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The UNESCO Sites of Vietnam

Vietnam has plenty of beauty, both natural and man-made over the eons. As such, UNESCO recognition for Vietnamese World Heritage Sites has been granted to the most stunning locales in the nation, with plenty more pending approval in the future. Get up to speed with the most breathtaking sights Vietnam can offer in our rundown of the UNESCO sites gracing this holiday destination.


Ha Long Bay

Picture above, this cluster of 1,600 islands, many untouched by human hands, is perhaps the most famous of Vietnam's natural heritage sites.

Those islands, many of them looming limestone structures sprinkled with jungle vegetation, are dotted across the Gulf of Tonkin. The most iconic vision you could have of Ha Long Bay is of bobbing wooden boats drifting amid its waterways, with the sunlight streaming down from on high.

The Complex of Hue Monuments

Classic Asian square arches and majestic rising towers form much of the Complex of Hue Monuments. The site gained UNESCO recognition for its beauty as much as its implicit cultural importance to Vietnam's historic journey. In 1802, Hue was established as Vietnam's capital under the last Ngunyen Dynasty, making it much beloved to the country's people. You're bound to fall for its charisma and grace too, as it's been impeccably preserved.

My Son Sanctuary

Deep in a lush green valley cradled on either side by dramatic mountain ranges, My Son Sanctuary is the ruins of a gorgeous Hindu temple complex dedicated to the God, Shiva. The dark mottled walls are intricately designed and laced with vines, as nature has come to embrace the mysteries of old. Sadly, much of the structure's true form was lost in conflicts during Vietnam's past, but UNESCO still recognises its cultural significance as one of the definitive archaeological sites in Asia.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

This stretch of underground caves and waterways is Vietnam's most significant karst landscape. Karst topography is the distinctive streaked, mottled and almost fantastical effect had on rocky landscapes through water erosion, and usually affects rock types like limestone, which is abundant in Vietnam.

The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

This elegantly simplistic structure was built with Feng Shui and Confucianism in mind, which has had a powerful sway over Vietnam's cultural development across the centuries. The magnificent stone buildings stand proudly in a vast plain of rich green grass, directly between the Ma and Buoi rivers.

Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An is actually still an active port town today, yet its old town quarter was recognised for its cultural significance and beauty by UNESCO, and remains gorgeously preserved. It's also a testament to Vietnam's relationship with various naval powers across the ages, as you'll see creamy shuttered European buildings side by side with distinctly Asian structures along the waterfront. This cultural fusion speaks of Hoi An's history as a trading hub prized by seafarers between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

This one's in the capital, Hanoi, so it's easy to reach. But remember that Hanoi is a city that's over 1,000 years old, and the Imperial Citadel, a hallmark of the Ly Dynasty, is said to have stood for 1,300 years. It's an incredible thought, and the structure is a gorgeous walled spire of distinctly Far Eastern rooftops and towers that was once the seat of power for Vietnam.

Trang An Landscape Complex

To the south of the delta of the mighty Red River, you'll find the Trang An Landscape Complex. UNESCO has once more recognised the natural beauty generated by Vietnam's karst formations, which this time roll up in majestic domed hills flecked with greenery. The region has been studied extensively, and experts now know humans have lived here for more than 30,000 years. Boat tours down the river come highly recommended.

Remember, even with these gorgeous UNESCO sites to guide your holiday planning, there are plenty more places across the country also worth your attention. Explore Vietnam as much as you can during your stay, and you'll find cultural treasures and breathtaking landscapes in every direction.

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