Vietnam is famous for its awe-inspiring natural beauty, as well as its rich and historic culture. While many people visit Bali, the Maldives or Thailand for their taste of tropical Southeast Asia, we suggest you consider this often-overlooked paradise.
Whether you love exotic birds and animals, are passionate about history – with this country containing both ancient spiritual monuments and the healing scars of more recent tragedies – or simply want to appreciate the blue seas and striking islands around the coast, Vietnam has life-changing experiences waiting for any who set foot upon its shores.
Below, I have written about my top three picks for stunning places to visit when you travel to the country. Having been there twice myself, I can truly say that both of my trips truly changed my life and view of the world.
RELAXATION: LAN HA BAY
South of Halong Bay and east of Cat Ba Island, a glittering expanse of water called Lan Ha Bay has long been famed for its magnificent and untouched natural beauty, broken up by hundreds of island-mountains, each waiting to be explored, dividing the bay from the open sea and into smaller bays and gulfs.
Visiting these beaches and sailing between the high peaks on an azure high tide, while sipping a freshly-made fruit cocktail is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and should never be passed up.
CULTURE: BAC HA MARKET
Once a week, the quiet town of Bac Ha becomes a hub of culture and trade in Northwest Vietnam. Residents from the surrounding villages and valleys flock to this Vietnamese town, and the roads are filled with buses packed with tourists. Visit on a Sunday to watch the locals in their traditional ethnic dress, while sipping the juice from fresh coconuts and browsing countless stalls.
Visiting here, you can find everything for sale in Bac Ha, including water buffalo, delicious Hmong and Thay cuisine, brightly colored fabrics and fragrant spices.
EARTH: HANG SON DOONG CAVE
As the largest cave by a large margin in Vietnam, and in general as one of the largest caves in the world, Hang Son Doong is approximately three million years old and is an incredible destination unlike anywhere else on the planet. The cave is enormous, and it is possible for dozens of people to camp within it at a time. Pools of vibrant blue water are located in the cave, connected by a river that winds down its length.
Visiting this geological wonder can be an ethereal and spiritual experience, and guided tours are available to best explore the landmark.