What Is Vietnam Known For? The Ultimate Guide

The Land of the Blue Dragon, Vietnam, is a captivating nation in Southeast Asia and a spectacular destination. With beautiful scenery, unbelievably good food, crazy traffic, and buzzing nightlife, it’s hard not to love Vietnam.

So, what is Vietnam known for? Let’s look into the different facets of this alluring country that make it a beloved destination for travelers from around the world.

Breathtaking Natural Landscapes

Mother Nature has blessed Vietnam with an abundance of stunning landscapes. 

It is known for its mesmerizing scenery, including the terraced rice fields in Sapa, nestled in the northern highlands. A treat to the eyes, the terraces also change their appearance with the seasons, from lush green to golden yellow at harvest time.

The coastal city of Da Nang boasts some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Other things to do in Da Nang include:

  • Walking up the Marble Mountains.
  • Crossing the Golden Hand Bridge.
  • Hopping on a cable car for jaw-dropping views.

Looking for good weather to relax in? Visit Nha Trang, a popular beach destination and coastal resort where you can also go snorkeling and diving.

The iconic Halong Bay in northern Vietnam has thousands of breathtaking limestone karsts and islets jutting from emerald waters. Cruise through this other-worldly wonder for an experience unlike any other. It’s also great for scuba diving, kayaking, or rock climbing.

Some other stunning natural landscapes include the Mekong Delta and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

Rich Vietnamese History

Vietnam’s long and complex history, dating back thousands of years, blends influences from Chinese, French, and American cultures.

The ancient city of Hoi An in central Vietnam showcases an exceptional blend of well-preserved Chinese, Japanese, and European architecture. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its lantern-lit streets are quite unlike anything else.

War History

The Vietnam War is one of the globally-known events and among the most diverse and controversial wars in modern history.

Vietnam played a significant role in the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975), which impacted the country’s history and international relations. The Vietnamese displayed remarkable resilience and determination during the war.

Millions of Vietnamese civilians and soldiers and thousands of American soldiers lost their lives in the war.

At the end of the conflict in 1975, North Vietnamese forces captured Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam.

The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is among its famous landmarks. It showcases a poignant collection of artifacts and photographs narrating the brutality and long-term consequences of the conflict.

Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground passages used by the Viet Cong during the war, is a sign of the ingenuity and resilience of the Vietnamese. You can visit and crawl through these narrow tunnels to learn about the guerilla warfare tactics employed during the conflict.

Vibrant Vietnamese Culture

Many vibrant festivals adorn Vietnam’s calendar, celebrating its ancient customs and cultural diversity. The most significant festival is Tet Nguyen Dan, the Lunar New Year, an occasion for families to gather, exchange gifts, and pay homage to ancestors.

Tet Trung Thu (the Mid-Autumn Festival), marked by colorful lanterns, lion dances, and mooncakes, is an enchanting celebration for children.

The Hue Festival is held every two years, showcasing the region’s historical and cultural heritage with grand performances and artistic displays.

Vietnam’s traditional music forms, like hat cheo (famous theater) and ca tru (ceremonial singing), are also entertaining.

Don’t miss out on watching a one-of-a-kind show at the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater. These water puppet shows originated thousands of years ago in the Red River Delta region. Traditional Vietnamese music, live performances, and storytelling make an irresistibly entertaining combination.

Delicious Vietnamese Cuisine

With fresh ingredients and bold flavors, Vietnamese food is renowned worldwide. The delectable cuisine tantalizes your taste buds with its array of flavors.

Pho, the sumptuous noodle soup, is almost like a Vietnamese staple. This soup dish, made with fragrant broth, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and tender chicken or beef slices, epitomizes Vietnamese comfort food.

Want to try the next-level Pho? Add some garnish with sprouts, red chilies, basil, cilantro, and lime juice.

Yet another iconic dish is Banh Mi, a fusion of French baguette and Vietnamese fillings like grilled chicken or pork, pate, and pickled vegetables, which will have your mouth watering with just the sight.

Another must-try is Goi Cuon (fresh spring rolls). As weird as this may sound, Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee) is famous nationwide. It is a blend of Robusta coffee beans, egg yolks, and condensed milk, which will have your taste buds partying. Drop by Cafe Giang in Hanoi City to try out this delicious concoction.

The country has a long-standing tradition of producing high-quality coffee and tea. If you’re more of a Starbucks or Costa lover, you’ll find that Vietnamese coffee is an entirely different league.

Vibrant Cities

Cities like Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and Hanoi offer a bustling atmosphere with motorbike-filled streets, vibrant street markets, and modern skyscrapers blended with colonial architecture.


In the north, Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, is also the second most populous city after Ho Chi Minh. Despite being a city, the laid-back vibes of Hanoi give it a more town-like feel.

The famous 13th-century Old Quarter and well-preserved French colonial architecture are the highlights of Hanoi. Wander the streets of the Old Quarter and sample the delicious street food, especially the bún cha (grilled pork served over a bed of rice vermicelli noodles).

Among the top places to visit in the capital city of Hanoi is the Temple of Literature, a revered educational center established in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius.

The city’s other famous attractions include the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and Hoan Kiem Lake.

Ho Chi Minh City

With completely different vibes to Hanoi, the bustling metropolis that is Ho Chi Minh City experiences a huge amount of traffic and feels more chaotic.

This is Vietnam’s largest city, renamed in 1975 by the communist government in honor of President Hồ Chí Minh.

You can explore ancient temples, pagodas, and historical sites like the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City. Highlights include Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Opera House, and Bến Thành Market (the city’s biggest and most iconic market).

Related: What Is Latvia Known For?

Skilled Artisans and Lively Markets

Vietnam is famous for traditional handicrafts like pottery from Bat Trang village, lacquerware paintings, Van Phuc’s silk weaving (including ao dai – traditional dress), and Hoi An’s lantern-making.

Vietnam’s bustling markets offer a glimpse into the daily lives of locals. The Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City is a treasure trove of handicrafts, attractive souvenirs, and inviting street food.

The country’s largest indoor market, Hanoi’s Dong Xuan Market, is a crazy maze of stalls where you can find everything from electronics to clothing.

Ao Dai

The traditional Vietnamese garment, Ao Dai, can be worn by both men and women. Despite being a traditional costume, it is popular in modern Vietnamese society.

This dress originated from the five-part dress, áo ngũ thân, worn by the Nguyễn lords in the 18th century. It was later redesigned in the 1930s and was made longer and more form-fitting. After salon designers made it tighter in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, it became a popular dress form.

Not only is it a mandatory uniform for many female teachers and high-school students, but it’s also compulsory for female staff in banks, hotels, and travel agencies.

It’s also a standard for weddings and formal occasions, even for celebrating Tet.

Want to get your own fitted ao dai? Visit one of the many tailor shops that line Luong Van Can Street.

Floating Markets

Among the unique things Vietnam is known for is its floating markets, found on the complex river system of the Mekong Delta. These markets are centuries-old and have boats selling fruits, poultry, meat, clothing, and household goods.

Tour the Cai Rang floating market, the largest on the Mekong Delta; it is a sight to behold. Located just south of Can Tho, this floating market is open from 5 am until noon. Some smaller boats sell Vietnamese breakfasts besides fruits, agricultural products, and the region’s specialties.

Other popular floating markets include Tra On, Phong Dien, Cai Be, and Long Xuyen.

Summing It Up

The answer to, ‘What is Vietnam known for?’ brings us to Vietnam’s blend of vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, culinary delights, and artistic traditions. Also, Vietnam is known for its rich history and warm hospitality. It’s no wonder this is an intriguing destination to explore.

You’ll find Vietnamese people to be friendly and welcoming towards visitors. Warm smiles and helpful locals await at every corner of this hospitable country.

What is enchanting about Vietnam is its ability to preserve its cherished heritage while embracing modernity. Plan your trip to Vietnam and prepare to be fascinated by its timeless charm while creating some of the best memories that last a lifetime.

Jude Uchella

Jude Uchella is a passionate research writer whose work has been published on many reputable platforms, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and more! He prioritizes research, writes comprehensively, and only shares factual and helpful content. He is a reader’s delight!

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