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Vietnam Popular Destinations

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, within Quang Ninh Province, in the northeast of Vietnam, is165 km from the capital of Ha Noi. Covering an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabitated and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate. The property’s exceptional scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.

The outstanding value of the property is centered around the drowned limestone karst landforms, displaying spectacular pillars with a variety of coastal erosional features such as arches and caves which form a majestic natural scenery. The repeated regression and transgression of the sea on the limestone karst over geological time has produced a mature landscape of clusters of conical peaks and isolated towers which were modified by sea invasion, adding an extra elemant to the process of lateral undercutting of the limstone towers and islands.

 Comprised of a multitude of limestone islands and islets rising from the sea, in a variety of sizes and shapes and presenting picturesque, unspoiled nature, Ha Long Bay is a spectacular seascape sculpted by nature. The property retains a high level of naturalness, and despite its long history of human use,  is not seriously degraded. Outstanding features of the property include the magnificent towering limestone pillars and associated notches, arches and caves, which are exceptionally well-developed and among the best presented of their type in the world.

As the most extensive and best known example of marine-invaded tower karst in the world Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s most important areas of Fengcong (clusters of conical peaks) and Fenglin (isolated tower features) karst. Abundant lakes, occupying drowned dolines, are one of the distinctive features of the Fencong karst, with some appearing to be tidal. Possessing a tremendous diversity of caves and other landforms derived from the unusual geomorphological process of marine invaded tower karst the caves are of three main types: remnants of phreatic caves; old karstic foot caves and marine notch caves. The property also displays the full range of karst formation processes on a very large scale and over a very long period of geological time, possessing the most complete and extensive exzample of its type in the world and providing a unique and extensive reservoir of data for the future understanding of geoclimatic history and the nature of karst processes in a complex environment.

Integrity

All elements necessary to sufficiently protect the outstanding scenic and geological values of the Ha Long Bay property are included within the boundaries of the property and its size and area provide sufficient integrity for the large scale geomorphological processes to operate unhindered. It benefits from being completely surrounded by a large and extensive buffer zone with both the size and area providing sufficient integrity for the large scale geomorphic processes to operate unhindered.

Located within an area of high tourism, marine transport, fisheries and the daily activities of people living and conducting their business on Ha Long Bay, management of the area, instituted since inscription of the property, applies strict regulation and control of activities in an attempt to minimize impacts on the integrity of the property. There is a continuing challenge to improve the integrity and quality of the environment. The natural scenic features, geomorphology, landform values and cultural heritage along with key features such as islands, caves and grottoes remain intact and the property retains a high level of naturalness despite the long history of human use in the area.

Quang Ninh, Vietnam

Bac Ha Market

Once a week, the quiet town of Bac Ha becomes a hub of culture and trade in Northwest Vietnam. Residents from the surrounding villages and valleys flock to Bac Ha, and the roads are filled with buses packed with tourists. Visiting on a Sunday means watching locals in their traditional ethnic dress, sipping the juice from fresh coconuts and browsing countless stalls. Shoppers can find everything for sale in Bac Ha, including water buffalo, delicious Hmong and Thay cuisine, brightly colored fabrics and fragrant spices.

Bac Ha, Vietnam

Temple Of Literature

In the city of Hanoi, there is an incredible temple dedicated to Confucius. Built in the 11th century, the Temple of Literature honors scholars and the many academic achievements of the Vietnamese, past and present. The Temple of Literature was even the site of the very first university in the nation. Among countless statues of Confucius and his disciples, there are impressive pagodas and a pond known as the Well of Heavenly Clarity.

A rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture, the complex honours Vietnam’s finest scholars and men of literary accomplishment. It is the site of Vietnam’s first university, established here in 1076, when entrance was only granted to those of noble birth.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hang Son Doong Cave

One of the largest caves in the world, and certainly the largest in Vietnam, is Hang Son Doong. Approximately three million years old, Hang Son Doong Cave is an incredible destination unlike anywhere else on the planet. The cave is enormous, and it is possible for dozens of people to camp within it at a time. Bright blue water pools are located in the cave, and a river runs through it. Lush greenery lines the walls, thanks to erosion that lets in beams of sunlight. The cave is ethereal, and guided tours are available to best explore this amazing landmark.

It takes explorers 6 hours of walking through a 10 kilometer long forest path from Truong Son Highway to reach the mouth of Son Dong cave.

Bo Trach, Vietnam

My Khe Beach

The most scenic spot in Da Nang is arguably My Khe Beach. Also known as China Beach, this was where US servicemen were helicoptered in for R&R during the Vietnam War. These days people come here however for tis pristine white sand, blue water and sunny skies. Visitors can rent a lounge chair on the sand, relax in the shade under a thatched umbrella or rent a kayak from nearby vendors. Many hotels and cafes are within walking distance of My Khe Beach, making it a hub for visitors as well as locals in search of incredible views.

Sunbathing and surfing aside, there are a host of historical sites situated close by including the port of Hoi An which is only 10 minutes away by bus and offers wonderfully preserved merchant houses and small alleyways to explore. 

Danang, Vietnam

Tam Coc

In the Ninh Binh province of Northern Vietnam near is Tam Coc a popular tourist destination in north Vietnam and part of the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex UNESCO World Heritage site. Tam Coc translates to English as three caves. The three caves are nestled in a scenic landscape of limestone cliffs and rice paddies, and the river winds through the region, Tam Coc is best appreciated on a languorous rowing-boat ride, with the soundtrack of the river lapping against the oars.The caves are called Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba, and they serve as the area’s main attraction. Guided boat tours take you to the caves and along the Ngo Dong River, which is often dotted with floating vendors capitalizing on the tourist visiting on a day trip from Hanoi.Major tourist attraction of Vietnam for travelers. The Vietnamese call the paddy fields of Tam Coc as the Green Sea. 

Bich Dong pagoda, located 2 km from the caves of Tam Coc is composed of 3 structures: Have Pagoda (lower pagoda), Trung Pagoda (Middle pagoda), and Thuong Pagoda (upper pagoda) and a cave.

Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

In Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, stands the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral. Built in the late 19th century between 1877 and 1883, the cathedral is brick, neo-Romanesque and clearly influenced by European architecture of the same time period. In fact, many of the materials used in construction were imported directly from France. While the exterior is impressive, the interior is also worth exploring. Look for the surviving stained glass panels as well as carved tiles and a statue of the Virgin Mary.

English-speaking staff dispense tourist information from 9 AM to 11 AM Monday to Saturday. Mass is 9.30 AM Sunday. If the front gates are locked, try the door on the side facing the Reunification Palace.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Marble Mountains

South of Da Nang, Vietnam, are the Marble Mountains. These five peaks are named after the five elements of earth, water, wind, fire and wood. The mountains are picturesque on their own, but they are also home to countless caves, some of which house incredible Buddhist sanctuaries. Some caves contain Confucian or Buddhist shrines, and others were used as sanctuaries and hospitals during the Vietnam War.

The Marble Mountains are home to several Buddhist and Hindu grottoes. Thuy Son is the largest and most famous of the five Marble Mountains (and the only one accessible to visitors), with a number of natural caves in which first Hindu and later Buddhist sanctuaries have been created. A stairway of 156 steps leads to the summit of Thuy Son, the only Marble Mountain accessible to visitors. It allows a wide panoramic view of the surrounding area and the other marble mountains. There are a number of grottoes, including Huyen Khong and Tang Chon, and many Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries, the pagoda Tam Thai, built in 1825, Tu Tam and Linh Ung, and the tower of Pho Dong. The sanctuaries feature statuary and relief depictions of religious scenes carved out of the marble.

Local buses between Danang and Hoi An can drop you at Marble Mountains, 10km south of Danang.

Danang, Vietnam

Con Dao Islands

Under French rule, the Con Dao Islands were known as the Devil’s Island of Indochina, a place where thousands of prisoners of war were kept. Today, this group of 16 islands off the southern coast of Vietnam has a completely different purpose. Isolated from the mainland, the Con Dao Islands are one of Vietnam's star attractions.  Visitors come for the beautiful beaches and the abundance of scuba diving and snorkeling spots. However, the history of Con Dao can still be explored at some of the prison buildings that still stand.

Con Son, the largest of this chain of 15 islands and islets, is ringed with lovely beaches, coral reefs and scenic bays, and remains partially covered in thick forests. In addition to hiking, diving and exploring deserted coastal roads and beaches, there are excellent wildlife-watching opportunities such as the black giant squirrel and endemic bow-fingered gecko.

Vung Tau, Vietnam

Khai Dinh Tomb

Blending both Vietnamese and European design elements, the architecture of the Khai Dinh Tomb in Hue has been described as Buddhist as well as Roman Gothic. Constructed in the 1920s, the tomb was commissioned by the Emperor of Vietnam as his own future tomb. The entrance of the complex leads to the Honour Courtyard, and then on to the main building called the Thien Dinh. Khai Dinh’s final resting spot is clearly marked by a bronze statue surrounded by beautiful murals.

The construction of his flamboyant tomb took 11 years. The tomb of Khai Dinh is 10km from Hue in Chau Chu village.

Hue, Vietnam