The landscapes in Vietnam are renowned for their beauty. From rice-terraced mountains and lush tropical jungles to palm-fringed beaches and idyllic islands, there’s a lot to love about this long (and slightly skinny) land. It’s a country that’s unapologetically Vietnamese and while its journey has not always been a positive one, it’s continuing to acknowledge and grow (much like the lush vegetation) from its tumultuous past. You’ll find slick high-rise cities, ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites, vibrant leafy green paddy fields and French-influenced architecture (in the likes of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City). Curious travellers need only climb the towering grass staircases to find themselves atop the rice-terraced mountains where the views of Vietnam's wild, enigmatic, and awe-inspiring landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see.
We’re kicking off our roundup of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in Vietnam with one of the country’s focal points: Ha Long Bay. Here, mist gathers and twirls and bulbous rocks rise out of the still aquamarine waters. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage site (meaning it must be good) and visitors can boat, kayak or cruise their way through the craggy scape. With over a thousand islands in the bay, and an abundance of fauna and flora, there is certainly much to see, making it the perfect place for a marine adventure.
The Mekong Delta, nicknamed the ‘Rice Bowl’ of Vietnam, snakes its way like a slithering water python from the heights of the Tibetan Plateau to the shimmering waters of the South China Sea in the southern region of Vietnam. Here, perfect irrigation conditions are formed, creating a vast delta of fertile green rice fields. On a day cruise, visit bustling riverside villages and pass colourful floating markets offering fresh fish and ripe fruits. While you skipper skilfully navigates the narrow canals, you can sit back and enjoy the uninterrupted waterside views of this spectacular landscape.
Nestled within the rice-terraced mountains that carve their way through the countryside, lies the bustling market town of Sapa, a popular base for adventure travellers looking to trek their way through the nearby villages, before bravely climbing the highest peak in Vietnam: Fansipan. With panoramic views and lush rice terraces (which were carved into the landscape by the Hmong Tribe), it’s easy to see the infatuation and hold this landscape can have on those who travel to it.
If the landscapes in Vietnam offer anything (other than the iconic rice terraces) it’s mystery. It seems unlikely that such a vegetation-rich country, with greenery and rainforest covering every square inch of the land, could be home to Sahara-like dunes. Yet Mui Ne has not one, but two kinds of sand dunes. The aptly named Red Sand Dunes and White Sand Dunes offer explorers the opportunity to run, slip, slide and glide their way through the grains of the ever-changing landscape while the mornings and evenings serve keen photographers best - allowing for picture-perfect shots of these monumental dunes.
Journeying northeast from Sapa, the mystery continues in the Ha Giang province. Here, confident drivers can weave their way through the mountainous terrain and past countless valleys and rock formations on one of the country’s most stunning and smooth stretches of road. With the car windows down and your favourite road-trip playlist on repeat, soak up the beauty and freedom of the open road.