Naturally blessed with perfect landscapes ranging from mountains, highlands, plains to beaches or islands Vietnam is definitely a right destination for your rest after the bustle and hustle of modern life. Vietnam is divided into three regions and each of them welcomes tourist by a totally different beauty. However, wherever you decide to go, all of them will definitely attract you with marvelous mountainous landscapes such as Sapa, Ha Giang or Central Highlands, crystal blue water beaches, attractive views of fast-developing cities, peaceful islands and especially hospitable locals. Nevertheless, bear in mind that Vietnam’s weather is quite inconvenient ranging from the North to the South. So if you ask me where you could visit all year round, my recommendation should be Southern Vietnam.
Obviously, besides the cultural essence and uniqueness, visitors have always been surprised, satisfied with various tourist attractions in Vietnam. The North impresses visitors with stunning mountainous landscapes and diversified culture of highlands such as Sapa or Ha Giang, the capital – Hanoi, Halong Bay – one of Seven New World Wonders or hundreds of destinations. The Middle appeals travelers by romantic, ancient and dreamy Hue and Hoian. What about the South?
I. The best time to travel Southern Vietnam
Unlike Northern Vietnam’s weather, the South just possesses two major seasons: the dry and rainy seasons with constant temperatures at about 25 – 35 °C all year round. The dry season starts from November to early May, and it will be hotter and more humid from late February to May. The wet season lasting from May to November may be the high peak of Southern Vietnam as it is hot summer in Northern Vietnam so many people flock there to relax.
But do not worry, in general, Southern Vietnam always welcomes us with high sunny and windy days with a lot of amazing activities and meaningful experience.
II. Top must-see tourist attractions in Southern Vietnam
1. Phu Quoc
Speaking of top beautiful islands in Vietnam, it is such a big mistake to forget Phu Quoc - the paradise with the fresh air, spacious peaceful atmosphere as well as cool breeze far from the hustle of daily life. The intact beauty of the wilderness, crystal-clear blue sea water, white smooth sand twinkling under the sunshine and green heaven of coconut trees will give visitors peaceful, poetic and romantic moments.
Phu Quoc’s untouched beauty has become such a hit with those loving pristine beaches as it retains the almost intact beauty of the wilderness and is less impacted by the human than other beaches. Regarded as the most beautiful island of Vietnam, this “Pearl Island” impresses visitors by crystal sand beaches, dense tropical jungles with diversified flora and fauna, blue water touching the golden sand twinkling under the sun, and especially the peace that we find our soul. Three most amazing beaches at Phu Quoc that we should not miss when arriving in Phu Quoc are sophisticated Long Beach which was listed in the “World Hidden Beaches”, charming Ong Lan Beach for your honeymoon, and alluring Bai Sao.
The beach remains pristine with crystal blue water, romantic palm trees and soft sands, which is extremely suitable for boat-sailing, sunbathing, diving, swimming, scuba-diving and wandering with your lovers. If you are lucky enough, you can see some nice coral reef and a bamboo shark. And also exploring traditional fishing villages and pearl farms on the southern end of the beach will be a meaningful experience.
Clear crystal water, palm trees and soft sands all create a picturesque view, which is extremely suitable for wind relaxing, surfing, sailing, sunbathing, diving to admire colorful coral reef and a bamboo shark, swimming or wandering with your lovers. And also exploring the local life in traditional fishing villages and pearl farms on the Southern end of the beach will be a meaningful experience.
2. Floating markets in Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta is covered with rivers and canals, so traveling by boat is the easiest and fastest way of transportation. If you have a chance to travel to Southern Vietnam, do not forget the floating market – the highlight of Southern Vietnam. Besides fruits orchards, yellow rice paddies, Southern folk songs, and special regional cuisine, the vibrant floating market is what comes on tourists’ mind when talking about Mekong Delta.
Floating Markets in Mekong Delta
Floating markets have long been an integral part of the lives of the locals in the Southwest from generation to generation. The floating market is gathering place where the locals can buy their own products and fresh fruits or vegetables hanging on the poles while visitors can travel around to enjoy the locals’ life and buy something. Even you can find some floating bars, floating restaurants and the same kinds of shops as on the land.
Sitting on a boat and traveling around the market, visitors will be overwhelmed by hundreds of different boats packed with fresh and vivid colors of abundant fruits, poultry products, vegetables, seafood, handicraft goods, regional goods or aquatic products. Therefore, it is always crowded with many retailers from small markets in nearby cities, they come here to get fresh goods at reasonable prices.
Stunning scenery, hospitable locals, the greenness and rural characteristics will definitely ease your mind from all everyday troubles and give you memorable moments.
Do not forget to pay a visit to Cai Be, Cai Rang, Tra On and Nga Bay Floating Markets.
3. Ho Chi Minh
Together with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is also one of the most attractive destinations when visiting Vietnam. When thinking about Hanoi, people will regard it as a peaceful and romantic city. By contrast, Ho Chi Minh City gives tourists the impression of the hustle and bustle of a new Asian cosmopolitan city, people here seem to be always in a hurry. With one of the world’s highest population densities, Ho Chi Minh City has the craziest traffic in the world and that is the reason why it is named “land of rapid culture”.
Ho Chi Minh City
Located in the South of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (also officially known as Saigon) is Vietnam’s most booming up and coming city, where the moving never stops. Ho Chi Minh City is truly a modern and active city that you can feel the burgeoning pulse of a new Asian metropolitan city, but still carries with it a lot of tradition.
There are plenty of places in Saigon for visitors to enjoy delicious local street food at very cheap cost. Right on the center of Ho Chi Minh City, the most suggested place is Ben Thanh Market, the symbol of Saigon, where visitors can witness the cramped stalls and market chaos, especially enjoy the street food heaven.
A historic place that we should not ignore is Cu Chi Tunnels - an extensive network running underneath from the outskirts of Saigon all the way to the Cambodian border. This vast 250-kilometer plus the network of tunnels played an important role in Vietnam War as it was the base for the Viet Cong's military operations as well as hiding places, hospitals, communication bases, supply routes, and even living quarters. Visitors can now crawl through some of the tunnels, learn the struggle of life for days on end. It is an impressive part of the country’s history.
Anything else? Visiting Reunification Palace (Dinh Doc Lap), historical evidence of the Vietnam War is not a bad idea. This 1960s-style building, with its large, airy rooms and dated furnishings seems to become a museum since April 30, 1975 – after a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through this palace’s iron gates, bringing an end to the Vietnam War. For locals, the palace represents this historic event and the reunification of the North and the South Vietnam. Also especially the fighter jet that destroyed the Norodom Palace and tank 843 and rammed through the palace gate bringing the independence to Vietnam is displayed here.
Also, Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, the Post Office, War Remnants Museum and many entertainment centers such as Dam Long or Suoi Tien will satisfy all tourist from kids to adults with exciting and meaningful moments.
4. Central Highlands – Dalat
If you wish to explore Vietnam Tet in a more cultural and peaceful destination, Central Highlands and especially Dalat will be a good choice. Especially, if you are a mountain-lover, it would be a big regret if you travel to Sothern Vietnam but do not pay a visit to this beautiful region.
The mountains seem to dominate the horizon whatever directions we look, which likes huge green dinosaurs laying down for a nap. Taking a deeper discovery into the jungle, you will be amazed by its scenic beauty with diversified fauna and flora as well as the magnificent waterfalls.
Cong Chieng Tay Nguyen
The Central Highlands is also famous for its high-valued cultures. The ethnic people here still well maintain their traditional lifestyle, norms and beliefs, and cultural activities. The houses on stilts, heroic epics and the Space of Gong, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage are what attract every tourist coming to this mysterious land from the first sight. The traditional music of the ethnic minorities, with unique musical instruments such as T’rung and Klong Put, is such an irresistible hit of Central Highlands in particular and Vietnam in general.
What about Dalat?
As a small city to the South of Central Highlands, Dalat is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. Going by many charming names like “the City of Love”, “the City of Eternal Spring” or “a little Paris” of Vietnam, Dalat welcomes us by a cool climate and romantic scenes which are perfectly suitable for tourism and especially for your honeymoon.
With many attractions such as Xuan Huong Lake, Crazy House, Valley of Love, and huge pine forests, Dalat creates a poetic scenery making tourists love immediately and creating an ideal atmosphere for couples falling in love at first sight as well. Sipping a coffee, writing something on your diary or enjoying the charming landscapes will be such a great rest for your life. Also, the flower festival with thousands of brilliantly-colored flowers in December will make the city even more attractive and romantic.
These above are some advice on the ideal time to visit Southern Vietnam as well as top 4 attractive destinations that you should not miss when coming to this amazing land. Let’s backpack and have a great trip!