With more tourist sites on offer than most of Vietnam’s destinations, it is a wonder anyone has time to fit it all in. The Citadel is the main event, a palatial residence built for Emperor Gia Long that covers a large portion of the city and provides a sweeping view of the area from the 37 metre flag tower. Notice the cannons next to the tower, the first line of defense on the fortified structure.

For the macabre at heart, there are a number of famous tombs and mausoleums throughout, perfect places to pay your respects or simply take in classic architecture and regal furnishings. With traditional dynastic surroundings rubbing elbows with French influenced opulence, the collection of burial sites is one of the big draws in town.

Further out, you can find dazzling beaches, relaxing hot springs, well designed pagodas and the largest lagoon in all of Southeast Asia, Tam Giang-Cau Hai. Fed fish by four different rivers, the lagoon in turns helps over half a million locals feed themselves.

Keep going north to the DMZ, the political line between North and South Vietnam. There’s not a lot to see here anymore, but picture lines of turrets and tanks fiercely guarding the border.

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