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There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam. There are 5 cultural sites on the list, while 2 are natural ones. The last one is a mixed site. The first UNESCO site was inscribed in 1993.
- Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi (2010)
- Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (2011)
- Complex of Hué Monuments (1993)
- Ha Long Bay (1994)
- Hoi An Ancient Town (1999)
- My Son Sanctuary (1999)
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (2003)
- Trang An Landscape Complex (2014)
Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi (2010)
Built in the 11th century, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam in 2010. The citadel was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress from the 7th century. It served as the center of the political power in the region for 13 centuries! To this day, the Imperial Citadel and the Hoang Dieu Archaeological Site reflect the culture of Southeast Asia that is reminiscent of life in the lower Red River Valley of Hanoi.
Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (2011)
The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty was built in the 14th century and based on the principles of feng shui. This is proof of the flourishing of the neo-Confucianism in Vietnam during that time and its spread throughout other parts of East Asia. In addition, the citadel represent a new style of imperial city that is booming in Southeast Asia. There are three components to this World Heritage Site: the Inner Citadel, La Thanh Outer Wall and the Nam Giao Altar.
Complex of Hué Monuments (1993)
Hue was named as the capital of Vietnam in the early 19th century. It served as the political, religious and cultural center until 1945 under the rule of the Nguyen dynasty. The complex monuments located within the city also serves as the geographical center of Vietnam making it easily accessible via the sea. The monuments and the entire city of Hue was planned in accordance with its natural setting while incorporating ancient oriental philosophy.
Ha Long Bay (1994)
The Ha Long Bay was inscribed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam in 1994. It is a group of islands and islets (about 1,600 in total) within the Gulf of Tonkin. These islands and islets form a beautiful landscape of limestone pillars. However, majority of these islands are uninhabited and had not been touched by human presence. The great biological interest coupled with the natural beauty of the bay’s setting combine to earn the nod from UNESCO.
Hoi An Ancient Town (1999)
The town of Hoi An was an important trading port from the 15th to the 19th century. But to this day, you will still see remnants of the port town that flourished during the earlier centuries. The buildings and the street plans remain largely intact despite the foreign invasion. At the same time, you will still hints of the influence from the foreign invaders and the indigenous folks, making this a unique World Heritage Site.
My Son Sanctuary (1999)
My Son Sanctuary is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam recognized for its cultural value. It is a complex of partially ruined and abandoned Hindu temples that were built sometime during the 4th to 14th century AD. These Hindu temples were built to worship Hindu god Shiva. The temples were built on a valley surrounded by two mountain ranges. It is also recognized as the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina. However, majority of the temples and structures in the area were destroyed during the Vietnam War.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (2003)
This national park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. The park consists of the oldest karst mountain in Asia that was believed to have formed for over 400 million years. The karst cave is home to multiple cave systems and underground rivers. In addition to being the largest cave system in Asia, the cave formations also protected the limestone forest within the region. It is listed under the Natural category for its outstanding geological values.
Trang An Landscape Complex (2014)
Located in Ninh Binh, this area is known for its scenic landscape and boat cave tours. It was included into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam in 2014 both for its cultural and natural value. It is often called as the “Inland Ha Long Bay”. The landscape features several limestone karst peaks, valleys, and steep cliffs. The caves had been explored by scientists that were able to uncover evidence of human activity within the cultural landscape dating back to 30,000 years ago. According to the evidence gathered, the people who lived in the area were seasonal hunter-gatherers. There are also small villages, temples, ride paddy fields, and pagodas within the area.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.
View all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia.