Po Nagar Towers. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Sights North of Nha Trang, Vietnam

There are two notable sights north of Nha Trang: the Po Nagar Towers and the rocky promontory of Hon Chong, both excellent sites for scenic views and interesting histories. Both are easily visited in one trip; stop first at the towers and then continue along the same road for another mile to the sea.

Ha Long Bay. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Planning Your Time in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay

Boasting wild, uncharted jungles and karst-studded seas, Ha Long Bay and Vietnam’s northern coast captivates travelers with its breathtaking scenery. Whether on water or land, the otherworldly landscapes of the region provide a stunning backdrop for adventure.

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Saigon’s Ben Thanh Market

Easily the most recognizable structure in Saigon, Ben Thanh Market–located at the north edge of Quach Thi Trang roundabout–is the original commercial heart of the city and a prime spot for souvenir shopping. Learn about its history and its popular day and night markets.

View of Sapa from Dragon Jaw Mountain. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Visiting Sapa’s Minority Villages in Vietnam

Beyond Sapa’s borders the surrounding hills and valleys are studded with minority villages, particularly those of the Black H’mong and Red Dao. Visiting any of the these villages affords visitors a window into the daily lives of Sapa’s minority communities, as well as the pleasure of trekking through the verdant landscape.

Colorful incense, used at pagodas, temples, and family altars. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Vietnamese Funeral Rituals

Vietnam’s approach to death is different than that of the Western world. Regardless of religion, Vietnamese believe in ancestor worship, and this influences their mourning of a passed loved one, the funeral itself, and their ongoing remembrance of their dead.

View from the Marble Mountains in Vietnam. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Planning Your Time in Vietnam’s Central Provinces

With the stunning curves of a mountainous coastline and the heartbreaking scars of war, Vietnam’s central provinces are a microcosm of captivating destinations. The region boasts top-notch cuisine and natural, cultural, and historical attractions, catering to both adventurous backpackers and luxury travelers. Here are tips and travel advice to help plan your time exploring the area.

Stupas at Ang Pagoda. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

The Mekong Delta to the Cambodian Border Travel Itinerary

Starting from Ho Chi Minh City, this 6-day itinerary works well as a bookend to your Vietnam trip, especially if you’re continuing onward to Cambodia. If you’re not, simply stop at the border. From floating markets and nature sanctuaries to incredible pagodas and mountain summit views, expect to be busy; there’s a lot to see and do.

A stork in Tram Chim National Park. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

The Plants and Animals of Vietnam

Vietnam is home to countless varieties of flora and fauna. From the peaks of Sapa all the way down to the watery Mekong Delta, the country’s range of climates and habitats lends itself to an equally diverse array of plant and wildlife. However, with an ever-growing population and a rapid pace of development, many of Vietnam’s plant and animal species are in danger.

Woman ladling bun nuoc leo into a bowl. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine

Some of the freshest, most flavorful, and most varied dishes in Southeast Asia belong to Vietnam. From Hanoi’s bun cha (grilled pork in fish sauce with noodles) to Hue’s bun bo (spicy beef noodle soup) or the dozens of southern meals unique to each small village and town, Vietnamese cuisine’s complex and irresistible flavors win over many a hungry traveler.

Inside the Dau Go Cave in Ha Long Bay. Photo © Nikolay Grachev/123rf.

Visiting Ha Long Bay’s Caves

Ha Long Bay is home to caves, islands, a few small beaches, and sleepy fishing villages. Since the bay is accessible only by boat tour, you’ll have little to no control of which sights you see once you’ve booked your trip. Here’s an overview of the caves visited on tours to ensure your trip includes those you’re most interested in.