Get an idea of the top destinations before you plan your vacation. These are some of the top places you can experience Vietnamese culture as well as the natural beauty of its unpredictable landscape.
Halong Bay is one of the most famous destinations in Vietnam. Boating tours take you to see the spectacular limestone formations and the limestone caves that surround the bay. You may also get to stop and kayak around the blue-green water. Your guide will tell you the folktales that go along with the limestone karsts and cave formations — the most famous are said to resemble fighting roosters.
Hoi An has one of the best-preserved historic centers in the country. Its colorful lanterns make it one of the most idyllic places to stroll and see historic homes, temples, and city halls. You can walk into the old homes of wealthy merchants and visit an incense-filled shrine on the iconic Japanese bridge.
Travel to the mountainous highlands of Sapa to meet members of Vietnam’s indigenous communities. You can stroll through scenic villages where locals sell embroidered textiles as well as plenty of less traditional souvenirs. Hotels and rooftop restaurants look out over mountains covered in rice paddy terraces.
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly known as Saigon, has some of the city’s most interesting monuments to the Vietnam War. Go here to see the Reunification Palace. Its upper floors preserve the stately remains of the South Vietnamese government, and the basement has a 1960s bunker — frozen in time since the fall of Saigon. Downtown you can find beautiful examples of colonial architecture and restaurants that serve some of the country’s best meals.
Go to Hanoi to see some of the oldest temples in Vietnam and the legendary shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. Near the lake you can find performers putting on traditional water puppet shows. This city is home to the country’s most interesting city tours, museums, and shopping.
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