10 Unique Places to Visit in Vietnam & Unusual Things to Do

Though Vietnam looks quite small on the maps, you could never find enough time to explore this country. Having been working as a tour guide for a few years, I have had chances to reach many places in Vietnam. Now, as a travel consultant for five years, I am thrilled to share my experiences and insights with you. In this blog, I will take you on a journey to discover the unique places to visit in Vietnam and recommend highlights and unusual things to do in each destination.

Pu Luong

Pu Luong is a hidden gem in Vietnam that you will absolutely love visiting! The landscapes there are absolutely breathtaking, with cascading waterfalls and lush rice terraces.

Pu Luong rice terraces
The stunning of Pu Luong rice terraces

Unique things to do in Pu Luong: You can have a chance to visit a Thai ethnic home and learn all about their fascinating brocade weaving tradition. One of the highlights is going bamboo rafting and enjoying the serene atmosphere! If you’re a nature lover, Pu Luong is a place you shouldn’t miss. It’s like stepping into a magical world of natural beauty!

Bamboo rafting in Pu Luong
Our dear clients are enjoying bamboo rafting

>>> Read more: Pu Luong Comprehensive Travel Guide: A Vietnam Hidden Gem for Nature Lovers


Highlights of Hanoi: Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a fascinating blend of ancient charm and modernity. Here, you can wander through the narrow alleyways of the Old Quarter, where traditional Vietnamese architecture and local markets abound. Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, surrounded by lush greenery, and Ngoc Son Temple, a symbol of Vietnamese spirituality.

Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi
Hoa Lo Prison – a French colonial building in the center of Hanoi

Unique things to do in Hanoi: To sense the lively atmosphere of Hanoi’s vibrant rush hour culture, you should take a cyclo ride. By doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the hustle and bustle of the main streets in both the Old Quarter and the French Quarter with major buildings that have largely remained intact despite wartime.

Hanoi cyclo explore Old Quater
Take a cyclo ride to immerse in the lively atmosphere of Hanoi

Hanoi off the beaten path: If you have cultural interests, then you can enjoy an exhilarating water puppetry show, after that take the time to explore local markets such as Hang Be or Cho Troi. These markets offer a glimpse into Hanoi’s true character, as you observe locals purchasing ingredients for their meals. Thrill to share with you that the picture below of the Troi market was taken by Kennedy, who finished his trip in North Vietnam with us last May.

Local market in Hanoi
Interesting stuff in Cho Troi – A hidden local market in Hanoi

Find more unique experiences in Hanoi that take you away from the typical tourist destinations. Moreover, you can see plenty of street vendors in Hanoi, as it is a part of our culture. That is why Hanoi street food is highly recommended for the best local taste and the variety of dishes.

Escape the crowds and discover Cao Bang

Venture to Cao Bang, a remote province in northern Vietnam known for its breathtaking scenery and rich cultural heritage. Start your adventure by exploring the Ban Gioc Waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in Southeast Asia, where crystal-clear waters cascade down limestone cliffs.

Ban Gioc Waterfall
Majestic Ban Gioc waterfalls

Authentic experiences in Cao Bang: Immerse yourself in the local culture with a visit to ethnic minority villages, where you can interact with friendly locals and learn about their traditional way of life. Don’t miss the chance to trek through the stunning landscapes of Nguom Ngao Cave, admiring its spectacular stalactites and rock formations.

ancient village in Cao Bang
Explore an ancient ethnic village in Cao Bang without crowds

Ninh Binh

When you visit Ninh Binh, you will discover a place that perfectly blends stunning nature and rich history. There is a place called Tam Coc, here you can board a small sampan, paddled by a local person by his/her foot which is quite unique, to discover three natural caves on the Ngo Dong River. These caves are nestled in a scenic landscape of limestone cliffs and rice paddies.

Tam coc boat trip
Experience the perfect blend of nature and rich history by taking a sampan ride at Tam Coc

If you have time, climbing up the Mua Cave is also worthwhile as you can see the amazing panoramic view of limestone mountains and rice fields.

Tam Coc rice filed viewed from Mua Cave
The tranquility at Tam Coc rice fields viewed from Mua Cave

Ha Giang – an authentic alternative to Sapa

If you want to avoid crowds and explore authentic local life with breathtaking scenery, consider visiting Ha Giang – an alternative to Sapa. It’s important to note that Sapa has become much more touristy and some parts are considered tourist traps in recent years. Therefore, the decision to visit Sapa or not ultimately depends on you.

This remote destination offers you a thrilling journey through picturesque karst mountains, winding roads, and cultures thrive within local ethnic communities. Although the transportation system is not as good as the city center, this allows for an untouched experience.

Ma Pi Leng Pass
Ma Pi Leng Pass

Insider tips to explore the real Ha Giang: The best way to explore Ha Giang is on a motorbike or private car. Renting a motorbike and private car allows you to stop at scenic viewpoints and take in the breathtaking landscapes at your own pace. While the Ha Giang Loop is popular, don’t limit yourself to just that. Explore the surrounding areas and smaller villages to discover hidden gems. Talk to locals, seek their recommendations, and be open to unexpected detours.

Ha Giang local life
You can easily spot the local life on the way

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a must-not-miss, I promise you! Nearly two thousand limestone islands and islets covered by tropical trees and fauna systems stand strongly on the Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin, some are eroded by wind and seawater action. Here also offers a lot of amazing natural dry and wet Halong Bay caves such as Sung Sot Cave – the most famous one, Dau Go Cave, Thien Cung Cave, Thien Canh Son Cave, Luon Cave, Dark & Bright Cave, etc. 

Amazing Halong Bay Cruise
A trip to Vietnam cannot be complete without a visit to Halong Bay

Insider tips to experience fully Halong Bay: The most enjoyable way to explore the Bay is by Halong Bay overnight cruises. Those are kind of big boats sailing the fixed routes, with en-suite cabins for couples, friends and families. It is like a floating hotel! Also, there are many things to do in Halong Bay. You can not only witness the stunning beauty of the Bay and explore the caves but also kayak, swim and visit the floating farms here.

Halong bay floating farms
Floating farm at Halong Bay

Explore Mystical Caves at Son Doong

For the adventurous souls seeking an unparalleled experience, exploring the mystical caves at Son Doong is an absolute must. Located in the heart of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Son Doong is the largest cave system in the world. Embark on a guided expedition to witness awe-inspiring stalagmites and stalactites, underground rivers, and unique ecosystems that exist nowhere else on Earth.

Inside Son Doong cave with natural light
Son Doong Adventure with incredible scenery


Hue is known for its rich history and beautiful landmarks. Situated on the banks of the Perfume River in Central Vietnam, Hue once served as the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty. Once visit here, you will feel like stepping back in time. The Perfume River cruise was breathtaking, with stunning views of temples and pagodas along the way. And the local food, like the famous Hue noodles is absolutely delicious!

hue citadel
The peaceful beauty of Hue

Unique things to do in Hue: If you are seeking more special experiences, let’s take a look at unusual things to do in Hue. You can take a dragon boat ride to Thien Mu Pagoda while enjoying the peace of Hue. Visit Tam Giang Lagoon for an authentic glimpse into local fishermen’s traditional way of life, or hike to Bach Ma National Park and observe a wide variety of flora and fauna if you are a nature lover.

Embark on a dragon boat ride to Thien Mu Pagoda

Hoi An ancient town

Also, in the Central region and a 2-hour drive away from Hue, Hoi An is known as a place for peace of mind. The old town is packed with well-preserved houses reminiscing its heyday when it was a main silk trading port for the Japanese and Chinese.

Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An ancient town, is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Vietnam

Unique things to do in Hoi An: You can take a leisurely bicycle ride through Hoi An’s charming streets and then get a tailor-made outfit or dress at a tailoring shop. If you want a chill-out experience, enjoy a relaxing beach day at An Bang beach. Hoi An is now a famous place so it might be crowded, so if you want to find non touristy things to do in Hoian, it’s better to explore areas beside Old Town.

Ho Chi Minh City

Highlights of Ho Chi Minh City: This city formerly known as Saigon, is a bustling metropolis brimming with energy and excitement. Dive into the city’s rich history with a visit to the War Remnants Museum and Cu Chi Tunnels, which offer insights into Vietnam’s tumultuous past.

Insider tips to discover the real Saigon: While exploring the bustling markets and iconic landmarks, you can discover a whole different side of Saigon by riding a motorbike. You can venture off the beaten path and find hidden gems like wandering off the main streets through the narrow alleys and discovering something brand new.

Hop on a motorbike to see the real Saigon by nipping through narrow alleys

Don’t forget to indulge in the flavorful Saigon street food if you are a food enthusiast, there are a lot of mouthwatering culinary awaits you to taste like Hu tieu (saigonese noodle soup), banh mi, com tam (broken rice), etc. From charming neighborhoods to local street food stalls, there was always something exciting to discover.

Banh mi Huynh Hoa - the must try Saigon street food
Try Banh mi Huynh Hoa – one of the most famous brand of banh mi in Saigon

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is a region of incredible natural beauty with lush rainforests, a rich culture with diverse ethnic groups, and unique handicrafts. It is also one of the best places to visit in Vietnam with family. Embark on a boat tour to visit morning floating markets, cycle through rice paddies of quaint villages, and experience as a farmer cutting sugar cane, all create remarkable memories in your Vietnam journey.

Cai Rang floating market in Vietnam
Take a boat tour on Mekong Delta to witness floating markets

Local tips for a life-time journey: What really makes the Mekong Delta special is its people. The locals are warm, welcoming, and incredibly friendly. Hop aboard the motor cart to explore the town, you can take in the sights and sounds of everyday life. This journey allows you to interact with the locals, and soak in the authentic atmosphere. The more unique experiences in the Mekong Delta you encounter, the more chances you can find what is truly called beyond the ordinaries.

ride motor cart to explore the authentic mekong delta
Explore the local life by riding a motor cart

Phu Quoc island

Escape to the pristine beaches of Phu Quoc Island, a tropical paradise nestled in the Gulf of Thailand. Relax on white sandy beaches and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters. Explore the island’s rich marine life with snorkeling and diving adventures, or simply unwind with a refreshing cocktail at a beachside bar.

If you are an active person and into sea sports then Phu Quoc is a true haven for you. It offers numerous breathtaking snorkeling and diving spots, such as the An Thoi Archipelago, Turtle Island, and Fingernail Island.

Snorkeling tour in Phu Quoc
Enjoy a snorkeling tour in Phu Quoc

Vietnam Refined Itineraries

Whether you have a month or just a week or two, we still have tours that suit your interests and time frame. These tours offer a blend of popular highlights and unique places to visit in Vietnam to provide a fulfilling experience. Here are some sample inspirational itineraries, you can find more ideas in our list of Vietnam tour packages.

vietnam farmers harvesting salt
Grand Sensational Vietnam 20 Days

Overview: This itinerary covers the highlights but mixes with off-the-beaten-track experiences from bustling cities, and mountainous areas to beautiful beaches, and much more.

Route: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Halong – Sapa – Hue – Danang – Hoian – Nha Trang – Dalat – Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta

>>> View trip

Vietnam Cultural Highlights 14 Days

Overview: Including the most-wanted destinations from the north to the south. You will have a perfect view and capture all of the highlights of Vietnam’s culture, history, and cuisine. Yet still be able to enjoy the natural landscapes, pristine beaches, and the daily life beauty of local people.

Route: Hanoi – Halong – Sapa – Hue – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta

>>> View trip

vietnam cambodia tour package
Splendors Of Vietnam & Cambodia 17 Days

Overview: This tour enables you to experience the most stunning locations in Vietnam from north to south as well as the top temples in Cambodia, at an appropriate pace.

Route: Hanoi – Halong – Hue – Hoi An – HCMC – Mekong – Phnom Penh – Siem Reap

>>> View trip

Hope that with these suggestions, you can plan out your Vietnam holiday destinations. If you’re looking for a trip designed for your own in Vietnam or further with full of experiences, get in touch with us now by filling out this contact form or drop us an email at [email protected]. We will respond within 12 hours and accompany with you to customize your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Most Unique Places to Visit in Vietnam

What is the most beautiful part of Vietnam?

Vietnam offers diverse landscapes and experiences, so you can choose the part to visit based on your interests. Here are the highlights of each region:

Mountains in the North: If you’re a nature enthusiast or adventure seeker, head to northern Vietnam for stunning mountain ranges, pristine lakes, and ethnic minority villages.

Beaches in the South: For sun, sand, and sea, explore the southern coastline of Vietnam, home to breathtaking beaches such as Phu Quoc and Nha Trang.

Cultural Immersion in Central Vietnam: Central Vietnam boasts historic cities like Hue and Hoi An, where you can immerse yourself in Vietnam’s rich heritage and traditional culture.

Mixed Experiences: If you’re seeking a balanced itinerary, consider exploring multiple regions to experience the diversity of Vietnam.

Choose the Best Time to Visit

Vietnam experiences distinct seasons throughout the year, so it’s important to plan your visit according to the weather:

Dry Season: The best time to visit Vietnam is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. During this time, you can expect sunny days and comfortable temperatures across the country.

Rainy Season: The rainy season in Vietnam occurs from May to October, with heavy downpours and humidity. While travel is still possible, it’s important to prepare for rain and potential travel disruptions.


    Van Do - Travel Consultant at Indochina Voyages

    Van Do – Travel Consultant

    Hi, I am Van, Travel Consultant at Indochina Voyages. I am so thrilled to bring my experience, passion, and knowledge to plan your trip to Vietnam & Indochina region and make your journey lifetime memories.

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