Vietnam is largely popular for its war times between 1965 and 1973 which greatly involved the United States. Very little is known worldwide about the unique touristic riches of this Southeast Asian nation which can be savored by engaging with a great Vietnam tour service and getting the easy to acquire Vietnam e-visa or the Vietnam visa on arrival.
An unforgettable mix of striking landscapes, and many other natural beauties, coupled with rare cultural diversity from the booming modern and colonial cities, archeological sites, traditional villages, unique delicacies and so much more come together to make Vietnam a special adventure destination as I recently got to find out.
Some of the places you must consider experiencing whenever you decide to visit Vietnam include;
1. HALONG BAY
By far one of Vietnam’s most popular natural touristic sites, the beautiful Ha Long Bay features more than 1,600 breathtaking karst islets and islands. This UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Gulf of Tonkin isn’t too far away from the vibrant Hanoi city and is definitely worth more than a peek whenever you visit Vietnam.
In addition to presenting truly spectacular views by boat cruise, swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the bay’s caves with hundreds of weird stalagmites and stalactites were unforgettable experiences for me during my trip to this amazing icon of nature. Don’t miss out!
2. HANOI CITY
Immersed in the interesting history of the Vietnam and Indochina wars, Hanoi has been the booming capital city of Vietnam since reunification. Its trademark buzzing markets and streets with motorbike traffic, scenic boulevards, variety of museums (Vietnam Fine Art Museum and The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology) exhibiting the country’s surviving French and Asian colonial architecture, and famous sites like the Presidential Palace, the Grand Opera House, and so on, present unmatched experiences across Vietnam. The ‘’Old quarter’’ in Hanoi is home to so many interesting relics and is not a place to miss when you choose to visit Vietnam.
Arriving at Hanoi around September beginning with my Vietnam e-visa, meant I reached in time to enjoy the typical Hanoi fall flower (Alstonia) scent and got graced with one of the period’s most favorite gifts, the ‘’Com’’ (grilled unripe sticky rice or simply green rice flakes), in abundance. The tradition of ‘’com’’ making is very much associated with the Vong village, though it can be found quite easily around Hanoi. There is so much to explore in Hanoi.
3. SAPA COUNTRYSIDE IN LAO CAI PROVINCE, VIETNAM
Touring the traditional Sapa Countryside was one of my most serene experiences in Vietnam and I’ll jump to another opportunity to go back anytime.
The climate in these Northwestern parts of the country is really wet and cold, but the feel from the surrounding pictorial mountains and well-crafted rice terraces together with the uniquely interesting small ethnic populations make the Sapa Countryside the best trekking and hiking site. Tours to these parts only take a few minutes from the town and present spectacular views waterfalls, rice paddies and much more including opportunities to experience the rich culture, food, and customs of the local tribes.
4. HOI AN ANCIENT CITY
Located in South Central Vietnam along the coast of the East Vietnam Sea, Hoi An is a charming ancient city of Vietnam. Widely considered as Vietnam’s most interesting city, this UNESCO World Heritage site feeds its visitors with unique experiences thanks to the narrow layout and city atmosphere, as well as the availability of many interesting historic sites like the Japanese Covered Bridge, built by the Japanese community which inhabited the area in the 1590s mainly for trade
The old traditional architecture of Hoi An and its tons of tailor shops where you could purchase signature souvenirs, clothing, bags, shoes, and custom-made suits among other items at amazing prices make the city worth the peek whenever you visit Vietnam.
5. MY SON SANCTUARY
This is a key archaeological site in the ancient history of Southeast Asia and it’s located on Vietnam’s central coast beside Duy Phu village.
Found in the middle of lush jungle-covered mountains, this ancient religious center was a special place with temples where Kings of the Champa Kingdom carried out Hindu ceremonies from the 4th to the 14th Century worshipping the god, Shiva, before facing abandonment. The amazing My Son is accessible through Hoi An and still features 20 brick and sandstone block temple structures with an on-site museum preserving and presenting the site’s surviving monuments.
6. HUE CITY
Located in central Vietnam, on the Perfume River banks, Hue was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty between 1802 and 1945. This glorious historical period is still very much embedded in the culture, cuisine, and architecture of the city making it one of Vietnam’s treasured touristic attractions.
The city’s royal citadel is its most famous monuments made up of grand palaces, fancy temples, gates, walls and other interesting relics.
A day boat cruise on the Perfume River to visit some pagodas and royal tombs also present an interesting activity in this area. I didn’t get the chance to reach Hue on my last visit to Vietnam but I can’t miss it next time.
7. NHA TRANG BEACH CITY
This is a famous seaside resort city, usually a favorite destination for tourists and Vietnamese mainly because it sits on the coast of South Central Vietnam which arguably offers the best sandy fun in the country and beyond. Nha Trang’s 6-kilometer well-catered beach, lush islands, and beautiful mountain views combine with the structured layout for fun activities such as swimming and scuba diving to make it a must visit.
8. HO CHI MINH CITY
If you are a big city lover, a trip to the crazy and buzzing commercial hub of Vietnam will be worthwhile. Located in the south of the country, Ho Chi Minh lies along the Saigon River not far away from the Mekong Delta. And formerly called Saigon, this city which is the largest in the reunified nation served as South Vietnam’s capital during the Vietnam war.
Visitors to this incredibly cosmopolitan city are usually spoilt for choice with a good number of modern and historic attractions available to explore accompanied by its vibrant appeal of dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Dong Khoi – a small street at the center of Ho Chi Minh is home to some of the city’s most interesting sights. For instance, the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, the Opera House… constructed in the late 19th century, you can find at least 3 oldest hotels of the city on this street such as Continental Hotel (built on 1880), Grand Hotel (built on 1929) and Majestic Hotel (built on 1925)…. This street represents the rich history of the city.
From the Jade Emperor Pagoda to the Reunification Palace (Independence Palace), the History Museum, etc., there are many other big hitter attractions in Ho Chi Minh which grace visitors with present day experiences of the city’s war history and French colonial architecture.
9. CU CHI TUNNELS IN HO CHI MINH CITY
The spectacular experience presented by this extensive network of tunnels fascinates all visitors and not just those with a special interest in the modern military history of Vietnam. Stretching over 250 kilometers during the war, the Cu Chi Tunnels were used by VC troops around the Ho Chi Minh city area for communication and operations. With the help of a guide, you can actually experience the narrow unlit confines down some sections of the network first-hand.
10. MEKONG DELTA
Popularly known as Vietnam’s Rice Basket, this uniquely spectacular floodplain located far south of the country is among the most attractive features of these parts.
It’s through the crisscrossing waterways of the Mekong Delta that the Mekong River finds its way into the sea. Inhabited by a mostly agricultural native population, this fertile sanctuary is famous for its colorful floating markets which can be toured by boat, rice paddies, fruit orchards, sugarcane mangroves, and fish farms which feed over a third of the country. Mekong Delta stretches from Ho Chi Minh City to the Gulf of Thailand and always delivers great memories.
In addition to the sites mentioned above, there is a wide range of other interesting places like Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and its very beautiful caves, Da Lat, Con Dao Islands and many other less popular places which are worth more than a peek in Vietnam.
VIETNAM VISA INFORMATION
The touristic wealth of Vietnam can be discovered by following the simple process of securing your Vietnam e-visa which was officially launched in 2017 online. If you are from one of the 46 eligible countries across the globe, you can make your application online with a valid ordinary passport, and other relevant documents plus payments before downloading the authorization form which will only require a stamp on your passport from authorities upon arrival to confirm and permit your movement within the country. This can be acquired in no time.
There is the option of a Vietnam visa on arrival which isn’t complicated to secure as well. These two routes are perfect for tourist visits to the country as they are cheaper and much more convenient than going to the Vietnamese consulate or embassy in your country of residence.
The Vietnam visa on arrival is usually acquired at the nation’s international airports when you present an approval letter issued by the Vietnam immigration authority. Travel companies in Vietnam can ease your award of an approval letter which will then require that you travel and get your passport stamped at the airport after you pay your stamp fee.
If you didn’t have Vietnam amongst your next vacation destinations, you need to update that list and thank me later.