Traveling Doesn't Have to Be Expensive.

Ethical, Affordable Adventures

10 Unique Places to Visit in Vietnam

Sep 12, 2022 | Vietnam | 0 comments

Vietnam is a country known for its breathtaking scenery, making it a popular country for tourists to visit. However, many travelers may feel they receive the same recommendations of beaches, mountains, and cities which don’t feel very unique.

So, what are the most unique places to visit in Vietnam and which should you go to? It depends — the places on this list are unique to visit for a number of different reasons, so it is suggested you read through the full list to see which interest you.

1. Lan Ha Bay – Ha Long Bay without the Crowd

Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

If you ask someone who has been to Vietnam where you should go, one of their answers will surely be Ha Long Bay. However, Ha Long Bay is often crowded with tourists, and it can be hard to take in the beauty of it all when it can feel a bit crowded.

So, we suggest that you go to Lan Ha Bay.

Lan Ha Bay is part of the Gulf of Tonkin, just like Ha Long Bay, although it is slightly smaller. However, it still retains what Ha Long Bay unique and a must-visit spot: the karst formations, limestone cliffs, beaches, great water, and more.

If you’re hesitant to go to Lan Ha Bay because you’re concerned there is a reason it is less popular than Ha Long Bay, don’t worry! Ha Long Bay is simply closer to Ha Long, the capital of the Quang Ninh province, which gives it a bit more infrastructure.

This infrastructure difference isn’t too much of a problem, as one of the best ways to experience Lan Ha Bay is as a daytrip from Hanoi. Even if you extend it beyond one day, there is plenty of accommodation for you to remain for as long as you would like as well.

For a more extensive review of the differences between Ha Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay, and Bai Tu Long Bay (another alternative to Ha Long Bay), I recommend you check out this article by which provides a thorough comparison of the three. Regardless of which one you choose, any of the three will provide a truly unique outdoor experience!

2. Old Quarter, Hanoi – Walk on historic roads

Old Quarter, Hanoi

Continuing with the idea of places to visit around Hanoi, is the Old Quarter, which is actually in Hanoi! The Old Quarter of Hanoi is roughly 1,000 years old, giving it plenty of history for you to experience.

As you visit the old quarter and walk the streets, just imagine how many people have walked those roads just as you are now. The experience have here may not be so different from so long ago, especially when it comes to some of the great street food you can get! Also, if coffee is your thing, you are going to love the cafes that the Old Quarter of Hanoi has to offer.

Moreover, the streets of Old Quarter are specialized and broken up according to what is found on that particular street. So, there are streets which specialize in clothes, streets which specialize in fabrics, streets which specialize in shoes, and so forth. There are thirty-six streets in all, so there will be plenty for you to explore, especially if you wish to do some shopping!

3. Ba Be National Park – Unique Natural Views

Ba Be Lake

Ba Be National Park is home to Ba Be Lake, which is surrounded by beautifully lush mountains and landscapes. Ba Be National Park deserves its spot on this list for being a great place to experience the landscapes of Vietnam that remain largely untouched.

With this natural beauty comes a number of outdoor activities. There are options available to hike through the park (with varying levels of difficulty), go kayaking, or go exploring some of the many caves that Ba Be National Park has. Combine any of these with a homestay, for a truly unique experience. It should be noted that for those who have mobility challenges or have children that there are other options for experiencing Ba Be National Park as well, such as boat tours or arranged trips designed specifically for children.

However, for the most unique experience it is recommended you go hiking, as there is a more unforgettable cave experience (Ka Bang National Park) further down on this list.

4. Imperial City of Hue – Home of the Last Emperor

Imperial City of Hue, Hue

The Imperial City of Hue was home to the last dynasty in Vietnam, the Nguyen dynasty. Because of this site’s unique cultural and historical significance, it has earned a spot on this list.

For anyone interested in the history of the Nguyen dynasty, they came to power in the early 19th century. However, due to French colonialism, they eventually lost power. However, the Nguyen dynasty carried on (symbolically) until 1945, when Vietnam declared independence.

5. Independence Palace, Saigon – Site of The End of the Vietnam War

Independence Palace, Saigon

Independence Palace was the ending place of the Vietnam War and was previously the home of Diem, the leader of South Vietnam. For this reason, it is quite a unique place to be as it is where the creation of modern Vietnam was completed. With the ending of the Vietnam war, the North and South were once again unified, and the country was whole once again.

So, for anybody who is interested in Vietnam war history, this is a great historical site to visit. While there, you can see a number of different rooms which were of significance as well as a tank outside (as it was a tank crashing through the gates which signified the end of the war).

6. Cu Chi Tunnels, Saigon – Crawl Through Famous Vietnam War Era Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam

During the Vietnam War, communist forces were known for their guerilla warfare tactics. One of these tactics was the digging of extensive tunnel networks which made the forces quite illusive. The Cu Chi tunnels are a set of these tunnels that exist in Saigon.

There are certainly plenty of places to go in Vietnam where you can experience these tunnels, but for the ease of exploration and its proximity to Saigon, it is recommended that you visit the Cu Chi tunnels. Moreover, for those interested in Vietnam War era history, a trip to the Cu Chi tunnels is well paired with a trip to Reunification Hall.

7. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – Walk and Swim in Caves and Caverns

Hang En Cave, The World’s Third Largest Cave

Much like Ba Be National Park, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is incredibly beautiful and is a great destination for hiking, kayaking, or exploring caves. However, it is recommended to visit Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in order to have caving adventures as this is what it is most famous for. In fact, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is home to the biggest cave in the world (Hang Son Doong)!

Much like Ba Be National Park, it is highly recommended to combine this trip with a homestay in order to get a more unique experience.

So, while it is typically recommended to visit both Ba Be National Park and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, if you have to choose only one, be sure to choose based on the activities you would like to do.

8. My Son – Ruins of an Ancient Temple

My Son, Vietnam

My Son (literally ‘beautiful mountain’) Sanctuary is a very unique place to visit in Vietnam because of its connection to Hinduism. From the 4th to 13th centuries CE there was actually a group which had spiritual connections to Hinduism living on the coast of Vietnam. Due to this unique history, it is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

However, My Son is stunning for more than just its unique heritage. The temple itself is absolutely gorgeous and is very intricate and its backdrop is a set of lush green mountains. So, if you want to step out an experience history, My Son will provide a unique experience.

In order to get to My Son, it is recommended that you first go to Hoi An, and then take a trip out. It takes roughly an hour to get from Hoi An to My Son, so plan on making it a day trip.

9. Fansipan – Visit the Highest Peak in Vietnam

Fansipan, Vietnam

For those who want to experience the natural, mountainous part of Vietnam, the town of Sapa is a great destination. That is because it is home to Fansipan, the tallest peak in Vietnam. For those whose legs already began to hurt just reading that sentence, don’t worry, there is a cable car which can take you near the top, and then you only have to walk briefly to get up to the summit.

From the top of Fansipan, you will be able to take in the gorgeous Vietnamese countryside. Moreover, while in Sapa, there is much to do, and the town itself is very beautiful. It is sure to leave you with an unforgettable experience.

10. My Tho – Shop at a Floating Market

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Located along the Mekong Delta in Southwest Vietnam, My Tho is an incredibly popular tourist spot for good reason. For one, it is quite close to Saigon, so it is a viable spot for a day trip and should be visited while touring the Mekong Delta.

Moreover, due to its location, My Tho is famous for activities that occur on boats or along the river. For instance, there are floating markets where trade occurs on the river itself. Moreover, there are a number of islands to visit, so there are no shortage of areas to explore. My Tho makes for an unmissable spot when visiting the Mekong Delta.

From the Mekong Delta, you can also make the trip into Cambodia, beginning a whole new adventure. To see our article on the best places to visit in Vietnam and Cambodia click here.