UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam

With rich historic sites and unique natural marvels, Vietnam is home to eight World Heritage Sites classified by the UNESCO. Remains of former capital cities, the entire ancient town of Hoi An, the world famous landscape of Ha Long Bay are a few jewel that attract an ever-growing number of tourists.

A thousand years of Chinese rule molded the Vietnamese culture in the Confucian and Buddhist traditions, along other regional influences, before the French colonial rule introduced Latin characters, Catholicism and Western administration. Subsequent wars profoundly marked Vietnam which later developed along the communist ideology before its recent opening and economic boom.

Within more than 1000 historical and natural sites in the world, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganizationUNESCO – has recognized the importance of the Vietnamese culture through the classification of eight sites for their unique historical, architectural and natural value for mankind.

Here is the complete list of World Heritage Sites in Vietnam together with details and beautiful pictures to keep in mind for the use of travel and tourism professionals, and the viewing pleasure of all.

The 8 World Heritage Sites listed by the UNESCO in Vietnam

Complex of Hué Monuments

Approaching Forbidden City's gates, Hue, Vietnam

© Photo: Loboalpha

Hué was the capital unified Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, center of political, cultural and religious influence of the Nguyen dynasty.  With several buildings remaining along the Perfume River of the old Capital City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Inner City, Hué is the landmark of the imperial Vietnamese history, arts and architecture.

  • Location: Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, Vietnam
  • Site type: cultural
  • Year of inscription: 1993

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay (Aug 2015)

© Photo: Horace Cimafranca

Gathering more than 1,600 limestone islets in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is an iconic seascape of verticals cliffs and jungle spread across the sea. The site’s beauty is famous around the world, and it is also a haven for biodiversity.

  • Location: Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam
  • Site type: natural
  • Size: 150,000 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1994

Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An -9

© Photo: J Durok

The commercial activity of the port of Hoi An made it an important trade center from the 15th to the 19th century. Local and foreign traders have left their marks with numerous buildings that make up an exceptionally well-preserved ancient town with diverse influences.

  • Location: Hội An, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 30 ha with 280 ha buffer zone
  • Year of inscription: 1999

My Son Sanctuary

My Son - Danang, Vietnam

© Photo: James Tan

Developed from the 4th to 13th century, the My Son Sanctuary regroups the remains of several temples. This site used to be the political and religious capital of the Champa Kingdom, which was located on the coast of Vietnam and traced its cultural heritage from Indian Hinduism.

  • Location: Duy Phú, Duy Xuyên District, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 142 ha with 920 ha buffer zone
  • Year of inscription: 1999

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Paradise Cave - Động Thiên Đường

© Photo: lien

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is the oldest karst formation in Southeast Asia. With 65 km of caves and underground river, the park hosts a very complex karst landscape with significant geomorphic features.

  • Location: Bố Trạch and Minh Hóa districts, Quảng Bình Province, Vietnam
  • Site type: natural
  • Size: 85,754 ha
  • Year of inscription: 2003

Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi

Imperial Citadel

© Photo: Eugene

When the Dai Viet kingdom got its independance from China under the Ly dynasty, it built the Thang Long Imperial Citadel which remained its political center for 13 centuries. The central sector of the Citadel embodies a unique culture from the Red River area, influenced from the North by China and from the Champa kingdom in the South.

  • Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 18 ha with 108 ha buffer zone
  • Year of inscription: 2010

Citadel of the Ho Dynasty

Ho dynasty's citadel, Vietnam

© Photo: Loi Nguyen Duc

The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty dates back to the 14th century. Reflecting the spread of Neo-Confucianism in that period, it was built according to the Feng Shui principles in a plain between the Ma and Buoi rivers along an axis between the Tuong Son and Don Son mountains.

  • Location: Tây Giai, Vĩnh Lộc District, Thanh Hóa Province, Vietnam
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 156 ha with 5,079 ha buffer zone
  • Year of inscription: 2011

Trang An Landscape Complex

Non nước Ninh Bình

© Photo: Đỗ Việt Cường

Situated in the south of the Red River delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex is a breathtaking area of karst limestone peaks piercing out of low cultivated valleys. Area of cultural significance as it has inhabited for more than 30,000 years, human traces in Trang An provide significant information on the Neolotic, Bronze Age, up to the historic era. It is also the site of Hao Lu, ancient capital of Vietnam from the 10th and 11th centuries.

  • Location: Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam
  • Site type: mixed, natural and cultural
  • Year of inscription: 2014

Other Vietnamese sites submitted to the UNESCO tentative list

The Vietnamese authorities have also submitted the following sites to be considered for nomination as UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • Ba Be Lake (1997)
  • The Area of Old Carved Stone in Sapa (1997)
  • Huong Son Complex of Natural Beauty and Historical Monuments (1991)
  • Cat Tien National Park (2006)
  • Con Moong Cave (2006)
  • Cat Ba Archipelago (2011)
  • The Complex of Yen Tu Monuments and Landscape (2014)

UNESCO logoHere is the full list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam. For more information about them, visit the Vietnam page on the website of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO.

For more information on the other UNESCO sites in the ASEAN region, visit the World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia.

What do you think of these World Heritage Sites in Vietnam? Which do you prefer? Do you have some tips to make a better visit? Any other site in Vietnam you think should be added by UNESCO? Leave your comments below!

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