VIETNAM

Reveal 10 Best Cities to Visit in Vietnam

May 16, 2024

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam and wondering about the best cities to visit in Vietnam? This Southeast Asian country is home to a diverse range of destinations, from the bustling metropolis that is the most popular city in Vietnam to charming coastal towns and breathtaking natural landscapes. In this article, we’ll unveil the top 10 must see cities in Vietnam that are sure to captivate every traveler.

best cities to visit in vietnam Ha Giang flower season

Top 10 best cities to visit in Vietnam

Hanoi – the capital city

One of the best cities to visit in Vietnam, Hanoi has an unbeatable vibe – a total mix of ancient culture and modern energy. The most popular city in Vietnam draws visitors from around the world with its rich cultural heritage and vibrant energy.

best cities to visit in vietnam Turtle Tower Hanoi

The Old Quarter is a must-explore – a labyrinth of narrow streets brimming with shops, street food stalls, and the pulsating heartbeat of local life. It’s sensory overload in the most charming way. Then you can retreat to the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, where the revered Ngoc Son Temple sits tranquilly on a small island surrounded by locals practicing tai chi along the shores.

The food scene is insane – you’ve got to try soul-warming bowls of pho noodle soup, the ubiquitous yet delicious banh mi sandwiches, and Hanoi’s unique egg coffee creation. Catching a traditional water puppet show from the 11th century is such a cool cultural experience too.

Exploring Top 20 Best Attractions in Hanoi Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City – the largest city

Ho Chi Minh City is seriously the coolest city in Vietnam. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest and most cosmopolitan hub. This dynamic mega-city just pulses with energy from its French colonial influences, modern skyscrapers, and vibrant street life.

The city center is an architectural feast – make sure to check out iconic buildings like the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office’s classic European design, and the Independence Palace. The Cu Chi Tunnels are another famous sight, a vast network of underground passages used by the Vietnamese during the war that you can actually explore portions of.

best cities to visit in vietnam Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral

By night, Ho Chi Minh City keeps buzzing with energy at rooftop bars, hip breweries, and nightclubs bumping with international DJ beats. With its blend of heritage and modern verve, Ho Chi Minh City exudes a cosmopolitan energy as one of must see cities in Vietnam.

Top 15 Best Ho Chi Minh Attractions You Must Experience Once in a Lifetime

Da Nang

Nestled along Vietnam’s picturesque central coast, Da Nang is a Vietnam beautiful city that seamlessly blends urban charm with stunning natural scenery. The star attraction is undoubtedly Da Nang beaches, which curves along the coastline with soft white sand and azure waters that make it an ideal vacation spot for domestic and foreign tourists.

best cities to visit in vietnam Golden Bridge Da Nang

The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five marble and limestone hills just north of Da Nang. Visitors can explore the carved-out caves, tunnels, and Buddhist sanctuaries within this geological wonder. The views from the peaks looking towards Da Nang and the coast are simply breathtaking. Don’t miss the chance to visit Ba Na Hills, a resort mountain just outside Da Nang. Take a cable car ride up to the French village-inspired Ba Na Hills Resort or visit the iconic Golden Bridge.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a coastal resort town that ranks among the best cities to visit in Vietnam. This beach getaway basks in the pristine beauty of its sweeping sandy shores and turquoise waters. The two most beautiful beaches in Nha Trang are Doc Le Beach and Bai Dai Beach.

best cities to visit in vietnam Doc Let beach

Just off the coast, numerous islands with their own beaches and resorts make for an ideal day trip escape. Hon Mun Island has excellent snorkeling opportunities to explore the coral reefs. The Hon Ba Nature Reserve offers hiking trails through lush forests.

Back in Nha Trang, be sure to visit the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers, centuries-old Hindu temples with impressive tower architecture. The night market and Walking Street are lively areas for shopping, dining, and experiencing the vibrant after-dark scene.

Top 10+ Things to Do in Nha Trang – An Ultimate Travel Guide

Hue

Hue is the former imperial capital of Vietnam, renowned for its rich cultural and historical significance. The Imperial City, a vast 19th-century citadel and palace, allows you to walk through the luxurious grounds once graced by emperors. Several royal tombs and mausoleums, like the Tomb of Minh Mang, showcase ornate Vietnamese architecture and gardens fit for kings.

Hue offers more than just historic splendor. The lively Dong Ba Market provides an authentic glimpse into the local lifestyle with its lively food stalls and handicraft vendors. Don’t miss taking a scenic dragon boat cruise along the Perfume River for gorgeous views of the citadel and pagodas. The poetic beauty of Hue makes it the most Vietnam beautiful city.

Hoi An

Hoi An is undoubtedly one of those rare gems that makes it onto every list of must see cities in Vietnam. This incredibly well-preserved ancient town transports visitors back to its 15th-century glory days as a major Southeast Asian trading port.

Wandering the car-free, UNESCO-listed Ancient Town feels like stepping onto an intricate movie set. Yellow century-old merchant houses line winding roads, dainty lanterns cast a warm glow over the streets at night, and motorbikes give way to pedestrians and cyclists traveling the lanes.

best cities to visit in vietnam hoi an

Just outside of town, visitors can rent bikes or take a boat cruise to venture through the surrounding countryside of palm tree-lined rivers, lush rice paddies, and small craft villages renowned for their silk, ceramics, or woodworking artisans.

Da Lat

While not the most popular city in Vietnam for international tourists, Da Lat is a beloved destination for local travelers and newlyweds. The city offers a refreshing respite from the heat with its cool mountain climate and natural scenery. Da Lat’s unique blend of European influences, gorgeous landscapes, and locally beloved attractions make it well worth experiencing this one-of-a-kind mountain getaway.

The city has a distinctly European flair carried over from its history as a French colonial resort town. Da Lat’s natural surroundings are just as appealing as its architectural charms. The city is ringed by pine-covered hills, misty forests, and serene lakes. At night, Da Lat’s vibrant night market is the place to be for food stalls, shopping, and street entertainment.

Ninh Binh

While not as well-known as some of Vietnam’s most popular cities, Ninh Binh is an absolute must-visit for its otherworldly landscapes. Nicknamed the “Halong Bay on Land”, this province is studded with lush forests, winding rivers, and hundreds of striking limestone karst formations.

One of the top attractions is the Trang An Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site where visitors can take mesmerizing rowboat tours along rivers meandering through caves and grottos in the limestone cliffs. Hiking the Mua Caves provides stunning aerial viewpoints.

best cities to visit in vietnam Trang An Ninh Binh

Nearby, Tam Coc offers an iconic scene of karst peaks rising from serene rice paddies and the opportunity to boat along the rivers shaded by bamboo groves. The ancient capital of Hoa Lu is another highlight with its temples and pavilions set against karst hills.

Sa Pa (Lao Cai)

Tucked away in the northwest mountains, Sa Pa is one of the best cities to visit in Vietnam for immersing yourself in the natural splendor and indigenous cultures of the highlands. No visit to Sa Pa is complete without hiking through the Muong Hoa Valley and Tavan Village to witness the iconic scenery of emerald-green rice terraces spilling down the mountainsides.

best cities to visit in vietnam Muong Hoa Valley Sapa

Other top experiences include a challenging trek up Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina, as well as visits to the Love Waterfall and Heaven’s Gate viewing point showcasing Sa Pa’s dramatic landscapes. The hill tribe villages like Cat Cat allow insights into the cultures through homestays, handicraft shopping, and cuisine.

Ha Giang

While Ho Chi Minh City may be considered the coolest city in Vietnam for its cosmopolitan flair, true adventure seekers know that Ha Giang takes the award for being one of the coolest destinations in the entire country. This remote northern province bordering China is home to the legendary Ha Giang Loop – a 350km motorbike route that winds through some of Vietnam’s most spectacular mountain scenery.

Traversing mountain passes like Heaven’s Gate and the Trekking Path, you’ll be greeted with sweeping vistas of forested peaks as far as the eye can see, punctuated by ribbons of roads snaking through the valleys below. Misty clouds frequently drape over the mountains, lending an ethereal atmosphere.

best cities to visit in vietnam Ha Giang buckwheat flower

The natural beauty of Ha Giang extends to its rivers. The Nho Que River winds with turquoise waters, flanked by verdant mountains and local rice and corn fields. The small villages in Ha Giang also have a unique charm, with their ancient houses and friendly locals, creating a welcoming and familiar atmosphere even for foreign tourists.

14 days exploring most of the best cities to visit in Vietnam:

From the north to the south, Vietnam boasts an incredible array of cities that should be on every traveler’s must-visit list. We’ve explored the top 10 urban destinations that truly showcase the nation’s diversity in this article. Hopefully, the information in this article will help you make easy choices during your upcoming visit to Vietnam.

To experience the best of what Vietnam has to offer, consider booking a tour with a reputable travel company like Asia Encounter. No matter which tour you choose, Asia Encounter provides hassle-free planned itineraries and insider knowledge to ensure you have an unforgettable experience discovering the diverse cities and landscapes that make Vietnam so special. Start planning your Vietnamese adventure today!

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