Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam

Vietnam is a melting pot of culture and heritage. Home to diverse ethnicities and indigenous tribes, the country came into limelight with the infamous Vietnam War. However, Vietnam is much more than a war-ravaged country. Its natural beauty and stunning landscape has made it a favorite among the backpackers.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam contain some of the most stunning landmarks of the country, which showcase its beauty and cultural diversity. These landmarks are spread all over Vietnam and inspire you to embark on a cross-country trip.      

So, what are you waiting for? Just grab your backpack, and head over to these destinations for an experience of a lifetime.


1. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Phong NHA

Cave Exploration in Quang Binh


Listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a massive cave system. Spread in the area of close to 85,754 hectares, the national park is located in the Annamite Mountain Range of Quang Binh province. The region became extremely popular after being featured in the movie ‘Kong: Skull Island’.

The entire region contains 104 km of the cave system, making it Asia’s largest limestone karst ecosystems. Each year more new caves are being discovered and opened for public. The place is ideal for tourists looking for some adventure. The area around the national park is being developed very rapidly, making it accessible to the different parts of Vietnam. The closest town to the national park is Son Trach with a population of 3,000. 

Main attractions

• Cave exploration
• Forest trekking
• Historical tour around the region
• Mountain biking

2. Ha Long Bay, Thành phố Hạ Long

Cruise on Ha Long Bay


A cluster of 1,600 small and big islands, the Ha Long Bay is one of the popular UNESCO world heritage sites in Vietnam. Located in the Quang Ninh Province, the island is a spectacular panorama of limestone pillars and a mature Karst landscape. The pristine natural beauty of this stunning landscape attracts nature and adventure lovers alike.

The Ha Long city or Bai Chay is the gateway to the spectacular cluster of islands. The cruise boats, which include sleeping on board at night, are preferred by many tourists as it gives them a chance to explore the bay. But if you are more of an offbeat traveler, then avoid the main bay and head towards the Cat Ba Island or the Lan Ha Bay.

Main attractions

• Exploring the stunning caves and islands at Ha Long
• Spending the night on a night cruise
• Relaxing at the stunning beaches or diving in the sea
• Riding a bicycle around the Cat Ba Island

3. The complex of Hué Monuments, Hue City

The complex of Hue Monuments, Hue City


The complex of the Hue Monuments, one of the famous UNESCO world heritage sites in Vietnam, was built around the Hue City, by the Nguyen Dynasty – the last royal dynasty of United Vietnam. Close to the Ngu Binh Mountain, the stunning citadel was once an important political as well as the cultural hub of the nation.  

Hue is a charming city on the banks of Perfume River. The picturesque location and stunning historic landmarks make this city a must-visit UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam. Apart from its feudal connections, the city has beautifully embraced modern times. One can find sleek high-rises popping up close to the ancient monuments. Hue is well-connected with all the major cities of Vietnam through buses and flights. Or, you can even take a rental car from Hanoi.

Main attractions

• Hue Imperial City, and the other attractions
• Visiting Don Ha in Quang Tri province, close to the Demilitarized Zone
• Relaxing at Lang Co Beach
• Eating the local delicacies

4. Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi

Ancient Building in Hanoi


Located in the center of Hanoi, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a stunning royal enclosure built by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty. Also, referred to as Hanoi Citadel the entire complex has suffered rampage of war. Although most of the royal quarters are destroyed, still the remnant complexes showcase the grandeur of the place. Some of the tourist favorites include Hanoi Flag Tower, D67 Tunnel and House, and the North Gate. Hanoi, the current capital of Vietnam, is an important ancient town. Although the city has embraced the development and progress, one can find the authentic charm and grace of Vietnam in the old quarters of the city. 

Main attractions

• Exploring the ancient citadel - the North Gate, Hanoi Flag Tower, D67 Tunnel and House             

• Sampling the flavorful street food of Hanoi

• Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex   


5. Hoi An, central Quang Nam Province

Hoi An, Vietnam


Being one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Vietnam, Hoi An located in the central Quang Nam Province was an important port town established in the 15th century. Spread in the area of 30 hectares, the town echoes a beautiful balance of foreign and indigenous cultures. The ancient Chinese and Japanese quarters, ferry boats, and tilled houses are beautifully preserved, making it possible for the tourists to experience the past.    

The delightful town, which boasts of beautiful heritage and stunning architecture, is free from the infamous Vietnam traffic and pollution. Hoi An is also well-known for its bicycle tours and laid back beaches.      

Main attractions 

• Relaxing at the An Bang or Cui Dai Beach

• Exploring the beautiful old town and riverside of Hoi An

• Shopping for suits, shoes, and bags

• Eating Vietnamese specialties – noodles and pork, Cao Lau, and Com Ga (Vietnamese chicken rice)        


Some honorable mentions

• Trang An Landscape Complex, Red River Delta 

• My Son Sanctuary, Duy Phu Commune

• Huong Son Complex, Hanoi 

• Con Moong Cave, Thành Yên


Conclusion

Vietnam is so much more than a war-ravaged country. It has woken up from the war slumber and embraced development – without forgoing its cultural heritage. So, book your tickets, pack your gear, and head out for an interesting sojourn. Also, remember to sample the exotic street food of the country, and riding the famous Xe Ôm or motorbike taxis of Vietnam.


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