8 beautiful rivers in Vietnam

Most of the mainland is mountainous in the west, the narrow plains in the middle, and the sea in the east, which is easy to create many rivers in Vietnam. On average, every 20 km along the length of the S-shaped country, there will be a river.

In this article, we select beautiful ones to introduce to you. Vietnamdrive’s team will rank them in the order that we feel their charm through experience.

1. Son River in Quang Binh

son river in quang binh province
Looking at the Son River scenery. @rulynbaby

Vietnamdrive wants to put this river at the top of the list because it attracted us from the first time we set foot here. The highlight is the peaceful scene, the small village with a few scattered houses on the bank, and the fields of corn and cassava that cover with a fresh green color. Besides, the majestic mountain scene on the way to visit Phong Nha Cave (also known as Wet Cave) becomes a beautiful picture.

It is also important that the river water is clear, and the bottom can be seen. Although the boatman says there will be silt in the rainy season, we often choose to explore this place in the dry time, so we enjoy the wonderful scenery and water.

How will you experience it? The charming Son River locates a short distance from the marina to Phong Nha Cave. Therefore, to enjoy its beauty, you need to buy a boat ticket when visiting the cave. Floating on the river with the cool breeze, and fresh air gives you an exciting feeling about it.

2. Perfume River in Hue

perfume river in hue city
A romantic river in Hue at the city center. ©Vietnamdrive

The Perfume River is a rare one located in the city center but still retains clean and unpolluted water. Also, it owns the lovely natural landscape on both banks with many green trees and opening-air parks.

Along the two banks of the river, there are also architectural works with a long history and culture from the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), such as the Imperial Citadel, Flagpole, Quoc Hoc High School, Thien Mu Pagoda, and the mausoleums of the Kings.

Many tourists book a dragon boat tour from the city center to visit Linh Mu Pagoda to experience the river. In addition, you can walk along the river at sunset or at night on the Nguyen Dinh Chieu pedestrian street or the Lim Wooden Bridge to enjoy the beauty of the Perfume River.

3. Han River in Da Nang

han river in da nang city
The bridges add beauty for the Han River. @_tthu98_

Located between two districts of Lien Chieu in the west and Son Tra in the east, the Han River divides Da Nang city into two distinct parts. But, in recent years, thanks to the development of beach travel, the area in the Son Tra district has developed strongly, minimizing the difference between the two banks.

In terms of the beauty of the river itself, the Han River is not outstanding. However, placing it in the development of the city, we feel its charm and enjoy the colorful bridges that become the main element that adorns the attraction of the river.

At night, walking along the river or having dinner on boats from Bach Dang wharf, watching the bright lights on the bridges, and stopping to enjoy the fire and water show at Dragon Bridge, which is one of the popular bridges in Vietnam, will bring an interesting feeling.

4. Ngo Dong River in Ninh Binh

ngo dong river ninh binh
The yellow color of rice fields make this river more attractive.

Ngo Dong River often appears in photos with the golden color of ripe rice on both banks. Along with rice fields in season, undulating hills and mountains add to the beautiful picture of this river. You need to pay attention, the golden rice season on the riverbank usually falls in May and June every year.

To enjoy the Ngo Dong river, you will arrange a journey to explore the landscape and caves in Ninh Binh. Interestingly, these boats are rowed by locals, slowly crossing the fields and verdant scenery.

However, the minus point is that the boats are a bit small, and feel shaking. Although it wasn’t a problem, I felt a little afraid of falling into the water. It is also a point to pay attention when getting on the boat, you need to sit carefully, not stand.

>> Please see more: How to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh?

5. Thu Bon River in Hoi An

thu bon river hoian
Waiting for the guests on the Thu Bon River. ©Vietnamdrive

Belonging to the long river system, the short river flowing through Hoi An city makes it famous. This section of the Thu Bon River combines with the ancientness of the old town giving a charming attraction, and bringing bustling vitality here.

Sunset is the time often chosen to sit on small boats right in the heart of the ancient town, the ferryman gently paddles through the rows of old houses. You can see the vibrant colors from the lanterns decorated everywhere. People getting on, and getting off the boats, the others walking, which recalls the bustling commercial harbor of the past centuries when Japanese and Chinese traders came.

Besides, a trip to discover Thanh Ha Pottery village about 2km from the town by boat on the river, or catch a unique ferry to Cam Kim village also contributes to enriching your experiences.

6. Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City

saigon river hcm
Shining colorful lights on the Saigon River.

Different from the gentle beauty of the Thu Bon River, the Saigon River has a dynamic vitality under the influence of the bustling life of Ho Chi Minh City (HCM).

This river is up to 256km long. Although called the Saigon River, the section that flows through the center of HCM is only 80km, the rest runs through the other provinces, Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc; downstream joins with the Dong Nai river to form the Nha Be river.

A minus point is that the water of the Saigon River is not as clean as the rivers in other provinces, especially compared with the rivers in Central Vietnam. It is possible that the dense population in the largest city, along with the industrial development here has caused water pollution.

However, the beauty of the river will appear when the sun has just gone down, and the lights of the city shine brightly on the river. To see this charm, you can choose an elevated place, such as the Grand Cafe on the 20th floor of the Grand Hotel (8 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, HCMC). Another suggestion is to have dinner on a yacht departing from Bach Dang Wharf (27 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, HCM). These activities can be great to enjoy the Saigon River that you should try.

7. Can Tho River in Can Tho City

can tho river
Experience the floating market on the Can Tho River. @gianglt____

Can Tho River, which is a tributary of the vast Hau Giang River, flows through Can Tho city. On this small river, local people often organize daily trading activities.

If only the river is nothing special, the watercolor is often alluvial, so it is slightly yellow. Even the scenery on both sides of the river is not attractive. However, the impressive highlight here is the Cai Rang floating market, which clearly shows the unique personality and way of life of the indigenous people. It is the market and the locals here that create the beauty of this river.

Therefore, discovering the beauty of Can Tho river is to explore Cai Rang floating market on small boats entering this area. Besides, in the evening, you can take a walk at Ninh Kieu wharf in the center of Can Tho city, which also brings interesting feelings for those who love rivers.

8. Red River in Hanoi

red river in hanoi
Sunset becomes a great time to enjoy the charm of the Red River. @sami_tth

Like the Saigon River, the Red River flows through other provinces such as Phu Tho and Son Tay before flowing through Hanoi. This river also belongs to one of the two largest rivers in Vietnam besides the Mekong Delta.

The two sides of the Red River have a large disparity in development and population density. If Hanoi is located on the right side of the river with a bustling and expensive life, the left side of the river is more peaceful.

There is not much activity on the Red River. So discovering its beauty will be your own choice. You can choose a cafe near Chuong Duong Bridge to sip coffee while watching the lovely beauty of the river. Another is that you can book a bicycle tour to ride along the river to Bat Trang pottery village.

With hundreds of large and small rivers in Vietnam, we have selected the most prominent rivers to save you time researching. If you want to discover the river’s beauty, you should plan a trip that includes the ones suggested above.

  • During the day, you can choose to explore the beauty of the Son River in Quang Binh, the poetic charm of the Perfume River in Hue, and the brilliance of the Ngo Dong River in Ninh Binh.
  • Early morning, enjoy the Can Tho river by visiting Cai Rang floating market.
  • In the late afternoon, take pictures of the colorful Thu Bon River in Hoi An Ancient City.
  • In the evening, watch the bright lights on the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City and the sparkling bridges on the Han River in Da Nang.
  • Discover life on both sides of the Red River with biking tours in Hanoi that will bring you an unforgettable experience.

Each river has its own beauty, and it becomes more beautiful if you choose the right time to explore. There is no hurry if you want to capture the hidden charm of Vietnamese rivers.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.