Best places to visit in SOUTHERN VIETNAM
Planning a trip to Vietnam, and wondering what are the best places to visit in Southern Vietnam?
Vietnam, a large country in Southeast Asia, is famous for its diversity, ancient history and beautiful landscapes. In recent years Vietnam has become quite a popular tourist destination, especially among those who love to travel on a budget to exotic and faraway lands.
Vietnam is larger than you think. It’s a long and thin country. As the country is spread out, and it takes a lot of time to travel from south to north, we would recommend you to focus on one region — Southern, Central or Northern Vietnam. In this article, we will focus on some of the best things to do in Southern Vietnam.
Southern Vietnam is known for its bustling cities, the Mekong Delta, floating markets, beaches and islands. It’s a wonderful and culturally rich place to experience.
But what to see in Southern Vietnam?
Here’s a list of some of our favourite places to visit.
7 best places to visit in Southern Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh, also known as Saigon, is a megalopolis in South Vietnam.
It is a place where old and new collides, and European influences sit side by side with traditional Vietnamese values.
Tall skyscrapers tower above the low historical and colonial buildings. Beautiful churches and Buddhist temples. Fancy restaurants and local hole-in-the-wall cafes. Parties until the small hours of the morning. This is Ho Chi Minh, a city full of diversity, and one of the best places to visit in Southern Vietnam.
Local travel agents offer a wide array of interesting day trip options from Ho Chi Minh City. So, when you have explored the city, explore its surroundings and nearby towns, too.
The Mekong Delta is the region where the Mekong river reaches the sea.
The river is one of the longest rivers in the world, and the Mekong Delta is a complex network of tributaries. The Mekong Delta is home to an array of ecosystems and is known for its natural beauty. It is an important fishing region in Vietnam.
Join a tour to explore this network of rivers and mangrove forests. You can book an excursion to the Mekong Delta from any of the local travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City.
Can Tho is the 4th largest city in Vietnam and one of the largest cities along the Mekong Delta.
It is known for its picturesque rural canals and floating markets. Taking a boat tour of the Cai Rang Floating Markets and Can Tho canals are some of the best places to visit in Southern Vietnam. Nam Nhã pagoda is another famous tourist attraction in Can Tho.
Most group tours departing from Ho Chi Minh City also include a visit to Can Tho, but we would recommend staying there and exploring the surroundings at your own pace.
Mui Ne is a beach resort town in Southeast Vietnam.
It’s one of the most popular beach destinations in Vietnam. Mui Ne is also known for its red and white sand dunes. Take a quad bike ride on the white sand dunes. It’s cheap and very thrilling.
Exploring its dunes is not the only thing to do in Mui Ne. Fairy Stream, a soft red creek, is another very beautiful landmark of the area. Visit the ancient Po Shanu Cham Towers for sweeping views of the area. And if you are up for a longer ride, go and see Ke Ga Lighthouse. You get there by scooter or taxi and then take a boat. The boat ride takes less than 10 minutes, and boats are there at all times during the day.
Due to strong wind and strong waves, Mui Ne is considered one of the best places to kite-surf in Vietnam.
Dalat is a quaint town surrounded by hills of Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
Because of the moderate climate and beautiful nature, Dalat is a great place for adventure sports and hiking. It is one of the best places to visit in Southern Vietnam.
Rent a scooter or a car and visit the surrounding waterfalls. Explore the elegant French colonial buildings. Immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere of this town and spend lazy evenings in Dalat’s many charming cafes.
When travelling to Dalat, do not miss Hằng Nga guesthouse, a.k.a the “Crazy House”. It’s a contemporary building, inspired by the work of the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí and nature.
Phu Quoc is an island off the coast of Cambodia.
It is known for palm-lined white-sand beaches and resorts. Beaches are undoubtedly the reason to visit this island. There are a number of beautiful beaches, and visiting them is one of the best things to do in Southern Vietnam. If you’d love to see starfish, head to Starfish Beach in the north of the island.
A large section of the island is a part of Phú Quốc National Park which consists of mountains and dense jungle. There are a number of hiking trails in the national park.
Duong Dong is the main town of Phu Quoc, with bustling markets selling crafts, fresh produce, fish and seafood. One of the best things to do in Phu Quoc is to visit an open-air night market where you can try local dishes.
Take the Phu Quoc cable car to see the island from above and enjoy 360° views of the area.
Most roads in Phu Quoc are good, so you can explore the island on the motorbike.
Con Dao is an archipelago of 16 tiny islands located off the coast of Southern Vietnam.
The archipelago was a prison during the French colonial era. Prisoners from Vietnam and Cambodia were sent to the islands to serve their sentences for anti-French revolutionary activities.
Now the archipelago is known for its pristine beaches, lush hills and extensive, rich coral reefs which makes Con Dao a great diving destination, one of the best in Vietnam. The main and largest island of the archipelago is Con Son. Con Son Town, the archipelago’s tiny capital can be explored on foot. With almost no traffic, it is a peaceful little town. Con Son has a national park that boasts a lush green, mountainous landscape.
Con Dao is not really on a tourist radar, and this is what makes it a wonderful destination for those who love peace and relaxing beach time.
Southern Vietnam Travel Tips
- You need a visa to travel to Vietnam. You will have to arrange it before arriving in the country. Unless you come from a visa-exempt country.
- If you are visiting ONLY Phu Quoc, you don’t need a visa. To be granted a visa-free entry to Phu Quoc, you have to fly to Phu Quoc directly from a third country (or with a layover in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh) and provide proof of onward flight. Your stay must be less than 30 days.
- Travelling in Vietnam is easy. Even though Vietnam has less tourism infrastructure than neighbouring Thailand, it’s easy to get around in Vietnam. You can travel around Vietnam by bus, train or plane. The cheapest option is a bus. Flying is not expensive either.
- If you are travelling long distances on a bus or train, take a “sleeper” bus/train.
- Vietnam is larger than you think. As the country is spread out, it takes a lot of time to travel from south to north. That’s why we would recommend you to explore one region at a time (e.g., North, Central or South Vietnam). If you want to explore both South and North Vietnam, fly to save time.
- Always be careful when crossing the street, even pedestrian crossings, as the traffic is hectic and almost no one stops to let the pedestrians cross. In fact, not many locals are walking in Vietnam.
- Grab, a popular ride-hailing app in Asia is widely used in Vietnam. The motorbike taxi option is available in the app, too. Both Grab motorbike and Grab car are cheap and efficient ways to travel around cities in Vietnam.