7 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam – North Vietnam Trip

best places vietnam

After hours of research, spending two months exploring, and covering 4000 km on a motorbike in North Vietnam, we’re excited to share the 7 best places to visit in Vietnam. We have a free complete guide for each top place to help plan your Vietnam trip.

North Vietnam has some of the most beautiful destinations. Whether you love nature or adventure, you can’t miss this country.

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8 BEST Hotels in North Vietnam

North Vietnam has many amazing places to visit, each with its best places to stay. Here are some handpicked recommendations.

  • Ha Giang: Connect with adventurous travelers at the Lotus Hostel

How to get around in North Vietnam


Our favorite way to explore Southeast Asia is definitely by motorbike, offering us freedom and adventure. Northern Vietnam is a paradise for motorcycle rides.

Bus, Train & Tours

The most popular way for backpackers to travel is by using public transport, minivans, and tours.

5 BEST Tours in North Vietnam

Check out our handpicked tours in North Vietnam and tick off some must-see attractions.

  • Ban Gioc Waterfall: Explore Ban Gioc Waterfall and more in Cao Bang with this 2D/1N Tour
  • Hanoi Streetfood: Join a local Food Tour in Hanoi with visit to Train Street
  • Ninh Binh: Discover Ninh Binh on this small-group guided Full Day Tour from Hanoi

What are the Best Places in North Vietnam?

Ready for a natural wonder in Vietnam? Mu Cang Chai is known for having the most beautiful rice terraces in Vietnam. It’s a highland district with mountains and hills entirely covered with rice terraces. Mu Cang Chai is a dream for nature lovers, hikers, photographers, and motorbikers. What more can you ask for?

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TOP 3 PLACES IN MU CANG CHAI: La Pan Tan, Mam Xoi & Khau Pha Mountain

Best Tour

Explore beautiful rice terraces on a Full Day Trekking Tour

Best Hotel

Stay in the middle of rice fields at Le Champ Tu Le Resort

Welcome to one of the most impressive and adventurous destinations in Vietnam. You’ll see some of the best landscapes in Southeast Asia, from limestone cliffs, and deep valleys to flowing rivers while riding a motorbike. This Loop isn’t just a 300km motorbike round-trip, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

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TOP 3 PLACES ON THE HA GIANG LOOP: Ma Pi Leng Pass, Tham Ma Pass & Dong Van Karst Plateau

Best Tour

The highly recommended motorbike adventure with the Famous Ha Giang Loop Tour

Best Hotel

Connect with adventurous travelers at the Lotus Hostel

Cao Bang is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the famous Ban Gioc Waterfall located in the UNESCO-recognized Non-Nuoc Bong Geopark. However, Cao Bang Province is still an off-the-beaten-path destinations with many hidden gems.

Best Tour

Explore Ban Gioc Waterfall and more in Cao Bang with this 2D/1N Tour

Best Hotel

Stay near the Ban Gioc waterfall at Lan Rừng Homestay

You can’t visit North Vietnam without seeing Ha Long Bay. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Opting for a visit to Cat Ba Island is the best alternative to a Ha Long Bay Cruise. Or at least, it was for us. In short, it’s less touristy and less expensive, yet equally beautiful. Plus, there are more things to do, rather than just being on a boat.

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Best Tour

The top-rated all-inclusive Budget Overnight Cruise 2D/1N

Best Hotel

Best beachfront hotel on the island at Hôtel Perle d’Orient – MGallery

Ninh Binh is known for having the most incredible landscapes and being an escape from chaotic Hanoi City. Because of its popularity, we didn’t expect this: it’s still a place where you can connect with nature without crowds and experience the laid-back countryside of Vietnam. River boat trips are clearly the best things to do in Ninh Binh to admire the limestone formations, rice fields, and wild nature.

Best Tour

Discover Ninh Binh on this small-group guided Full Day Tour from Hanoi

Best Hotel

Stay at the peaceful Emeralda Resort on Tam Coc Lake

Are you looking for a hidden gem in North Vietnam? Bac Son is exactly that and more. It offers a breathtaking valley created by a beautiful river winding through lush rice fields, all surrounded by limestone mountains. This stunning landscape is best viewed from the Bac Son Viewpoint, only a 40 minutes hike uphill.

Best Hotel

Experience an authentic stay and dinner with locals at Duong Cong Chich Homestay

Have you ever heard about Thac Ba Lake in North Vietnam? It’s a true hidden gem. It’s one of Vietnam’s biggest man-made lakes surrounded by lush mountains and limestone cliffs, with over 1000 islands to explore. At Thac Ba Lake, you can go boating, fishing, hiking, and explore local villages.

Best Hotel

Oasis of tranquility at Dinh Gia Trang

Best Time to Visit North Vietnam

There are two things to consider when choosing the time to visit North Vietnam.

  • Firstly, the dry season goes from October to April, and the rainy season from May to September. 
  • Secondly, summer is incredibly hot and humid, while winter is freezing cold.

This is why we highly recommend planning your visit for either October-November or March-April when the weather tends to be warm and clear.

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RICE FIELDS: Just so you know, there is THE perfect season for rice fields, see below.

Best Time to Visit the Rice Terraces in North Vietnam

The best time to visit rice terraces in Vietnam, like the ones in Sapa or Mu Cang Chai, is from late September to mid-October. This is when the lush green rice fields transform into a golden landscape. Trust us, if you have the chance, you don’t want to miss it. It’s breathtaking.


boat transport of tradition womens in tam coc

North Vietnam, with its natural beauty and relaxed vibes, holds a special place in our hearts. We’ve explored most of the Best Places in Vietnam already twice and can’t wait to revisit them in the future.

We’re here to help plan your amazing trip to Vietnam. Share your questions and experiences in the comments!

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