A long, narrow country squeezed in betweenthe South China Sea and the Laos and Cambodia borders, Vietnam is a land of striking landscapes.
Ranging from the lush rice terraces and forestedmountains in the north to the picturesque valleys of the Central Highlands and the fertiledelta and beautiful beaches of the south.
Included in the mix are booming cities, colonialtowns, traditional villages and otherworldly islands.
Here’s a look at the best places to visitin Vietnam.
Year-round cool weather and idyllic sceneryof misty valleys, lush pine trees and colorful flowers are some of the reasons that Dalatwas once used by Vietnamese emperors and French colonials as a summer retreat.
Today, this charming town in the South CentralHighlands of Vietnam is a popular destination for those looking for relief from the heat.
A walkable city, Dalat is a beautiful sceneof French colonial architecture and villas set amid picturesque landscapes.
On paper, Tam Coc can be described as ricepaddies surrounded by limestone cliffs and rock formations.
In reality, Tam Coc is one of the most breathtakinglybeautiful destination in Vietnam.
The best way to explore is by boat, and youcan set off on a rowboat that takes you up alongside the lush green paddies and betweenstriking limestone cliffs.
You’ll even float through three tunnelsthat run through the mountains, which were carved over time by the river itself.
Ho Chi Minh City.
Lying along the Saigon River near the MekongDelta in southern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City was formerly known as Saigon and served asthe capital of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Today, it is the largest city of the reunifiedcountry, offering plenty of reasons to visit, from its blend of historic and modern attractionsto vibrant shopping, dining and nightlife.
Colorful floating markets, fruit orchards, rice paddies, bird sanctuaries and quaint villages are all what draw many to the MekongDelta in southwestern Vietnam.
Nicknamed “Vietnam’s Rice Basket, ” theMekong Delta is an agricultural region made fertile by the maze of canals and streamsfed by the Mekong River.
Stretching from the Gulf of Thailand to HoChi Minh City, the delta region feeds more than a third of the country from its richplantations, rice paddies and fish farms.
Located on one of Asia’s most beautifulbays off the coast of South Central Vietnam, Nha Trang is a popular seaside resort city.
Picturesque mountains, beaches and lush islandsall make it a favorite destination among tourists, Vietnamese and scuba divers.
Adorned with resorts, palm trees and a lovelypromenade, Nha Trang’s beach is its main draw.
Amusement and water parks provide fun foreveryone with roller coasters and wave pools.
Located in the remote northwest of Vietnam, the mountainous town of Sapa is known for its culturally diverse population as wellas its proximity to incredible scenery.
From the town, there are many organized toursthat aide tourists in mountain hikes and exploring the nearby rice paddies and remote villages.
These tours present views of beautiful waterfallsand the opportunities to experience the food, customs and way of life among the local tribes.
Situated on the banks of the Perfume Riverin Central Vietnam, Hue once served as the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty.
Today, the vestiges of this former gloriousperiod are reflected in the city’s architecture, culture and cuisine.
Of the city’s monuments, the Citadel isthe most famous.
Once the seat of the Nguyen emperors, theCitadel is a sprawling complex of grand palaces, ornate temples, walls and gates.
Another important landmark is the city’sofficial symbol, the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Located off the coast of the South China Sea, Hoi An is a beautiful, old city dating back 2, 000 years to the Champa Kingdom.
The city’s historic architecture, traditionalculture and textiles make it a popular destination in Vietnam.
At the heart of Hoi An is its atmosphericOld Town which is small enough to walk around easily.
The narrow, winding lanes of the Old Townare lined with beautiful old architecture, traditional wooden houses and hundreds oftailor shops selling clothing, shoes, bags and souvenirs.
As the booming capital city of a reunifiedVietnam, Hanoi is an exhilarating blend of eastern and western culture.
French colonialism is visible through cuisineas well as architecture, particularly in the French Quarter in the Hoan Kiem District.
Hanoi is packed with incredible temples, anda visit to the 11th century Temple of Literature is a must-do activity.
The side-by-side Ho Chi Minh Museum and Mausoleumare also major attractions in Hanoi, and both are striking buildings from the exterior.
One of the best-known destinations in theentire country is Halong Bay.
Its reputation is well deserved, because itis truly beautiful.
Halong means descending dragons, which isindicative of the silhouette of the limestone outcrops that poke out from the water.
Day cruises are a spectacular way to experiencethe beauty of this otherworldly bay and to see as many of the islands as possible.
You can go swimming, look for caves to exploreor find some of the more remote, uninhabited islands while cruising through Halong Bay.