Top 15 famous Vietnam Destinations Not To Miss in 2018

Traveling to Vietnam and looking for the best Vietnam destinations? What most people don’t realize is how big Vietnam country is, it’s actually over 2,000 km long. When planning a trip to Vietnam and wondering where to go in Vietnam you will want to narrow it down to the best places to visit in Vietnam. We spent over a month traveling in Vietnam and here is our 15 top famous Vietnam destinations must see in 2018.

Vietnam - Hidden Charm

Top 15 famous Vietnam Destinations Not To Miss in 2018

Rice terraced fields in Mu Cang Chai - Northwest of Vietnam

We have put the list in order to visit if you were traveling in Vietnam by bus or overland. Vietnam flights are really affordable. We choose to fly within Vietnam as several of the Vietnam bus routes were overnight buses. It would take almost a whole day to get from one Vietnam destination to the next. For example, if you were to go to all the below places in Vietnam it would be 2,590 km. We purchased three one-way flights with luggage on Jetstar and Vietjet for under $100 per person.

HO CHI MINH CITY

Ho Chi Minh City by night

Visiting Vietnam you should start (or end) in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s the perfect place to kick off a Vietnam vacation. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is named after Vietnam was unified in 1975. Nowadays, people can call both names Ho Chi Minh City or Sai Gon.

Crowded traffic - Crazy traffic in Ho Chi Minh City

The 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City would give you just the right amount of time to see most of the tourist attractions nearby. Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with a population of 12 million people and a staggering 7 million motorbikes. If you have ever played the video game Frogger it will come to life when trying to cross the street in Ho Chi Minh.

Duc Ba Church – a must see in Sai Gon

There are tons of things to do in Ho Chi Minh city but the following tourist attractions are a must: Ben Thanh market, War Remnants Museum, Saigon Central Post Office, Duc Ba Church, Cu Chi Tunnel and eat lots and alots of street food. The best Vietnamese food we had was “Pho” in Ho Chi Minh City, our hotel served it every day for breakfast. You will certainly realize that you love for Vietnamese food in Saigon, we now find ourselves craving Pho.

Pho with beef in Ho Chi Minh City

There are several daily direct flights to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) from many destination in Vietnam. Average flight prices for a one-way ticket from the following popular destinations:

Hanoi $45

Hue $35

Da Nang $25

Nha Trang $20

Da Lat $20

Phu Quoc $45

CU CHI TUNNELS

Cu Chi tunnels - houses underground

The Cu Chi Tunnels are an easy Vietnam day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. There are tons of Vietnam tour companies selling half day or full day trips to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels were used during the Vietnam War by the Viet Cong soldiers ( followers of Communist Party). These underground tunnels are an extensive network of connecting tunnels where the soldiers lived, used as a supply route, etc. We can’t imagine how they could live in small tunnels during Vietnam War. We suggest the half day trip which can be booked online here with Vietnam Charm Travel in advance for only $18 – $20.

A chance to know how the tunnesl would be

PHU QUOC

Phu Quoc is a largest Vietnamese island and is located in the Gulf of Thailand. It is a tropical paradise with turquoise waters and sandy beaches. Phu Quoc tourism has just begun as it was a relatively unknown destination in Vietnam for many years. Tourism has been increasing over the years with the new international airport. Phu Quoc lies just south of Cambodian coast and the nearest coastal town of Ha Tien is 40 km away. A bonus is that Phu Quoc visa-free for a period of up to 30 days!

Phu Quoc Island - One of the most beautiful island in Vietnam

There are several daily flights to Phu Quoc (PQC). Average flight prices for a one-way ticket from the following Vietnam destinations:

Ho Chi Minh City $25

Da Nang $55

Nha Trang $55

Da Lat $50

Hanoi $50

MEKONG DELTA

Monkey bridges in Mekong Delta Vietnam

Take a river cruise down the Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta lies just outside of Ho Chi Minh city. Overnight Mekong Delta tours can be booked online for as low as $65, there are several one-night trips and even longer ones.

MUI NE

Sand dunes in Mui Ne - Vietnam

Mui Ne is not like other destinations in Vietnam and is only a 4-hour train ride away from HCMC. Mui Ne is the driest region in Southeast Asia. There are some amazing unique things to do in Mui Ne. Head 20 miles to the white sand dunes of Mui Ne for quad biking, we never knew about this Vietnam attraction before. Get up early in the morning for sunrise over the dunes just a mile outside the center of Mui Ne. Save time for other things to do in Mui Ne like windsurfing and kite surfing. The best time to visit Mui Ne is from December to April.

Quad biking in Mui Ne

 DA LAT

Lang-biang Mountain in Dalat

Da Lat is a gorgeous little mountainous town known as “The City of Eternal Spring” with year-round cooler temperatures. It’s the perfect place to relax for a few days while visiting Vietnam. Da Lat has amazing lakes and waterfalls that are easily explored by motorbike. If you are looking for the “real” Vietnam head to the nearby minority villages just outside of Da Lat.

Minority villages in Dalat

There are several daily direct flights to Da Lat (DLI) from many popular places in Vietnam. Average flight prices for a one-way ticket from the following Vietnam destinations:

Hanoi $55

Hue $35

Ho Chi Minh City $25

Phu Quoc $55

NHA TRANG

Snorkeling in Nha Trang

Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most famous beachside destination. Many tourists travel to Vietnam just to go diving in Nha Trang. It’s much busier and has an urban feel, so if you are looking for a relaxing Vietnam beach vacation head to Mui Ne or Phu Quoc instead. Besides the gorgeous beaches, there are several waterfalls near Nha Trang. Don’t miss the famous Thap Ba Hot Springs and Mud baths are only 2 km from the city center. Nha Trang is very popular with Russian tourist and many of the hotels have Russian speaking staff and Russian menus. It may be difficult to find English speaking staff in Nha Trang.

There are several daily direct flights to Nha Trang (CXR). Average 2017 flight prices for a one-way ticket from the following Vietnam destinations:

Hanoi $40

Da Nang $45

Ho Chin Minh City $25

HOI AN

Paddies field in Hoian

Hoi An - Vietnam is our favourite Vietnam destination and a place we could easily spend a week if not a whole month. Hoi An is a gorgeous coastal known that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some of the best Vietnamese food can be found in Hoi An, along with ten cent draft beers. Our money has never gone further than in Hoi An, there are 4-star hotels for $30 a night in Hoi An.

Hoian is about 25 km from Danang, therefore, you can take a flight to Danang then get bus or taxi to Hoi An.

Quiet night in Hoian

If you were overwhelmed by all the motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh city then Hoi An will be a good alternative. The pace of life is so much slower in Hoi An. You can rent a motorbike and get lost in the nearby rice paddies or head to the beaches in Hoi An. Hoi An really is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

DA NANG

Danang – The city of bridges

Da Nang is the gateway to several UNESCO World Heritage sites and cities like Hue and Hoi An which are nearby. Da Nang’s biggest attraction is My Son Holy Land ( Thánh Địa Mỹ Sơn ) where taking you back dates from 4th to the 13th centuries CE and located in west of the city ( about 70 km from Da Nang City ).

My Son Holy Land  - A must see in Danang City

Da Nang is a coastal Vietnam town very popular with expats. At here, there are many beautiful beaches as My Khe beach, Non Nuoc beach, Nam O beach, Son Tra,….

My Khe Danang - One of the most beautiful beach in Vietnam

There are several daily direct flights to Da Nang (DAD). Average 2017 flight prices for a one-way ticket from the following Vietnam destinations:

Hanoi $25

Ho Chi Minh City $28

Nha Trang $50

Phu Quoc $55

HUE

Imperial Citadel Hue

Hue is known as “Vietnam’s Imperial City” and was the national capital from 1802-1945. There are several things to do in Hue but the biggest attraction in Hue is the Citadel. The citadel is surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls. Other Hue sights to see Forbidden Purple City, Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue Market, and imperial tombs and listen the traditional folk song Hue “ ca Hue “ on the Perfume River.

Listen the traditional folk song “ Ca Hue “ on Huong River

There are several daily direct flights to Hue (HUI). Average 2017 flight prices for a one-way ticket from the following Vietnam destinations. Click here for our guide on how to get from Da Nang airport to Hue.

Hanoi $35

Ho Chi Minh City $40

NINH BÌNH

Rice field on the way to visit Tam Coc cave

Located on the Southern end of the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh is blessed with diverse topography of both mountainous and coastal areas. It can be said that the province contains all the scenic quintessence of whole Vietnam within its relatively small size. Not only that, Ninh Binh represents typical rural villages of Northern region with vast green paddy field, expanding mountains and poetic river that flows to the horizon.

Trang An – Eco Tourism Area

HANOI

Tortoise tower of Ho Guom – a place should not miss

Hanoi is Vietnam’s second largest city and the motorbike traffic is similar to Ho Chi Minh City. But honestly, motorbikes and Vietnam go hand and hand. There are a lot of things to do in Hanoi that you could spend a week in Hanoi. Some of Hanoi attractions are: Hoa Lo Prison also known as Hanoi Hilton where John McCain was a prisoner of war, Ho Chi Minh museum was one of the weirdest museums in the world but worth the visit, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and the favourite thing we did was go on a Hanoi street food tour. Street food tours are a great way to learn about cultural cuisine of Vietnam

Street food tours are a great way to learn your way around Hanoi, try local food you would have never tried before, learn about the Vietnamese dishes, get Hanoi tips from your guide, and the best part was it was only from $25. You can book online here in advance. After the tour, we had new friends and continued our time in Hanoi by enjoying ten cent draft beers on the streets of Hanoi.

Street food tours in Hanoi - Do not miss

There are several daily direct flights to Hanoi (HAN. Average flight prices for a one-way ticket from the following Vietnam destinations:

Ho Chi Minh City $35

Hue $30

Da Nang $25

Nha Trang $35

Da Lat $50

Phu Quoc $45

SAPA

Sapa - Vietnam

Sapa Vietnam is not like other tourist sites in Vietnam. Gorgeous green ride paddies in the Vietnamese mountain town are the highlight of Sapa. Take a tour through the rice paddies and visit the local H’mong and Dao villages. One of the most unique tours in Sapa actually spends the night in the village. Sapa homestay tours will give you a real look at life in Sapa. There are several options from one night to multiple nights Sapa homestays and even tours from Hanoi to Sapa for only $90.

Simple dinner at homestay in Sapa

Few years ago, most tourists in Vietnam travel to Sapa by train, there is a daily overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa that takes about 9 hours. TIP: Don’t take the cheapest train, pay the few extra dollars for the more expensive tourist class sleeper.

However, at present you can take shuttle buses to Sapa many times in a day: morning buses or evening buses. It takes around 4 hours on the Highway from Hanoi to Sapa, Lao Cai.

Sleeping bus to Sapa

HALONG BAY

Halong Bay is a highlight on all Vietnam Holidays and a must on any trip to Vietnam. Halong Bay literally translates to “descending dragon bay” and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Halong Bay has more than 1,600 limestone islands. Most of the islands are unhabitable and therefore most tours to Halong Bay are boat cruises. We suggest at least a 3-day trip to truly take in the beauty. Click here to compare Halong Bay tours and cruises. One of the best views of Halong Bay would be from a seaplane, which can be booked on Vietnam Charm Travel for only $89.

Cruises in the Halong Bay - UNESCO World Heritage Site

NORTHEAST AND NORTHWEST

A striking blend of jagged mountain ranges, lush valleys and jungle, the northern provinces of Vietnam are culturally diverse and largely inhabited by ethnic minorities. The region was important in the revolution against the French and suffered during more recent conflict with China. It remains a rural backwater and largely isolated from the country’s recent economic achievements.

However, mother nature offers this land a lot of majestic landscapes such as Ban Gioc Waterfall, Ba Be Lake, Nguom Ngao cave,….

Ban Gioc Waterfall - Cao Bang Province

With all beautiful attractions we have put on the above list. Hope we have convinced you to choose Vietnam for your next destination! There are so many amazing things and attractions to pick from in Vietnam country, you could easily spend two months traveling here. If you have any Vietnam questions feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email to info@vietnamcharmtravel.com

Thank you so much for your support in advance!

See more