The 10 most beautiful places to visit in Vietnam
If you have not visited Vietnam before, you are in for a veritable feast of the senses, as this stunning and diverse country surpasses most visitors’ expectations. Here are some jaw-dropping highlights you are likely to encounter through one of the many available Vietnam holiday deals available.
Ha Long Bay
Perhaps the most iconic spot in Vietnam, Ha Long Bay or “Bay of Descending Dragons” attracts millions of keen visitors each year, with good reason. A sunset dinner cruise on a traditional sailing vessel is a must. You will weave your way through a fantastical landscape of limestone pillar-shaped, jungle-covered islands rising vertically from the sea. Caving enthusiasts will discover plenty more here on specialised tours.
Vietnam’s answer to the mighty Amazon, the Mekong River stretches through what used to be the Indochina region. If you can, splurge on a cruise to take in the incredible sights from peaceful villages and rice paddies to breathtaking temples along the mighty river’s sprawling banks.
Mui Ne Sand Dunes
For a Sahara-like experience, head north of the fishing village of Mui Ne: the lovely sandy panorama is at its best during sunset, when you can take some spectacular photos. Make sure to check out both the red and the white dunes in the area.
My Son Hindu Sanctuary
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the sanctuary represents the ancient Champa civilization, which was an independent state from the 2nd to the 17th century, located in southern Vietnam. The impressive complex of over 70 ruins features many beautiful temples and towers adorned with sculptures, surrounded by the tropical jungle.
Sa Pa Terraces
For a beautiful view of traditional rice paddies, head to the small town of Sa Pa in northwest Vietnam, near the Chinese border. The Muong Hoa valley offers the most pictureresque views, complete with bamboo woodland and Fansipan Mountain backdrop.
If a tropical island is what takes your fancy, head straight for Phu Quoc, the largest island in Vietnam, neighbouring the Cambodia coast. The development here is minimal, so expect pristine tropical rainforests, thriving coral reefs and fantastic, clean beaches.
Hoi An has been dubbed the “Venice of Vietnam”: a canal-ridden atmospheric port on the coast of the South China Sea dating back to the 16th century, it has character in spades. Stroll through the winding lanes and visit Chinese-styled shops of the Old Town, reminiscent of a living museum.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang Park
Caving enthusiasts should make their pilgrimage to Phong Nha-Ke Bang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in north-central Vietnam, which offers a 70km grotto and cave system, including the Hang Son Doong Cave, the world’s largest cave, with its biggest chamber over five kilometres in length. The beautiful park is also home to many endangered species, including black bears, tigers and elephants.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Vietnam’s northern capital, Hanoi, is infamous for its unstoppable traffic, however it is also a city full of charming colonial architecture, Buddhist temples and pagodas, and the Old Quarter, which can be found near Hoan Kiem Lake in Hoan Kiem District, the city’s major commercial hub. Make sure to stop by this historic and scenic area to take in its unique, layered atmosphere.
The Imperial City of Hue
Yet another of Vietnam’s plethora of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is located in the city of Hue, central Vietnam. Hue served as Vietnam’s capital city during the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 until 1945. The imposing complex on the Perfume River comprises hundreds of monuments and ruins, including the Forbidden Purple City, once the residence of the royal family, the Imperial City, royal tombs, pagodas (the Thien Mu Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam), temples, a library and a museum. A must-see.
Find out more about holiday packages and flights to Vietnam at Escape Travel http://www.escapetravel.com.au/holidays/vietnam
Patricia Bieszk+ is a Queensland-based travel writer who enjoys visiting beautiful places around the world.