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First Trip to Vietnam: Recommendations for 10 Places to Visit

Vietnam offers a lot of things: beautiful scenery, fascinating history, distinctive food, and kind people. Indeed, choosing which sites to see in Vietnam when it is your first trip there might be somewhat difficult, particularly considering the little time one could have.

1. Ho Chi Minh City

Starting your Vietnam journey at the fast-paced metropolis of hustle and bustle formally called Ho Chi Minh metropolis but often known as Saigon See sites like the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, or War Remnants Museum to start to understand the convoluted history of the nation. Visit the backpacker district for great restaurants and bars, tour the Ben Thanh Market to taste local food or pick up some souvenirs, and feel the spirit of the rapidly growing Ho Chi Minh City.

2. Halong Bay

Virtually any guide will tell you that Halong Bay with its green waters breathtaking grottos and towering limestone cliffs is a must-see even if you are not an avid cruizer. It’s possible to take an overnight cruise boat and visit the islands around Cat Ba and Lan Ha bays, go through caves and tunnels on the kayaks, watch the stalagmites and stalactites in the caves, and taste fresh fish and other sea foods on the boat during the sunset. It is one of the most effective ways that is loved by travelers to explore the north of Vietnam.

3. Hanoi

Visit the romantic Hanoi capital with its absolutely special Quarter of street food, old French colonial buildings, beautiful lakes, ancient temples, and noisy scooters that the part of the Vietnamese image. Travelers can also engage in cultural activities such as visiting attractions like the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. For instance, tourists can go for the motorbike taxi experience as they take a ride around the Old Quarter’s vibrant streets.

4. Sapa Rice Terraces

Trekking the hilly areas of northwest Vietnam will help you to experience your off-beat adventure and wonder at the vastness of Sapa with its terraced rice farms and ethnic hamlet houses. Choose a homestay choice and then see the stunning hills and valleys under the direction of a local guide. Get familiar with the local ethnic groups like the Black Hmong and Red Dao in this hilly area. As one keeps learning about this location, one may appreciate its natural and cultural features at a slow pace.

5. Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park

Adventure seekers, you owe it to yourself to visit the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park which hosts the biggest cave globally, the Son Doong Cave. Some of the things you could do here include; you can take a tour of the Phong Nha Cave which is also home to some of the most beautiful formations of stalagmites and stalactites you are ever likely to see or take a river tubing and kayaking adventure through the thick jungle over the magnificent limestone mountains. For anyone who likes to hike, camp, enjoy the scenery, and see wildlife this place is a must for anyone traveling to Vietnam.

6. Hoi An

Take a walk in one of Asia’s best-preserved historical towns; exploring the ancient town of Hoi An with historical temples, some old traditional shop houses, lively riverside markets, food vendors, peaceful waterways, and uniquely lit-up roads with lanterns. Buy the ao dai dress/suit from one of the silk shops, have a stroll in the riverside beautiful area, and watch the performance of the traditional music and dances on the streets across the city.

7. Mekong Delta

Spend time exploring the Vy Da River on sampans – traditional boats of the Mekong Delta area also called Vietnam’s Rice Basket, where you will see floating markets, fruit tree orchards, and coconut candy workshops. Attend basic classes on methods of making coconut candy and taste fresh fruits harvested directly from the farm. If seeing the countryside is of interest, it is recommended to take a homestay in the Mekong Delta where travelers will be able to experience and enjoy the local hospitality.

8. Dalat

If you want a break from the hot and humid weather of Vietnam’s tropical climate, then travel up to the city in the Central Highlands named Dalat known as “Le Petit Paris” which gives the feel of a French alpine town. Discover architectural masterpieces such as the Crazy House, view lovely flowers, canyoneering, and white-water rafting opportunities, and take a cable car through the greenery of pine trees, vegetable planting, and even a mini version of the Eiffel Tower.

9. Nha Trang

Renowned for its stunning blue water and immaculate white sand beaches that have made the city one of the most sought-after seaside resorts and provide ideal scuba diving sites, Nha Trang is situated on Vietnam's South Central Coast. Go island hopping or stay at an overwater villa in a four-star hotel with a drink at sunset; find the laid-back life on the beach during the day and then sit on a restaurant patio and savor the seafood by the shore at night.

10. Con Dao Islands

For those who can spend more time in the area, it is worthwhile to go much further south to the Con Dao archipelago with more than a dozen almost unincorporated tropical islands with coral, forests granite cliffs, and sandy beaches. Walk lush trails in wildlife parks and sanctuaries, observe sea turtles nesting (depending on the time of your visit), and get your piece of sandy paradise for some sunbathing. Con Dao has many pretty scenery of Vietnam that tourists can explore through nature and eco-tourism options.

This concise guide to Vietnam summarizes essential experiences for an exciting first visit within 10-14 days, including all the most popular sights but also several less-typical, but still very special ones. Safe journey and be prepared for Vietnam to amaze you in ways beyond your imagination as regards culture, food, and sceneries! The only challenge that one will have is to choose the next region in Vietnam to visit once one is captivated by the fantastic nation.