Eight Wonders of Vietnam - UNESCO Sites in Vietnam

By: Bobby Nguyen

What to do in Vietnam

Vietnam Must See. UNESCO lists 7 World Heritages in the country. Here, we list the eight wanders of Vietnam. Travelers will be tempted to explore a densely textured destination as historic, culturally rich and scenically stupefying as any country on Earth. Vietnam is afterall home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong.

1) What to do in Vietnam - Ha Long Bay
UNESCO World Heritage Centre (1994, 2000)

Legend has it that the dragon that created civilization dove into these waters (Ha Long means 'descending dragon') to his rest. There is a mythic, supernatural quality to this bay on the Gulfof Tonkin, east of Hanoi, that must be experienced to believe. Limestone 'haystack' islands draped in jungle foliate erupt from theplacid bay, fishermen in dragon-headed boats lay their nets, caves both aboveand below water level invite exploration. There are some 700 islands in the bay. Nowadays you can sea kayak among them with local tour operators - although in ancient times the Vietnamese general Tran Hung Dao outwitted the Chinese navy here.

2) What to do in Vietnam - Hanoi's Old Quarter
The Paris of Vietnam

Few capitals necessarily qualify as 'wonders'. Paris comes to mind but Hanoi belongs in that class. It was first made capital of Vietnam in 1010 A.D., along a bend in the Red River, and even today, 996 years later, it's still a rush of urban energy and pastoral ease. Walk around the central district's Hoan Kiem Lake in the cool morning hours, while the locals do their daily tai chi; shop in the narrow streets ofthe Old Quarter where tradesmen have practiced in the same shops for up to 25 generations; dine European, Asian, or fusion at one of the many restoredcolonial mansions.

3) Cao Dai Temple
Even knowing in advance that the Cao Dai religion counts among its saints Victor Hugo, Louis Pasteur, and Sun Yat-Sen does little to prepare the visitorfor the psychedelic splendor of its Holy See. Primary colors run riot overplaster dragons, flowers, and figurines crawling up the pillars and walls,while the all-seeing eye (a Masonic symbol also found on the US Great Seal) iseverywhere. The temple is just a short drive from Ho Chi Minh City, and elaborate services and ceremonies are held almost daily.

4) Mekong Delta
And Dont forget The Floating Market

The Mekong's route begins 2,500 miles upstream in Tibet, and its course through China, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam is a waterway through the exotic. It flows into the South China Sea through adelta of many streams (its Vietnamese name, Cuu Long, means Nine Dragons), afertile region known as 'the ricebowl of Vietnam.' The highlight formost visitors are the floating markets of Cai Be and Vinh Long, where you canget everything from fruits, flowers, and handicrafts to exotic snakes — anddishes as memorable as the “elephant's ear” fish (not endangered).

5) Mountain Climbing at Tonkinese Alps
The Tonkinese Alps create the barrier between Vietnamand China to the north, and their highest peak is Mount Fansipan (10,312 feet). Most people don't think of going to Vietnam to go mountain climbing, but consider this multi-day trek anyway, not only forits spectacular views into Chinabut for the hilltribe villages you pass through en route. The route begins in Sapa, a popular tourist center in the midst of hill country, then forgesthrough valleys of terraced rice fields into ever more remote villages peopledby animistic minorities, such as the Dao, Hmong and Nung. Frommer's Guide onthe Tokinese Alps.

6) See Exotic Endangered Wildlife
With its centuries of warfare and commerce, napalm and revolution, it's hard to think of Vietnamas a wildlife hot spot, but it is becoming increasingly recognized as such. Exotic creatures such as several rare species of langurs, gibbons and monkeys; wild boars and the extremely rare brown-antlered deer vie with lizards, snakes and birds for life listers. Although habitat loss in this growing country is aproblem, an even bigger one is the catholic appetite of the Vietnamese palate –and the illegal trade in endangered species and restaurants that serve them.

7) Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2003,2015)

The most recent of Vietnam's World Heritage Sites is the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Travelers to Southeast Asia are well aware of the widespread karst formations of the region (Ha Long Bay is one such). Karsttopography is limestone-based, riven with caves and cracks, given to weirdshapes and striking vistas. The formations in Phong Nha-Ke Bang are among the world's oldest, 400 million years old; its geomorphology is complex and a mother lode for earth sciences.

8) Hoi An Village Designated
UNESCO World Heritage Centre (1999)
Hoi An is the former main port of Vietnam in the 16th century, and today 844 of its historic structures are preserved as landmarks. You can walk down the crooked streets surrounded by the atmosphere and odors of times gone by,take a sampan ride down the Do River or the streams that lace the town, hunt the traces of the foreign traders – Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, and Indian – whomade Hoi An the center of culture in old Vietnam. Helpful hint: visit duringfull moon, when the shop owners turn off the lights and illuminate the streetswith candle lanterns.

What to do in Vietnam?
Here are 
the rest of Unesco World hertitage sites in Vietnam that you should visit

  • Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi (2010)
  • Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (2011)
  • Complex of Hué Monuments (1993)
  • Hoi An Ancient Town (1999)
  • My Son Sanctuary (1999)
  • Trang An Landscape Complex (2014)

And lastly, Tet Nguyen Dan (or simply Tet) is the most important festival in Vietnam. It celebrates rebirth, and is an equivalent of the Lunar New Year. You may want to visit Vietnam during this period. 

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