5 Great Reasons Why You Need to Visit Vietnam

Steeped in culture and history, boasting layer upon layer of outstanding natural beauty, Vietnam is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination. From its world-famous cuisine to its ancient temples and scenic splendor, here are five can’t-miss highlights of this extraordinary country. 


As one of the oldest cultures in the whole of Southeast Asia, Vietnam has a long history that began with the Dong Son in around 600 BCE. 

The Dong Son were an ancient seafaring people who traveled and traded throughout Southeast Asia. They also cultivated the land, predominantly growing rice. Dong Son villages and cities spread across the deltas of the Ma, Ca, and Hong Rivers of North Vietnam. More than 70 sites believed to have been settled by the Dong Son were discovered across the region as of 2010. The Dong Son people are perhaps best known for creating massive ceremonial drums crafted from bronze and lavishly decorated with depictions of warriors and ritual scenes. 

As it developed, Vietnam was influenced by Chinese, Indian, and Khmer cultures, as well as French colonialism. With English speaking on the rise in the country, Vietnam has become more accessible to Western tourists; it saw 3.6 million international tourists in 2022 alone. 


The Vietnamese are passionate about food, and the national dish pho in particular; there is a fierce debate between the North and South over who makes the best version of the dish. 

Pho is a rice noodle soup that has captured the imagination of food lovers around the world. The delicious broth is made with chicken or beef bones, spices, velvety noodles, and tender cuts of meat. The dish is finished with refreshing herbs, crunchy bean sprouts, and slices of fiery chilis. 

Pho from Northern Vietnam typically incorporates wider ribbons of rice noodles, while the Southern version of the dish tends to be sweeter and bolder. In the North, chicken or simple minced rare beef are popular additions, with a strong focus on the broth itself. In the South, the emphasis is very much on the meat; they incorporate a variety of different cuts, including brisket, meatballs, bone marrow, fatty flank, and sliced rare beef. 

Other popular Vietnamese dishes include cha ca, a fish dish seasoned with garlic, turmeric, dill, and ginger; banh xeo, a crispy pork crepe dish; and goi cuon, translucent spring rolls filled with seafood or meat, herbs, and salad greens. 

Architecture and Archaeology 

Situated at a crossroads between multiple civilizations, each of which has left a mark on the land, Vietnam boasts a distinctive architectural style that prioritizes basic needs, such as safe shelter from the rain and sun, but it also focuses on creating a comfortable environment in which to relax after a long day’s work. 

Stilt houses are representative of traditional Vietnamese architecture. These are constructed with materials like bamboo and wood, and their roofs are either curved up at each end like a boat or curved down like a turtle shell.  

Throughout the Ly Dynasty of the 11th century, the country’s architecture was deeply influenced by Buddhism and featured intricate motifs and reliefs. The monarch Ly Thai Tong constructed some 950 pagodas in the year 1031 alone. Later, French colonials left their mark all over the country, having colonized Vietnam for almost 70 years. 

Some of Vietnam’s most important historical sites include the Tomb of Khai Dinh, a structure that took more than a decade to build. It was an elaborate monument demonstrating the ancient ruler’s vast wealth. Meanwhile, the My Son sanctuary is one of the most extensive Cham ruins in the country. The ancient city served as a religious and political center of the kingdom of Champa for centuries.  

Finally, for those interested in Vietnam’s war history, the Cu Chi Tunnels are well worth a visit. Construction on this vast labyrinth of underground tunnels began during the French colonial period, with extensive expansion when the US escalated its military presence in the country. 

Natural Beauty 

Few countries come close to the geographical diversity of Vietnam.  

Famed for its steep limestone mountains, vast valleys, and lush green forests, Ba Be National Park is a haven for adventure seekers. It boasts waterfalls, lakes, and caves, as well as more than 550 species of flora and fauna. 

Meanwhile, the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, or “the Tonkinese Alps” as it is known, stretches for miles in a sea of craggy, high mountains, including Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak. 

Ban Gioc is one of the most beautiful and famous of all Vietnamese waterfalls. Fed by the Quay Son River, Ban Gioc separates Vietnam from China and is Asia’s largest waterfall, measuring 99 feet in height and more than 656 feet in width. 


Renowned for their hospitality, although proud of their hard-fought independence, the Vietnamese are keen to prosper in peace. With enduring optimism, the Vietnamese hold their elders in high regard. In Vietnam, the family unit is sacred. Its people practice Confucian family values, where experience is valued and young people are taught to practice good manners and humility.

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