10 most beautiful places in Vietnam: Rough Guides list

Your favorites may not make the cut, but rest assured that Ha Long Bay and Sa Pa will be there.

Rough Guides, one of the most respected travel guides, has just released the top 10 most beautiful places in Vietnam, as voted by its readers. There will be some surprises and possibly a few snubs. But we can't name every single place that we love right?

10. Cat Ba

The island has managed to keep a relatively low profile even though it's right there in Ha Long Bay. With a national park covering half of the island, Rough Guides describes it as “a paradise for travelers who come here to hike, climb and kayak (the waters and coral reefs are protected too).”

Cat Ba National Park. Photo from Vuonquocgiacatba

9. Da Lat

The central highlands city is known for its “French Colonial-era villas” and “a cool and temperate climate." The website forgets to mention its incredible street food.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Nguyen Ngoc Luan

8. Da Nang

The coastal city, Vietnam’s rising star in tourism, is usually praised for its friendliness and high-quality services. With icons such as the Dragon Bridge, the Han River and the Marble Mountains, Da Nang is another great choice in central Vietnam, aside from the next-door Hoi An.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Chu Ngoc Anh

7. Phu Quoc

It is hard not to be enchanted by this magnetic island of the south. Travelers from around the world fly in to enjoy its sun-kissed beaches and amazing (and cheap) seafood.

6. Ha Giang

Known as the country’s best place for motorcycle riding, the beauty of mountains and valleys seems so much closer from the saddle.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Tran Anh Tuan

5. Ho Chi Minh City

Last year the city was ranked 18th on a global list of fastest growing tourist cities by MasterCard. The southern metropolis offers visitors diverse choices, from the buzzing daily life and delicious coffee to festivals and sporting events.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Y Ho Nhu

4. The Mekong Delta

We think many places of the Delta deserve their own entries in this list. But it's still great when Rough Guides readers love the region for its culinary offerings and unspoiled bucolic beauty.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Pham Tri Long

3. Ha Long Bay

We probably don’t have to explain about this choice. Just look at the picture.

Photo from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

2. Sa Pa

The northern highlands region as a whole is so charming. And this little town is clearly the jewel of the crown.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Vu Ngoc Hoang

1. Hoi An

The winner: this centuries-old ancient town tops the list thanks to its “heady mix of wooden-fronted merchant houses, graceful bridges and ornate temples.”

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Le Tien Dung

Surprise omissions

Readers of Rough Guides may have overlooked these destinations. Or maybe the list should have been expanded because a top 10 is simply not enough. So we add them here for you.

Quang Binh

What makes the central province stands out is its majestic cave system. The "Kong: Skull Island" film crew chose it as the fictitious birthplace of their giant gorilla.

Son Doong Cave

Ninh Binh

Although it may not be as famous to Western tourists as it is to the locals, or at least not yet, Ninh Binh and its poetic scenery is definitely worth a try.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Ninh Manh Thang

Hanoi

It’s a big surprise not to see Vietnam’s capital in the top 10 list, especially after Pinterest listed it as one of the most popular places for global travelers. Check out the Old Quarter and the city’s street food options to be amazed.

Photo from VnExpress Photo Contest/Phan Van Hien

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