16 Most Interesting Places [TIPS + MAPS] ⭐️

1. Hanoi » 2. Ninh Binh » 3. Sapa » 4. Ha Giang » 5. Yen Bai » 6. Lai Chau » 7. Mai Chau » 8. Ha Long + Cat Ba » 9. Moc Chau » 10. Cao Bang » 11. Dien Bien Phu » 12. Bac Ha » 13. Lang Son » 14. Son La » 15. Quan Lan » 16. Co To


Ninh Binh - Northern Vietnam



























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So, where to go in the north of Vietnam?

There are many interesting places in the north of Vietnam and each offers various attractions, natural sceneries, historical monuments or tourist activities. If you are looking for historical monuments and sites, for example, such places are mainly in Hanoi or its surroundings or Ninh Binh, so, rather in the south of northern Vietnam. Provinces such as Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Son La and Cao Bang offer amazing natural sceneries and remote non-touristy places of ethnic minorities. Sapa is one of the most visited sites in the north. If you are looking for tourist sports activities or relaxation on the beaches (tourists places) mainly in Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba Island or on more remote islands such as Quan Lan or Co To. I consider the most interesting places in northern Vietnam you can see and visit in the far north, authentic places, ethnic villages, but also, for example, Ha Long Bay (a great tourist place) or the fascinating Ninh Binh is definitely also worth a visit.

Place Description
Hanoi Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a bustling city known for its rich history and vibrant culture. Visitors can explore the Old Quarter, visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, and discover the city’s numerous museums and historical sites, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature.
Ninh Binh Ninh Binh is a province in northern Vietnam known for its stunning natural landscapes. It is home to Trang An Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where visitors can take boat rides through limestone caves and enjoy breathtaking views of karst formations and rice fields. Ninh Binh is often referred to as „Halong Bay on land.“
Sapa Sapa is a mountainous town nestled in the Hoang Lien Son Range. It is renowned for its terraced rice fields, traditional hill tribe villages, and trekking opportunities. Visitors can embark on hikes to Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina, or explore the cultural diversity of the region by visiting local markets and interacting with ethnic communities.
Ha Giang Ha Giang is a province known for its rugged mountains, steep valleys, and winding roads. It offers breathtaking landscapes and is a paradise for motorbike enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Highlights include the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, the Ma Pi Leng Pass, and the colorful markets where ethnic minority groups converge.
Yen Bai Yen Bai is a province blessed with natural beauty, including mountains, rivers, and lakes. One of its main attractions is the stunning Mu Cang Chai terraced rice fields, which are particularly captivating during the harvest season when the fields turn golden. Yen Bai also offers opportunities for trekking, hiking, and exploring traditional ethnic villages.
Lai Chau Lai Chau is a mountainous province with diverse ethnic cultures and breathtaking landscapes. It is home to Fansipan’s „Roof of Indochina“ and boasts stunning valleys, waterfalls, and traditional villages. Lai Chau is an ideal destination for those seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures and cultural immersion.
Mai Chau Mai Chau is a peaceful valley located in Hoa Binh Province. Surrounded by mountains, it is famous for its traditional stilt houses and beautiful rice fields. Visitors can experience the local way of life, enjoy homestays, and participate in cultural activities such as traditional dance performances and handicraft workshops.
Ha Long + Cat Ba Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its emerald waters and towering limestone islands. Cat Ba Island, located in the bay, offers opportunities for kayaking, rock climbing, and exploring its national park. Together, Ha Long and Cat Ba provide a unique combination of natural beauty, adventure, and relaxation.
Moc Chau Moc Chau is a plateau located in Son La Province and renowned for its vast tea plantations and flower fields. It is a popular destination for nature lovers, offering opportunities for trekking, cycling, and photography. Visitors can also experience the local tea culture and taste delicious tea products.
Cao Bang Cao Bang is a province bordering China and is known for its dramatic landscapes. It features the Ban Gioc Waterfall, one of Vietnam’s most impressive waterfalls, as well as the rugged beauty of Nguom Ngao Cave and the serene beauty of the peaceful lakes of Thang Hen. Cao Bang is an off-the-beaten-path destination with unique natural wonders.
Dien Bien Phu Dien Bien Phu is a historically significant city famous for the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which marked a turning point in the First Indochina War. Visitors can explore historical sites, including the Dien Bien Phu Museum and the A1 Hill, and learn about the region’s rich history and the struggles for Vietnamese independence.
Bac Ha Bac Ha is a small town in Lao Cai Province known for its vibrant Sunday market. The market is a bustling gathering place for ethnic minority communities, showcasing their traditional costumes, handicrafts, and local produce. Visitors can also explore the surrounding countryside, dotted with terraced rice fields and charming villages.
Lang Son Lang Son is a border province with a unique blend of Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. Its main attraction is the Dong Dang Border Gate, a gateway between Vietnam and China. Visitors can explore the Tam Thanh Cave, visit historical sites like the Mac Dynasty Citadel, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Dong Kinh Night Market.
Son La Son La is a province located in the northwest of Vietnam, known for its scenic landscapes and cultural diversity. It is home to the impressive Son La Prison, where Vietnamese revolutionaries were once held, as well as the picturesque Son La Hydroelectric Dam and the colorful ethnic markets where visitors can experience the local way of life.
Quan Lan Quan Lan is one of the islands in the Quang Ninh province and offers a tranquil escape from the bustling cities. It features pristine beaches, clear waters, and towering sand dunes. Visitors can relax on the beach, explore the island’s fishing villages, and try fresh seafood. Quan Lan is an ideal destination for beach lovers seeking a serene coastal experience.
Co To Co To is another island in Quang Ninh province known for its natural beauty and pristine beaches. It is less developed than other tourist destinations, offering a quieter and more secluded getaway. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and exploring the island’s untouched landscapes, including the famous Co To Lighthouse.



❓ Frequently Asked Questions and Answers + Tips:

1. What is the capital of Vietnam?

    • The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi in northern Vietnam, the population in 2023 as per estimates is 8.5 million.

2. Which trains serve the route from Hanoi to Lao Cai?

    • From Hanoi to Lao Cai you can travel by regular trains of Vietnam Railways or there are luxury tourist trains.

3. How to travel in northern Vietnam?

    • You can travel by trains, tourist buses, vans, minivans, planes or motorbike. Read this: Transport in Vietnam.

4. Which places are the most visited in the north?

    • The most visited places in the north of Vietnam are Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa and Ninh Binh.

5. I would like to visit some ethnic markets, where to go?

    • If you want to visit some ethnic markets you have to go to these provinces: Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Cao Bang or Lai Chau.

6. I would like to visit some beaches in the north, where to go?

    • There are a few interesting beaches in northern Vietnam or some remote island, read this: Beaches in the north.

7. How long to stay in northern Vietnam?

    • It is not easy to answer how long to stay in the north of Vietnam, but 1 month is optimal if you want to explore various interesting sites in the far north.

8. What is the most fascinating mountain pass in the north?

    • There are a few fascinating mountain passes in the north, but one of these passes is in Ha Giang – Ma Pi Leng Pass.

9. How large is the railway in the north?

    • Railway is not so large, and various places are accessible only by bus, motorbike, check it: Vietnam Railway Map.

10. What are the less visited provinces in northern Vietnam?

    • The less visited provinces in the north of Vietnam are: Cao Bang, Lai Chau, Son La or Yen Bai.

11. We would like to visit Phu Quoc Island, how to get there from Hanoi?

12. Which airport you can use for transfer to northern Vietnam?

    • If you want to visit northern Vietnam, the best and fastest option is to travel by plane to Hanoi – Noi Bai International Airport. There are various internetional flights to this airport and various domestic flights from Hanoi to other cities of Vietnam. You can read this article: Airports in Vietnam.

13. Is it necessary to have cash in Vietnamese dong when traveling to the northern region?

    • It is advisable to have some cash in Vietnamese dong when traveling to the northern region. While credit cards and electronic payments are becoming more widely accepted in Vietnam, especially in major cities and tourist areas, there may still be some places in the northern region where cash is preferred or even the only accepted form of payment. It’s always a good idea to have some local currency on hand for small purchases, transportation fares, or in case you encounter establishments that don’t accept cards.

14. What to visit in central and southern Vietnam and how to get there?

    • Central and southern Vietnam also offers a number of interesting places, beaches and modern cities, all with a large number of historical monuments. Read these longer travel guides here: Central Vietnam + Southern Vietnam.

15. Which islands you can also visit in Vietnam?

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