It’s no secret that Vietnam’s villages, towns and cities are some of Southeast Asia’s most photogenic. Even images taken on a simple camera phone often look like something straight off of a postcard.
In some of the country’s most picturesque locales, snapping an album-full of breathtaking photos isn’t reserved for the professionals. Travelers to Vietnam will find themselves spoiled for choice when it comes to photogenic locations, but in our five favorite photo-worthy destinations below, it’s nearly impossible to take a bad picture.
1. Ninh Binh – Tam Coc
When it comes to iconic natural scenery, few places come as close to perfect as Ninh Binh and Tam Coc, a region that boasts hundreds of hidden caves nestled under towering limestone mountains. To say that Ninh Binh is “lush” would be an understatement — the area is such a vivid green that it’s lovingly referred to as Halong Bay on land. Visitors can sail down the narrow waterways that pass between rice paddy fields flanked with a canopy of emerald mountains, and find that the leisurely pace makes for hours of perfect photo opportunities.
The northern highlands of Vietnam have been a favorite for photo hounds and picture snapping travelers for years, and there’s a reason why. The entire region is higher above sea level than most of Vietnam — hence its name — and it sometimes looks as if the villages and towns here are perched among the clouds. Fog and clouds sail past lush mountain tops, cascading waterfalls plummet off of towering limestone mountains and terraced rice paddies and tea plantations rise hundreds of feet into the air. Plus, the ethnic minority villages that live in and around Sapa still wear traditional clothing and follow traditional lifestyles, so a photo taken in this area often looks like its from another century entirely. For those looking for even more highlands scenery, heading east of Sapa towards Ha Giang promises even more awe-inspiring sights.
3. Hoi An
Hoi An is regularly touted as “the prettiest town in Vietnam”, and has a rare photogenic charm that’s earned it a spot among UNESCO World Heritage sites. Hoi An has some 800 historical buildings in the municipality, with some ancient constructions dating back hundreds of years. Hoi An owes much of its serenity and qua
int countryside atmosphere to the fact that cars are banned from within its old town borders, so visitors’ photos of women in rice hats cycling past the Quang Cong Temple or over the Japanese Covered Bridge look as if they were snapped a hundred years ago.
4. Ben Tre
The entirely of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam has a particularly photogenic aura, but Ben Tre’s chocolate waters and narrow river passages through mangroves puts it one step above the others for photo hunters. Most of Ben Tre is a small, nondescript municipality, but once travelers reach the river, a quick stroll down the bank opens up a whole range of tour options. Each puts visitors on an iconic blue wooden boat and chugs slowly down the river toward hidden coconut factories and stone walkways through the brush, and even weaves between mangroves to find small boats that rice hat clad women paddle by hand. When it comes to rural lifestyles in the Mekong, Ben Tre is a photographers’ dream.
5. Mai Chau
Although not quite an unknown destination, Mai Chau is far enough off of the tourist trail that many bypass it entirely. I’s a shame, since Mai Chau’s sights and sounds are quintessentially Vietnam, and the area is has a distinct rural charm that few townships still boast. The entirely of Mai Chau is snuggled in a dense and lush mountain valley, and peering off in any direction promises a breathtaking horizon of misty mountains and limestone cliffs. Down below, small dirt paths weave between stretches of paddy fields dotted with barefoot farmers busy wading through knee-high water. Add in the meandering water buffalo that pad alongside the walkways in sleepy herds, and a single image of Mai Chau feels like a perfect encapsulation of rural Vietnam’s mystical beauty.
Enough reasons to convince you to travel to Vietnam and explore particularly photogenic destinations yet ? Let our Vietnamese travel experts inspire you even more on a customised trip to Vietnam’s best photography locations.