is a very unique country in that it has a large diversity of landscapes. Vietnam is a long and skinny country, with a distance of about 1,650 kilometers in length. This ensures that the landscapes along different parts of the country are very dissimilar from each other. In Vietnam you will find deserts, mountains, rainforests, enormous cave systems, wetlands, and cities. As you drive from one city to the next, the scenery will be completely different! Here are my top 4 landscapes in Vietnam that you must visit on your trip.
Red Sand Dunes, Mui Ne
Mui Ne’s is a unique landscape in Vietnam because it is practically a desert. There are both white sand dunes and red sand dunes in Mui Ne, and each is equally as beautiful. Rent a motorbike and visit the red sand dunes for sunset, and then ride out to the white sand dunes for sunrise (you will have to leave early – the trip takes about an hour!). Mui Ne is a coastal city, so you can also enjoy the beach after spending the day at the dunes.
White Sand Dunes, Mui Ne
The town of Sapa
Sapa is located only a few miles from the Chinese border. Arguably one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam, Sapa is surrounded by breathtaking mountains with deep valleys. On the sides of the mountains you will find endless fields of rice paddy terraces. The town of Sapa is small and quaint, nestled in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains of Northern Vietnam. You can trek to one of the three village communities throughout the valley of Sapa and stay with a local family, learning their language and how to cook their specialty dishes.
Waterfalls between two mountainsides of rice paddy terraces
Overlooking Tom Cuc, Ninh Binh Province
Ninh Binh is in Northern Vietnam, only a few hours south of Hanoi. When visiting Ninh Binh you will be able to visit many unique landscapes. The first is Tom Cuc, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tom Cuc is a cave system that has been flooded and is surrounded by a series of limestone mountains. Often called, ‘Halong Bay on Land’, a 360 view is best seen from the top of Mua Cave, a solid 500 steps up the mountain. Take a boat ride through the cave systems and enjoy the peaceful beauty. For a similar atmosphere to Tom Cuc but a little less crowded, you can visit Van Long Nature Reserve and possibly spot the rare monkeys that live there. If you’re interested in some jungle trekking, you can visit Cuc Phuong National Park nearby in the province.
Peeking out from the caves at Tom Cuc
Paradise Cave, Dong Hoi
Dong Hoi has one of the most unique landscapes in all of Vietnam. Not only does it have 12 kilometers of beaches, but it lies about 50 kilometers south of one of the largest cave systems in the world, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. Only recently discovered, this cave system is sure to impress you with its tall ceilings and remarkable formations. If you’re really into cave exploration, you can hire a guide to take you deep into the system, which will still only allow you to visit a fraction of its 126 kilometers. Rent a motorbike from Dong Hoi and make the drive yourself, you will drive through the beautiful rainforests of the National Park.
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