Being located at the confluence of Indochina with the terrain bordering the sea, cut by low mountains and accreted by downstream large rivers. Nature has given Vietnam many favors. From north to south, the mountains on the left and the ocean on the right, the delta are abundant and rivers that become heavy with alluvium. Combined with the tropical monsoon climate, the fruits here are in full bloom. The land provides food and fresh water for people in ages to improve, live, and tell, making the land’s histories and heroes. Vietnamese people also love nature and live in harmony and simplicity. All those things create a distinct beauty of the cultural area of the country.
Vietnamese is proud to own 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each heritage has its imprints of time and distinct historical and cultural values that exude the beauty of nature and people here.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi
- Year listed: 2010
- UNESCO data: Cultural
Over thousands years of development, Hanoi today is the center of the cultural and political development of the country. The buildings and roads are solidly and modernly built, with a busy flow of people moving all over the streets and alleys. But right in the city, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long still stands tall, keeping its ancient and majestic features as ever. It is a testimony of history for the merits of building and defending the country for many generations of Vietnam. At the same time, the antiquities excavated in the imperial citadel also have great value, reflecting a series of successive history of the dynasties that ruled the country of Vietnam in terms of economy, politics, culture, and art for nearly a thousand years. It is hard to find a heritage that shows such continuity and long-term political and cultural development as the Central area of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in the world.
Besides, historical sites such as One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, National Museum, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Turtle Tower, and Ngoc Son Temple are also worthy destinations for us to choose from. After visiting, visitors can immerse themselves in the busy flow of people down the roads, and discover the cultural features of people in the capital of Vietnam. To move, visitors can rent a cyclo, or a cycle to hang around 36 streets of Hanoi. Wherever we go, we will see very simple roadside eateries, but the food is extremely elaborately prepared and full of traditional Vietnamese flavors.
Ha Long Bay
- Year listed: 1994
- UNESCO data: Natural
Ha Long Bay is in Quang Ninh province, located in the northeast of Vietnam. Ha Long means “Dragon flying down” in Vietnamese. Interestingly, the old name of Hanoi capital during feudal dynasties is “Thang Long”, which means “dragon flying up”.
According to legend, when the invaders arrived in the northern waters of our country. The mother dragon flew down from the sky, transforming the sharp rocks that rose in the middle of the sea to prevent the enemy’s boats, from there, our troops repelled the invaders. That’s why the Vietnamese call it dragons and fairies.
Besides becoming a world heritage, Ha Long Bay is also called one of the new seven natural wonders in the world. The limestone blocks in the bay with all different unique shapes are given vivid names by the people based on their shapes: Trong Mai island (Kissing chicken island), Xep island (the island looks like a pyramid), Thien Nga island (Swan island), Soi Sim island (myrtle island), Sea Lion Island, Oan Island… The bay water is crystal clear, calm, and peaceful. Therefore, visitors can roam around the bay by cruises designed like luxury hotels on the surface. Today, there are many exciting activities on the bay such as kayaking, visiting fishing villages on the bay, squid fishing on a boat at night, enjoying a variety of seafood, swimming, or taking a dip in the swimming pool on the cruise itself. What could be more wonderful than relaxing in such a place where the sea and mountains become one?
Ha Long city is one of the cities directly under the central government of Vietnam. Therefore, besides activities on the bay, visitors cannot ignore entertainment activities in the city. The coastline of more than 250km will be an ideal route for tourists to watch the sea, watch the bay and hunt the sunset every day. Sun World amusement park is world-class, consisting of two main areas, the coastal entertainment complex and the entertainment complex on the top of Ba Deo – connected by a unique cable car system, which will be an ideal entertainment destination for all types of tourists. Still located in the city, Quang Ninh museum is built as a cube, black, symbolizing Quang Ninh coal, one of the precious materials that have brought abundance to the land here.
Trang An (Ninh Binh)
- Year listed: 2016
- UNESCO data: Mixed
Trang An Landscape Complex is located in Ninh Binh province. Also with majestic limestone blocks, Ha Long has a majestic beauty, somewhat imposing of flying down dragons, but coming to Trang An, we feel it as a lyrical and poetic picture. Interspersed between the giant rocks is a drifting river. When the sun rises, it shines brightly like a golden silk strip, while in the evening it is adorned with the dreamy pink and purple color of the central sky.
Visitors sitting on boats floating in Sao Khe stream can hear the murmur of oars, birdsong on the branches, and the sound of monkeys calling the flock,… Blending in the air is the smell of grass and trees, mountains. Faint but enough to captivate people’s hearts.
In addition to boat activities, visitors can kayak, cycle to explore Ninh Binh, pass through ripe rice fields, and observe the simple life of the people here.
Citadel of the Ho Dynasty
- Year listed: 2011
- UNESCO data: Cultural
The citadel is located in the territory of Thanh Hoa province in the north central. The citadel also has other names such as An Ton, Tay Do, Thanh Hoa Palace, Tay Kinh, Thach Thanh, and Tay Giai.
As the capital of the Dai Viet state at the end of the Tran and the beginning of the Ho period, Tay Do was built based on the basic principles of topography, feng shui, and post-occipital history, surrounded by rivers and mountains. The citadel is located at the border of the plains and mountains, with beautiful landscapes, harmonious mountains and rivers, and diverse terrain creating military advantages. To the North is Tho Tuong Mountain, to the West is Nguu Ngoa Mountain, to the East is Hac Khuyen Mountain, and to the South is the convergence of Ma River flowing from the West and Buoi River flowing to it. The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty is structured into three parts: the La citadel, the Hao citadel, and the Imperial Citadel.
The entire wall and four main gates are built with blue limestone slabs, finely chiseled, square, and stacked tightly without adhesive. The average stone slabs are 1.5m long, some are up to 6m long, and weigh 24 tons. The total volume of stone used to build is about 20,000m3 and nearly 100,000m3 of soil is elaborately dug and filled.
According to historical data, in 1397, in the face of the threat of invasion by the Ming invaders from the North, Ho Quy Ly chose the land of An Ton (now Vinh Loc, Thanh Hoa) to build the citadel to prepare for a resistance and long war.
This is not the only stonework in Vietnam, but it shows the wisdom of the Vietnamese people when technology and machines have never appeared.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang (Quang Binh)
- Year listed: 2003
- UNESCO data: Natural
Phong Nha – Ke Bang is a National Park of Vietnam, located in Quang Binh province, about 50 km northwest of Dong Hoi city, about 500 km from Hanoi capital to the south.
Besides the value of geological history, topography, and geomorphology, Phong Nha – Ke Bang is also endowed by nature with mysterious and majestic landscapes. Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park contains many mysteries of nature, caves like splendid castles in the heart of limestone mountains created millions of years ago.
Features of this National Park are limestone formations, 300 caves, underground rivers, and rare flora and fauna listed in the Red Book of Vietnam and the Red Book of the World. The caves here have a total length of more than 80 km but British and Vietnamese cave explorers have only explored 20 km, of which 17 km are in Phong Nha area and 3 km in Ke Bang area.
Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park is famous for two large caves, Phong Nha cave and Tien Son cave. For Phong Nha cave, to visit, visitors must travel by boat. Inside the cave are limestone blocks with extremely unique shapes, it seems that Phong Nha is the convergence of all the most perfect beauty of nature and where the imagination is most sublimated.
Besides, Son Dong cave is said to be the largest cave in the world and can hold an entire city. In particular, there is a point containing the growing primeval forest in the cave. Geoscientists in the world consider Son Doong to be the most magnificent cave in the world.
The ancient capital of Hue
- Year listed: 1993
- UNESCO data: Cultural
Hue ancient capital is a famous tourist destination of Hue city. This was the capital of the Nguyen lords – the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam from 1687 to 1774.
Coming to Hue city, we will immediately recognize a very typical tree species, which is call Dai. This plant is grown on both sides of the road, in houses, at the beginning of alleys, and at the tombs of the kings. They are grown everywhere, the scent is sweet up close, but when far away, it has a very seductive and luxurious scent. Their appearance seemed to show the invisible powerful force of the ancient kings, but only in Hue, which surrounded the 143 Nguyen dynasties, we could feel it.
Traveling with a guide at this point of a lifelong attachment to the citadel, we will understand Hue better. The story of the Nguyen kings, the history of the country, and even the normal people living in the Hue citadel will take us back in 19 century time with royal sense.
- Year listed: 1999
- UNESCO data: Cultural
Hoi An is a city in Quang Nam province, famous for its traditional and harmonious architectural beauty of houses, walls, and roads. Along with many ups and downs of history, Hoi An ancient town still retains the ancient beauty of silence and moss in each tile roof, brick, and tree line…
The most popular housing types in Hoi An are one or two-story townhouses with narrow widths and very long depths, creating a tubular house type. The main materials for building houses have high strength and durability. Mainly to combat the harsh climate and annual floods of this region. Usually, the houses have a wooden frame house structure, the two sides are separated by brick walls. The average of the houses is about 4 – 8 meters wide, about 10-40 meters deep, varying from street to street. Common layouts here include sidewalk, porch, main house, outbuilding, porch, bridge and courtyard, porch, three-room rear, and back garden.
Each house in Hoi An ensures harmony between living space and nature. The courtyard is paved with stones, and decorated with water tanks, rockeries, and ornamental plants, creating an overall beauty. With unique architecture, the space in Hoi An is always airy and full of sunlight. These things bring a sense of freedom and comfort to the people and the enjoyment of tourists in Hoi An travel.
Streets in the Old Quarter are arranged in a checkerboard style with short horizontal and vertical streets. Visitors just enjoy delicious food while walking around. Just feel the daily life of Hoi An people, peaceful and simple.
5 months after Vietnam reopening the border since 15 March 2022, let’s see the remarkable achievements of this charming ancient town:
- Time Out ranked Hoi An the 9th out of the 21 most romantic destinations in the world for couples on Valentine’s Day.
- The Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards has ranked a motorbike ride from Hue to Hoi An as the 12th best tourist activity in the world, under the ‘Travel Experience’ category.
- Bookingcom’s Traveler Review Awards 2022 names Hoi An as top 10 most hospitable cities in the world.
- Dubai-based Time Out magazine has listed Hoi An ancient town in central Vietnam among “the very best places” to travel to in July 2022.
- Hoi An cooking class among top 25 best travel experiences in Asia – by Tripadvisor
- Hoi An is also among the 25 best cities in the world in 2022 voted by Travel + Leisure magazine.
- Hoi An recently entered the top 25 of Asia’s Overall Experiences in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
My Son Relic
- Year listed: 1999
- UNESCO data: Cultural
Quang Nam people are not only proud of Hoi An ancient town, which is one of the brightest point of Vietnam’s tourism, but also has another world cultural heritage. The My Son Cham temple complex is located in a closed valley where the mountainous terrain is huge and majestic. Located nearly 70 km southwest of Da Nang city, about 40 km from Hoi An city, this area extends from the East Truong Son through My Son to Tra Kieu, the old capital of the Cham people.
This work is evaluated with many prominent monuments in Southeast Asia such as Borobudur (Indonesia), Pagan (Myanma), Angkor Wat (Cambodia) and Ayutthaya (Thailand).
The architecture of the temple complex is still a mystery to scientists.
The temple structure in My Son contains countless mysteries that modern scientists are still learning and researching. The temple complex is divided into several clusters, built on the same principle. Each cluster consists of a main temple, surrounded by small towers or auxiliary works. The main temple represents Mount Meru – the center of the universe, the convergence of the gods and the worship of Siva. The sub-temples worship the gods who watch over the sky.
Cham temples and towers were built of bricks, combined with decorative pieces of sandstone. A remarkable thing with these works is that the holy site is located in a closed valley, so it is inevitable that rain and sun gradually destroy the appearance of the works. However, if you look closely, visitors can realize that the outside of the brick wall is almost not covered with moss except for chipped or broken. These buildings, despite being exposed to rain and sun, are rarely affected by moss.
Although it has been through a long time with the destruction of war, what remains at My Son temple complex exudes mysterious beauty, attracting tourists from all over the world. Although some the temple buildings here are not intact, the mystery of My Son Cham tower is still preserved, expressed by the sophistication of the art of carving on bricks.