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Northern Vietnam is home to many popular tourist attractions with spectacular landscapes and excellent culinary dishes. If you are concerned about where to go in Northern Vietnam, this article will definitely help you find a perfect answer.

Northern Vietnam offers a diverse range of natural attractions from stunning beaches, golden rice fields, imposing mountains to lakes, rivers and primeval forests. This article will provide a specific travel guide about 10 top-rated destinations in Northern Vietnam to help you decide which one to visit.

1. Ha Long Bay – A scenic UNESCO Heritage Site living up to the hype

Recognized as a natural wonder of the world by UNESCO, Ha Long Bay is a tourism paradise in Northern Vietnam. It attracts a large number of tourists coming to explore the poetic beauty of natural attractions such as TipTop Island, Tuan Chau Island, Bai Tu Long Bay, etc. TipTop Island is a small islet in Ha Long Bay, is famous for the beautiful Tip Top Beach. The beach is not too large compared to others, but it has clear blue seawater in the four seasons.

Northern Vietnam

Ti Top Island has a splendid scenery (Source: Collected)

Lying in the Northwest of Ha Long Bay, Tuan Chau Island has crystal clear water and magnificent underwater scenery. Visitors can go diving or snorkeling to discover the diverse ecosystem there. Bai Tu Long Bay is a laid-back alternative to the vibrant atmosphere of Ha Long Bay with a more soothing vibe. It is home to many amusing destinations such asThien Canh Son Cave, Vung Vieng Village, Ban Chan Island, Cap La Island and Cong Dam area.

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Bai Tu Long Bay is winning the heart of more and more travelers (Source: Collected)

Coming to Ha Long Bay, you should not miss out on the specialties of Ha Long cuisine, which is a combination of fresh seafood and skillful processing techniques. Banh Gat Gu (Nodding Cake) - a roll made from rice powder with minced pork and fried onions, Chao Ha (Acorn Barnacle Porridge) - a dish with nutritious shellfish as the main ingredient, Grilled Chopped Squid - a dish made of chopped or minced squid, are all recommended for you.

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2. Hanoi, Vietnam – An over 1000-year-old city with bustling urban lifestyle

Hanoi is always on the list of not-to-be-missed destinations in Northern Vietnam. With a long history and traditional culture imbued with national identity, the capital is home to 3840 Vietnam’s valuable monuments, including 1164 national-level monuments. There are a large number of temples, pagodas and cathedrals in Hanoi: Tran Quoc Pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple, Mot Cot Pagoda, Quan Su Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, etc. Inspired by Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral, Hanoi’s St.Joseph's Cathedral has an impressive Gothic architectural design, thus many visitors come there to take photos.

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Hoan Kiem lake is located at the heart of the city where many spiritual architectural works of Vietnam reside, including The Huc Bridge, Turtle Tower, Ngoc Son Temple. Visitors should try Trang Tien ice cream and Thuy Ta Ice Cream when visiting Hoan Kiem Lake. Coming to Hoan Kiem district, don’t forget to discoverHanoi Old Quarter and enjoy delicate local cuisine. The Temple of literature and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum are also important historic relics you should not miss in Hanoi. If you want to spend a day in an amusement park, VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City is a perfect choice.

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Hanoi is well-known for its diverse local cuisine with excellent taste, sophisticated processing and harmony of ingredients. PhแปŸ Hanoi is the soul of Vietnamese cuisine with delicate broth, beef, chewy rice noodles and a bit of scallions, herbs and lemon. Bun Cha (Kebab Rice Noodles) is also a must-try dish with sweet and sour fish sauce and mouth watering minced pork.

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3. Ha Giang, Vietnam – A spectacular mountain kingdom of Vietnam

Located at the pole of Northern Vietnam, Ha Giang is bestowed with a combination of huge mountains, forests and rivers. The province is famous for its winding roads, steep hills, colorful flowers and beautiful terrace fields. Ha Giang is home to a variety of ethnic minorities, thus visiting there provides an opportunity for tourists to know more about their lives.

If you travel to Quan Ba district, Quan Ba Heaven Gate and Quan Ba Twin Mountain are top-rated destinations. Quan Ba Heaven Gate is about 1500 meters above sea level and leads to Dong Van Karst Plateau. Standing there, you can contemplate the imposing beauty of the Northwestern region. Quan Ba Twin Mountain is a natural masterpiece, as it has different colors depending on the time you see it. If you come to Dong Van district, don’t miss out on Dong Van Old Town and Lung Cu Flagpole. The old town has a fair every Sunday, thus you can experience the daily life of the people there. Lung Cu Flagpole is located on a peak 1470 meters above sea level. To reach the flagpole, you need to climb 979 steps.

Northern Vietnam

Coming to Meo Vac district, tourists should visit Ma Pi Leng, which is 20 kilometers long and 1200 meters above sea level. It is known as the king of mountain passes in Northern Vietnam, attracting many enthusiastic adventurers. When you travel to Hoang Su Phi district, Hoang Su Phi terrace field is an unmissable destination. Recognized as a National Heritage, it has a long history of hundreds of years. You should visit the terrace field in September and October to see the golden rice fields.

4. Trang An, Ninh Binh – A breathtaking landscape complex for nature-lovers

Trang An is an eco-tourism area located in Trang An World Heritage Site in Ninh Binh province. Being one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Northern Vietnam, Trang An complex is recognized as a National Heritage Site by the Vietnamese government and a dual World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Trang An is a complex of Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel preserved areas, pagodas, grottoes, caves, lakes, limestone mountains and forests. There are 48 caves connected with 31 wetlands such as Dark Cave, Bright Cave and 2-kilometer waterborne caves such as Sinh Duoc Cave, Dia Linh Cave. Each cave has a unique appearance and stunning stalactites. Trang An is also surrounded by golden paddy fields. Sitting on a small boat and traveling along the river, you can contemplate the panorama of the natural landscape here.

Northern Vietnam

Trang An is home to a lot of temples and pagodas with historic and cultural values. Bai Dinh Pagoda is the largest pagoda in Vietnam with unique architecture and a long history. Tran Temple was built mainly from stone and was the base of the Dinh Dynasty. Trinh Temple worships two important generals of the Dinh Dynasty: Ta Thanh Tru and Huu Thanh Tru.

5. Lang Son, Vietnam – Among the must-visit places in Northern Vietnam

Lang Son is a province in Northeastern Vietnam, attracting tourists not only with its magnificent natural landscapes but also with many historical and cultural sites. Lang Son Wind Cave is famous for the beauty of natural stalactites of all shapes and iridescent silvery rocks; To Thi Mountain is associated with the lore of To Thi – a local female figure; and Mau Son Mountain is the highest peak in Southeast Asia.

Northern Vietnam

Chi Lang Pass is a well-known historical relic that preserves the traces of the nation’s many heroic victories over invading armies in 981, 1076, 1285 and 1427. Mac Dynasty Citadel is a military structural monument since the conflict of the Le-Trinh Dynasty happened in the 16th and 17th century. Lang Son also has the famous Tam Thanh Pagoda, a sacred place for Buddhists to pray at.

Northern Vietnam

6. Hai Phong City – A great choice for backpackers

Known as the “land of flame flowers”, Hai Phongis one of the biggest tourist attractions in Northern Vietnam thanks to a diversity of pristine destinations, delicious local cuisine and historical monuments. Visiting breathtaking beaches, immersing in the cool water of Do Son beach, Cat Ba island, Hon Dau Island, Van Boi Beach and sunbathing on the white sand are some of the best thing to di in Hai Phong. The best time to visit Hai Phong is from April to October, since at this time Hai Phong's weather is cool, dry and comfortable for you to discover as many famous destinations as possible.

Northern Vietnam

Traveling to Hai Phong, you should visit many historical sites such as Hai Phong Navy Museum where a large number of historical relics and valuable documents are preserved, Tuong Long Tower – a major monument worshiping Buddha, and Bao Dai Villa which is one of seven palaces of emperor Bao Dai. Besides, Voi Mountain, Tuyet Tinh Coc, Dai Hop Commune eco-tourism area are must-see natural landscapes in Hai Phong.

Northern Vietnam

7. Son La Province – A hidden gem in the north of Vietnam

Located in the northwest of Vietnam and 320 kilometers away from Hanoi, Son La is one of the most ethnically diverse regions in Vietnam. The province is surrounded by misty mountains, primeval forests, green hills and rivers. Moc Chau Plateau is one of the most famous plateaus among nature lovers where you can see many Moc Chau Tea Plantations and flowers with beautiful white color. Because the local people plant tea in the shape of concentric hearts, Moc Chau Tea Plantations are also called Heart Tea Plantations. This is a well-known place to take photos among visitors.

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8. Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai

Located approximately 300 kilometers away from Hanoi, Mu Cang Chai is a small mountainous region in the West of Yen Bai Province. It is famous for the beautiful scenery of terrace fields. In the season of rice ripening, Mu Cang Chai is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Northern Vietnam. To contemplate the golden rice fields, tourists should visit Tu Le commune, which is famous for sticky rice and green rice. The terrace rice fields in La Pan Tan commune, Che Cu Nha commune and De Xu Phinh commune were recognized as a National Heritage in 2007.

Northern Vietnam

Mu Cang Chai is famous not only for terrace rice fields but also stunning waterfalls. Pu Nhu Waterfall is 20 meters high with an impressive rock structure in La Pan Tan commune. Mo Waterfall is a 4-storey waterfall with a picturesque beauty in Mo De commune. Besides, if you are an enthusiastic adventurer, you should visit Khau Pha Pass. It is one of the most winding and dangerous passes in Northern Vietnam. Many travelers visit this pass to enjoy the scenery of the golden terrace fields.

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9. Cao Bang Province 

Known as the “green jewel” of Northeastern Vietnam, Cao Bang Province is not only famous for beautiful natural landscapes but also for a system of historical monuments in the feudal period. Pac Bo Historical Complex is a famous historical monument where Uncle Ho chose to work and lead the Vietnamese revolution after 30 years abroad. The monument consists of Pac Bo Cave, Lenin Stream, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum House, etc.

Ban Gioc Waterfall is the fourth largest waterfall in the world with a height of 60 meters. Near Ban Gioc Waterfall, there is Truc Lam Pagoda – a Vietnamese-style temple for Buddhists. You can contemplate the magnificent beauty of Ban Gioc Waterfall from Truc Lam Pagoda. Besides, Nguom Ngao Cave and Thang Hen Lake are two unmissable destinations in Cao Bang.

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10. Sapa, Lao Cai – One of the TOP destinations to visit in Northern Vietnam

Located at the foot of Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, Sapa is a tourism center of Northern Vietnam with stunning natural landscapes. Sapa is famous for Mount Peak FanSiPan– the highest peak in Vietnam. At the bottom of Mount FanSiPan, Muong Hoa Valley gained its reputation for majestic nature, breathtaking scenery and a diverse culture of many ethnic minorities there. The highlight of the valley is the Ancient Stone Field, a unique destination for visitors to learn more about local history.

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With an excellent combination of breathtaking natural landscapes, cultural diversity and delicate taste of local cuisine, Northern Vietnam is attracting more and more domestic and foreign visitors. Hopefully, this article will help you decide which destination is worth-visiting and be-well-prepared for your trip!

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