cong Temple or visit the dozens of cultural museums. Old Town is also home to a great market selling local food and delicacies.
Ensure that you stick around and see Hoi An by night. With handcrafted silk lanterns strung between buildings, colourful lights, traditional performances, and market stalls it is the side of Hoi An you shouldn’t miss!
Hanoi, saw years of conflict rage across its plains but emerged largely untouched. Here you can marvel at the beautiful symphony of traditional regional culture and French influence. Lying on the right bank of the Red River, Hanoi is relatively compact and the must-see sites for visitors are not too far from each other.
Stroll through the Old Quarter, whose street names reflect the specialisations of the merchants that they housed in years past, and admire the work of local artisans still working there. Come back on a weekend evening for night markets where you can try stock up on souvenirs.
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to see the Vietnamese leader’s body, or if temples are more your thing, head to The Temple of Literature. The temple (Văn Miếu - Quốc Tử Giámwas) was constructed during the Tran and Ly Dynasties. Although the temple has suffered the elements of time, it is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful temples for its complex and intricate architecture.
Venture further out of the city and you’ll find Do Temple, which is built behind a lake that contains pristine water all year round. The temple has a rich history and pays homage to the Ly Dynasty and the eight kings who ruled during that period.
Don’t miss: Hanoi street food, especially Bánh mì and the infamous egg coffee!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Huế was the former imperial capital of the Nguyen emperors and is a wonderful place to truly discover Vietnam’s historical significance. Set closer to the border between north and south Vietnam, visitors to Huế should visit the Imperial Citadel.
The Thien Mu Pagoda can be found nearby along the Perfume River, along with many tombs of the former Nguyen emperors. Constructed in 1601, the temple was refurbished in the 1660s by Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan. The pagoda, also known as The Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, is an impressive piece of architecture which was built, according to legend, on the advice of an elderly woman who declared the necessity of a temple at that spot to ensure the prosperity of the country.
Pa Thom Cave
It may sound a little strange to make a visit to a cave, but the Pa Thom Cave in northern Vietnam’s Dien Bien Phu region is a unique and incredible experience like no other! The cave is situated high in the mountains, above the Vietnam Laos border, and has a 12-metre-high entrance, which leads to a 350-metre-long cavern featuring gorgeous arches and incredibly huge stalagmites and stalactites.
The cave is a beautiful sight, with waterfalls inside, and the Dien Bien people believe it to be a place of happiness and romantic fulfilment. It’s a must visit!
It’s not often that you associate enormous breathtaking waterfalls, pine forests and tranquil lakes with Vietnam, but in Da Lat, visitors can discover just that. This beautiful, mountain-filled region, nestled in the country’s central highlands and dubbed the City of Eternal Spring was once part of the French territory of Cochinchina. This is still evident today in the colonial villas, and the Eiffel Tower-like radio mast.
A beautifully rich and colourful town, the cooler climate of Da Lat makes it perfect for discovering the natural surrounds. Hiking and lake cruising are common here, and in the town itself, visitors can wander through the Flower Park, visit the Linh Phuoc Palace and explore the vivid central markets.
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