Need some photos to inspire you to visit Vietnam? I’ve got 22 right here, finally edited to my liking almost a year after my trip last February! (Yes I’m horrible at editing things quickly. I just got the hang of Lightroom). Before I left, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. While many of the popular areas are full of people and hagglers, you’ll forget these minor irritations quite quickly. Vietnam turned out to be a visual treasure trove, and I wanted to capture everything while I was there. From Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi, check out these lovely photos!
1. Remnants of French Influence
While many of the buildings from French colonization are still in use, this one seems to be semi-abandoned. I did read they were beginning to restore it, but for now it looks a bit like a massive faded reminder of Vietnam’s past.
2. The People’s Committee Hall
This probably the most recognizable landmark in HCMC. It’s at one end of Nguyen Hue Street. Grab some banh mi and enjoy the view!
3. Inside the Saigon Central Post Office
This gorgeous post office was designed by Alfred Foulhoux while France still had control of Vietnam. The outside is a bright, sunny yellow, and the inside is spacious and symmetrical. You can still send post from here too!
4. Rowing down the Mekong Delta
One of the tours you should plan to do while in Ho Chi Minh City is a Mekong Delta tour. You can do a day tour or something longer, but it’ll be nice to get out of the city. It’s pretty difficult to navigate alone, so I recommend just joining one of the tours from your hostel or hotel.
5. “Delta Disneyland” on Phoenix Island
The last stop on my Mekong day tour for lunch on Phoenix Island. After we finished, we could walk around this sort of “Delta Disneyland.” Filled with kooky designs and flowers, it was fun to explore.
6. Hiking around Danang’s Mountain
Hike around the Marble Mountains and check out all the different temples and shrines within. It’s a half day trip from Hoi An in Danang and well worth it. If you need a guide, here’s one!
7. Sunset in the countryside.
So for Valentine’s day my friend and I got these long spa treatments and then watched the sunset in these little round basket boats. It’s one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.
8. Vietnamese Coffee… all day, every day.
I may have a little addiction to Vietnamese coffee. It’s so delicious, especially iced. It’s basically drip coffee into condensed milk, and I had it multiple times a day the whole trip.
9. A Place of Serenity in the Chaos
Another of my favorite memories is when Michelle and I went to Reaching Out Teahouse to test taste coffee and enjoy a bit of quiet from the bustling downtown area.
10. Hoi An at Sunset
While Hoi An becomes incredibly crowded as it gets darker, there’s no denying that the place looks a bit magical as the sun sets. All the mustard yellow buildings start to glow warmly, and it’s beautiful. Cross the river to get away from the crowds a bit, and see the buildings from afar.
11. Tailor Made Creations
I still love the dresses I had made in Hoi An. You can read about my experience here. Michelle and I, of course, did a fun little photoshoot early in the morning before it got too hot out. :p
12. Roaming around My Son Sanctuary
Nearby Hoi An is My Son sanctuary, a group of Hindu temple ruins. We went around golden hour, and it was super humid (I had a bib of sweat around my neck). It might remind you of a smaller Angkor.
13. All the delicious street food.
The best part about Michelle as a travel buddy is that she’s a total Vietnamese foodie. Her mom cooks the best, so she’s grown up knowing what makes good pho. She got me to try more street food than I would have on my own, including this delicious dessert tofu in her hand.
14. Hoi An at Night
I honestly didn’t see a ton of lanterns around Hoi An. When I did stumble across some stalls, it made it all the more magical to see a shop warmly lit with them.
15. Offseason on Cat Ba Island
Instead of doing a prolonged cruise around Halong Bay, we decided to spend some times on Cat Ba Island. It was off season, so the whole island was totally empty. While the island isn’t going to be a mini tropical paradise like you (*cough* me *cough*) would think, it did have its own charm. And it was nice being able to relax and enjoy the bay on land before going out in a boat.
16. Peace on Halong Bay
Since we were staying on Cat Ba, we went to the tourist office next to our hotel to book a day trip around the bay. It was such a peaceful experience, much smoother than island hopping in Thailand. Our boat wasn’t a party boat, so we could just sit and enjoy the scenery in quiet.
17. Blues on the Bay
There are a ton of these little fishing homes on the bay, and they’re all these fun blue colors. We even saw some pet dogs!
18. Kayaking in the bay
One of our activities was kayaking in the afternoon. Luckily it warmed up, and we never toppled out of our kayak. There were definitely some moments where I think our tour guide may have wanted to kill us… *cough*
19. Temple Reflections
This is the perfect place to start if you’re planning on walking around Hanoi on foot to see the sights. Such a fun and colorful way to start the morning.
20. Vietnamese Graduations
While I was wandering around Hanoi, I stumbled across all of these students taking photos for their graduation! It really is lovely to see, and everyone looked so cheerful. I remember feeling so hopeful as a graduating student–the future is unwritten and you feel like anything is possible. Plus you’re just relieved to be done with the essays and tests!
21. Motorbike at rest
I remember seeing this on my walk and just thinking the colors looked so nice together. There are so many motorbikes all over Vietnam (heck Southeast Asia in general), and I really need to find someone to teach me so I can rent one myself.
22. All the yellow
Not only in Hoi An, there was a ton of warm yellow buildings in Hanoi! Could you imagine living in such a fun home?
So which of these photos inspire you to visit Vietnam? Have you been already? What’d you think?