1. Hanoi: The heart of Vietnam
Major tourist attractions: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam) renowned as the first national university of Vietnam), both recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as World Documentary Heritages; Thang Long Imperial Citadel (a UNESCO-recognized World Cultural Heritage); the Old Quarters, Pen Tower (Thap But), Sword Lake (Ho Guom), One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot), Truc Bach Lake, the Opera House, and the National Library.
Special foods: Pho (noodle soup), bun cha (noodle with grilled pork), La Vong fried fish (cha ca La Vong) served with noodle, other kinds of noodle soup including bun thang and bun oc, West Lake shrimp cake, Vong Village green rice flakes, and Hang Duong Street poached spiced dried fruits, among others.
Cultural activities: UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritages: The Giong Festival at the Phu Dong and Soc temples, tug-of-war game, ca tru (ceremonial/festival song – an original art performance of academic character), and Mother Goddess worship rituals.
Tourist seasons: January, February, March, October and November.
The airport is 25km from the city center, with taxi fare for the 40-minute drive costing about VND350,000 and bus VND40,000 per trip.
2. Lao Cai: Heaven on earth
Major tourist destinations: The 3,143-meter high peak of Fansipan Mountain, the highest mountain in Indochina; Silver Waterfall; Muong Hoa Valley, Muong Hoa Cultural Park; Sa Pa Church; Ham Rong Mountain and Ham Rong flower garden; Hoang Bay Temple; Sa Pa Rendezvous; Cat Cat Village; Hoang Lien National Park; Sa Pa Museum; Sa Pa Ancient Rock Field; and O Quy Ho Pass.
Special products: Thang co (a horse meat and viscera-based traditional soup of the Mong ethnic group in the northwestern mountainous part of Vietnam), local pork, Silver Waterfall salmon, bamboo-tube rice, Sa Pa peach fruit, Bac Ha plum, Sa Pa forest mushroom, brocades, and dried buffalo meat.
Tourist seasons: From September to November, and from March to May.
The railway station is almost 40km or an hour’s drive from Sa Pa Town’s center, with taxi transport costing about VND400,000 and bus fare about VND60,000.
3. Quang Ninh: Nature’s beauty
Major tourist destinations: Ha Long Bay (UNESCO-recognized World Natural Heritage); Yen Tu Mountain; Co To Island; Tra Co Beach; and Cua Van Fishing Village.
Special products: Quang Yen limuloid, Quang Yen chthamalus stellatus soup, fried squid paste served with sticky rice, rice dumplings, Hoanh Bo sticky rice wine.
Tourist season: From April to October.
The Bai Chay Bus Station is 25km from downtown Ha Long City, with taxi transport costing about VND 100,000 per trip.
4. Quang Binh: Picturesque landscapes
Major tourist destinations: Nhat Le Beach, Tam Toa Church, Da Nhay Beach, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (UNESCO-recognized World Natural Heritage), Son Doong Cave (the world’s largest natural cave), Va Cave, and Yen Cave.
Special foods: Quang Hoa banh xeo (rice pancake folded in half and filled with shrimp, pork and soy bean sprouts), dried sweet potato, and cassava powder cake.
Tourist season: From mid-March to August.
The airport is located 7km or a 10-minute drive from the province’s center, with taxi transport costing about VND100,000.
5. Da Nang: Urban quality of life
Major tourist destinations: My Khe Beach, the Museum of Cham Sculpture, Ba Na Hills, Linh Ung Pagoda, Ngu Hanh Son Mountain, Son Tra Peninsula, Hai Van Pass.
Specialties: A culinary center of central Vietnam with a rich and diverse culinary art; Da Nang International Fireworks Festival (DIFF).
Tourist season: From March to early September.
The airport is located 2km or a 10-minute car drive from the city center, with taxi transport costing about VND30,000.
6. Quang Nam: Two World Heritage sites
Major tourist destinations: Hoi An Ancient Town (UNESCO-recognized World Cultural Heritage), My Son Sanctuary (UNESCO-recognized World Cultural Heritage), Cu Lao Cham (UNESCO-recognized World Biosphere Reserve), Tam Thanh Community Art Village, Cua Dai Beach, the Phu Ninh Lake national historical heritage site, Tien Stream, and Thanh Ha Pottery Village.
Specialties: Quang Nam noodles, spring rolls filled with sliced pork and mints served with local shrimp sauce, grilled pork paste, Hoi An noodle soup, langsat, Cau Mong grilled veal, banh xeo (rice pancake folded in half and filled with shrimp, pork and soy bean sprouts), and Hong Dao wine.
Tourist season: From April to August.
Da Nang International Airport is located about 30km or a 40-minute drive from the ancient town of Hoi An, with taxi transport costing about VND500,000.
7. Hue: The old capital
Major tourist destinations: The Complex of Hue Monuments (UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site). The massive complex features hundreds of monuments and ruins, such as the Forbidden Purple City, the Imperial City, royal tombs, flag tower, pagodas, temples, a library and museum. Lang Co Beach.
Specialties: Different kinds of dumplings such as banh xeo (rice pancake folded in half and filled with shrimp, pork and soy bean sprouts) and other cakes; song and music performances on the Huong River; Hue garden houses, Hue Royal Court Music (UNESCO-recognized Intangible Cultural Heritage), and the biennial Hue Festival.
Tourist season: From March to August.
The airport is located 16km or a 20-minute drive from the city center, with taxi fare costing about VND200,000.
8. Nha Trang: Sea and sun
Major tourist destinations: Ponagar tower featuring ancient Cham architecture, hot spring and mud bathing spa facilities, Ninh Chu Beach, Dai Lanh Beach.
Specialties: Jelly-fish noodles, banh can (a kind of dumpling made of rice powder), grilled pork paste, Cau Dua duck meat, Dien Khanh dumpling, squid banh xeo (rice pancake folded in half and filled with squid and soy bean sprouts).
Tourist season: From July to September.
The airport is located 30km or a 45-minute drive from the city center, with taxi transport costing about VND350,000.
9. Pleiku: Life in the Central Highlands
Major tourist destinations: T’Nung Lake (locally known as Bien Ho), Phu Cuong Waterfall, Dong Xanh (green field) Park, Ho Troi waterfall complex, ripe rice fields, wild sunflower fields, the nine-layer waterfall, Yaly hydropower project.
Specialties: Hai To (two bowls of noodle) noodle soup, coffee, the cultural space of the gongs in the central highlands (UNESCO-recognized Cultural Intangible Cultural Heritage).
Tourist season: From May to October.
The airport is located 3km or a10-minute drive from the city center, with taxi transport costing about VND50,000.
10. Buon Ma Thuot: The land of coffee
Major tourist destinations: Yok Don National Park, Dray Sap Waterfall, long houses of the Ede ethic minority group, Laawk Lake, Cham Yang Prong Tower, Ako Dhong Culture Village, the cultural space of the gongs in the Central Highlands (UNESCO-recognized Cultural Intangible Cultural Heritage).
Specialties: Chicken meat, bamboo-tubed rice, ruou can (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes, very popular among the highlanders, especially in the Central Highlands), coffee, cake, dumpling served with grilled pork, the biennial elephant racing festival.
Tourist season: From February to mid-April.
The airport is located 7km or a 15-minute drive from the city center, with taxi transport costing about VND90,000.
11. Phu Quoc: The pearl island of Vietnam
Major tourist destinations: Phu Quoc Prison and Museum, Ham Ninh fishing village, Cao Dai Temple, Sao Beach, Long Beach, May Rut islands, pepper gardens, fish sauce production facilities.
Specialties: Tomentose rose myrtle wine, Cat Phu Quoc cake, holothurian, pepper, crab noodle soup, crab blood pudding, echinoidea.
Tourist season: From November to March.
The airport is located 15km or a 20-minute drive from the island center, with taxi transport costing about VND200,000.
12. Ho Chi Minh City: Vietnam’s southern hub
Major tourist destinations: Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO-recognized World Biosphere Reserve), Independence Palace, Con Rua (Turtle) Lake, Ben Thanh Market, War Remnants Museum, Cu Chi Tunnels, Sac Forests, Notre Dame Cathedral, cafes of diverse styles.
Specialties: Fresh fruits, broken-grain rice served with pig ribs, snail-based dishes, fashion houses of Vietnamese designers, the southern amateur music, (UNESCO-recognized Intangible Cultural Heritage).
Tourist season: All months except the rainy season from June-July.
The airport is located 7km or a 20-minute drive from the city center, with taxi fare costing about VND100,000 and bus transport costingVND5,000.
- EU trade pact with Vietnam close to finish line
- Vietnam and European Union sign free trade agreement
- Vietnam’s vast underground world
- Vietnam is top country for foreign adoptions
- Rhino horns worth €3.5 million seized in Vietnam
- Vietnam persists on its revolutionary path
- Vietnam Seeks to Expand Investment Cooperation with Russia
- Man raises thousands for charity with 500km cycle across Vietnam
- Vietnam launches first anti-dumping wood sector probe
- Eternal Poison: Vietnam's Ongoing Fight Against Agent Orange