11 Most Unique Places to Visit in Vietnam

There’s a classic route through Vietnam many tourists take (including me the first time), but why not head to these unique places to visit in Vietnam instead? Your travel stories will be all the more interesting for it!

unique places to visit in vietnam

Vietnam is an amazing country with phenomenal vistas, temples, palaces, islands, beaches, caves, markets and national parks. However, you’ve probably heard of, or even visited, the most famous places to visit in Vietnam.

Today, I want to recommend some of the more unique places to visit in Vietnam that are a little less obvious, but well worth seeing.

Getting away from renowned tourist spots in Vietnam will give you a better flavour of the country. These places are still impressive and get visits from travellers, but they make up a different kind of Vietnam bucket list. You might need to spend more time planning how to reach them though.

Whether it be untouched Vietnamese beaches, rice terraces or ancient villages, there’s more to Vietnam than just the obvious. Hopefully you’ll discover some new wonders of Vietnam to explore within the next few pointers.

11 Unique Places to Visit in Vietnam

From epic valleys to craft markets or ruins, these are some of the coolest places to visit in Vietnam that are unlike anywhere else.

1. Bac Son Valley

Located in the northern province of Lang Son 160km northeast of Hanoi, Bac Son Valley is known for its stunning rice fields surrounded by greenery and towering mountains, which are about 500-1200 metres high.

unique things to see in vietnam Bac Son Valley

The valley offers a peaceful and off-the-beaten-path experience, and you can follow the valley’s path to the paddy fields where you’ll get a chance to see the river that runs crossing the rice fields.

If you have the energy, then it’s well worth hiking up to the telephone station on top of the mountains where you’ll be able to get a 360-degree view of mountains, villages, rivers and farms.

The easiest way to reach this valley is by taking a road trip from Hanoi using Highway 3 to Thai Nguyen and turning to National Highway 1B to discover one of the most unique places to visit in Vietnam.

Check out my post for more Vietnam travel tips!

2. Bai Tu Long Bay

Often overshadowed by the more popular Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay offers a similar, equally breathtaking seascape with limestone karsts and emerald waters. But the plus side is there’s generally fewer tourists.

unique places to visit in vietnam Bai Tu Long Bay

Bai Tu Long Bay is simply stunning. It’s known for crystal-clear waters that cover over 1,500 square kilometres, which makes it one of the largest bays in Vietnam. Definitely a contender for a hidden gem in Vietnam, compared to some of the other top Vietnam locations.

3. Tam Coc – Bich Dong

Dubbed ‘Halong Bay on Land’, this area near Ninh Binh is known for its limestone karst formations and scenic riverboat rides through caves and rice paddies. Strictly speaking there are two attractions here.

Firstly, Tam Coc, a flooded cave system which is pretty cool to see.

famous tourist spots in vietnam Tam Coc Bich Dong

Secondly, Bich Dong, a series of pagodas in the mountains. If you do one thing in Vietnam then make sure it’s taking a boat ride on the Tam Coc river for an amazing view of these unique places to visit in Vietnam.

As well as view of the rice fields and mountains, why not take the opportunity to visit three Tam Coc caves: Hang Ca (the first grotto), Hang Hai (the second grotto) and Hang Ba (the third grotto)?

4. Bac Ha Market

Unlike the more touristy markets, Bac Ha Market in the northern highlands is a more authentic market experience, where you can experience the local way of life and buy traditional crafts.

cool places to visit in vietnam Bac Ha Market

It takes place Sundays and starts at 5am and runs until the early afternoon, but the earlier you arrive the better. Women and men from the Hmong, La Chi Nhung and Tay communities gather here to trade as they have done for centuries. Textiles are one main feature of the market with every colour, patterns and fabric you can think of on display. It really is a treat for the senses. A lot of the stall holders are dressed up in their finest clothes too so it really makes the market vivacious and full of life too.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance too but please also be aware there is a live animal section to this market. It is possible to avoid it if you should be inclined to do so.

While this market is less touristy than others, it is quickly gathering popularity so you may want to head there as soon as possible. Be sure to take a jacket or scarf with you as the climate can sometimes be misty or rainy – and the market doesn’t stop come rain or shine!


5. Con Dao Islands

Whilst not inaccessible by any means, the Con Dao islands do require a little more effort to get to. This is actually a blessing if you are looking for unique places to visit in Vietnam because it means fewer tourists make the trip. 

You might even find you have views free of people entirely.

Unique places to visit in Vietnam Con Dao Islands

Off the southeastern coast of Vietnam, the Con Dao Islands are a group of pristine and relatively untouched islands known for their beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and historical significance as a former prison.

As a reward for your efforts for travelling there you’ll be able to experience some of the best diving and snorkelling there is. Dense jungle and sparsely populated beaches await too. Whether it be the breeding ground for turtles, the former prison on the island or the national park, it certainly gives you lots of unique places to visit in Vietnam to choose from.

6. Phan Rang Thap Cham

Phan Rang–Thap Cham is home to the Cham Tower Ruins. It is the capital of Ninh Thuan Province in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam. Between Mui Ne and Nha Trang, but far less touristy, this coastal town is known for its gorgeous landscapes, including the red and white sand dunes.

 Phan Rang Thap Cham

If you want to visit ancient monuments and take in history and culture, but also want a place which is less popular with tourists, Phan rang Thap Cham could be one of the unique places to visit in Vietnam for you.

7. Pu Luong Nature Reserve

A hidden gem in Thanh Hoa province of Vietnam, Pu Luong offers epic landscapes, terraced rice fields, and traditional villages. It’s an ideal spot for trekking and ecotourism.

There’s jungle, valleys and waterfalls, specially the Thác Hiêu Waterfall which you may need a local guide to find but it would certainly be one of the most unique places to visit in Vietnam to have visited.

unusual things to do in vietnam Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Throughout the reserve there are some small communities who live there on raised still-style homes. You could also even catch a glimpse of grazing water buffalo whilst taking in the flora and fauna and beautiful rice terraces of Pu Luong.

Check out my two week itinerary for Vietnam, and see where you can fit this stunning Vietnam landmark in. I’ve also written a one week itinerary for Vietnam too.

8. Quy Hoa Valley

Located in Binh Dinh province, Quy Hoa Valley is home to the historic An Hai Village and the Quy Hoa Leprosy Hospital. Quy Hoa spans around 60 hectares and sits in a valley surrounded by mountains on three sides. The village faces the sea, which is lined by coconut groves, and rows of casuarina trees.

unusual things to do in vietnam Quy Hoa Valley

On one hand it’s a delight that there are few tourists here, but it also means you have to remember to pack everything you may need for the trip as there aren’t vendors everywhere!

It’s basically a fishing village by the sea, largely untouched by the tourism other places in Vietnam see, thus making this one of the most unique places to visit in Vietnam.

9. Phu Yen Province

This coastal province is known for its unspoiled beaches, beautiful fishing villages, and the iconic Đá Đĩa (Disc-shaped Rock) formations, which are a unique geological phenomenon. Phu Yen, located in central Vietnam, is surrounded by a striking mountain range and boasts 200 kilometres of coastline along its eastern border.

most beautiful place to visit in vietnam Phu Yen Province

While traditionally an agricultural province, it is only just beginning to gain popularity as a tourist destination, so I’d suggest you visit Phu Yen as soon as possible in order to experience the relatively undiscovered beaches and surrounding areas.

10. Da Dia Reef 

While Bai Xep is well-known in the province of Phu Yen, Da Dia stands out as a particularly spectacular destination.

Unique places to visit in Vietnam include Da Dia Reef

Formed after a volcanic eruption, this geological marvel resembles a honeycomb cascading into the ocean, cooled by the magma. The rock formations create a striking geometric pattern. 

If you have two weeks in Vietnam, or longer, you could definitely fit in some of these Vietnam hidden gems.

11. Nhan Tower and Mang Lang Church

Nhan Tower, an ancient Cham structure from the late 11th century, stands at 64 metres on Nhan mountain peak, overlooking Da Rang River. It symbolises Phu Yen and offers panoramic views of Tuy Hoa City, Da Rang River, and four bridges.

Unique Vietnam places to visit Nhan Tower

En route to Nhan Tower, explore the wonderful Mang Lang Church near the Ky Lo River. With its Gothic architectural style, two steeples, and a breathtaking pyramid-shaped lobby, the church covers 5,000m2. The church also houses well-preserved sculptures depicting the story of blessed Andrew of Phu Yen in its basement.

Coolest places to visit in Vietnam

Exploring these less-travelled destinations will provide you with a more authentic and unique experience in Vietnam. The country offers so much to see and do, it can be difficult to choose. Most visitors often flock to the most famous sites, which are still pretty amazing and worth seeing if you have time. But these unique places to visit in Vietnam can offer something different and possibly be more rewarding.

Quy Hoa Valley coolest places to visit in Vietnam

From the gorgeous landscapes of Bac Son Valley and the lesser-known beauty of Bai Tu Long Bay to the hustle and bustle of Bac Ha Market and the wonders of Con Dao Islands, each destination has its own charm. While Phu Yen Province, with Da Dia Reef, Nhan Tower, and Mang Lang Church, showcases a natural beauty and amazing centuries old architecture.

Buon Ma Thuot offers a glimpse into indigenous cultures and stunning waterfalls, while Phan Rang Thap Cham provides a less touristy yet fascinating coastal experience. The Pu Luong Nature Reserve and Quy Hoa Valley wow you with their history and grandeur of the landscape, and the relatively undiscovered beaches of Phu Yen Province make you feel extra special! You might need to pick and choose, but any one of these unique places to visit in Vietnam promise an amazing and unforgettable trip.

READ MORE: Most Famous Vietnam Landmarks

Quicklist of unique places to visit in Vietnam

  • 1. Bac Son Valley
  • 2. Bai Tu Long Bay
  • 3. Tam Coc – Bich Dong
  • 4. Bac Ha Market
  • 5. Con Dao Islands
  • 6. Phan Rang Thap Cham
  • 7. Pu Luong Nature Reserve
  • 8. Quy Hoa Valley
  • 9. Phu Yen Province
  • 10. Da Dia Reef
  • 11. Nhan Tower and Mang Lang Church

What is the prettiest place in Vietnam?

Vietnam is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, which includes white sand beaches, limestone mountains, and terraced rice fields. Identifying the single prettiest place is way too difficult, but these landscapes are among the most breathtaking in the country. Of course, the cities are pretty special too!

Where to spend most time in Vietnam?

The decision on where to spend the most time in Vietnam depends on your interests and what you want to see. If you’re keen on exploring diverse landscapes and cultural experiences, consider dividing your time between the northern, central, and southern regions of Vietnam, each offering unique attractions, experiences and places to visit.

Is Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh better?

Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer unique experiences. Hanoi is the capital city, and has lots of history and culture, while Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is super modern and urban. Your choice should depend on what kind of experience you’re looking for, but if possible, see both!

What can’t you miss visiting in Vietnam?

There are so many must-see places to visit in Vietnam as it’s such a unique and beautiful country. However, you really need to make time for exploring cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as the Vietnam beaches and mountains.

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