1) Cu Chi tunnels
The Cu Chi tunnels were created by the Viet Cong during the war era, and would serve to play a pivotal role in the continued success of the native forces. They’re arguably one of the most claustrophobic structures tourists can visit anywhere in the world — with most of the tunnels designed with just a 50cm width.
The caverns are also littered with booby traps to catch out any US soldiers who might have found their way into the tunnels. The deadliest of these structures are the Punji Stakes, which were designed to puncture and pierce human flesh with lethal precision.
The Cu Chi tunnels are a tight squeeze
2) Have a Coffee in Hanoi
If you’re a lover of caffeine — or just want a totally unique culinary experience — you should try a ca phe sua da. This is an iced coffee with milk, and can be found everywhere in Hanoi.
Hanoi is regarded as one of the best cities in the world when it comes to coffee, so it should definitely be on your list of priorities if you’re partial to the hot (or in this case, cold) drink. Head city’s plethora of beautifully designed cafes and you’ll find people sipping away on cups with the coffee filtered through small metal percolators.
3) Trang An Grottoes
The grottoes of Trang An are one of the most naturally beautiful constructs in all of Asia. Located two-and-a-half-hours south of Hanoi, and then reached by a boat ride, the grottoes themselves are buried away in limestone rock structures which sit on the side of vast canals and lakes.
Midway along the journey you’ll even come across one of the most perfectly preserved Buddhist temples in the country. Located effectively in the middle of nowhere, this holy place offers anyone, spiritual or not, the chance to relax, think and bask in the glory of nature.
4) Bai Tu Long Bay
Halong Bay has become something of a tourist trap in recent years — which is exactly why you should overlook the area in favour of the more remote Bai Tu Long Bay. Boasting all the majesty of its better known neighbour, this spot has barely been touched by tourists, and continues to operate as naturally as possible.
A blend of two ecosystems sees sub-tropical rainforest and a marine coastline combine in a beautiful mix of colour and natural wildlife. The isolation of this area is what helps it stand out as one of the best, making it a fantastic alternative to its overcrowded neighbour.
Bai Tu Long Bay is as beautiful as Halong, but without the hordes of tourists
5) Paradise Cave
A dark cavernous construct which stretches into the hewn rock of Phong Nha National Park, Paradise Cave is the longest dry construct of its nature in Vietnam. A walkway has been constructed to allow for easier access, while a specialist 7km trek has been devised for visitors to really appreciate every nook and cranny they can.
Have any of these spots grabbed your fancy? Try checking one of them out when you’re next in the country. You certainly won’t be disappointed.