Main Cities and Attractions of Vietnam

Vietnam’s history of occupation and war has had a major impact on the country it has developed into. From its survivalist spirit to its cuisine, Vietnam shows signs of its influences while still retaining its own unique style. Vietnam is rapidly becoming an extremely popular tourist destination. The country has a series of attractions, from sites, reminding visitors of its war-torn past to interesting landscapes, that makes it endlessly intriguing to tourists.


The capital of Vietnam is also its second largest city. The city lies along the Red River. There are many lakes in the city; the most popular of which is Hoan Kiem Lake. The Old Quarter is the historic section of the city that has been around since its establishment over a thousand years ago. The Old Quarter is home to such attractions as One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, the Hanoi Flag Tower, and a piece of the 900-year-old Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hanoi is also the location of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum. Visitors can view the remains of the famous Vietnamese ruler and learn about the country’s history.

Ho Chi Minh City

Also known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and its financial center. It was the capital of South Vietnam during the country’s split and was renamed after the fall of Saigon in 1975. The city has many popular museums, including the Reunification Palace, the former presidential palace that has supposedly been left untouched since the fall of Saigon and serves as a 1960s throwback, the War Remnants Museum, a graphic look back at the Vietnam War, and the Museum of Vietnamese History.  


The former imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802-1945 sits on the banks of the Huong River. The Complex of Hue Monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes tombs of imperial rulers, pagodas, including Thien Mu, the tallest in Vietnam, temples, and Ngo Mon Gate used by the royal family to enter their palace.

Natural Sites

Ha Long Bay

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Vietnam is named the “Bay of Descending Dragons.” The bay is filled with thousands of small islands filled with jungle vegetation, limestone pillars, lakes, and caves.

Mui Ne Sand Dunes

The Red and White Sand Dunes are a unique Saharan-like formation in Vietnam. They are very popular for sand sledding.

Phong Nha-Ke Bong National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong, and the oldest karst formation in Asia. A tropical rainforest filled with caves and grottos, there are endless things to explore in the park.

Historical Sites

Cu Chi Tunnels

120 kilometers of restored underground war tunnels used by North Vietnamese soldiers.

Hoi An

A fishing village and now popular tourist attraction, it has been an international port since the 16th century. The Ancient Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)