7 natural wonders you must see in Vietnam

Southeast Asia has an incredible variety of destinations for nature tours, and Vietnam has received increasing amounts of recognition for its dreamlike landscape. This country has natural wonders that sneak up to you. Round a corner, and there it is — a gushing waterfall or a terraced rice field that you never expected. The following destinations make an excellent day trip from some of Vietnam’s larger cities.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful stops in all of Vietnam. It’s located in the north, about a three-hour drive from Hanoi. Pillars of limestone jut from the blue-green bay. On a boat tour, your guides will tell you what locals believe the formations most resemble — use your imagination to spot the fighting roosters and the dragon. Boat trips to the bay also stop at caves, which come with man-made stairs and railings to make for easy exploring.

Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is often referred to as the Halong Bay of the land, because of the limestone formations that sit on the banks of the lush green river. Admire as your guide handles the oars with their feet. As you drift down the river, you’ll see the above-ground cemeteries that are a normal part of the Vietnamese countryside. Your boat trip also takes you through tunnels that cut through the limestone.

An Binh Island

Take a boat ride down the amber-colored water of the Mekong Delta to An Binh Island. This fertile island has bike paths lined with fruit trees. You can make stops along the way to watch locals weave hammocks and make handicrafts out of reeds. Locals still make most of their livelihood from traditional crafts.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake isn’t too impressive as far as lakes go, but it is notable for its location — in the middle of a busy Hanoi roundabout. Near the lake, you can find some of the city’s nicest shopping and most photographable temples and pagodas. The lake’s most notable feature is Turtle Tower, which was built in the 19th century to commemorate the famed warrior Le Loi, as well as the magical turtle that is said to live in the lake and guard his sword.

Phuquoc Island

Thailand gets a lot of attention for its beaches. But you’ll be missing some of the islands Fly to Phuquoc Island, off the coast of southern Vietnam, and see some of Vietnam’s prettiest beaches, with white sands and tropical rainforests. One of the most popular is Long Beach, which is on the west coast of the island. Needless to say, this is an excellent place to order up fresh seafood.

Sa Pa

Terraced rice paddies line the mountainsides of northern Vietnam. Take a bus through the winding hills to Sa Pa, and book a stay at a hotel with a breathtaking view of the mountains. Many visitors report that it’s best to visit during the rainy season when the fields are green and lush. Around September, when it’s time to harvest, the fields turn bright gold.

Giang Dien Waterfall

These waterfalls have become a popular day trip destination for those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh. Spend the night under the stars in the park’s tidy campground. You can swim near the waterfall and hike around the surrounding forest.

Zach Smith is CEO of Anywhere.

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Comments (9)

  1. Tung says:

    Dear friend,

    Giang Dien waterfall is not a natural wonder. It’s built by people by making rocks and dam which stop the water stream becoming waterfall. It’s only the small tourist camp site area nearby Ho Chi Minh city. We can not compare this place with Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh etc. Absolutely not same level. You can replace this place with some waterfall in Da Lat city such as Elephant waterfall, Dambri Waterfall, Datanla waterfall or Ban Gioc waterfall in the North.

    Thanks and Best wishes

    Tung from Vietnam

  2. Hannah says:

    White sands, tropical rainforests and fresh seafood sound perfect to me. Oh, and a cocktail or two as well, of course. I think Phuquoc Island looks simply idyllic. I may go and start looking up flights and see how accessible it is.

  3. Long Nguyen says:

    Giang Dien is a closest destination for a waterfall day trip from Hochiminh City. However, if we think of spectacular waterfall in Vietnam, we can name Ban Gioc in the North of Voetnam or Draysap in Vietnam highland. In addition to Draysap waterfall natural wonder, you even can experience many untouch cultures with special etiquettes and life styles. I am happy to give more information if any loves to get

    • Nicole says:

      Hi,

      We are hoping to do a self drive holiday in Vietnam but are more interested in the natural sights and less tourist filled spots. Will most likely focus on the north/coast however nothing is planned yet. Any advice you have would be fantastic

    • Long says:

      Hi Nicole,

      I am not sure what you are driving, motorbike or car, and how long you will spend in Vietnam. But If I was you I will choose some (or all) of the following routes:
      – From Hanoi to Phu Tho, Tram Tau and Mu Cang Chai. You will see amazing locoal life with terraced rice farms with the same beauty to the highlight Sapa in this post (and without tourists). Drive to Dien Bien then back to Hanoi via Son La and Hoa Binh.
      – Hue and Hoian are great towns in Central Vietnam. You can access these from Hanoi by following Hochiminh Trails. The beauty is like in the movies Avatar and King King Skull Island.
      – From Hoian you can drive to Kontum, Pleiku, Buon Ma Thuot, Dalat then have a rest on the beach Muine before driving to bustling Saigon.
      – In Saigon, a drive to Cuchi tunnel across rubber plantation is unforgetable.
      – Mekong delta is super easy to get access from Saigon. Motorbike is much better to explore the area by wandering in the lust green Mekong by across Long An (don’t go highway 1A) endless rice farm to Ben Tre (insides coconut villages), to Tra Vinh (rice farm and local villages), and Can Tho (floating market and beautiful local life). Homestays are the best choice in Mekong and these are easy to find via any booking platform

      Good luck and hope these brief helpful.

  4. Lia says:

    I would really need to visit all of these places, is it possible within a couple weeks holiday?! Very interesting that Tung has pointed out that the waterfall is not a natural wonder, it’s fantastic to learn from those who live in these places. It is beautiful nonetheless, and I’d still love to visit

  5. Long Nguyen says:

    You can manage to visit all these, plus other Vietnam hightlights, within two weeks Lia. Vietnam also has other natural wonders like Can Gio natural biosphere, Draysap water falls,Ban Gioc water fall, Nam Cat Tien national park, Bach Ma national parks, etc.

  6. kyan hoang says:

    The place i would recommend that i have gone to would be da nang bay or phucquoc island because of the nice waters and sandy beaches,its practically the dream of celebs.

  7. Alice says:

    I have heard a lot about Halong Bay,Sapa or Phu quoc Island.. except An Binh Island. Can you provide more about this place?

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