One of the most authentic ways to experience the culture of Vietnam is to visit its local villages and towns. Here, you’ll have a great opportunity to meet friendly locals and have a close-up view of their everyday life. If you’re lucky, you might even be invited to a local home and share delicious home cooked meals with the family. So here’s a list of the best villages and towns in Vietnam that are worth a visit on your trip to the country.
1. Hoi An
Hoi An is definitely one of the most popular towns in Vietnam that’s visited by thousands of tourists each year. This charming town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and used to be a major port around the 16th century. The streets are lined with beautiful colonial buildings with Chinese and Japanese influences. There are also gorgeous temples, pagodas, lively food markets, and a scenic river right in the middle of this charming town. Furthermore, the town’s laid-back vibe will make exploring its lovely streets a more relaxing experience.
Sapa is a popular trekking base for those who want to conquer the Hoang Lien Son Mountains. Located on top of a high plateau, the town enjoys good weather all year round. Sapa is also home to some ethnic villages and beautiful rice fields that are a joy to explore. Aside from trekking, there are several other activities to enjoy in Sapa. You can visit minority villages and have a peek at the hill tribe’s traditional way of living or explore busy markets and witness local artisans creating unique handicrafts.
3. Duong Lam
If you prefer to explore a village that is not too touristy, then visit the ancient village of Duong Lam in Hanoi. As soon as you get inside the village, you’ll immediately feel a totally different atmosphere. At the entrance, you’ll find a 300-year old Banyan tree, creating a totally unique landscape. The village is also home to hundreds of ancient houses that were built as early as the 1600s. They are made from traditional materials, such as bamboo, sawdust, and clay. There are also ancient architectures, such as the Mong Phu village hall, which was built from ancient stones and features traditional North Vietnamese architecture.
Dalat is another popular town in Vietnam that welcomes thousands of tourists each year. Located high above the mountains of Vietnam’s Central Highlands, Dalat offers cool weather all year round. French influences are still very evident in the village because it used to be a favorite summer destination of French colonials. As you walk into the lovely streets of Dalat, you’ll find some gorgeous red-roofed buildings made of stone, as well as beautiful markets, churches, and well-manicured gardens. There are also forests and lakes, which is why Dalat is a great spot for biking and trekking.
5. Can Tho
Can Tho is the largest of all towns along the Mekong Delta. It’s located right at the meeting point of various waterways. Thus, it’s a great town to visit if you want to explore Vietnam’s floating markets. Its rivers and canals exude a very lively vibe, as it’s filled with a wide array of boats, from fishing boats to trading boats selling local produce. At the backstreets of Can Tho, you’ll find ancient old temples, buzzing local markets and sculpture gardens. You can also venture outside the town to explore the gorgeous countryside that’s dotted with scenic rice fields.
6. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a seaside town famous for its beautiful beaches and world-class resorts. This is a great place to visit if you want to go diving or simply relax by the beach. Featuring a 6-km long crescent-shaped shoreline that’s set against a mountain backdrop, visiting Nha Trang is a great way to relax and escape the busy streets of Vietnam. There are also plenty of activities for you to take part in Nha Trang. Here, you can go snorkeling, hiking, diving, and island hopping. At the town center, you’ll find the ancient structure of Po Nagar Cham towers and some great restaurants serving delicious seafood.
7. Vung Tau
Another famous beach destination in Vietnam is Vung Tau. Surrounded by gorgeous oceans, the town is home to some beautiful beaches, such as the Front Beach, a sandy stretch of shoreline dotted with boats. There’s also a popular park and boardwalk nearby, which is a great place to stroll and relax. If you head towards the town center, you’ll find large boulevards lined with beautiful colonial-era buildings. But the most popular landmark in the town is the statue of Jesus, which is reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro’s Cristo Redentor.
So these are some of the best villages and towns to explore on your trip to Vietnam. You can reach these places by public bus or train, coming from the major cities of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.