Introducing Lens of Vietnam, a travel guide to the 8 most raved-about tourist attractions in Vietnam!
As a bonus, I also included some picturesque shotsof the local streets and introduced activities for those up for a thrill.
Sail with me through a visual adventure of Vietnam and for those keen on photography, photo opportunities abound in this island rich of culture and natural beauty.
- Tam Coc
Tam Coc is an enormous beauty, offering a phenomenal view of rice paddies as far as your eyes can bring you, surrounded by limestone cliffs and karst formations. The sampan-tour is a highlight of this attraction where local women paddle along the river for a couple of hours. Look out for wild animals along the way such as mountain goats and enjoy the view with the other paddlers. The end of the journey will lead you to the 3 mystical caves of Tam Coc so sit back and enjoy the surreal experience!
- Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay
Halong Bay is without a doubt one of the most highly-raved about destinations in Vietnam. Another natural beauty, be prepared to be wowed by the amazing scenery Halong Bay can provide coupled with the lack of development around the area. This bay’s scenery is best explored by cruise – sign up for at least an overnight tour and let the seascape paradise speak for itself. The cruise will also include kayaking so don’t miss this out for all water sports lovers and otherwise!
For those who wish to avoid the crowd – do not hesitate to explore the routes that are not as popular. Haven’t really heard of it? That is what makes it a better alternative to Halong Bay. Bai Tu Long Bay is also part of the famous Halong Bay, except the waters are stiller and there’s a high chance yours will be the few boats around the area. Of course, Halong Bay is more impressive with denser karst formations and it offers an overnight cruise ride which is definitely more attractive, but I would always choose the less explored route any day.
The best time to explore these areas will be from October to January where the skies are clear and least rainy.
- Hoi An
Popularly dubbed as “Venice of Vietnam”, the old town is filled with the fusion of Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese architecture that has survived wars as well as wear and tear. Houses after houses lined along the peaceful river, Hoi An used to a busy trading port and now with the ancient structure still remaining, it is serving as a popular tourist attraction as well as accommodation for the locals. Look out for pagodas, temples, ancient houses and the famous Japanese bridge along the way and soak in the dreamy atmosphere that Hoi An can offer. Not only that, they offer a rich display of food, such as Cau Lao, a Hoi An specialty noodle as well as fresh seafood to satisfy your cravings!
- Sapa Rice Terraces
Sapa, with its rich culture of hill tribe minorities, rich terrain of rice fields and mountains and relatively low temperatures of approximately 15°C is simply an eye opener. A good place for trekking, a tip for trekkers will be to purchase permits to trek to villages which have to be bought when you’re at the tourist information centre in town. They offer a wide range of products to shop such as their handmade crafts and fabrics but keep in mind to wash them separately from your other clothing as the dye will run. The best period to visit Sapa’s terraces is between September and October. The dry and cool weather is perfect for trekking and taking photos.
- Cu chi tunnels
Back in the past during the Vietnam War, communist troops dug thousands of such tunnels, creating an extensive network of tunnels for effective transport of tools, supplies and the mounting of surprise attacks, where they can hide underground for safety after. Now, these tunnels remain as part of a tourist attraction in a Vietnam War memorial park in Ho Chi Minh City. Visitors now can experience what it is like to crawl through these tunnels and imagine what it is like to have to live under such tunnels, to cook, to sleep and to work. Take a look for yourself to experience a pinch of what they had to go through to survive the war in the past and soak in part of what made the Vietnam history.
- Sand Dunes of Mui Ne
Didn’t know there are sand dunes in Vietnam? Before researching, I didn’t either. Now you do not have to travel out to far places to have access to such spectacular desert landscapes. Vietnam has it all! 4 hours away from Ho Chi Minh City, get ready to see the 2 different sand dunes they have there – the Red Sand Dunes and the White Sand Dunes. The vast landscape makes it a perfect spot to take photos so make sure to bring along your camera! Not only that, you can engage in fun activities such as dune surfing and kite-flying. The fairy stream is yet another wonder of nature so leave your shoes and walk through the stream to see limestone formations and ultimately a waterfall at the end!
- My Son Sanctuary
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, My Son Sanctuary offers visitors its own story and charm. Covered by lush greenery and mountains, My Son used to be a temple city dated back from the 4th century. There are still a handful of temple structures which have survived the test of time, while the rest lay in ruins due to war and erosion. Yet, the remains and the efforts of the restoration of some of the most important buildings continue to amaze visitors with the architecture of the site.
- Phu Quoc
Love the tranquillity that beaches can offer you with warm turquoise waters at your feet? Phu Quoc is the place to go. With 4 beaches to boast of its beauty and relaxed environment, it is time to wind down from the hive of activities in the cities. It is a relatively new holiday destination where you can enjoy fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling.
As some of you might agree, attractions do not make up for the entire experience you want to have in Vietnam. For those who want to try out more, what may be some of the more adventurous things you can try? I have always been a firm believer in taking risks and trying out different things and hence I am also providing a few things to look out for and even attempt to have fun! Not only that, soak in the various cultures of Vietnam to truly live the experience of having been in this wonderful country.
1) Repelling down waterfalls
Are you an adrenaline junkie? Does repelling backwards down waterfalls appeal to you? The highlands of Vietnam are the best place for you to try this out.
2) Observe the Motorcycle Culture
Sometimes dangerous is not all fun.
In Vietnam, many invest in a motorcycle to get around. Riding a motorbike in Vietnam is not to be taken lightly. Motorbike users are all seeking to weave in and out of the heavy traffic and high speeds and may not stop for incoming. Observe the motorcycle mayhem and watch it unfold without being a part of their frequent collisions.
Not only that, they transport everything and anything you can think of on their motorbikes! From mountainous crates of bricks to bags of goods, even long store signs and an entire family of four, do not underestimate the power of these small but mighty vehicles!
3) Find Acoustic Bars at the Back of Alleys
Wind through different alleys and find the authentic and local bars with the crowd bobbing their heads to both Vietnamese and English songs. They are awesome for chilling while enjoying your drinks and a good place to listen to the performances of live bands.
4) Watch a movie
Movies here are rather cheap where 1 ticket costs about SGD$5!
5) Take a Random Route Less Traveled
Not all memories can only be made at the popular places. While you’re at a certain place or attraction, don’t hesitate taking the less popular paths. Sometimes staying away from the crowded places will bring you to equally or even more magical experiences.
Do you have other places or activities that I might have missed out? Comment in this blog post so that I will visit them the next time!! Not only that, share with me your photos too! If you want to print them out and preserve them in a physical space, head on to our website here to see how you want them printed out.
TIll next time,
Your PFF Fam