travel guide Vietnam

7 Historical Landmarks to Visit in Vietnam

With a booming economy and heavy investments in infrastructure and the restoration of landmarks since 1990, Vietnam has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia.

Sandwiched between China, Laos, Cambodia and the South China Sea, Vietnam is comparable in size to the state of New Mexico in the United States. Despite the small size, however, the country is full of cities and landmarks worth visiting. Unless visitors intend on staying an entire month, though, it’s near impossible to schedule visits to every site during a single trip. For help planning your trip, here’s a list of the top seven historical landmarks worth visiting in Vietnam.

1. Ha Long Bay

Located in the province of Quang Ninh, Ha Long Bay, or Bay of Descending Dragons, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bay is comprised of over 2,000 islets, many of which were made from limestone that underwent millions of years of transformation from environmental conditions. Also located on many of the islands are caves, some of which are open for tourists to explore.

2. The Imperial City

Located in Huế, Vietnam, the Imperial City is enclosed by a fortress that’s surrounded by a moat, and was built in the early 17th century for the imperial family of the Nguyễn dynasty. Much of the city was destroyed during war but today restoration and reconstruction projects are well underway.

3. The Royal Tombs of Huế, Vietnam

Located along the Perfume River are the tombs of nine Nguyễn dynasty rulers. Each were individually designed, some by the rulers themselves.

4. Hoi An Ancient Town

Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ancient Town is a beautiful preservation of a trading port that dates back to the 15th century. The architecture of the buildings dates as far back as two centuries and the city design itself reflects the broad multicultural influences common to port cities.

5. Ho Chi Minh City

There are too many sites within Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon when it was the French colonial capital — to list them separately, so instead visitors should put aside a day or two to visit as many sites as possible. The most popular are the Reunification Palace, the Jade Emperor Table, which was built in 1909, and the Municipal Theater whose architecture reflects a French colonial influence. In fact, throughout the city the architecture reflects a French influence that dates back to colonial times.

6. The Temple of Literature, Hanoi, Vietnam

Originally built in 1070, the Temple of Literature is a temple of Confucius and the first university in Vietnam. The architecture and layout of the temple is a magnificent preservation of Vietnam’s culture and history.

7. One-Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam

One of the most iconic temples in Vietnam, the One-Pillar Pagoda is a Buddhist temple built in 1049 by the emperor Lý Thái Tông.

Photo by David McKelvey

England Planning a Trip

Visiting Trafalgar Square and London Eye

The city of London is one of the most well-known and popular destination on earth. As the capital city, London is often referred to as the capital of the world, and in fact has the largest population of any urban area in Western Europe. Visitors will find countless fantastic attractions in the city, from world-class museums and art galleries to historical landmarks like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Tower and Bridge of London. Two of the most popular attractions in the city are the London Eye and Trafalgar Square. The following is an introduction to these two attractions.

The London Eye

This giant wheel is an impressive structure that dominates the skyline of England’s capital city. Due to a recent sponsorship deal, the official title has changed from the British Airways London Eye to the EDF Energy London Eye. It stands at 443 feet tall, and is located along the Thames River. As the tallest ferris wheel in the Europe, and the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, it should come as no surprise that it the most visited paid tourist attraction in the entire country of England.

Each year, well over 3 million visitors take a trip on the London Eye and climb into one of the 32 glass domes, many of which have tour included within their London holiday packages. Each domed pod holds up to 25 people, who can sit or stand during the 30 minute revolution. The speed is quite slow, meaning anyone can ride it and few people complain of motion sickness or discomfort. Since the opening of the London Eye in 2000, it has become an icon in the city of London. For significant national occasions, the wheel is outfitted with stunning lights in themed colors. Recently, it donned patriotic colors to resemble the Union Jack for the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, and in 2012 it will be outfitted with the Olympic rings.

Trafalgar Square

This public space is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city of London. Created in the 19th century, it was designed to be a public area that was a central focus of culture and politics in the city. Indeed, it has served that purpose for decades. The focal point of Trafalgar Square is the Nelson’s Column, which dominates the look of the area. The column stands at 169 feet in height, and was created to in honor of Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died during the Battle of Trafalgar. At the four corners of the base of the column are lion statues, who are meant to guard the column constantly. Until the last decade, the square was known for the massive population of pigeons who called the square home, thanks to millions of tourists who fed them. Those were eventually removed and feeding made illegal, and today it is more commonly used for political demonstrations, screening sports events, and holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Photo by: Thamer Al-Hassan

Los Angeles Things to Do

5 Most Popular Los Angeles Attractions

You can call it the City of Angels, Southland and even lala-land. But no matter what you nickname Los Angeles, it really is one of the biggest and most fascinating cities in the United States, and one that is worth visiting. With year-round sunshine and sandy beaches, Los Angeles holidays provide many tourist attractions that can keep anyone entertained for days.

Universal Studios

Not only does Universal Studios make movies, it also has guided tours where visitors take a look at how movies are created, and entertaining rides with movie themes.

During the guided tours, you will learn the ins and outs of special effects, be a part of the movie-making experience, and perhaps even meet a few stars. Afterwards, enjoy many of the studio’s eateries and gift shops and hop onto a few rides for an adventurous time.


Whether you go by foot or take a narrated tour bus, Hollywood is one of Los Angeles’s most famous attractions. After all, people from all over the world go there to become stars.

In Hollywood, you will find many famous landmarks such as the notable Hollywood sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood & Highland Center, The Hollywood History Museum, The Kodak Theatre, the Madame Tussaud’s and the star-studded Walk of Fame.

Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive

As one of the most affluent areas in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is certainly worth a visit. If you take a drive around the neighborhood, you can get a taste of the lifestyle of the rich and famous by peeking at their mansions and beautifully groomed yards.

Beverly Hills also has Rodeo Drive, which is a world-renowned shopping street known for its high-end designer shops such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. For anyone who loves high fashion and luxury goods, Rodeo Drive is the perfect place to browse around.

Santa Monica

If you want to spend a day on the beach, do some shopping, and then enjoy the nightlife, then head to Santa Monica. This area has a beach you can surf, run and tan at, a pier that offers a ferries wheel, fishing and classic arcade games, and a shopping street that turns into lively nightlife when it gets dark. You will find many people cruising on third street promenade at night, hanging out or enjoying street entertainment.

Venice Beach

Want to visit a quirky, beach-y place that represents L.A’s relaxed and artsy lifestyle? You should spend a day on Venice Beach. This vibrant place has a stretch of sand perfect for sunbathing, surfing, rollerblading and strolling, and is a great place to spend a lazy, relaxing day at. It is also home to many of Hollywood’s favorite stars like Julia Roberts, Kate Beckinsale and Nicolas Cage.

What’s your favorite thing to do in LA?

Photo by: donielle