27 Mar 2021

Cultural tourism in Vietnam has been more and more popular and attractive to international tourists. Traveling to Vietnam, some of the best places for exploring culture are Hanoi, Hue - old feudal capital,  Hoi An ancient town, Mekong delta and Central highland. 

Table Contents
  • I -  Typical characteristics of Vietnamese culture 
  • 1 - Regional, ethnic and religious characteristics
  • 2 - The role of family, village, community in Vietnamese culture
  • II - Cultural tourism in Vietnam experiences
  • 1 - Festivals
  • 2 - Markets
  • 3 - Traditional villages 
  • 4 - Material cultural heritage
  • 5 - Intangible cultural heritage
  • 6 - Heritage Mixed Sites
  • III - Top 6 famous destinations for cultural tourism in Vietnam 
  • 1 - Hanoi
  • 2 - Hoi An
  • 3 - Hue
  • 4 - Mekong Delta
  • 5 - Sapa - Northwest region 
  • 6 - Central Highlands 
Cultural tourism in Vietnam
Source: Vu Anh Dung

Known widely as a country with a long and typical traditional culture in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has been attracting a large number of travelers around the world who want to explore and experience cultural tourism in Vietnam

I -  Typical characteristics of Vietnamese culture 

1 - Regional, ethnic and religious characteristics

Throughout the history of national construction, Vietnamese people have constantly developed and preserved their traditional cultural values ​​as well as adapted the cultural quintessence of other countries such as China, India, Japan, and France. Cultural interference in many different forms (domination, trade, spreading beliefs, ...) has resulted in an extraordinarily diverse and unique culture of Vietnam. Traveling along the country, it is easy to find structures bearing elements of cultural interference in Vietnam such as Hoi An Japanese Bridge in the heart of Hoi An (Japanese and Chinese architecture), Cham tower (Buddhist culture of India), church buildings (Catholic culture of the West),...


Vietnam cultural tourism

Cham cultual in Vietnam - Source: Internet

2 - The role of family, village, community in Vietnamese culture

The most significant characteristic that has to be named when we mention Vietnamese culture is "sense of community". This characteristic is deeply rooted in every aspect of the life and behavior of the Vietnamese.


In Vietnam, it's normal that many generations live together under the same roof, uphold the culture of "above and below yield". Moreover, ancestor worship and love sharing in the family is indispensable.


Each village or hamlet has a culture house or a common house - where the community can gather and have cultural activities together. This is shown even more clearly through the image of village wells, village communal houses, village gates, village bamboo baskets in rural villages, or through festivals, and spring markets in mountainous areas.

Society & Nation

The sense of community and solidarity of the Vietnamese people are expressed through folktales about the origin of "The Children of Dragon and Nymph". Although 54 ethnic groups of people in Vietnam have different cultures and lifestyles, they can still live in harmony and develop together. The sense of community is also particularly expressed through patriotism and national solidarity - the strength helping the Vietnamese people against a number of invasions in the past. 

II - Cultural tourism in Vietnam experiences

1 - Festivals

There are a large number of cultural festivals held every year on this S-shaped land. Each festival shows a distinguished belief, religious and cultural values of its community. Recently, celebrating festivals is the most prominent way to preserve and constantly promote the fine cultural traditions of Vietnamese people.



Coffee festival in Buon Me Thuot - Source: Daihocsi

Cultural festivals in Vietnam can be divided into two main types:
- Traditional cultural festivals: Lunar New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Hung Kings Festival ...
- Contemporary cultural festivals: Halong Festival; Hue Festival; Buon Me Thuot Coffee Festival, ...
To learn more about festivals in Vietnam, visitors can refer to the topic: List of important festival in Vietnam

2 - Markets

The market in Vietnam is not only a place to exchange and trade goods but also a destination where cultural exchanges take place, strengthening community connections. According to the culture, topography, and regional factors, the market in each locality has its own characteristics. In particular, there are many "markets" with hundreds of years of development history, attached to each up and down period of the nation's history. As a result, the market has become an attractive destination that should not be missed for international travelers who want to deepen knowledge about Vietnam cultural tourism. 

Mountainous areas - Upland markets

Normally, there is a combination of cultural exchange, goods trading, and cuisine inside upland markets. Many markets are also a place to meet, make friends, and hang out for local boys and girls. At these markets, tourists will have the opportunity to explore the typical items of the region such as brocade fabric, handicraft products, agricultural products, ethnic cuisine,... Some famous markets should be taken into account: Bac Ha fair, Yen Minh fair, Quan Ba ​​fair, Dak Som fair, Dak R’măng, ...

Delta area - Market for people living in the lowlands

Markets are usually held in sessions (morning/afternoon, odd/even day), providing goods, essentials, daily food for the locals. In particular, cooking ingredients in markets always ensure freshness, often caught during the day or sold while still alive. There are some typical markets that visitors can take a look at when traveling to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, namely Dong Xuan market, Ben Thanh market, Dam market,...

River area - Floating market

This is a unique form of market that is only available in Vietnam. Floating markets are held on the river through moving trade by boat or frigate. Each boat is a "stall" selling different products. In front of each boat, there will be pole hanging products for sale to help buyers easily find the necessary items. Some typical floating markets that tourists should visit are: Cai Rang floating market, Cai Be floating market, Nga Nam floating market.
Visitors who want to learn more about Market culture in Vietnam can refer to the following article.

3 - Traditional villages 

Vietnamese people are famous for their gifted and skillful hands that can create many handicraft products carrying traditional cultural values and high applicability. The large number of handicraft products and traditional craft villages in this country have already proven that fact. In those villages, visitors not only can purchase souvenirs at a favorable price, but also participate in the process of making these handicrafts.

4 - Material cultural heritage

In order to experience Vietnam cultural tourism to the fullest, tourists should not miss visiting the material cultural heritages. Physical cultural heritages are artifacts and architectural works carrying important cultural values ​​and identity that are leftover during the length of history. Vietnam is a country possessing a rich and diverse cultural treasure of physical cultural heritage. Among these, there are many heritages recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage such as Hue Ancient Capital, Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Holy Land, Thang Long Citadel, Ho Dynasty Citadel,..
Not only archiving and recreating a glorious period of Vietnamese people, but these heritages are also "embodiment" for a period of prosperity of Vietnam. There, visitors can partly feel the beauty in architecture, culture, spirituality, and social mark corresponding to each period.

5 - Intangible cultural heritage


Quan Ho folk - Source: Baodantoc

Intangible cultural heritage is the spiritual value that fully expresses the beliefs, expectations, and desires of the Vietnamese people for the future as well as partly reprised the story, living habits, and life of the Vietnamese people in the past. There are some unique and typical intangible cultural heritages that tourists must discover when coming to Vietnam such as Hue royal court music, Central Highlands Gong culture, Quan Ho folk, Ca Tru, Sing Xoan, or some "documentary" heritages namely Chau Ban Nguyen Dynasty, Moc Ban of Nguyen Dynasty, and stele of Dr. Van Mieu. 

6 - Heritage Mixed Sites

Trang An - Ninh Binh Complex is the first and only UNESCO Heritage Mixed Sites in Vietnam up to now. Besides the picturesque scene, this world heritage attracts a lot of tourists every year due to its beautiful system of temples, and pagodas. Those were built in the reign of King Dinh attached to the ancient capital Hoa Lu - Ninh Binh. Visitors will be overwhelmed by the beauty of nature and the talented brains of the ancient architects when creating this unified architectural complex.

III - Top 6 famous destinations for cultural tourism in Vietnam 

1 - Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of a thousand years of civilization, has been recognized as the cultural "capital" of Vietnam. Visiting this city, visitors can feel the vibrant atmosphere of the very heart of Vietnam as well as explore many attractive cultural attractions such as the Imperial Citadel, the Temple of Literature, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Thang Long Puppet Theater,...

2 - Hoi An

Hoi An, the former largest commercial port in the Central region of Vietnam with a history of thousands of years of development, has a clear Chinese-Japanese-Vietnamese cultural interference. This resulted in several unique cultural symbols such as Paper Lantern Craft Village, Silk Village, Assembly Hall, Hoi An Japanese Bridge,..

3 - Hue

Alternative Text

Hue -  Source: Kha Vo

Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, has associated closely with the historical process of the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam - Nguyen Dynasty over the period from the late seventeenth to early fourteenth centuries. This antique city attracts visitors by its unique ancient intricately carved architectures, folk music, or Hue royal music. There are some outstanding destinations that tourists should not miss for a trip of  Vietnam cultural tourism exploration: Hue Citadel, Royal Tombs system, Thien Mu Pagoda, Hon Chen Palace,...

4 - Mekong Delta

The dense river system is the factor that forms the cultural values and lifestyle of the people in the Mekong Delta. If visitors will be surprised by the image of the monkey bridge, they might be even more overwhelmed by the unique cultural attraction system there including Truc Lam Phuong Nam Zen Monastery, Cai Rang Floating Market, Floating Market Cai Be, Mr. Dao Dua Relic and so on.

5 - Sapa - Northwest region 

Sapa, a small town located in the Northwest of Vietnam, is the main residence of the ethnic groups of Red Dao, Tay, Hmong, Giay, Xa Pho, etc. Each ethnic group has their own cultural identity. Visitors definitely cannot miss these typical destinations: Cat Cat village, Ta Phin village, Tinh Sapa market, Bac Ha fair, …

6 - Central Highlands 

Central Highlands is the home of many ethnic minorities namely Ba Na, Jrai, Mo Nong, Xo Dang, Co Ho, Ede, and Ma. They mainly live in stilt houses or communal houses, where visitors can experience the typical cultural features of the locals such as gong culture, drinking Can wine, riding an elephant, and so on. There are some typical destinations: Kon Klor communal house, Buon Ma Thuot exiled house, Nhon Hoa elephant village, Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival.
Cultural tourism in Vietnam has been constantly attracting more and more visitors all around the world. Hopefully, the brief information produced by can give visitors a better understanding of the beauty of Vietnamese culture. We hope that tourists can choose an interesting itinerary to travel.

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Hi, my name is Quan, and you can call me “Kun”. Having a big passion for travel, I spent 6 months traveling to most of the regions & provinces in Vietnam. I find Vietnam's landscapes are so beautiful, Vietnamese people are so friendly.

Quan Nguyen — Quan Nguyen



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