Nature lovers and cultural tourists alike will find that Vietnam has a lot to offer. Foreigners are traveling to Vietnam in increasingly greater numbers for its natural beauty, cultural significance, and fine cuisine. In order to support tourism and strengthen border control, the Vietnamese government introduced a new electronic visa system for Vietnam that makes planning a holiday in the country easier and quicker.
If you’re wondering about the many landmarks that make a tour of Vietnam worth the time and money investment, you’ll be glad to hear that Vietnam is home to both cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
On this page, you’ll find a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam as well as practical tourism information for visiting some of the most famous landmarks.
How Many UNESCO World Heritage Sites Are in Vietnam?
As of October 2019, Vietnam has 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 5 are natural, 2 are cultural, and 1 is mixed. There are also 7 sites on the tentative list, which is the first step in the nomination process.
Cultural UNESCO sites of Vietnam:
- Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi (2010)
- Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (2011)
- The complex of Hué Monuments (1993)
- Hoi An Ancient Town (1999)
- My Son Sanctuary (1999)
Natural UNESCO sites of Vietnam:
- Ha Long Bay (1994,2000)
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (2003, 2015)
Natural UNESCO sites of Vietnam:
- Trang An Landscape Complex (2014)
Is Halong Bay Worth Visiting?
Halong Bay is one of the most famous places in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in Vietnam. The bay is made of more than 2,000 islands across 1,550 square kilometers. Not only Halong bay is a UNESCO site, but it’s also considered one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
For this reason, tourism in the area has flourished and travelers who don’t like crowds wonder whether it’s worth a visit. However, a day in Halong Bay is a relaxing experience surrounded by a landscape that would be hard to find elsewhere.
Many travelers decide to explore Halong Bay by boat with overnight cruises or junk boat trips. From your time in Halong Bay, you can expect soaking up the sun on the boat’s rooftop, visit the many stalactite caves, and enjoying freshly-caught seafood.
What Is Hue Known for?
Hue was the old capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. It’s a place of great cultural and spiritual importance thanks to its many monuments.
The site is located on the banks of the Perfume River, which offers a unique scenario for tourists visiting the area. The complex of monuments was built in such harmony with its natural surroundings that the landscape itself is considered part of this World Heritage Site.
The Hue complex offers visitors the chance to explore:
- The Hue Citadel, which includes the Imperial City, Forbidden Purple City, and royal residences
- Royal tombs.
The Hue complex stretches across a great area. It’s advisable to book a guided tour to optimize your time on the site and learn about the history of Vietnamese royal families.
How do I get to Phong Nha Ke Bang?
The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park was inscribed by UNESCO in 2003 thanks to its geological importance, primary forests, and wildlife. It’s a fascinating site that both solo travelers and families can enjoy.
This area is one of Southeast Asia’s largest karst landscapes and is rich in history, having been a site of intense fighting and bombing during the American-Vietnam war. Many tourists decide to tour it on a bike following the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a supply line carved out through the jungle.
The nearest center is the city of Dong Hoi. At Dong Hoi international airport you’ll find flights from and to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city and Chiang Mai in Thailand. If you prefer traveling on land, overnight trains from the capital call at Dong Hoi station.