Traveling to Vietnam, you will notice that the country is larger than you think. It has an exceptional natural wealth where high limestone mountains and dense tropical forests rub shoulders with sandy beaches. Here are many travelers favorite towns in Vietnam to help you plan your tour of Vietnam, (although, I have left off Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, since everyone who visits Vietnam almost certainly end up in both):

Hoi An

Hoi An bears the nickname “the jewel of Vietnam” and it is no coincidence. Protected as a UNESCO  World Heritage site, it is aesthetically pleasing and historically fascinating. Hoi An’s reputation has magnetized travelers from over the world to this charming town where life has hardly changed for centuries. Numerous small pagodas and museums dot the town, but Hoi An’s true charm is found in simply walking the narrow streets admiring the well-preserved facades decorated with colorful lanterns. If it is sumptuous by day, it is just sublime by night when the lanterns are lit up, and especially on Full Moon Lantern Festival held every month. You can expect a wonderful evening of lights and a truly magical atmosphere.

Nha Trang

The lively seaside town of Nha Trang is one of premier beach resorts in Vietnam and among of the most beautiful bays in the world. Nha Trang aligns with nearly 7km of beaches with clear water and white sand. Check out the Cham Towers of Po Nagar: a sanctuary built between the 7th and 12th century. Historic place and cradle of diving in Vietnam, it is the starting point of excursions to the nearby offshore islands. In the evening, the nightlife of Nha Trang is in full swing. Lined with coconut trees and dotted with small bars and open-air restaurants, it is a pleasant walk where locals and foreigners alike come to enjoy the sea breeze.

da-lat

Da Lat

Often called “Le Petit Paris,” the highland town of Dalat offers romantic landscape with lakes, lush meadows and flowering valleys. Colonial art-deco style villas coexist with Norman villas, Savoyard chalets or Basque houses. The city’s mild climate gives it the name “city of eternal spring.” The neighboring hills of the city are covered with a multitude of greenhouses where you can buy fresh vegetables, flowers and strawberries. In the evening the streets of the town center come alive where many small sidewalk eateries offer local specialties. While the small city center can be visited quite quickly, make sure to explore the surrounding area. The Valley of Love, Tuyen Lam Lake, the Lang Biang Mountain and many impressive waterfalls – there are plenty things to do!

Ben Tre

In many ways, Ben Tre is the quintessence of the Mekong Delta and the landscape is composed mainly of coconut groves. This is the home of the famous Coconut Monk who attempted to unify Buddhism with Christianity. An area highlight could be a boat trip to discover the winding narrow canals. Visiting Ben Tre allows you to stop time and relax with the locals.

sapa

Sapa

This small town was once popular with French settlers for its climate. The lushful scenery, bounded by the jagged peaks of the Hoang Lien Mountain range, is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful rural vistas characterized by its rice terraces and traditional villages. The deep valleys are home to a diverse mix of ethnic minorities including the H’Mong, Red Dzao and Dzay people, while the rolling hills are terraced with rice fields and overlooked by the ‘roof of Indochina’, Fansipan Mount. This is the top trekking destination in Vietnam, with oodles of options to trek between villages and experience the staggering mountain views. Don’t hesitate for a second to also discover the surroundings of Sapa.

Have you been?  What are your favorite towns in Vietnam?  Would you like to travel to Vietnam?  Which destinations be on your itinerary?

CC photo credits from Flickr: Sapa by Jorge Cancela and Da Lat 052 by R.

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