Backpacking Vietnam: 10 Best Places to Visit

It is difficult to narrow it down to just 10 best places to visit in Vietnam but by Jove we have done it! Vietnam is a wonderfully diverse country with tribal communities dotted around the countryside and busy business men in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Min.

Vietnam is a key country along the Southeast Asia backpacking route. Often branded as the same (culturally) as Thailand, Vietnam has a wealth of culture and history and very much stands alone when it comes to its recent history. As it shares borders with Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and even China the little nation of Vietnam offers a myriad of travelling opportunities.

Travelling within Vietnam is easy and as it has been on the south east Asia backpacking route for such a long time it is well verse in the needs of travellers and there are many tourists buses that run the length of the well trodden path. So no need to add a map to your packing list!

Learning to say hello in different languages is part of the joy of travelling, don’t you think? To say hello in Vietnamese you say ‘xin chào’.

So, let’s get to business! Here are our 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

1. Hanoi

Hanoi is the busy and hectic capital city of Vietnam. There is nothing quite like rush hour in Hanoi. Brace yourself before stepping out into the road, don’t slow down, don’t look back and certainly don’t stop moving! Believe it or not the drivers will move out your way and you’ll get across the road unscathed!

  • Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam


Hanoi has a great nightlife scene and loads of super hipster hostels to hang out in. The city is famous for its ancient architecture that has taken influence from China and from other Asian nations too. Be sure to visit the Old Quarter of Hanoi to feel like you’ve stepped back in time and to experience Vietnamese city life at its finest.

2. Ho Chi Minh

Located in the heart of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is named after the fearless communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The city is more commonly known, however, as Saigon. Ho Chi Minh city played a crucial role in the Vietnam War against the United States and hosts many different memorials and museum for those who fought and died.

  • Ho Chi Minh city

ho chi minh

Many people choose to travel Vietnam by motorbike and Ho Chi Minh city is a great place to buy a second hand bike, get it serviced and hit the road. There are many people who choose to sell their bike when they get to Hanoi but look out on the road for villagers who may want to buy your bike off you when you finish. There are a lot of ho chi minh tours from Excursion Vietnam – a brand new Vietnam travel agency for you to consider. 

3. Sapa

Sapa is the epitome of South Easy Asian countryside. This small town is now very much a tourist destination but nonetheless worth a visit. Home to the tribal community Hmong the town is now very well set up for tourists and backpackers.

  • Sapa – Where heaven meets earth


Hire a guide and go trekking through the villages and spot at the wonderful view points to look at the valley below. Head to Sapa market and stock up on local handicrafts; remember not to haggle too hard, not only does this cause offence but also makes you look ungrateful as to the skill involved in its creation.

4. Ha Long Bay

If Sapa is the epitome of Vietnamese countryside then Ha Long Bay is the epitome of Vietnamese coastline. The aerial view of Ha Long Bay is one of the most iconic photos of Asia of all time. The rocky outcrops tower high above the crystal clear waters.

  • Ha Long Bay – wonder of the world

halong bay

Ha Long Bay is best explored by canoe or kayak depending on your reference. If you’re not in for an active holiday then there are ample boat cruises that tour the mini islands daily. On a sunny day the waters of Ha Long Bay genuinely glisten and gleam all different shade of blue and green.

5. Hue

If Sapa is the epitome of Vietnamese countryside and Ha Long Bay is the epitome of Vietnamese coastline then Hue is the epitome of classic Vietnamese heritage and culture with amazing architecture to match. Built during the Nguyen Dynasty Hue has a great deal of temples, shrines and buildings to explore.

  • Hue


If you want to get yourself a new wardrobe then Hue is the place to do it! Hue is famous for its tailors and seamstresses who offer not only great skill but very reasonable prices for their work too. If you’re ordering 3-5 items be sure to leave a couple of days leeway before you leave Hue to make sure the work is done in time!

6. Nha Trang

If you’re looking for a really holiday resort then head to Nha Trang. This beach side resort is reminiscent of Phuket in Thailand or the Costa del Sol in Spain. Big hotels line the beach fronts with umbrellas and sun loungers available to hire on the sandy beach.

  • Nha Trang – beach city


Nha Trang is a very popular tourist destination for Russian tourists. Nah Trang is a great place to visit if you want an easily all-inclusive visit to Vietnam and is easily accessible from the main transport hubs of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

If you’re travelling with friends be sure to visit the Nha Trang Water Park; brilliant water slides and pools to splash around in and enjoy!

7. Mekong Delta

A trip down the Mekong Delta is something everyone must do when they visit Vietnam, the memories of a trip like that will last a life time. The Mekong Delta is a key geographical feature of the Mekong River which still provides water, sustenance and life to many rural Vietnamese communities.

  • Mekong delta- float market


Located in the south of Vietnam the Mekong Delta is famous for its floating markets which are arguably more authentic than those you find in Thailand. Be sure to look out for the Khmer pagodas too.

8. Hoi An

Hoi An has a really diverse history and is a true cultural melting point. With influences from China, France and Japan through a visit to Hoi An you can visit the world in a day! Hotel rooms in Hoi An are very reasonably priced, with 3-star rooms starting at just $30.

  • Hoi An – ancient town


Hoi An is in the Quang Nam Province on the central coast of Vietnam. Not really famed for its beaches the city is intersected with lots of canals that path the way to the old town.

9. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the biggest and most beautiful national park in Vietnam. The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park shares a border with the Hin Namno Reserve in Laos. The park is very varied with mountains as well as underground rivers and tropical jungle forest areas too.

  • Phong Nha – Ke Bang National park


The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is home to the country’s last wild populations of black bears, elephants and tigers.

10. My Son

My Son is a ruined temple city that is surrounded by green and plentiful jungle-covered hills and mountains. My Son is intact a Hindu site despite Vietnam being largely Buddhist. There are 20 or so temples here to explore with many more that are in parts or in ruins. My Son can be most easily accessed from Hoi An.

  • My Son Temple
my son temple


So what are you waiting for? Start checking out the things you want to do in Vietnam today!

I hope you enjoyed the article! If you still have any more questions or tips about the best Vietnam places to visit, then do comment down below. I’d love to hear what you have to think.

Linda Smith is a travel writer and the founder/main editor of Her passion for travel inspires her to seek new places, new adventures and sharing her travel experience to everyone.


Author: Vinz

Vinz is a part-time travel blogger, part-time digital marketing specialist, and full-time dreamer. He loves the photographic medium for expressing what he loves about life. He always finds himself lost during travel. But he loves unfamiliar territories and finding his way around. Aside from his taste for adventure, he loves two things while traveling - meeting new friends and food.

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