Within the past few years, Vietnam’s popularity as a holiday destination has risen exponentially. It is a given that highly renowned tourist destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Hue, and Hoi An are becoming increasingly popular with large crowds. Fortunately, Vietnam’s long-stretching landscapes still hold plenty of hidden locations that have yet to be exposed to mass tourism. From the north to the south, read on to discover the pristine hidden gems in Vietnam that will leave you in awe.
Starting from the most Northwestern province in Vietnam, Ha Giang shares borders with China and is an imposing rugged mountainous landscape. Known for its many winding mountainside roads with thrilling peaks, Ha Giang is the perfect location for an adventurous motorbike trip. Riding through the Ha Giang Loop will allow you to experience the spectacular natural beauty of the landscape accompanied by amazing weather all year round.
In Ha Giang, you can expect to encounter some of the most remote villages and their respective ethnic minorities. We recommend booking for a homestay experience in this area if possible for the unique opportunity of staying in a traditional tribal home. This will enrich your time here at Ha Giang by getting first-hand insight into the lifestyle and traditions of the natives. Be sure to plan a visit to the Dong Van outdoor market to experience the colorful gathering of the locals.
When it comes to the Northernmost region of Vietnam, Sapa is the most well-known destination. However, most travelers do not realize that Sapa is only a small part of the vastness that is Lao Cai province.
In Lao Cai, numerous lesser-known villages offer the same stunning landscape as Sapa without the large crowds, such as Cat Cat, Ta Van, and Ta Phin, to name a few. Activities in this region are often trekking trips through the ever-changing colorful terraced rice fields. Alternatively, you can take a relaxing train ride that will expose you to the incredible mountainous scenery. Or you can choose to tour the landscape on a motorbike and explore the scattered villages of the ethnic minorities in the area for a truly authentic experience.
When it comes to hidden gems in Vietnam, the Northern regions of the country seem to be packed with undisturbed natural beauty. Yen Bai is relatively close to Hanoi and is reachable by a three-hour bus ride from the city center. This agricultural-focused province is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle for those seeking to be immersed in nature. The limestone mountains and the Thac Ba Lake, which is carved into the mountain, make for an exceptional environment to rewind.
In Yen Bai, you can tour the gorgeous countryside by trekking or ride through the mountainside roads. And don’t forget to make a trip to the must-visit Tram Tau hot spring. The experience of bathing in a hot spring surrounded by terraced mountains is undoubtedly something you wouldn’t get easily.
Quang Binh province is where you can find exciting cave trekking adventures available from a beginner level to a more advanced level. This region is home to a diverse ecosystem with an immeasurable amount of caves and cavern systems of vast size and length.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park is home to some of Vietnam’s largest caves, such as Son Doong Cave, Phong Nha Cave, Tien Son Cave, and Thien Duong Cave. Quang Binh’s landscape is perfect for outdoor activities such as trekking, camping, kayaking, and swimming.
In Quang Binh, the city of Dong Hoi is still off the radar to mass tourism but makes for a great central hub to begin your exploration of this region. From the city’s center, not only can you access the amazing cave systems, but you can also make a day trip to any of the pristine local beaches. Do not miss your chance to check out the Mooc Spring Complex, a rare landscape feature that is quite peculiar to find in Vietnam. Because of all these enchanting features, Quang Binh is easily considered as one of the truest hidden gems in Vietnam.
Moving away from the northern regions of Vietnam and into the Central Highlands, the city of Kon Tum has a unique charm that is immediately recognizable by the free-spirited lifestyle of the locals who live in harmony with nature. Traditions seem to be well-preserved here as rustic communal homes are commonly seen throughout the area.
Touring the small minority villages of Bar Nah and Kon Klor, which are connected by a hanging bridge, is an experience to partake in when in this region. In between, be sure to make a trip to the eco-paradise of Mang Den to fully immerse yourself in the natural environment of this region.
Quy Nhon is an often overlooked coastal city in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam. This calming city is appreciated for its quaint charm where the lifestyle of the locals matches the stillness of its landscapes. Being a coastal city, Quy Nhon is favored by pristine beautiful long stretching beaches along its coastline. Nhon Hai Beach and Bai Xep Beach, in particular, are worthy of a visit for their lack of large-scale tourism development, making them truly hidden gems locations in Vietnam.
Situated halfway between the ancient heritage town of Hoi An and the seaside resort town of Nha Trang, Quy Nhon is garnering more attention as a beach paradise. So it is best to make haste here before the area is no longer off-the-beaten-path.
In the South Central Coast region of Central Vietnam exists one of the truest hidden gems in Vietnam. Phu Yen province is practically unknown to international travelers. This province is a wonderland of scenic coastal imagery that is worthy of admiration. With magnificent cliffs and underlying beaches, Phu Yen’s coast presents itself with a serene atmosphere to those who seek it. An attraction that exists in this region is the longest fully functioning bamboo bridge that spans across a backdrop of lakes and mountains.
Buon Ma Thuot
Deep in the Central Highlands lies the capital of coffee in Vietnam. Buon Ma Thuot is the largest producer of coffee in the country, and you can enjoy the best cup of coffee here right at the source. This mountainous region is populated by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam whose history spans back to thousands of years. Traditions and nature are blended perfectly here with tribal wooden buildings situated on rolling hills with a backdrop of rocky mountain formations and waterfalls. A homestay experience is recommended to truly appreciate the traditional lifestyle of the ethnic locals.
This region also prides itself on being able to source its food products directly from nature, such as wild berries and vegetations. All farm animals enjoy a free-range environment, and this reflects in the incredible cuisine that can only be enjoyed when in this region.
Located near the lively metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Ninh is sparsely mentioned as a destination for tourists. Sharing borders with Cambodia, Tay Ninh is home to Vietnam’s most interesting indigenous religion, Caodaism. The Cao Dai Temple is an astonishingly intriguing piece of architecture combining the style of a Christian cathedral with Buddhist temple designs. Worshippers can often be seen wearing the traditional dress of Vietnam – Ao Dai. When within Tay Ninh, Cao Dai temples will be a common appearance and are quite a sight to behold.
Aside from being known for its religion, Tay Ninh’s other popular activities are camping and trekking around the mountainous landscape.
An Giang province is a relatively unknown part of the Mekong Delta system that borders Cambodia. This region is a vast territory of flourishing landscape largely thanks to the flow of the Mekong River cutting through its fields. The majority of the province is dedicated to agriculture, but the overall landscape is very much diverse with lakes, forests, and valleys. You can still get a feel for the lifestyle on the water from An Giang as it is a part of the Mekong Delta, after all.
From the city of Chau Doc, you can take a boat ride through the atmospheric Tra Su Cajuput forest, stopping by floating markets along the way, and then eventually reaching the open water of the God Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Mekong Delta. Spending time on the water will make for an unforgettable experience, especially when you are away from the crowds.
Conclusion on Hidden Gem Locations in Vietnam
Even though Vietnam has risen quickly as a top holiday destination, there are still plenty of locations that are yet to be exposed to mass tourism. When it comes to hidden gems in Vietnam, luckily, there are still many destinations that are waiting to be discovered.