Vietnam has many thousand-year-old cultures, which vary across the country. Once traveling here, not only do tourists enjoy rich landscapes, but they also experience the most authentic cultural features. Let’s discover the best sites for a cultural tour in Vietnam!
North of Vietnam – The Beginning of Historical Glory
As opposed to the modern and glamorous urban scenes of the South, Northern Vietnam boasts a more ancient and quiet beauty, with the centuries-old characteristics imprinted on the scenery and daily lifestyles.
Daily life around West Lake
Besides the buzzing Old Quarter, the Vietnamese capital still keeps its ageless charm through centuries. This site is a perfect combination of modernity and old traits, which explains the wide variety of activities you can do to get immersed in the traditional lifestyle:
1. Stroll around West Lake: This natural lake will give you tranquility among the busy atmosphere in Hanoi. While wandering around the bank, you can really feel the rhythm of citizen’s lives.
2. Visit the must-see temples and pagodas in Ha Noi: Many temples and pagodas represent the glorious history and culture of Vietnam, which goes way back to a thousand years ago.
3. Try local Hanoi cuisines: Don’t forget to fill your stomach with the endless variety of Vietnamese food in Hanoi like Bun Cha or Pho.
You can learn about the cultures by making friends with locals
Sa Pa has striking views of the terraced rice fields, forested mountains, and rolling hills. Moreover, the Fansipan nearby is the tallest mountain in Vietnam at over 3,000 meters above sea level. This place is also home to more than 20 ethnic minorities. Each minority has its distinctive traditions and lifestyle, but most of them will give you a warm welcome. Here are some activities you can join when visiting Sa Pa:
1. Hiking and trekking: Indulge yourself in the breath-taking views of nature and test yourself on the Indochina Summit in Sapa – one of the most challenging trekking tracks for any adventurous soul.
2. Interact with ethnic groups: This is the best way to get cultural insights from the locals. There are many festivals year-round, which you’re welcomed to enjoy, such as Lao Cai Xuong Dong Festival, Roong Pooc Festival, and Gau Tao Festival.
3. Visit traditional highlands markets: Markets are where locals exchange goods and culture. Besides, you can discover various specialties ranging from clothes, handicrafts to foods.
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Central Vietnam – Vietnam’s Geographic Heart
Central Vietnam is packed with historical attractions and blessed with ravishing beaches. This area is home to fascinating cities that deserve a cultural tour in Vietnam. For visitors, there is no shortage of sights to enjoy in the area.
Tombs, temples, and palaces surround this city
Known as the Vietnamese capital from 1802 to 1945, the city represents itself the charm and unchanging architectural works through centuries. This elegance makes Hue the town of historical heritage, which should be among the top places for a worthy cultural tour in Vietnam. When you’re here, you can trace back the chronicle of the 17th and 18th centuries by experiencing these activities.
1. Boat ride on the Huong River: Nothing can be more relaxing than watching the picturesque scenery along the Huong River from a boat.
2. Visit Thien Mu Pagoda: It is among the top 8 amazing pagodas in Vietnam and one of Hue’s iconic symbols. Thien Mu Pagoda is famous for its sacrality and romantic position beside the Huong River.
3. Enjoy a bowl of Bun Bo Hue: This dish is famous throughout Vietnam, but Hue is where it was created. So the plate will have the most distinctive and authentic flavor when you try it here.
4. Dong Ba Market: You can stroll through numerous stalls to pick up ideal traditional souvenirs.
Walking around Hoi An Ancient Town to enjoy the serene atmosphere
Once a main trading port during the 16th and 17th centuries, Hoi An is a real living museum. Time has passed, but this ancient city still retains classic Eastern architecture. Besides sightseeing, here are more fantastic things around Hoi An to try during your cultural tour in Vietnam.
1. Visit Hoi An Ancient Town: Most of the houses here were constructed in the 17th century’s style. Its streets are full of lanterns and colonial homes that will surprise anyone.
2. Discover the Arts and Craft Manufacturing workshop: This is where you can discover all about traditional crafts in Hoi An and Quang Nam, such as lacquer paintings, woven straw mats, and terracotta pottery.
3. Release paper lanterns: If you travel to Hoi An, you can buy the red lanterns and candles along the riverbank, release them into the water at night and prepare to be fascinated by their elegant reflection in the water.
A peaceful shore in Mui Ne
Located in Phan Thiet, Mui Ne is a coastal city famous for stunning beaches and dunes. Here, you not only can enjoy the ideal sunset but also learn about the fishermen’s life. Below are some suggestions if you include Mui Ne in your cultural tour in Vietnam.
1. Sand dune sliding: This is one of the most exciting activities you should never miss. Rent a skateboard with only VND 20,000; then you can play till whenever you want.
2. Mui Ne fishing village: A visit here will offer you a look at the fishermen’s life and a chance to buy freshly-caught fishes from the sea.
3. Try typical cuisines: There are a lot of distinctive foods that you can try, such as mini pancakes, pork and shrimp dumpling, or grilled butterfly lizard.
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Vietnam’s Central Highlands – The Cradle of Gong Culture
The mysterious Central Highland is often missed out from the usual cultural tour in Vietnam, yet it’s a “gem” full of small ethnic minorities, primitive forests, and magnificent mountain ranges.
The daily activity of local people in Kon Tum
Kon Tum is a remoted province that lies near the borders of Laos and Cambodia. It is one of the best attractions because of the beautiful landscapes surrounded by mountains and cafe plantations. There are many places you can pay a visit to, such as the Wooden Church, the Highland Communal House, and the Kon Tum Bishop’s House.
Ban Don is the landmark of native culture in Vietnam. Tourists will have the opportunity to ride lovely elephants across the village and the scenic nature. Also, you can visit the showroom of ethnic minorities to see the elephant hunting equipment, and to hear stories about the art of hunting and taming wild elephants.
Experience the Gong Culture
The traditional performance of the Gong culture.
UNESCO recognized the space of Gong culture as a Masterpiece of The Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005. For thousands of years, Gong culture has had a close connection with the traditional rituals. Here are some ideal destinations you can visit to enjoy the space of Gong culture.
- KonKoTu Village – Cultural Village of Ba Na ethnic group Mang Den Ecotourism Site
- Lang Biang Gong Club (312 Lang Biang, Bondong Li Street, Lac Duong District, Lam Dong Province)
- Plei Op Culture-Tourism Village (Hoa Lu Ward, Pleiku City)
- Mang Den Ecotourism Site (Dak Long Commune, Kon Plong District, Kon Tum Province)
South of Vietnam – Home to The Warm-Hearted Locals
The southern regions of Vietnam are famous for their modernity and ultimate hospitality. Hence, the area always attracts a massive number of tourists yearly, although there is less sense of history than in Vietnam’s North and Central.
Ho Chi Minh City
Having a local buddy is the greatest way to have thorough insights about Ho Chi Minh city
It is no doubt that most tourists add this multicultural city to their bucket list. Everything about Vietnamese culture, food, tradition, and architecture you seek out is all located in Ho Chi Minh City. Despite the crazy traffic, this 300-year-old city is never outdated due to its endless things to discover:
1. Travel on a motorbike: There is nothing better than discovering every corner with a local friend. With this option, you can have insights into life as well as stories of each destination. If you want to know more about this city, don’t hesitate to book a motorbike tour!
2. Visit famous attractions: Numerous historical landmarks here can give you a more thorough understanding of Vietnamese history and religions.
3. Enjoy local foods: One big part of exploring a new culture is getting to try regional cuisines. You’ll have an infinite choice in this food heaven.
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Let’s get some relaxing time around the small canal
Mekong Delta is packed with beautiful scenes, cultures, and tropical fruits. This region consists of 13 provinces, and as rivers and canals surround the area, the primary means of transportation here are boat and sampan.
If you think spending a day at Mekong Delta is enough for our journey, you may rethink it because there are lots of activities to enjoy.
1. Cai Rang Floating Market: It is on the Cai Rang River of Can Tho City (about 3 hours from Ho Chi Minh city by car). The floating market is made up of many small sampans, where several local foods, drinks, and fruits are sold. The farmers grow most of the products here.
2. Local fruit gardens: You can often come across a variety of fruit in the local gardens, like durian, watermelon, and pomelo. If you want to buy them, you can visit the local markets or ask the farmers directly.
3. Fishing: Fishing in Mekong Delta not only plays a vital role in the regional economy but also becomes a hobby of Vietnamese.
A Wrap-Up of The Top Places for A Worthy Cultural Tour in Vietnam
Besides the picturesque scenery, Vietnam doesn’t lack sites for exploring the vibrant culture. Wherever you go, try to immerse as much as possible in the local experience to really acquire the authentic insight into the Vietnamese life and the history that forms the country today.
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