Let’s get it straight, Vietnam is one of the most photogenic countries in the world. It’s such a diverse country that offers so much! If you’re a blogger or photographer, then you can expect a tremendous growth of your portfolio during the stay in Vietnam.
Vietnam is home of stunning landscape’s that is filled with terrace rice fields, mountains and windy roads in the north, while endless paddy fields, getaway islands, and even desert are the recognition mark of the south. It’s not a secret that Vietnam is high on a bucket list to many bloggers and photographers because of the reasons mentioned above.
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In this article, we will share with you 10 must visit places in Vietnam for photographers & bloggers who want to upgrade their work to a whole another level. Believe me, it was tough to pick these 10 places as Vietnam is definitely a country where you can quickly write the same list, but with 100 places, if not more. Enjoy reading and be sure not to miss these gems!
The majority of people land in the capital of Vietnam and have the first experience of the vibrant culture there. Once you set your feet on Hanoi streets, you will be literally blown away. It’s one of these capitals that indeed preserve an authentic culture, and despite having around 10 million people living there, you won’t get the feel of a modern city. Many locals love to call the capital by the name of “our beloved village”.
It’s utterly fantastic city for bloggers and photographers as you can literally capture thousands of moments from daily life just from walking around the city. I love places where you don’t need to aim for specific areas to explore, but you can just lose yourself and discover hidden gems that are everywhere.
Don’t forget to explore the streets of the Old District, as no matter of being a tourist place, that place will show you the raw Vietnamese culture and all the beauty around it. It’s a place that will inspire you for many blog posts and photographies, and believe me, it will be hard to leave it!
#2 Ha Long Bay
Hands down to Ha Long Bay that is listed as one of the natural wonders of the world. The place is a real wonder, and with thousand limestone islands that are surrounded by emerald water, this place is very attractive to photographers. It’s effortless to get to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi, and the bus trip only takes around 4 hours.
Majority of people are doing boat tours around the islands, but I honestly recommend you to skip it as it’s usually crowded with tourists and overpriced. These things can entirely kill the vibe, but don’t worry as there is a hidden gem called Poem Mountain! It’s the highest point that overlooks the whole bay, and guess what? It’s one of those secluded places where you won’t see many tourists!
The best time to explore the mountain is going at the time of sunrise and sunset as it will give you a fantastic perspective and lightning for capturing breathtaking shots. Also, here is the bonus, as you won’t only have a chance to capture the bay, but the whole Ha Long city with a picturesque bridge will be at your hands.
If you have time, I highly recommend you visiting the neighboring island called Cat Ba. The island is known for its crystal-clear water, secluded beaches, and hiking points. You can get amazing shots exploring the island while having a pretty laid back time to relax.
#3 Tam Coc
Tam Coc, or usually called Ninh Binh, is the small city that is home of limestones and untouched nature in Ninh Binh province. It’s easily reachable from Hanoi as it just takes a two hours bus ride to reach the city.
Many people call Tam Coc by the name of “The Second Ha Long Bay” or “Ha Long Bay on the land”, so you probably have the idea how the place looks like. The location is a home of many limestone hills, paddy hills, temples, little bridges, and rivers that flow through stunning caves.
I recommend you staying at least three days in Tam Coc as the area is very vast and there are many surprises when you get lost in paddy fields and infinite limestones. You will discover countless caves, pagodas, small roads that lead to an unpaved hiking trail… I don’t want to share everything with you as I’ve probably seen only 1% of that breathtaking place.
Don’t forget to climb the top of Hang Mua cave that has iconic 500 steps that lead to the top where the pagoda and dragon statue is enjoying tremendous views over limestones, rivers and endless paddy fields. Just don’t be too late and visit this cave during the sunrise to get the best possible view for yourself as this place can be very crowded later.
For people who enjoy exploring the nature and learning more about the limestone creation, countless tiny boat tours will lead you through many caves. That’s the ideal way to explore the nature and daily life of farmers in that area, and of course, capture some stunning photos.
Insider Tip: Rent a bicycle and drive around the unpaved backroads for the unique experience. Don’t mind getting lost there as that way you will avoid tourist crowds and most likely stumble upon authentic scenes that will give you a perspective for a breathtaking shot!
If you’re a photographer or blogger interested in exploring historical places, then I can’t recommend the Imperial city of Hue more. The town is located around 10 hours from Tam Coc or 12 hours from Hanoi, but it’s easily reachable by sleeping buses or even a flight to Da Nang.
It’s an iconic central Vietnam city that radiates with the history and authentic culture as it was the home of the last Vietnamese dynasty – Nguyen Dynasty. The town is literally a home of an old imperial city that is located in the middle of Hue, and this part just hits the point for photographers! You can find countless pagodas, temples, bridges, walls and stunning views from the palace.
Hue is a bit of a touristic city, especially inside the old town, but it’s one of the authentic Vietnamese cities. Going outside the old town, you will be greeted by positive Vietnamese people enjoying their Siesta time, sitting on tiny chairs and practicing the art of doing nothing. Also, the street food is so amazing there for the price you’re paying. Just a single day of aimless walking around the city will give you many opportunities for amazing photos. Also, don’t forget to try an iconic Banh Mi during your stay in the city!
Insider Tip: If you have a day or even one afternoon, make sure to visit an Abandoned Park near Hue. It’s a bit tricky to get inside as the guards will usually try to rip you off or won’t give you the access. Don’t worry as there are always ways around! Just find another entrance that isn’t guarded, and you’re set to explore one of the most prominent abandoned places in Vietnam! A very picturesque location that radiates with the unique vibe.
#5 Da Nang
After exploring the authentic places that give you the real feel of Vietnamese culture, what could be a better way to relax than spoiling yourself on the sandy beaches? If that sounds good to you, then Da Nang is the ideal place for you! It’s the fourth biggest city in Vietnam, and it’s widely known for its long boardwalk that overlooks a stunning sandy beach!
The landscape photographers will definitely enjoy the city as the location is just fabulous for exploring the near hills, including Hai Van Pass. I recommend you renting a motorbike in Da Nang to explore Hai Van as the road is windy and gives you a unique driving experience while overlooking beaches, hills, and limestones. Such a stunning place to drive around! Be aware that the trip can take you a whole day as you will stop more times than driving around. The landscape is just too breathtaking not to stop, admire the view and take a photo or two.
Insider Tip: When in Da Nang, don’t forget to visit the Dragon Bridge during the day, but also during the night. During the night, the light show is just amazing, and that will be the chance to get some incredible shots!
#6 Hoi An
Hoi An is the must visit the city if you’re traveling around central Vietnam. It’s a very picturesque city with the beach that will definitely help you in recharging your batteries from the trip that can be very exhausting. The city is well-known for its core, or usually called Ancient town. Some people love to call Hoi An by the name of “the Venice of Vietnam” as it’s a home of numerous canals and tiny bridges that are passing all over the city.
What could be the better environment for taking amazing captures than exploring the Vietnamese Venice while getting the taste of delicious street food, rich culture and sometimes, chaotic traffic?
My genuine advice is to just get lost in the city and walk around. It’s a bit of a touristic city, and some places are usually crowded, but once you get off-the-beaten-path, you will have an authentic experience only for yourself! The city is a home of many pagodas that are built in a colorful French colonial style, but it can be a hustle to get a clear shot without the people. If you go around the city, you will discover so many pagodas that are not known as touristic hotspots and you will have them for yourself.
#7 Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, or usually called Saigon by locals, is the biggest city in southern Vietnam that had a crucial role during the Vietnamese war. Let’s not talk about the history here and jump on the topic right away!
The city will offer you the similar vibe as Hanoi, but you won’t have that strong culture feeling like in Hanoi as the city has gone through a considerable westernization process. At the beginning of the century, Vietnam has opened its doors to western companies and businesses, and the economic center of Vietnam is located in Saigon. Don’t worry, as you’ll still have a fantastic experience of the city.
The traffic is one thing that surprises me every time about Saigon – it’s unorganized chaos, but it seems it’s working just fine! It was a critical Vietnamese city during the French colonization, and the French influence is still noticeable there. The city is well-known for its Notre-Dame cathedral in the middle of the urban part of the city. Take some shots there as the contrast between modern architecture and French colonial architecture is so picturesque. If you have a drone, it would just add up and give you the perspective you don’t see every day!
Saigon is the most popular by its street food and lively nightlife, which means you should pack your equipment and merely get lost around city streets during nighttime. You will get rewarded by so many random street moments that shows the strength and beauty of Vietnamese culture.
Insider Tip: Did you know that Vietnam has a desert? It’s called Mui Ne, and it’s located on the coast. My genuine advice is to take a bus ride that will get you there in 4 hours! It’s really worth the time as you will get rewarded by stunning photos of nature.
#8 Da Lat
The city of eternal spring is the usual name for a French resort town called Da Lat. The city is located it southern Vietnam as it’s the perfect way to spoil yourself for some time. The architecture is mainly modern as foreign investors are investing much money in building new resorts, but still, there is a substantial architectural influence from the colonial era. Just a simple walk around the city will reward you with many colorful pagodas and temples that seems like someone randomly threw them on the way. It’s such a unique experience to capture a photo of an old temple in the middle of the modern city.
The city is known for its mild temperature during the whole year, so it’s not a strange thing why people choose Da Lat as their place to relax. Another useful fact to know, especially for landscape photographers and active people, is that the city is surrounded by forest, numerous hiking trails, lakes and secret waterfalls.
Once you feel overwhelmed by a resort town, I advise you to take a motorbike ride to north or west to explore the nature around the city. There are many home-stays around that will give you an authentic Vietnamese experience when it comes to vibe and food, but also fewer tourists!
#9 Phu Quoc
If you thought that Vietnam is just a coastal country with amazing hills, limestones, and landscape, then you are wrong! As I mentioned at the beginning, the country has one of the most vibrant cultures, but also the scenery. Would it be a correct fact if the country doesn’t have islands with teal water and sandy beaches? Probably not!
Luckily, Vietnam has it all! Phu Quoc is the island that is located near the Cambodian border in the south part of the country. The island is a dream for photographers as its widely known for its crystal-clear teal water, white sandy beaches and palm hovering the sand. The inner part of the island is covered in forest and hills which is an ideal getaway to have some hikes and stunning landscape photos that can be taken from the summits. Don’t forget the fact that Phu Quoc has the national park and that more than a half of the area is a national park!
Insider Tip: Don’t forget to visit Duong Dong, the biggest town on the island as it’s a vibrant city with mildly active nightlife. The town is known for its night and day markets that hit the point when it comes to presenting Vietnamese authentic traditions and culture. Such a great place for taking street life photography!
#10 Sa Pa
It won’t be fair or a complete list to give it to you without the photographer’s gem called Sa Pa. No matter if the list has 50 places, it wouldn’t be complete without this place that is known by its terrace rice fields and high mountains!
Sa Pa is located in the province near the Chinese border in northeast Vietnam. What’s the reason I’m talking in such amazing tone about Sa Pa? Well, just check social media to get the idea of what I’m talking about and you will totally fall in love with the place!
Really, Sa Pa is one of the most picturesque places in Vietnam and it’s straightforward to be in the photography mode for a week there! It’s a favorite spot for trekking as Xi Pang peak is there which is one of the highest peaks in Vietnam and you can reach the summit in a few days by taking a guided tour. I recommend you to take the trip as you will meet local hill tribes that have an authentic culture, clothing, and traditions! Also, the pictures of these people while enjoying their rituals are just priceless.
It’s definitely a place you don’t want to miss, and if you have only a week in Vietnam, I would really suggest to just go to Sa Pa as you won’t be disappointed.
Insider Tip: The best way to experience Sa Pa is by taking a motorbike there. The roads are narrow and windy, but the views are priceless. You should be very careful as the roads are very unpredictable and can be dangerous at times, so if you’re not a skilled driver, don’t think about it! Also, be sure to have a manual motorbike that can cope with the hills! Thank me later.
Have you ever been to Vietnam? What’s your favorite place for blogging and taking photos? Please share it with us I the comments below.