Vietnam is a very underrated destination among all its other South East Asia brethren. Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore & Malaysia kinda attract most of the attention when it comes to tourism in the region but for those looking for something a bit more offbeat and unique, Vietnam might be a great pick.
It offers a lot of what the other destinations have and tops it off with more diverse geography and rooted culture which makes for a more dynamic experience. You will find a lot more places here that are unadulterated by excessive tourism and the same goes for the culture as well. To give you a better idea about what Vietnam has to offer, here is a list of my favorite 5 places in Vietnam that made me appreciate the country for what it truly is.
👉 Cu Chi Tunnels:
For history buffs, this is a must-visit site in Vietnam. The Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh city were built by the Vietcongs in the early 1940s to escape French air raids but, more importantly, these tunnels played a more pivotal role in the war against the United States of America during the second Indo china war where the tunnels housed everything from living quarters, infirmaries, storage facilities and also a few booby traps to keep the enemies away.
This proved immensely useful in the war and was a constant source of pain for the US troops who had a hard time circumventing these tunnels and disabling them. Currently, two portions of the tunnel are open to visitors and the tunnels have been expanded for easier access.
They are still quite narrow though and you will have to crouch most of the time when you are there but it does make for a more authentic experience as well. So if you are claustrophobic or have back problems, you might not enjoy the experience as much.
👉 Sa Pa
Sa Pa is a small mountain town that is about 350km away from Hanoi. It became popular as a summertime hillside escape during the French colonial times and is known for its beautiful lush green hills, stunning valleys, and enchanting waterfalls.
There are a lot of tiny villages that make up Sa Pa and you can experience the culture of the place by staying with a local family and get a glimpse of how life has been for the people for over a century. If you are an outdoorsy person, you’ve got to experience the treks around the mountains or you can also take in some mountain biking to up the ante and close the day by bathing in some freezing but extremely refreshing fresh waterfalls in the area.
👉 Halong Bay
Just about a 3-hour ride from Hanoi is the Halong Bay area which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The Halong bay is otherworldly with some of the most emerald green waters and limestone karsts jutting out from the waters on every side. Lots of secret lagoons and complex caves and all of it is nature’s handiwork. It’s just an amazing site to take in and you can do a lot here. Rock climbing, scuba diving, kayaking, treks, the list just goes on. Trust me, this is one place you have to be at.
👉 Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is also quite close to Hanoi and is kinda the Halong Bay of the land. It is known to be one of the best nature destinations in the world and has a great mix of national parks, wetland reserves and also humans co-existing beautifully among all of it with rice paddies that line up among the karsts. Just look at this boat ride in Tam Coc!
👉 Nha Trang
Bali and Krabi might be one of the first few destinations that pop up when you think about amazing beaches but Nha Trang is right up there with them. An amazing beach destination and also one of Vietnam’s major party towns that has known to attract a lot of international DJs for its beachfront parties and it also has some of the best luxury resorts in the country as well. Its also versatile as there is a lot more on offer here as well such as the mineral-rich mud baths, relaxing times at natural hot springs, various cultural sites to visit. It’s the perfect place to end your Vietnam vacation.
So those are my top 5 places to visit in Vietnam. If you are looking for a more diverse experience that has not been adulterated by excessive tourism. Vietnam is the place that I suggest you be at. It has a mix of everything from hill stations, island paradises, riversides with lush greenery, amazing people, culture and just a lot more. A lot of times its also cheaper than other destinations but provides similar if not more superior experiences for what you pay. If you have been sleeping on Vietnam, I suggest you pick up a Vietnam tour package offered by Pickyourtrail and you will be quite surprised by what it has to offer.