Vietnam is a country with stunning attractions, various unique festivals, and lip-smacking food that you will never be able visit them all in one trip. Thanks to local’s effort to preserve such treasures throughout years of colonialism and modernization, some regions of Vietnam remain authentic and premitive.
Either you are looking for a tropical place with white sandy beaches on Phu Quoc Island or experience a fast-paced of Ho Chi Minh City, we pick out 10 reasons why travellers love Vietnam and keep returning to this S-shaped country.
1- Heart-stopping UNESCO World Heritage sites
Thanks to its rich history and limitless natural landscape, Vietnam has a range of attractions that have been recognized as UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. The most famous is Ha Long Bay – arguably Vietnam’s must-visit site, about 3 hours from Hanoi. However, we also should not overlook other destinations such as Hoi An Old Town, Hue, My Son Sanctuary, Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
2. Get tipsy with fresh beers for less than a dollar
Locally called bia hơi, Vietnamese beer contains about 4% alcohol. Imagine where else on earth can you enjoy a cup of beer for 0,50$? If you are in Hanoi, come to the Bia Hoi Intersection in the Old Quarter, where Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street meet. Also known as the bar street, it is a vibrant nightlife corner with many live music performances, plastic stools spilling onto the street where you can enjoy local craft beers and watch the world go by. Moreover, several pubs sell soft drinks and imported beers like Tiger for about 20,000 VND.
3. Pristine beaches and islands
If you are looking for a beach getaway to escape the bustling city life and hectic daily routine, then beaches in Vietnam have many choices for you.
For those who are looking to stay at the center with many leisure activities, Da Nang’s My Khe Beach is perfect for you. Authentic seeker should not miss Quy Nhon, an ideal spot to discover the off the beaten track destination far away from the busy cities. For snorkeling and scuba-diving lovers, Vietnam has a lot of bays and out-of-the-way islands fit for you to enjoy.
One interesting fact: After a certain trip to Vietnam, you’ll soon realize that there are no two identical beaches. Amazing, isn’t it?
4- Mouth-watering yet affordable delicacies
Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its nutrition and flavor richness thanks to a generous combination of fresh herbs and vegetables, paired with rice, noodles, seafood, pork, and beef. In detail, a typical Vietnamese meal included rice or noodles, a meat or seafood dish, a plate of vegetables, soup, and sauce (fermented fish sauce) for dipping. You might have known that pho (rice noodle soup) is a significant Vietnamese dish, however, Vietnam has other equal lip-smacking foods such as banh mi, banh xeo, ca kho to (caramelized fish in a clay pot), and xoi xeo (sweet sticky rice).
5- Vietnamese diverse natural landscape
Few countries can not compare to various options of travel that Vietnam has to offer. From the tropical unspoiled wilderness in the South to rice terraces in the North, Vietnam is also filled with extensive beaches, unspoiled islands, towering mountains, and tropical forests. For adventure enthusiasts, you cannot turn down the world’s largest cave (and other hundred caves) in Phong-Nha-Ke-Bang National Park, and extreme activities, such as sandboarding and quad biking, in the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne.
6- Unique Festivals & Customs
Festivals in Vietnam offer travellers the best opportunity to approach and personal with myths, traditions, and the fun-loving spirit of this proud nation. The cityscape draws together tradition and new Vietnam, making you feel the future has arrived when the past is never far away.
With thousands of pagodas and Buddhist shrines as well as various deities and iconic landmarks, you can visit thousand-year sights and learn about the praying customs of the Viets. Additionally, there are a plethora of cultural events that are only celebrated once a year (or years), so please check out our guideline of the best festivals in Vietnam to see if there is any celebration during your trip.
7- Buddhist Temples are everywhere
As Buddhism and Caodaism are in practice by local people, you can find hundreds of sparkling pagodas and shrines across the country.
Representing Buddhism practice in Hanoi, Huong Pagoda is located in the center of a sacred site featuring a maze of shrines built into limestone cliffs of Huong Tich cave.
Caodaism is combined with Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Faoism, Confucianism, Christianism, and Islam. The Caodai temple on Phu Quoc Island is one of the must-visit places known for its bright exterior and relics of distinguished religions from all around the world.
8- War Sites opened to the Public
Due to the harsh relationship with the USA and France in colonial times, Vietnam has plenty of war sites, museums, and prisons, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
You can call the name Cu Chi Tunnels as the most well-known historical site. About 70km to the north-west of Ho Chi Minh City, this system has over 120km of underground tunnels, most of which fitted with trapdoors, living area, kitchen, storage, weapon storage, hospital, and command centers. Exploring a small part of this gigantic system and firing an M16 while visiting Cu Chi Tunnel will help you learn more about the history of Vietnam.
9- Friendly and hospitable hill tribes
A small gem in the northern of Vietnam, Sapa is an attractive place for adventure seekers to explore its rough landscape for a few days. One of the best ways to fully experience the local lifestyle is by staying with the locals in Sapa’s traditional village. Moreover, a lot of hill tribes such as Giay, Hmong, and Red Dao also offer homestays, where you can taste authentic regional delicacies, dress up in local costumes and try to work in the fields (or at least you can get a picture pretending to do so).
10- The Coffee
Initially introduced to the Viets by the French, coffee then became a signature drink that many locals are living on. As coffee is in our blood, you can find vintage cafés (both modern and traditional) serving strong brewed coffee at a reasonable price throughout the country. Even though coffee with condensed milk is a common way to enjoy coffee in Vietnam, unconventional variations such as egg coffee, yogurt coffee, and weasel coffee are also highly recommended.
Translator: Nhat Le