Vietnam Travel

The 8 must-know Vietnam Heritage Sites before you go

Vietnam, one of the most-visited destinations in South East Asia, is an amazing country boasting outstanding landscapes located in various regions that enchant and keep visitors to stay without being aware of time. If you plan to travel to Vietnam but confused about where to go first, you may want to consider starting off exploration with the 8 famous UNESCO Heritage Sites listed below, so you won’t miss a thing on your wonderful trip to Vietnam.

1. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi

Thang Long Citadel is an attractive monument of Vietnamese history and was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as Hanoi Old Citadel, many antiques and items are from the middle. Unlike most of historic Hanoi, this is an archaeological site rather than a group of ancient buildings. The 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including the foundations of old castles, ancient roads, ponds, and wells. Along with the excavated foundations and pavings, there are several galleries in the museum. Objects found on the site are exhibited here alongside film presentations.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The relic has a total area of 18,395ha, including archaeological sites of 18 Hoang Dieu and other relics such as Doan Mon, Hanoi flagpole, Kinh Thien electricity, D67 house, Bac Mon… If you visit on holidays, you can also enjoy special art programs such as water puppet theater, exhibitions, folk games. The best way to discover this site is by taking a day tour around Hanoi combining some extra remarkable sightseeings.

2. Halong Bay – Quang Ninh

Recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site since 1994 (and also considered a New Seven Natural Wonders of the World), Halong Bay is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Vietnam. This 120km-long coastline (literally translated as the “Bay of Descending Dragons”) features hundreds of limestone monoliths varying greatly in size and shape rising from the water, with natural stalactite caves, picturesque islands, and unique fishing villages.

Halong Bay

If you like walking, then you can also enjoy the craggy bluffs that cover the islands of Halong Bay, and also explore isolated bays and dainty inlets. If you prefer to stay in the thick of things, then you can enjoy seafood barbecues, sea kayaking and a whole host of attractions in the main towns such as forts and other monuments.

The best way to see the bay up close is by booking a cruise for a day, or an overnight trip on Halong Bay.

3. Trang An Landscape Complex – Ninh Binh

Inscribed in 2014, the Trang An Landscape Complex is Vietnam’s latest attraction to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the first mixed heritage for both its natural and cultural significance.

Surrounded by canals and lakes, Trang An Grottoes consist of a variety of caves, rocks, temples, and incredible limestone formations. The waterway gracefully curls around perching mountain peaks to reveal open valleys filled with lush golden rice paddies on the river banks. With an interconnected network of waterways through caves and numerous different religious structures that could only be accessed by boat, you will find that your jaw will drop open.

Trang An Landscape Complex

Along the 3-hour tour, your paddle boat will pass through river caves and stop by several ancient Buddhist temples. You may also have a chance to visit the set of King Kong: Skull Island movie, which was filmed in 2017 here.

The Trang An Landscape Complex is in the itinerary of popular trips to Ninh Binh.

4. Citadel of the Ho Dynasty – Thanh Hoa

It was the political center of the Ho Dynasty that ruled over this region during the 14th century. Thought only lasted for 7 years, the Citadel with an imposing arched gateway is a testament of Vietnamese’s exceptional ingenuity and superior craftsmanship in a flourishing period. It was judged as an impressive building amongst a beautiful natural landscape using neo-Confucianism principles that introduced a new style of imperial city to Asia and has been given the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011.

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

Climb up the towering stone steps to the top of the main gate and have a walk along the wall, you’ll fall in love with the scenic view of the serene Vietnamese countryside. While taking in a deep breath of the fresh air, you can have a chat with the welcoming villagers nearby as they work on fields of golden rice paddies that seemingly stretch out to infinity.

5. Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park – Quang Binh

Recognized as the World National Heritage since 2013, mostly covered with tropical rainforest, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park features entwine caves and grottoes, massive ancient karsts, and dense jungle-clad mountains also are home to many endangered species and various interesting flora. With a massive network of caves and underground rivers, including the world’s largest cave, many parts of this natural wonder has yet to be discovered. The elaborate karst formation of this mysterious natural World Heritage Site is thought to have been around for over 400 million years.

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park

Due to its special geomorphic, Phong Nha Ke Bang offers countless activities, amongst them visiting caves and grottos by boat as well as mountain climbing and forest trekking. To visit Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, tourists often book a Vietnam package tour for their complete experience.

6. My Son Sanctuary – Quang Nam

Recognized by UNESCO in 1999 and as one of the most important heritage sites in Vietnam, My Son Sanctuary is known as the amazing Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia that often be compared with Angkor Wat of Cambodia or Ayutthaya of Thailand. Built during the Champa civilization between the 4th to 13th centuries, My Son Sanctuary is a striking architectural ensemble of more than 70 tower structures panning about two kilometers in width that are believed to be temples and tombs to worship Hindu Gods. Cradled in a valley between two dramatic mountain ranges, the unique architecture of the temples is said to mirror the glory of the sacred Mount Meru – a mythical mountain at the center of the universe where Hindu gods reside.

My Son Sanctuary

Although the majority of the ruins were destroyed and some statues are missing, there are still some impressive ancient decorations that have survived to the present day, including snakes, elephants, and priests. Visiting My Son Sanctuary, you will be able to witness the skillful mastery and technological prowess of the Cham through the intricate carvings on the temples, depicting scenes and iconography of Hindu mythology.

7. Hoi An Ancient Town – Quang Nam

Listed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1999, the graceful, historic Hoi An is Vietnam’s most atmospheric and delightful town in the Center. Its past as a bustling trading hub worldwide from the 15th to 19th century has left an everlasting mark on Hoi An as a city with a mixture of diverse influences. Remaining with beautiful temples, picturesque streets, and ancient buildings, Hoi An Ancient Town is a peaceful setting, slow-paced, and traditional lifestyle for travelers who want a truly relaxing vacation in Vietnam.

Hoi An Ancient Town

Booking a package tour to Hoi An and have a stroll around Hoi An Ancient Town, you can easily capture the postcard-perfect Japanese bridge, visit the historic Chinese temples, and witness the iconic yellow houses of the French colonial era that make your trip unforgettable.

8. The complex of Hue Monuments – Hue

Located on the banks of the Perfume River that boasts a unique, picturesque setting, Hue is one of the most charming towns in Central Vietnam and has a long and illustrious history. Used to be the capital city of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945, Hue was an important cultural and spiritual center of Vietnam in medieval times. During the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty, many stunning monuments of outstanding cultural and architectural values were built in Hue. These include the Hue Citadel (includes the Imperial City, Forbidden Purple City, and royal residences), fortresses, important temples, and royal tombs. Together, they make the Complex of Monuments at Hue that was duly recognized as the World Heritage Sites since 1993.

The complex of Hue Monuments

By booking a tour to Hue, history lovers will find a huge amount to enjoy here, from the rambling ancient architecture to the engaging museums, that will fill you with all excitement. Some even say Hue is a perfect location to explore the cultural heart and soul of the Vietnamese people.

Asia Tour Advisor