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Quang Binh Province: The land of 500 caves

With the recent discovery of 22 more caves, the central province of Quang Binh, renowned as Vietnam’s cave kingdom, now boasts over 500 caves, with about 40 open for tourism.

On April 14, Pham Hong Thai, Director of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, announced that an expedition team had discovered 22 caves in Minh Hoa and Tuyen Hoa districts during a recent survey, and an additional three caves the Va, Doi Trieng 2, and Tien cave system, combining for a total length of 3,550 meters. With a plethora of caves, both large and small, already accessible for tourism, Quang Binh has earned its title as the kingdom of caves.

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Phong Nha Cave

Phong Nha Cave stands as one of Quang Binh’s most sought-after destinations for tourists. Nestled within Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, it is located in Son Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, approximately 45 kilometers from Dong Hoi City.

Having been explored numerous times since the early 20th century, Phong Nha Cave garnered recognition in 1994 when a report on a geomorphological survey of Vietnam by a renowned British exploration group hailed it as “one of the two most beautiful water caves in the world.” Serving as the flagship attraction within Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, it was among the first sites opened for tourism in the area.

To embark on an exploration of Phong Nha Cave, visitors purchase tickets from the Phong Nha Tourism Center, then board a boat journey along the Son River, enjoying a 30 minute journey before entering the cave. Inside, visitors are greeted by stalactites and other natural wonders.

Paradise Cave

Paradise Cave, situated in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, lies 60 kilometers northwest of Quang Binh’s capital city Dong Hoi. Discovered in 2005, Paradise is a dry cave, distinct from Phong Nha Cave as it lacks an underground river. Its terrain mostly consists of soft and flat ground, and the cave’s temperature remains consistently around 10 degrees Celsius cooler than outside.

To reach Thien Duong Cave, visitors depart from the west branch of the Ho Chi Minh Highway, traveling approximately 5 kilometers before ascending over 520 steps to access the cave entrance. The cave path extends for 1.1 kilometers.

Son Doong Cave

Son Doong Cave holds the distinction of being the largest cave in the world. Discovered by Ho Khanh, a native of Phong Nha, in 1990, it underwent survey and measurement by an English-Vietnamese cave exploration group in 2009. Subsequently, in 2013, Son Doong earned recognition from the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest natural cave.

With a total length of nearly 9 kilometers and a vast cave arch, Son Doong Cave boasts a volume of 38.5 million cubic meters. Within its chambers, visitors encounter towering stalactites, some exceeding 80 meters in height, alongside a primeval forest, unique ecosystem, and an underground river.

Offered as an adventure tourism experience, Son Doong cave exploration tours span 6 days and 5 nights, with bookings available since 2013. Demand for these tours remains consistently high, often fully booked a year in advance. This photo captures the Dinosaur Echo at Sinkhole 1 within Son Doong Cave.

Tu Lan cave system

The Tu Lan cave system is nestled within the primeval forest and limestone mountains spanning over 650 hectares in Tan Hoa Commune, Minh Hoa District. The cave system is connected to eight different valleys and mountain ranges via underground rivers and cave passages, which are all outside of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park.

Comprising 20 caves, this system was explored in 1992 by a joint Vietnamese and English cave exploration team. Subsequent extensive surveys were conducted from 2010 onwards.

The above photograph showcases the stalactite columns found within Tu Lan Cave.

Ba Cave

Situated within the heart of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, the Ba Cave area lies within the park’s strictly protected zone. This expanse is adorned with ancient forests featuring millennia-old trees, providing habitat for rare animal species.

Among the features of this area are several large caves, each adorned with diverse stalactite formations. These caves were discovered and mapped by a joint British-Vietnamese cave exploration team in 1992 and 1994.

Scheduled for development into an adventure tourism destination in 2022, this area offers exhilarating experiences for adventurers.

This image captures the Sang Cave campsite during the Ba Cave deep jungle expedition.

Va Cave

Va Cave, situated within the core area of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, and it is situated around 4 kilometers away from the west branch of the Ho Chi Minh Highway.

Known as an underground water cave, Va Cave has a stalagmite system featuring around 1,000 conical-shaped stalactites of uniform size. These formations have developed within sedimentation lakes, with stalagmite towers characterized by steep slopes, reaching heights of up to 2 meters. These columns are covered in a layer of soft mud.

En Cave

En Cave, one of the largest natural caves globally, is nestled deep within the core area of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. To embark on an exploration of En Cave, adventurers must traverse through Doong Village, home to the Bru – Van Kieu ethnic communities.

Spanning more than 1.6 kilometers, the cave runs through a mountain range, boasting three entrances. Among these, the largest and most renowned entrance stands at an impressive height of 120 meters and width of 110 meters.

Moreover, the cave ceiling reaches heights of up to 145 meters in certain areas, while the cave corridor stretches to a width of 200 meters at its broadest point. Inside the cave, visitors encounter a stream leading towards Son Doong Cave.

This image showcases the back entrance of En Cave, soaring to a height of 120 meters.

The Tiger Cave System

The Tiger Cave system lies within Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, spanning the Bo Trach and Minh Hoa districts. This complex comprises three significant interconnected caves: Tiger, Over, and Pygmy caves. Within the Tiger Cave System, visitors also encounter Kong Sinkhole, one of the tallest sinkholes globally, boasting a height of 450 meters.

Stretching approximately 1,600 meters in length and descending to a depth of 46 meters, the system features a cave entrance approximately 50 meters wide. Located around 10 kilometers from Dong Hoi City, tourists typically access the cave by traveling along the Ho Chi Minh Road to DT20 Road, where they then turn left and continue for about 3.5 kilometers to reach the cave entrance.

This photograph shows a night camp in the heart of Tiger Cave.

Hung Thoong Cave System

The Hung Thoong Cave System comprises several caves, including Tron, Hung, and Thung, each named after its discoverer. This system is notable for its Nightmare Sinkhole, plunging to a depth of 250 meters, and a natural lake amidst limestone mountains.

Hung Cave has an exceptional stalactite system where crystal-like formations hang from the cave’s ceiling, appearing hollow inside. These stalactites release droplets of water at their tips, resembling pearls. Additionally, Hung Cave is adorned with cave pearls of different sizes, resembling eggs. Further exploration of the cave leads to the discovery of a clear underground lake.

Tron cave features a blue lake stretching over 1 kilometer in length, offering visitors the opportunity to swim or enjoy some stand-up paddleboarding.

Resource: VNExpress International.

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16 best resorts in Vietnam as voted by The Times

British newspaper The Times introduced the 16 best hotels and resorts in Vietnam for a wellness retreat.

Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai spreads over 35 hectares and overlooks Ha My Beach in the central province of Quang Nam.

The Times described the resort as ‘best for romance.’

Surrounded by coconut palms and green trees, it has 100 villas and eight separate spa rooms all designed in traditional Vietnamese style.

The resort has its own vegetable garden and uses eco-friendly materials. At the heart of the resort is a small temple where fishermen pray for peace before each voyage.

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Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho on a secluded peninsula in the central province of Phu Yen is described as ‘best for a secret retreat.’

The resort has 73 suites and villas wearing the architecture of traditional Vietnamese villages with thatched roofs and woven bamboo walls.

Its interior decorations highlight unique local culture with items like dried calabash gourds, traditional braided baskets and coconut shell tools made by local artisans.

Located on Le Phung Hieu Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Capella Hanoi Hotel is described as ‘best for drama.’

The hotel has 47 rooms and suites, each individually styled with operatic artefacts and custom portraiture that pay tribute to legendary Opera artists, composers, designers and performances.

Each has a balcony, overlooking Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake.

Amanoi Resort is nestled in Nui Chua National Park beside Vinh Hy Bay in south-central Ninh Thuan Province.

Vietnam’s first six-star resort is described as ‘best for one-percenters.’

It has 36 villas facing the sea or hills. Its most luxurious villa costs $8,000 a night, while the lowest deal starts at $1,150.

Tam Coc Garden Resort in Ninh Binh Province, around two hours to the east of Hanoi, is hailed by the British newspaper as ‘best for country living.’

The resort is in Hai Nham Village of Hoa Lu District, around five kilometers from Bich Dong Pagoda and Tam Coc Tourist Area.

One of the highlights of the resort is the surrounding rice fields, ancient villages and fruit orchards.

Located on a secluded peninsula in Ninh Van Bay in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, An Lam Retreat Ninh Van Bay has 37 villas made of eco-friendly materials like wood and bamboo.

The Times described it as ‘best for nature.’

The only way to reach the resort is by boat.

Six Senses Con Dao on Dat Doc Beach is the only five-star beach resort in the Con Dao archipelago off Vietnam’s southern coast.

Located inside Con Dao National Park, it has 50 beach villas, built mainly with natural materials and each with a private swimming pool.

It is described as ‘best for beaches.’

The Reverie Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City is described as ‘best for glitz.’

The hotel on Nguyen Hue Boulevard has 286 rooms, suites and residential suites that combine modern design and traditional Italian craftsmanship.

It has a 24-meter-long swimming pool decorated with unique tiles on the sixth floor where guests can enjoy music from an underwater sound system.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoiis ‘best for history.’

Founded in 1901, it is one of the few capital hotels featuring French architecture and has garnered numerous travel awards in recent years.

The hotel is home to a two-meter-high wartime bomb shelter discovered by chance in 2011. It was where many famous figures of the Vietnam War, including actress Jane Fonda and author Tom Hayden, both anti-war activists, took refugee as bombs rained down on Hanoi.

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa on the southern island Phu Quoc is described as ‘best for style.’

Lying only 15 minutes from Phu Quoc International Airport, the resort stretching along Khem Beach has 234 rooms, suites and stand-alone villas.

Construction of the French-style resort started in 2015, with its doors opening in 2016.

Azerai La Residence in the former imperial capital Hue is described ‘best for boutique vibes.’

Set on a two-and-a-half-hectare site with 200 meters of frontage on the Huong (Perfume) River, the hotel was built in a colonial style.

The mansion at the heart of the hotel was built in 1930 as part of the residence of the French Resident Superior.

Its distinctive facade, long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes are hallmarks of the streamline modern school of art deco.

Anantara Quy Nhon near Bai Xep beach is ‘best for getting off the beaten track.’

The resort has 26 beach-view villas with private outdoor swimming pools. And it is near Bai Xep fishing village that was listed by Business Insider as “one of the 16 hidden gems” of Asia.

InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in the central city of Da Nang is described as ‘best for monkeying around.’

It has 201 rooms, suites, penthouses, and villas along a 700-meter-long private beach.

Located within Son Tra Nature Reserve, home to some critically endangered species including red-shanked douc langur, the resort has strict policies to protect the wildlife.

Situated in the eponymous bay around 60 kilometers from downtown Nha Trang, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay is ‘best for barefoot luxury.’

It consists of 62 villas built entirely of wood and rattan and with thatched roofs.

No plastic bottle is allowed inside, making it one of the few eco-friendly resorts in Vietnam.

Regent Phu Quoc, which opened in April this year, is described as ‘too fancy for mere rooms.’

It features 302 suites and villas, six restaurants and bars, swimming pools overlooking Long Beach, one of the most beautiful on Phu Quoc, next to a UNESCO-recognized world biosphere reserve.

Topas Ecolodge in northern highlands town Sa Pa is described as ‘best for gorgeous views.’

Opened in 2005, the five-star resort offers 41 bungalows built with white granite that resemble ethnic minority stilt homes.

All furniture is made from natural materials like wood, bamboo and rattan.

All rooms offer views of Hoang Lien Son mountain range and terraced rice fields.

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Chu Chi tunnels or Cu Chi tunnels – Which one is right name?

1. Chu Chi or Cu Chi tunnel?

It may sounds similar by visitors but Vietnamese says “ Cu Chi”

2. Why it namesCu Chi?

The name of the District Cu Chi which located 40 km in the North – west of HCM City. In Nguyen Dynasty Cu Chi belong to Binh Duong district, Tan Binh, Phien An. In 1836, Cu Chi became part of Binh Duong District, Gia Dinh Province. In 1956 Cu Chi became a new district of Binh Duong.

In 1963, South Vietnam setup Hai Nghia province and half of Cu Chi remain the same name and belong to Hai Nghia Province. The other half belong to Phu Hoa, Binh Duong province. After 1975. These two parts rejoins and became Cu Chi District of HCM City.

Cu Chi is local name of plan “Strychnos” (Vietnamese called Mã Tiền) which growing wildly here, and people use its seed as local remedy.

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3. Cu Chi tunnels

It was designed and dug with simple tools and bare hands during the French occupation in the 1940s, and further expanded during the Vietnam War in the 1960s to provide refuge and a defensive advantage over the American soldiers. Despite all the bombings in their town, the Cu Chi people were able to continue their lives beneath the soil, where they slept, ate, planned attacks, healed their sick, and taught their young. Some even wed and gave birth underground, but over 10,000 lost their lives here.

There are two different tunnel sites open to travellers NOT one, operated by the same organization and with similar experiences in each (a 15-minute scratchy B&W propaganda film, tunnel tour, displays of booby traps, tasting of tapioca): Ben Dinh & Ben Duoc

• Ben Duoc (VietnameseBến Dược)

Closer to HCM City
Larger grounds with more to see
Could see some broken tanks and other war items along the walking route
One long tunnel setup for casual tourists
The gun site is positioned at the end of the tour conveniently.

BUT

Touristy with so many visitors
Due to the quantity of people, guides (at the site) are under pressure to push you around quickly
The actual tunnel is hugely widened make it easier for visitors to test but not authentic.

• Ben Dinh (VietnameseBến Đình)

Slow-paced level of tourists with no queue
Most of the tour is built around going through lots of small tunnels. Good for those who really want to experience the true value of Cu Chi.
Local guides (ath the site) are taking their time, no rush, all they want is a good service to get tips.

BUT

Less things to see, the tour takes shorter time.
Alot of small tunnels, no good for non-adventurers or oversize visitors
Longer drive from HCM City
The gun range is nearly impossible to find.

Here is a part of Cu Chi tunnels design.

4. Where is Cu Chi tunnels from HCM City?

5. Some Old images Cu Chi from 1965 -1967.

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SOME TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN VIETNAM

Some Top Tourist Attractions in Vietnam

Before planning a trip to Vietnam, you must do a lot of research to find out the top tourist attractions to visit. Among the top tourist attractions in Vietnam, iconic sites like Ha Long Bay, the Imperial City of Hue, and the historic Old Quarter of Hanoi are must-sees. Thanks to such a huge stretch from the North to the South, over 3200 kilometers, crossing various topographies, Vietnam holds in itself a collection of mountains, deltas, rivers, caves, lagoons, ocean, canals, hills. Vietnam Travel lists top destinations below which shows the best features of the country.

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  1. Ha Long Bay

Leading the chart of the top tourist attractions in Vietnam should not be something else but the sensational Ha Long Bay. The UNESCO World Heritage Site added another sight to see in their list presenting the world’s most spellbinding karst seascape, Ha Long Bay even twice. One was in 1991 and the other one was in 1998. Situated along the Gulf of Tonkin, there lies thousands of limestone islands scraped away by nature into breath-taking rock formations. It is highly recommended to spend an overnight tour to fully appreciate the iconic views this site has to offer.

The best times to visit Ha Long Bay are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and dry, providing ideal conditions for exploring the bay’s iconic limestone islands and enjoying outdoor activities.

If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the local culture, consider timing your visit to coincide with one of the region’s vibrant festivals or events. The Ha Long Carnival, held annually in late April or early May, is a lively celebration featuring street parades, traditional music and dance performances, and delicious local cuisine.

To fully appreciate the wonders of Ha Long Bay, an ideal duration of stay is 2-3 days. This allows ample time to embark on a cruise through the bay, exploring its hidden caves, secluded beaches, and floating villages. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in various activities such as kayaking, hiking, and visiting nearby attractions like Cat Ba Islands.

Speaking of top activities, a Ha Long Bay cruise is an absolute must-do. These multi-day cruises offer the chance to witness the bay’s incredible scenery up close while indulging in luxurious amenities. Other popular activities include exploring the mystical caves like Sung Sot Cave, Thien Cung Cave, hiking to scenic viewpoints like Ti Top Island, and participating in water sports like kayaking or swimming in the bay’s emerald waters. Additionally, don’t miss out on discovering the fascinating things to do in Ha Long City, such as visiting local markets, enjoying fresh seafood, and experiencing the vibrant nightlife.

2. Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, attracts millions of visitors each year. Hanoi has a long history of 1000 years of culture and civilization that attracts visitors of its old age. Traveling to Hanoi, you cannot miss Long Bien Bridge (over 100 years old), Hoa Lo Prison (Hilton House), Temple of Literature, Bat Trang pottery village, Hoan Kiem LakeNgoc Son Temple and many different kind of museums such at Vietnam museum of EthnologyVietnam Fine Art Museum, etc. Besides, Hanoi Old Quarter is a favorite place of many travelers.

The best times to visit Hanoi are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant, with warm days and cool evenings. If you’re seeking to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural tapestry, consider timing your visit to coincide with one of Hanoi’s iconic festivals, such as the Lunar New Year celebrations or the Mid-Autumn Festival, both of which showcase traditional music, dance, and culinary delights.

To fully experience the city’s charm, an ideal duration of stay in Hanoi is 3-4 days. This allows ample time to explore its historic Old Quarter, visit iconic landmarks like the Temple of Literature and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and indulge in the city’s renowned street food scene. Top activities in Hanoi include taking a cyclo tour through the bustling streets, attending a traditional water puppet show, exploring the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, and embarking on a day trip to the picturesque Ninh Binh province, renowned for its stunning karst landscapes. Don’t miss out on discovering the diverse range of things to do in Hanoi, from exploring ancient temples to sampling local delicacies in bustling markets.

3. Sapa

Sapa located in Lao Cai Province, about 350 km northwest of Hanoi, close to the Chinese border. Traveling to Sapa to discover the north mountainous area of Vietnam with the Hoang Lien Son range of mountains, which includes Fan Si Pan—the country’s highest peak. In Sapa, you can both enjoy the beauty of nature with stunning mountains, colorful paddy fields and experience our various culture of H’Mong ethnic minority. Here, travellers can spend their time hiking in the villages of Cat CatY Linh HoLao Chai and Ta Van Villages. If, you love to discover the remote village where less tourist travels, you can go to Can Cau Village to visit local market and Love market as well. After all, your memories to Sapa would be filled with the exotic cuisine, the colorful costumes of the ethnic minorities and the stunning of nature.

The best times to visit Sapa are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and dry, providing ideal conditions for trekking and enjoying the town’s picturesque landscapes.

If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the local culture, consider timing your visit to coincide with one of Sapa’s vibrant festivals or events, such as the Bac Ha Sunday Market or the Gau Tao Festival, where you can witness traditional dress, music, and dance performances by the region’s ethnic minority groups.

To fully appreciate the wonders of Sapa, an ideal duration of stay is 3-4 days. This allows ample time to embark on guided treks through the verdant rice terraces and visit remote hill tribe villages, as well as explore the town’s charming French colonial architecture and bustling markets.

Top activities and things to do in Sapa include trekking through the breathtaking Muong Hoa Valley, visiting the Love Waterfall and Bamboo Forest, exploring the Bac Ha Sunday Market for traditional handicrafts and textiles, and indulging in local delicacies like Thang Co (a unique sour soup). Additionally, adventurous travelers can partake in thrilling experiences like a Mt. Fansipan climb or a motorbike tour through the winding mountain roads.

4. Ninh Binh

If Ha Long Bay is the rocky limestone destination in the northern far seas, then Ninh Binh is would be the equivalent on the mainland. Located around 95km south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh and its’ neighboring area Tam Coc are filled with similar sights from the emerald green waters of Ha Long Bay. Being the perfect place to start an adventure around Vietnam and Cambodia, Nan Binh is a favored spot for tourists to post on social media, especially for its natural and untouched beauty.

In addition to the captivating natural features that Ninh Binh has to offer, the city is known to be the ancient capital of feudal Vietnam during the 11th century under the Dinh and the Early Le Dynasties. A two-day trip all around Ninh Binh would give you an ideal insight into how the ancient Vietnamese once ruled their country against the major outside force from China.

The best times to visit Ninh Binh are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and dry, providing ideal conditions for exploring the region’s iconic limestone landscapes and enjoying outdoor activities.

To truly appreciate the wonders of Ninh Binh, an ideal duration of stay is 2-3 days. This allows ample time to explore the breathtaking Trang An Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning karst formations, caves, and tranquil waterways, as well as visit nearby attractions like the ancient capital of Hoa Lu and the stunning Bai Dinh Pagoda complex.

Top activities and things to do in Ninh Binh include taking a mesmerizing boat tour through the limestone karst formations of Trang An, exploring the ancient temples and citadels of Hoa Lu, embarking on a cycling adventure through the picturesque countryside and rural villages, and indulging in the local cuisine, which features unique dishes like goat meat and specialties from the nearby Cuc Phuong National Park.

5. Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh

Located in Quang Binh province, central Vietnam, this mysterious land is endowed with breathtaking landscape of limestone mountain ranges, wild forests and stunning rivers. This place which is recognized by UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, famous for the largest cave in the world with whole ecosystems and forests within, called Son Doong cave. Son Dong cave is 5km long, 200m high and 150m wide. But it is not Son Dong, with more than 300 caves, many waterways, mountains and forests, Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park is now a famous destination for tourists from all over the world to trekking, hiking, cycling and kayaking.

Adventure awaits year-round in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, but the dry season (March-August) offers ideal conditions for exploring. Hike through lush rainforests, delve into the world’s largest caves, or kayak on crystal-clear rivers. Aim for a stay of 2-3 days to experience the park’s highlights, like Paradise Cave or Phong Nha Cave. Don’t miss a boat trip down the Son River for a truly unforgettable experience!

6. Hue citadel

Knowing as the place of the last reign – Nguyen dynasty, Hue is considered one of Vietnam’s most historic towns and the former imperial capital of the country. The emperor’s residence, palaces, and temples are some of the historic sites left standing inside walls of the Imperial Enclosure that spans for around 2.5km along the Perfume River. Other landmarks are the citadel’s main entrance, the Ngo Mon Gate, the Thai Hoa Palace with its intricate interiors, Dien Tho Residence which serves as the Queen Mothers’ chambers and lastly the Hall of Mandarins housing its’ well-preserved ceiling murals.

Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital, is best explored during the dry season (February-August) when skies are clear and temperatures comfortable. History buffs will be enthralled by the city’s vibrant past, evident in its magnificent Hue Imperial Citadel and royal tombs. Hue also boasts a rich festival scene, with the Hue Festival offering a spectacular display of traditional performances and colorful parades. To fully appreciate Hue’s imperial charm and cultural treasures, a 2-3 day stay is ideal. Don’t miss a boat trip on the Perfume River, exploring bustling local markets, and indulging in Hue’s renowned royal cuisine.

7. Da Nang

Da Nang will surprise you by its modern, cleanness and nature. Da Nang has so many things to offer from Hai Van Pass, Marble Mountain, Ba Na hills to the Golden bridge. The fresh and beautiful white sand beach also Nang are also one of the reasons to hold tourist stay longer at this city. The amazing traditional food here is also one thing visitors could not resist.

Da Nang’s charm unfolds throughout the year, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. For sunshine and warm seas ideal for swimming and lounging on the beach, April to August offers the most pleasant weather. This peak season coincides with the Da Nang International Fireworks Festival, a dazzling spectacle that usually takes place in April or May (check specific dates as they follow the lunar calendar).

If you prefer smaller crowds and don’t mind occasional rain showers, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (September to November and March to May). You might even snag some travel bargains during this time. Three to five days is a good amount of time to explore Da Nang’s beaches, historical sites, and surrounding attractions. If you’re planning day trips to Hoi An or My Son Sanctuary, factor those into your itinerary.

Top activities in Da Nang include relaxing on pristine beaches like My Khe Beach, exploring the Marble Mountains with their stunning caves and pagodas, and getting a dose of history at the Museum of Cham Sculpture. Adventure seekers can try surfing or scuba diving, while foodies will delight in Da Nang’s fresh seafood and flavorful central Vietnamese cuisine.

8. Hoi An

Hoi An is the place where not only attracting newcomers but also encouraging many tourists to come back again. It is famous for being an ancient town where the rustic yellow-walled tubed buildings line up. The town was built and developed by the Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese in which the Chinese architecture is the main theme throughout the whole site. The most sought-after destinations are the Thanh Ha Pottery Village, Tra Que Herb Village, and Kim Bong Carpentry Village. Besides, there are plenty of restaurants with lots of variety at cheap price, the night markets are great and the people are lovely. It truly is a paradise for visitors to go and explore.

The dry season (February to August) offers sunshine, warm temperatures, and minimal rain, making it ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities. However, this coincides with peak tourist season. For pleasant weather with fewer crowds, consider the shoulder seasons (March to May or September to November). March to April boasts comfortable temperatures and coincides with the Full Moon Lantern Festival, transforming Hoi An into a magical spectacle with glowing lanterns illuminating the Thu Bon River.

Throughout the year, Hoi An comes alive with vibrant festivals. The Full Moon Lantern Festival, held on the 14th day of each lunar month, is a must-see, while the larger Festival of Lights in February celebrates Vietnamese traditions with lantern displays and performances.

2-3 days is a good amount of time to explore Hoi An’s captivating ancient town, with its well-preserved architecture, tailor shops, and Japanese Covered Bridge. Foodies can delve into Hoi An’s culinary scene, while beach lovers can relax on nearby Cua Dai Beach. If you’re planning day trips to My Son Sanctuary or Da Nang, factor those into your itinerary.

Discover the enchanting streets of the ancient town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get custom clothing made by skilled tailors, a Hoi An specialty. Take a boat ride on the Thu Bon River, adorned with colorful lanterns at night. Learn about Hoi An’s history at museums like the Fukian Assembly Hall and the Tan Ky House. Relax on the pristine sands of Cua Dai Beach or try water sports. In the evening, take a boat trip and release floating lanterns, a beautiful local tradition. Don’t forget to explore the vibrant things to do in Hoi An, including sampling delicious local cuisine and participating in traditional lantern-making workshops.

9. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City is such a young and modern city born and raised for roughly over 300 years. Traveling here, you will see the attractions influenced by the French-era architecture such as Vietnam’s own Notre Dame Cathedral, the War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market. The Central Post Office, Reunification Palace are also visited by travelers.

Let’s not stop here, Sai Gon by night attracts you by its vibe and personal charming, please wander around Bui Vien streets, or taste local cuisine such as Huynh Hoa Bread (Banh my Huynh Hoa), Sauce Noodle (Bun mam), Nam Vang vermicelli (Hu tieu Nam Vang), Crab noodle (Banh canh cua), grilled pork noodle (bun thit nuong0, etc. Ho Chi Minh is also as a stop-over for tourists of they want to visit Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnel, Cao Dai temple, Vung Tau and the other southern provinces.

The ideal time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the dry season from December to April, when the weather is most pleasant, offering clear skies and comfortable temperatures for exploring the city’s vibrant streets and historical landmarks.

The city’s calendar is dotted with cultural festivals and events, such as the exuberant Tet Festival in January or February, where the city bursts into celebrations of the Lunar New Year Attending this festival is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in local traditions and witness the city at its most festive.

For travelers wondering about the ideal duration of stay, three to four days are recommended to fully experience the city’s top attractions and hidden gems. This allows ample time to delve into the rich history at the War Remnants Museum, marvel at the architectural wonder of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, and indulge in the culinary delights of street food tours in District 4.

Discover the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, from exploring iconic attractions like the Ben Thanh Market and the Reunification Palace to immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s night markets. Indulge in local delicacies, shop for souvenirs, and soak in the bustling energy of places like Binh Tay Market in Chinatown. Additionally, experience the charm of Nguyen Hue Street at night, lined with dazzling lights and bustling cafes, offering a perfect blend of culture and entertainment.

Incorporating these elements into your itinerary will ensure a memorable journey through the heart of Vietnam’s most dynamic city, where traditional charm meets modern vitality. Whether you’re a history buff, food enthusiast, or simply in search of adventure, Saigon’s warm embrace has something for everyone.

10. Phu Quoc

Unlike Bali or Thai Lan, Phu Quoc is an isolated tropical island located down South of Vietnam with 150km of coast in which you can reach there by plane at Phu Quoc International Airport. Phu Quoc is well known with many white sandy beaches and a perfect combination from mountain to forest and sea. With such a balmy weather, Phu Quoc is a good choice for all travelers who love nature and seek for a place to balance sightseeing and beaches. You can spend your time at your luxury resort or walk along the sandy beach to enjoy the fresh air or dipping yourself under the fresh green water of the sea. At the end of the day, Phu Quoc will end up with the colorful sky to complete your day with such a customized romantic dinner next to the beach. Travelling to Phu Quoc will bring you pleasant and relaxed.

The best times to visit Phu Quoc are from October to April, when the weather is dry with little rain, perfect for beach activities and exploration. This period also includes the peak tourist season, so for those seeking a quieter experience, the shoulder seasons of April to June or October provide a more tranquil atmosphere.

The island’s vibrant culture comes to life with festivals and events that are not to be missed. From the traditional Tet Festival celebrating the Lunar New Year to the Viet Traditional Music Festival, these cultural showcases offer a deep dive into the island’s rich heritage.

For an ideal visit, 2 to 5 days in Phu Quoc allow for a comprehensive experience, giving you enough time to explore the central town of Phu Quoc Islands, the serene Phu Quoc beaches likes Khem beach, Sao beach, Long beach, the bustling south, and the untouched eastern part of the island.

Top activities in Phu Quoc include exploring the Phu Quoc National Park, lounging on the pristine Sao Beach, and indulging in the tranquility of Khem Beach. For adventure seekers, snorkeling, scuba diving, and trekking are among the must-do activities. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, enjoy the local cuisine, or simply relax on the beach, Phu Quoc caters to all desires, making it a must-visit destination on your Vietnam journey.