Planning a trip to Vietnam and want to know the most famous Vietnamese landmarks to visit? From Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Hue and Hoi An, this captivating country is packed with iconic landmarks. You’ll discover a host of fascinating places and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world to explore.
Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam
A holiday to Vietnam is a bucket list trip and you’ll want to see the best Vietnam landmarks, historical sites and natural beauty this incredible country has to offer. Plan your sight-seeing with the best Vietnamese landmarks that you absolutely must include on your itinerary.
What is Vietnam Famous For?
From UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancient and modern history, buzzing cities humming with scooters to the tranquil scenery of Halong Bay. There are the historical temples and tombs of the Imperial city of Hue and the enchanting ancient town of Hoi An and Vietnam’s culture and fabulous cuisine. Vietnam is famous for a diverse range of experiences.
But, this is a huge country stretching over 1600 km from north to south, and fitting in all of the most famous landmarks in Vietnam is a challenge. To help you get the most out of your itinerary I’ve curated this guide to the best major landmarks in Vietnam.
Landmarks in Vietnam you should visit
Most people fly into Hanoi in the north and travel south through the country – so our journey starts there, with the Hanoi places of interest. We then travel south through Vietnam to the Ho Chi Minh City famous landmarks. En-route we’ll take in the best places to see in Hue, Danang, Hoi An and Mui Ne. If you’re flying into HCMC and travelling north just do it in reverse.
The Temple of Literature, Hanoi
A tranquil Vietnam landmark – Temple of Literature in Hanoi
At the Intersection of Van Mieu and Pho Quoc Tu Giam you’ll find the Temple of Literature, probably the most tranquil of Hanoi landmarks. The temple is said to be the first university in Vietnam, originally dedicated in 1070 to the teachings of Confucius and is a top landmark building in Vietnam.
The serene walled garden complex with beautiful pagodas, traditional Vietnamese architecture and ancient trees are beautifully preserved. During your visit you’ll discover stone carvings with inscriptions of Confucius teachings, five beautiful courtyards, the Well of Heavenly Clarity and the bell and drum tower. It’s a peaceful spot away from the chaos of the city.
Temple of Literature landmark: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi.
The One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi
The One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi
The One Pillar Pagoda temple rises from a single pillar in the centre of a lotus pond and is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water. This tiniest of temples, at just three square metres, is one of the most iconic sights to see in Vietnam.
The pagoda was built in the eleventh century between 1028 and 1054. Its ornate shrine is dedicated to the Vietnamese Buddhist deity Quan Am.
The One Pillar Pagoda landmark is located at Hua Mot Cot, Doi Can, Ba Dình, Hanoi.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of Hanoi’s most imposing buildings and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vietnam’s capital city. The huge granite memorial is located in the impressive Ba Dinh Square and is watched over by guards wearing crisp white uniforms.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi, Vietnam
Contrary to Ho Chi Minh’s wishes the mausoleum contains his preserved corpse. He did not want to be preserved like Lenin, however, his embalmed remains lie in a glass case so that, according to the Vietnamese population, he can ‘live forever’.
Get there early as this Vietnam monument gets busy, especially on local holidays. Check the mausoleum website before you go as opening times vary. The mausoleum is closed for two months each year for maintenance and also on Fridays. Dress code is respectful, so no shorts, vests or flip-flops. Shoulder to knee must be covered.
A short walk from the mausoleum is Uncle Ho’s stilted house in tranquil gardens, where he worked and lived.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Landmark: 2 Hung Vuong, Dien Ban, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.
There are many more Vietnam famous places located in Hanoi including Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi’s Old Quarter and the French Quarter. Check out my two-day Hanoi itinerary to find out how to best spend your time in the city.
Halong Bay, Vietnam natural Landmark
When asked what is Vietnam famous for, Halong Bay is bound to be mentioned. You absolutely cannot go to Vietnam without spending time in the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay.
Ha Long Bay sits in the Gulf of Tonkin and is one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. Ha Long Bay translates to Bay of the Descending Dragon and the scenery is stunning.
The best way to take in the spectacular scenery of Ha Long Bay is by a relaxing cruise on a traditional junk boat. Spend the day exploring the landscape where thousands of limestone karsts burst breathtakingly skywards from the depths of the sparkling water, and kayak through the emerald-green water of the South China Seas. Read about my experience of spending a night on a junk in Halong Bay.
Overnight is spent on your junk boat where you’ll wake to sunrise over Halong Bay. There is no sight more tranquil or beautiful than Halong Bay cast in the misty first light of day.
The Imperial City Hue
The Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam – one of Vietnam’s historical landmarks
Vietnam historical monuments are many but Hue, Vietnam’s old Imperial City, is where you’ll find some of the oldest, along with the cultural heart and soul of the country. Hue was the imperial capital of Vietnam’s Nguyen dynasty between 1802 and 1945 and sits at the mouth of the Perfume River.
The Imperial City, an imposing square fortress, was built to emulate the Forbidden City in Beijing, and is encompassed by 6-metre high walls. Thai Hoa Palace, is embellished with exquisite lacquer, gilding, and bronzeware with dragons guarding the entrances. The gateway to Hien Lam pavilion, a three-story wooden structure, is stunning. The former Imperial City is one of the most famous landmarks of Vietnam.
Hue Imperial City landmark is at Thanh pho Hue, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam
Khai Dinh’s Tomb
Khai Dinh’s Tomb, monument in Hue, Vietnam
Tomb hopping was one of my favourite activities in Hue. We picked up a boat on the Perfume River and the family, who’s home it was, took us on a cruise stopping of at many of the tombs en-route.
Khai Dinh Tomb is a little further out of Hue and we booked a taxi for the morning who took us there and waited before returning us to our hotel. You could also hire push bikes and go under your own steam.
Khai Dinh Tomb sits on the slopes of Chau Chu mountain. After climbing 100 dragon-flanked steps you’ll arrive on a platform of life-sized stone elephants, horses and Mandarin warriors. The mausoleum looks unassuming from the outside, but the interior is impressive and the view across the hills over the tree-canopy is stunning
The Khai Dinh Tomb landmark is located at: Khai Dịnh, Thuy Bang, Huong Thuy, Thua Thien Hue 530000, Vietnam.
Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda (Heavenly Lady) is the official symbol of Hue and a famous landmark in Vietnam. Steps lead from the Perfume River directly to the seven storey octagonal tower which is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam.
Seven represents the sacred number in Vietnam Buddhism. On the seventh floor behind a locked door is a golden Buddha statue. Visitors are permitted to climb to the sixth floor only, via a spiral staircase.
Explore the nearby pavilion, housing a giant stone turtle with engraved stele, a huge bronze bell, laughing Buddha and Disneyesque temple guardians.
Thien Mu Pagoda, historic landmark is located at: Huong Hoa, Thanh pho Hue, Huong Hoa Thanh pho Hue Thua Thien Hue
Golden Bridge Da Nang
Golden Bridge, Da Nang, man made landmark in Vietnam
Probably the newest of man made landmarks in Vietnam, the Golden Bridge, in Ba Na Hills, Da Nang was built in 2017 to encourage tourists to visit the area. The 150-metre long pedestrian bridge is cradled by a pair of giant hands with panoramic views of the beautiful countryside.
Golden Bridge is an impressive architectural masterpiece located in the Ba Na Hill Sun World amusement park. The bridge is right at the top of Ba Na Hill accessible by a 20-minute cable car ride.
Go early if you don’t want to share the bridge with hundreds of tourists and check the weather forecast. If it’s raining the views from the bridge will be obscured. Day tours go from Da Nang and Hoi An.
Golden Bridge Landmark is located at: Tuyen cap treo len Ba Na Hills, Hoa Ninh, Hoa Vang, Da Nang, Vietnam
Hoi An Ancient Town and Heritage Houses
Hoi An, Vietnam, historical landmark
When it comes to Vietnam historical landmarks, Hoi An is the most enchanting ancient town and a must-see place during your Vietnam trip. The small town is filled with historical landmarks and is one of the most popular tourist places in Vietnam. Entering the ancient trading port is like stepping back in time and if you visit during full moon the town is even more magical. It’s held on day 14 of the lunar month.
Hoi An ancient town was officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and it’s where you’ll find most of the old merchant houses with faded yellow paint and well-preserved interiors. Visit some of the old houses like the Phung Hung House and Phuc Kien Assemby Hall.
There are lots of fun things to do in Hoi An. Be sure to visit the food market in Hoi An and take a cooking class where you’ll learn to make some of the popular food in Vietnam.
Hoi An Ancient Town landmark is located at: Phuong Minh An, Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam
The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An
Japanese Bridge, Hoi An, Vietnam
The Japanese Covered Bridge was built in the seventeenth century and has a pagoda style roof with ornate carvings. The bridge has been carefully preserved and crosses a small channel which runs into the Thu Bon river in the heart of the ancient town.
You’ll find the Japanese Covered Bridge landmark at Nguyen Thị Minh Khai, Phuong Minh An, Hoi An, Quang Nam.
Mui Ne White and Red Sand Dunes
Mui Ne is a beautiful fishing village on the Eastern coast of Vietnam with a 6km beach. Many people head there for kite surfing, but Mui Ne is home to an attraction that you wouldn’t expect Vietnam to be famous for. Its stunning white sand dunes are a must-see landmark.
Mui Ne Sand dunes, Vietnam
The most popular Mui Ne attraction, the white sand dunes, also known as Bau Trang or White Lake, are about 25 kilometres north-east of the town and around 30 to 40-minutes by car or motorcycle. The Mui Ne white sand dunes make a beautiful backdrop to an oasis of green set around a peaceful lotus pond.
At the visitor centre you can hire quad bikes and indulge in some adrenalin inducing dune bashing.
Mui Ne White Sand Dunes landmark is located at Hoa Thang, Bac Binh, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet.
The red sand dunes are a 20-minutes’ drive from Mui Ne on the outskirts of the town. Hire a plastic surf mat for a small fee and slide your way down the dunes. Go at sunset when the colour of the sand looks more vivid and take in the wonderful views out to the ocean.
Mui Ne Red Sand Dunes landmark are at 01 Hon Rom, ĐT716, Mui Ne, Thanh pho Phan Thiet, Bình Thuan Province (directly next to the main coastal road running out of Mui Ne)
Mui Ne Fishing Village and Fairy Stream
While you’re in Mui Ne take time to visit the fishing village with its fleet of authentic, brightly coloured fishing boats and take a stroll through the fairy stream. For a small town there are a lot of unusual things to do in Mui Ne and there are quite a few attractions of Vietnam within a small area.
Mui Ne Fairy Stream, Vietnam
Next stop is Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Like Hanoi, HCMC is a must-see stop on your Vietnam itinerary where you’ll find some of the most famous Vietnam landmarks. There are many things to see and do but the following are the top Ho Chi Minh City landmarks.
Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City
The Reunification Palace, Vietnam
The Reunification Palace is where the Vietnam war ended on 30 April 1975 and is one of the most famous landmarks in Vietnam. It the place where the north Vietnamese tanks tore through the gates marking the end of the war between the north and south and the reunification of Vietnam. The tanks, aircraft and other military vehicles are displayed in the grounds of the palace.
The building stands today as it was left in 1975. I recommend a guided tour through its rooms, chambers, secret hideouts and wartime tunnels, most of which are still fitted with original furniture and equipment.
The presidential living quarters are something of an eye-opener and the basement tour is a must-do with its network of tunnels, war rooms and communication centre. As Saigon landmarks go this is a must-see.
135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Phuong Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Bitexco Financial Tower
Bitexco Tower, Ho Chi Minh City landmark
There are many buildings where you can get a bird’s eye view of Ho Chi Minh City, but the most spectacular views are from the Saigon Skydeck on the 49th floor of the 262-metre tall Bitexco Financial Tower. It’s one the most famous buildings in Vietnam.
Bitexco Financial Tower is open until 21:30 hrs and the views of the stunning 360-degree panorama of the city as it lights up at dusk are a Saigon must-see.
Find this Saigon Landmark at 2 Hai Trieu, Ben Nghe, Quan 1, Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh 700000, Vietnam
Ben Tanh Market
Ben Thanh Market, HCMC, Vietnam
The French-built Ben Thanh Market with its distinctive clock tower at the main entrance gate is a popular landmark in Ho Chi Minh City. The huge market covers over 10000 square metres and its 2000 stalls sell just about everything from essential housewares, clothes, fresh produce, meats, fish and countless types of coffee to souvenirs and tourist trap trinkets.
Wear your haggling head because goods start at outrageously high prices, but the stall-holders are generally up for some haggling and banter, which they’re very good at. I bought some Vietnam souvenirs and probably paid more than I should have. I was happy with the price, but I get the feeling the stall-holder was happier…
Ben Tanh Market landmark is located at D. Le Loi, Phuong Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh 700000, Vietnam. It’s across from the bus station near to Ben Thanh Roundabout, a great traffic-watching spot.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Just an hour’s drive northwest of Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most famous landmarks in Vietnam – the Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels are part of an expansive underground network that spans over 200 kilometres in length.
Cu Chi Tunnels, one of the top landmarks in Vietnam
The tunnels played an important role in the Vietnam War. Used as a base for the operations of the Viet Cong, they housed troops, make-shift hospitals, shelters and stored supplies. They eventually housed entire villages and protected the occupants from bombings and were also used to lay booby traps and mount surprise attacks.
Today, the Cu Chi Tunnels are part of Vietnam War Memorial Park, where visitors can learn about the Vietnam War. There are many interesting displays and visitors can crawl through some areas of the tunnel network and view command centres, booby traps and firing ranges – that is if you can squeeze into the tiny tunnels which are very cramped and narrow.
Cu Chi Tunnels landmark is located at L15, Phu Hiep, Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh
So, that’s my round up of some the best places to see in Vietnam. There are dozens of incredible natural landmarks, historical sites, and monuments to choose from during your holiday to Vietnam. If you’re only interested in the major Vietnam landmarks, this list is a great starting point.
Do you have a favourite landmark that I’ve missed? Share with us in the comments below.
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