© iStock/cristaltran
© iStock/cristaltran

Vietnam - a fascinating Southeast Asian destination

3 minutes to read

Among Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam is one of the most visited destinations. The country is famous for its tasty food, beautiful nature and friendly people. Although it is a small country of 331.210 km², Vietnam has diverse cultures representing 54 ethnic groups of people. Rather than introducing the country in general, I would like to give you a comprehensive view of Vietnam by talking about different parts of the country separately: the North, the Centre, and the South. Each region is unique, equally charming, and worth exploring.

Northern Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and also my hometown, is located in the north of Vietnam. Hanoi is a must-visit because of the astonishing fusion between traditions and modernity. Personally, I think Hanoi has one of the best cuisines in the whole country thanks to the balanced and sophisticated taste of Hanoians. The north of Vietnam has many breathtaking sights, and one of the most well-known locations must be Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you do not have much time in Vietnam, I would recommend visiting only Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. However, if you stay for a long time, do not miss Ninh Binh, Tam Dao, and Ha Giang.

© iStock/Le Thang
© iStock/Le Thang
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hang Trong, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ha Long bay
Ha Long bay
Κόλπος Χα Λονγκ, Thành phố Hạ Long, Κουάνγκ Νιν, Βιετνάμ

Central Vietnam

The most famous city in central Vietnam is Hue, as it used to be the ancient capital of Vietnam. Hue has a rich history and is full of traditional architecture, such as tombs and palaces. It is a wonderful destination to explore the country’s imperial past. What is more, the centre of Vietnam is a perfect place for beach holidays, as it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Some of my top recommendations would be Da Nang, Nha Trang, Quang Binh, and Phu Yen. The surreal sand hills of central Vietnam are worth visiting, offering many fun activities. 

© iStock/efired
© iStock/efired
Old Hoi Town
Old Hoi Town
Old Town, Hội An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Southern Vietnam

Some people may be mistaken thinking that the big city Ho Chi Minh city (old name: Sai Gon) is the capital of Vietnam: in fact, it is just a financial hub. Many expats favor Ho Chi Minh city for its fast pace of life and energetic mood. The various museums and galleries in the town give an insight into the flourishing art scene of Vietnam. The nightlife in the city is great, with many rooftop bars. The south of Vietnam is also famous for its idyllic countryside, especially the southwestern cities such as Ben Tre and Chau Doc. The local floating markets on the Mekong River are among the highlights for tourists. Phu Quoc is a small island in the far south part of Vietnam, that is ideal for a relaxing holiday. 

© iStock/Sean3810
© iStock/Sean3810
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
01 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

As a local myself, although I have traveled extensively in the three main regions: the North, the Centre and the South, Vietnam still keeps surprising me with new amazing places. For example, I have recently been to the province An Giang in the southwestern part of the country for the first time and discovered picturesque sights I have never seen before. I am sure Vietnam would fascinate you with its diverse cultures and landscapes too. Vietnam is a country for every kind of tourist, whether you are into nature, history, culture, art, or nightlife. 

Here is a video I made to show some of the most beautiful places in Vietnam:


The author

Vy Tran

Vy Tran

Born and raised in Hanoi, I strive to protect my Vietnamese identity while being a global citizen. Let me share with you some of the mysteries of Vietnam, which might make you decide Vietnam is your next destination to discover.

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