Vietnam is making a name for itself as one of the cheapest and most beautiful backpacking destinations. From the mystical rice terraces of Sapa to vivacious floating markets of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam landscape never ceases to amaze nomads worldwide. See below for 10 top places in Vietnam for backpackers!
Bitexco Tower - currently the fourth highest building in Vietnam
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
If you’re in Vietnam, you’ve got to visit Ho Chi Minh City. The city never sleeps with endless activities for you to enjoy. You can visit various museums from War Remnants Museum to Fine Arts Museum, then take a look from above at either Landmark 81’s or Bitexco’s Skydeck, enjoy a boat ride at Saigon river or half-day crawling through Cu Chi Tunnels, and finally let loose at parties on Bui Vien street.
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
Hanoi Train Street is a popular photo spot
Temple of Literature in Hanoi
The thousand-year-old capital of Vietnam is the ultimate start for any journey throughout Vietnam thanks to its seamless blend of ancient buildings and bustling cosmopolitan life. Top 5 things to do in Hanoi include visiting the Temple of Literature - the first university of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - one of the most iconic communist monuments here, Hoan Kiem lake… and don’t miss out on unique water puppet shows, as well as Hanoi’s mouth-watering dishes like Pho and Bun Cha.
Rice terraces in Sapa
Die-hard trekkers should never miss the stunning trails of Sapa, especially during March - April when all flowers bloom and October - November to witness luscious rice terraces. For more adventurous experience, try conquering Fansipan - the “Roof of Indochina” at 10,312 ft or Coc San caves and waterfalls complex. Besides trekking, another best-loved activity is visiting Sapa villages of Vietnamese minority groups where you’ll have the chance to see first-hand their daily lives, customs and get traditional handmade crafts.
Find cheap tickets to get to Sapa below:
Check out the comprehensive Sapa Travel Guide here!
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay, which is one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, has never lost its place in top places in Vietnam for backpackers. You’ll be blown away by the blithe view of thousands of limestone karsts and isles in different shapes and sizes, complemented by the emerald blue water that calls for hours of kayaking! Other fun activities to get your hands on include visiting Cuu Van fishing village and Dau Go cave.
Most travelers recommend tours as the most convenient way to get around since they’re usually all-inclusive, from food, accommodation to transportation.
Phong Nha cave in Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003, Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park has Asia’s oldest karst mountains, the world’s largest natural cave - Son Doong cave, longest underground river and most spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. The 40-minute boat trip on Son river will be worthwhile for you’ll witness a utopia of massive stones carved like fairies and animals. Unfortunately, it’ll cost you US$ 3,000 for an excursion to Son Doong cave, but other favorites, include Hang En cave, Thien Duong cave, and Dark cave, are available at a more economical cost.
The Imperial City of Hue
Hue is an unmissable stop on any trip in Central Vietnam. This majestic city is undeniably romantic with Huong river, Lang Co white beaches, and Bach Ma National Park. Of course, the main attraction in Hue is still the grandeur imperial city - a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has once been Vietnam’s capital for 140 years - and Thien Mu pagoda - an intricate architectural feat at 21 meters tall. While you’re here, don’t forget to try a bowl of mouth-watering Bun Bo Hue!
Japanese covered bridge in Hoi An
You’ve probably seen too many pictures of Hoi An’s lantern-lit streets online, and it’s that famous for good reason. The ancient town has been recognized since 1999 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the old architectures are well-preserved so a day walk here can take you back to the 19th century in Southeast Asia. Other favorite activities are visiting assembly halls, discover traditional arts (pottery, carpentry…) and taking a dip at Cua Dai beach.
Nha Trang beaches are perfect for extreme sports like windsurfing and scuba diving
Nha Trang has some of the best beaches in Vietnam that you can enjoy year-round. Water sports like windsurfing, jet skiing, paragliding or scuba diving can give even the most adventurous adrenaline rush. Plus, these sports don’t need pre-booking so you’re hassle-free! After you’ve hit the ocean, relax with other activities like visiting the Institute of Oceanography, Ponagar Cham Tower, Vinpearl Land Nha Trang…
See our guide for your First Time in Nha Trang
Thanks to its cool climate and impressive waterfalls, Da Lat is one of the top places in Vietnam for backpackers. You can hire a motorbike to explore the romantic city, visit night markets to try Vietnamese pizza, explore eccentric Crazy House or be a dare-devil and try adventure activities such as: canyoning, cliff jumping, rappelling down waterfalls or natural water slides!
Check out five-star resorts in Da Lat here:
Floating market in Mekong Delta
Tourists learn how to make coconut candy
Mekong Delta makes its way into top places in Vietnam for backpackers with various traditional handicraft villages where you can try making your own coconut candy or conical hat. Tourists can then explore the intricate network of rivers and streams and the ecological haven of Southwestern Vietnam while sitting on our traditional boats. Also don’t forget to try delicious local dishes namely banh xeo - Vietnamese pancake, khot cake, bun ca - fish noodle soup and rat meat!
Explore inclusive tours in Mekong Delta here!
Vietnam is on the rise as Asia’s bustling cultural hub - a mix of old and new, East and West, and of course, delicious food. Apart from the top places in Vietnam for backpackers listed here, we’re sure you’ll find every stop in your journey a unique experience.
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© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com