5 MUST-VISIT CITIES IN VIETNAM

Vietnam is a long country stretched on more than 2,500 km from North to South. It has common borders with Cambodia, Laos and China. Thereby, it’s a country where we find a lot of cities to visit. In order to help you during your trip to Vietnam, we picked up 5 cities to visit in Vietnam.

Photo of the Golden Bridge in Da Nang
Golden Bridge, Bà Nà Hills, Da Nang, Vietnam
Photo: Civitatis.com

5) Da Nang

Da Nang is the fifth biggest city of Vietnam. It’s located in the Center East of Vietnam. Thereby, it’s a coastal city with an opening to the East sea (East China Sea). The city is known for its wonderful beaches.

How to go to Da Nang?

As the crow flies approximately 607 km separate Da Nang from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. We recommend you take the plane to go there in order to save time. You should plan 1h20 of flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Da Nang airport is international.

You could also go to Da Nang by train from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. However, you should plan between 14 and 20 hours of journey.

What to see in Da Nang?

Dragon Bridge: it’s a bridge where we can see a Dragon flying over the River Han. It’s a very awesome bridge and it measures 666 meters of length. Every Saturday and Sunday from 9PM, its head spits fire and water. It’s a must-see place during your visit of Da Nang. To explore the Dragon Bridge, click-here.

Photo of the Dragon Bridge of Da Nang
Dragon Bridge, Da Nang, Vietnam
Photo: Vietnam Travel Guide

Linh Ung Pagoda – Son Tra peninsula: this is the biggest pagoda of the city. We find over there the biggest Buddha statue of the country called Lady Statue. You will feel tiny in front of it. It’s another must-see place! Visit Son Tra Peninsula by clicking-here.

Photo of the Lady Buddha Statue
Lady Buddha Statue, Da Nang, Vietnam
Photo: A Couple of Destinations

Asia Park – Sun Wheel: from day, from night, you could not miss this amusement park. Indeed, on its entrance we find a big wheel nicknamed “Sun Wheel” that lights up the whole city. Both adults and children love it!

Photo of the Sun Wheel - Asia Park in Da Nang
Sun Wheel – Asia Park, Da Nang, Vietnam
Photo: Congly.vn

Food in Da Nang

Quang Noodles: this dish made from noodles is very famous in Da Nang. It’s possible to savour it with different tastes: shrimp, chicken, crab… small breads and grilled peanuts come along with this dish.

Photo of Quang Noodles
Quang Noodles
Photo: Anandi.vn

Duck Porridge: porridge is very popular in the Vietnamese cuisine. This dish is a soup made of duck meat and rice. Local used to savour it with lime juice, pepper, chilli and green onions. One word: delicious!

Seafoods: if you are a seafood lover, Da Nang will be the paradise for you. Because of its location, it’s possible to eat many different types of fresh seafoods in Da Nang. Grilled mussels, clams, fried squids and even more.

Photo of Sea foods
Sea foods
Photo: good morning Hoi An

4) Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is the biggest city of Vietnam with 8.4 million inhabitants. It’s also the economic center of Vietnam. It’s located in the South-East of Vietnam.

How to go to Ho Chi Minh City?

The most convenient transportation to go to Ho Chi Minh is plane. Indeed, Tân Sơn Nhất airport is international. By plane, HCMC is 2h10 far from Hanoi and 1h20 far from Da Nang.

To go to Ho Chi Minh City by train from Hanoi, you may plan 1 day and a half. From Da Nang, the journey will last at least 18 hours.

What to see in Ho Chi Minh City?

In 2017, Ho Chi Minh City was the most visited city of Vietnam. Because of its history with the French and American colonisations, there are a lot of places to visit.

Cu Chi Tunnels: if you like adventure and are interested in Vietnam War, this place is unmissable. Thanks to your trip in these long underground tunnels, you will have an idea of the life conditions of Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War. To learn more about this activity, click-here.

Photo of the Cu Chi tunnels
Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Photo: planetearthvortex

Independence Palace: this Palace was built in 1868 by French under the name of Norodom Palace. Its architecture is a mix of modern Western architecture with Eastern style. It stands as Presidential Palace until 1975, date of the end of the Vietnam War. Nowadays, it’s an historical site that we can visit. To visit the Independence Palace, click-here.

Photo of the Independence Palace
Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Photo: tourdublog

Ben Thanh Market: Ho Chi Minh is a city where we can find many markets and shopping malls. The Ben Thanh Market is one of the oldest markets of the city and it’s very popular. Tourists are attracted by craft items such as silk, textile, traditional outfits (áo dài), souvenirs and local cuisine.

Photo of the Entrance of Ben Thanh Market
Entrance of the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Photo: saigoneer.com

Food in Ho Chi Minh City

Bánh mì: this sandwich is very popular in the whole country but even more in Saigon. You will find a lot of restaurants offering this speciality. Bánh mì composition often changes. The most traditional one is composed of: crispy baguette, dried pork skin, delicatessen, pâté, mayonnaise, pickles, radish, carottes, cucumbers, coriander and you can ask for extra chilli chips.

Photo of Banh Mi
Bánh mì
Photo: vietnam travel guide

Phở: this noodle soup is very known in the whole Vietnam. It’s made of soft rice noodles dipped into a broth. You could choose between the chicken or beef. It also includes some vegetables (onions, chillies) and herbs. This dish became so famous that it appears in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Photo of Beef Pho
Beef Pho
Photo: McCormick

Bún mọc: it’s also a soup. The broth is composed of thin vermicelli noodles and pork. Usually, this dish is going with meatballs or with sausage.

Photo of Bun Moc
Bún mọc 
Photo: vietnammoi.vn

3) Hoi An

When we talk about cities to visit in Vietnam, we cannot forget Hoi An. Indeed, this historical city is located 30 km on the South of Da Nang. The Old Town of Hoi An is ranked on the Unesco World Heritage since 1999. The city of Hoi An was known, at the time, for its Trading Harbor operating between 15th and 19th centuries.

How to go to Hoi An?

There is not airport at Hoi An. The easiest way to go there is to land at Da Nang and then to go to Hoi An by bus, car or taxi. You should plan approximately 45 minutes of journey by bus to go from Da Nang to Hoi An.

What to see in Hoi An?

Japanese Bridge: the Japanese Bridge of Hoi An is a must-see place in Hoi An. Indeed, this bridge was built on the 18th century by Japanese. We used to tell that its purpose was to have access to Chinese Quarter. This bridge is also known as Cau Chua Pagoda. To visit the Japanese Bridge, click-here.

Photo of the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An
Japanese Bridge, Hoi An, Vietnam
Source: Tripsavvy

Lantern Festival: this festival occurs every 14th of the lunar month. It’s one of the main attractions of the city. This celebration aims to honour ancestors. People exchange flowers, lanterns, candles, fruits for the prosperity and good fortune. You could also light up a lantern and drop it off on the River.

Photo of Lanterns in Hoi An
Lanterns of Hoi An, Vietnam
Photo: radiolcf

Phung Hung Ancient House: it’s one of the oldest monuments of Hoi An. It’s a cultural heritage site of the city. When you will go there you will have the felling to be back to the 19th century with its ancient style.

Photo of the Ancient House
Ancient House, Hoi An, Vietnam
Photo: asianwaytravel

Food in Hoi An

Cao lầu: this dish can only be found in Hoi An. It’s unique to the city. It’s made of pork, noodles and green vegetables.  

Photo of Cau Lau
Cau Lau
Photo: Hoi An food tour

Banh Bao Vac: this dish is made of dumpling white rose topped with shrimps or pork and with shallots. It’s getting along with a sauce made of chillies, shrimps, lemon and sugar.

Photo of Banh Bao Vac
Banh Vao Vac
Photo: viet fun travel

Mi Quang: this dish is made of yellow rice noodles with a bone broth seasoned and a fish sauce, pepper, shallot and few vegetables. Sounds delicious, isn’t it? In Hoi An, banh mi is also very popular, know more about banh mi by clicking-here.

Photo of Mi Quang
Mi Quang
Photo: wikipédia

2) Hanoi

Hanoi is obviously one of the cities to visit in Vietnam. It’s the capital of Vietnam and the second biggest city of the country. It’s located in the North of the country. Thanks to its rich history and culture, it attracts many tourists every year.

How to go to Hanoi?

The city is located on the North of the country, the most convenient way to go there is airplane. Noi Bai Airport is international and serves a lot of European Destinations.

In the case you are in the Center of the country (Da Nang, Hoi An) you can go to Hanoi by train. You could plan approximately 15 hours.

What to see in Hanoi?

There are a lot of monuments, museums and parks to see in Hanoi. We could not present all of them to you, here are three:

  • Hỏa Lò Prison – Museum: built by French during the Indochina War, this prison was used during Indochina and Vietnam wars, where it was called “Hilton Prison”. French used to jail Vietnamese who proclaimed independency – most of the time they were Politicians. In the mid 90s, more than the half of the prison was demolished. The remaining part serves as a Museum. To visit Hoa Lo Prison, click-here.
Photo of the Entrance of Hoa Lo Prison
Hỏa Lò Prison, Hanoi, Vietnam
Photo: visa-vietnam.org
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: it’s dedicated to Ho Chi Minh – the beloved Vietnam president. He was the leader of the Vietnam revolution against foreign forces. It’s an unmissable place. To visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, click-here.
Photo of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi, Vietnam
Photo: wikipédia
  • Water Puppet Theatre– Thang Long: it’s the perfect place if you like music and shows in general. If you want to know more about Vietnamese Culture, you could not miss it.  
Photo of the water puppet show
Water Puppet Theatre, Thang Long, Hanoi, Vietnam
Photo: Vietnam Travel Guide

Food in Hanoi

Bún chả: it’s a traditional Hanoi dish. It’s made of grilled pork, noodles, vegetables and is going along with a sauce. During his venue in the capital, the former US President Barack OBAMA ate this dish with Anthony Bourdain.

Photo of Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain eating Bun cha
Anthony Bourdain (L) and Barack Obama (R) eating Bún chả
Photo: food in Hanoi

Bánh cuốn: this traditional dish is a crepe made from rice flour. It is rolled and topped with pork meat and black mushrooms.

Photo of Banh cuon
Bánh cuốn
Photo: foody

Cha Ca Thang Long: if you have a particular interest for freshwater fish or not, cha ca is one of the dishes that should be on your to do list for your travel to Hanoi.

Photo of Cha Ca Thang Long
Cha Ca Thang Long
Photo: the ravenous couple

1)   Halong Bay

You probably already heard about it. Halong Bay is our heart stroke of cities to visit in Vietnam. It’s an attractive place where a lot of tourists go. It’s ranked on the Unesco World Heritage since 1994. Halong Bay is one of the 7 Wonders of the World since 2011. It’s located in the Province of Quảng Ninh located 170 km on the East of Hanoi.

How to go to Halong Bay?

Minibus: the most convenient is to leave from Hanoi then to take a minibus to Halong. 170 km split these two cities, you should plan 4 – 5 hours of bus.

Train: you can also take the train from Yen Vien station (Hanoï) but the journey will last 7 hours.

Helicopter / Seaplane: it’s also possible to go to Halong by helicopter or seaplane in order to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of Halong Bay. You should plan 45 minutes of journey.  

From Ho Chi Minh City: you can take the car but the journey will last one day and a half. You have to know that 1,721 km split these two places. If you want to save time, you could take the plane from HCMC airport to Cat Bi. From the Cat Bi Airport, you could also take a bus to Halong (170 km). You should plan 1h45. You could also land directly to Hanoi and go to Halong Bay in bus in order to visit the capital of Vietnam.

What to see in Halong Bay?

Cat Ba Island: this is the biggest island of Halong Bay. It’s the most popular island among tourists. We find over there more than 150 hotels including all price ranges. In the heart of the island we find the Cat Ba National Park.

Photo of Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island
Photo: youtube

Floating Villages and fish farms: far away from the city-center lights, you will find a lot of fishing villages in Halong Bay with a very nice atmosphere. You could explore the fishing life and the daily life of people and children of the Vung Vien, Cua Van and Ba Hang villages.

Photo of a Floating House in Halong Bay
Floating House, Halong Bay, Vietnam
Photo: the Obriens Abroad

Discovery of Thien Cung, Sung Sot & Dau Go grottoes: we find grottoes from all sizes, all shapes, hidden in the summits of Halong Bay. You should have a look at Thien Cung, Sung Sot and Dau Go grottoes. We can find inside many stalactites from all the shapes.

Photo of Thien Cung grottoe
Thien Cung Grottoe
Photo: halongbay.biz

Food in Halong Bay

Seafoods: if you are a seafoods enthusiast, you will feel at Paradise in Halong Bay. You will find many restaurants offering different types of fresh seafoods. Shrimps, Oysters, Sea Shells, etc.

Photo of Sea Foods
Seafoods
Photo: halong bay tours

Rice with Grilled Squids: we stay on the marine universe with this dish. It’s very appreciated by visitors and locals. People eat it with a fish sauce, pepper for breakfast or lunch.

Photo of Rice with Grilled Squids
Rice with Grilled Squids
Photo: oriental sails

Horseshoe Crab: this dish is also a speciality of Halong. We find a lot of good things inside.  

Photo of horseshoe crab
Horseshoe Crab
Photo: halongbaytour

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