A city off the tourist radar and just a stone’s throw from Laos
Thousands of pilgrims flock to Vinh each year to pay their respects to the revered leader Ho Chi Minh, who died in 1969, at his birthplace in nearby commune of Kim Lien. It’s an important stop for those with an interest in the past 100 years of Vietnamese history because in Vinh, you can see where Ho Chi Minh was born and then jump to a period decades later to learn how the city was flattened during the Vietnam War and rebuilt with East German aid – evident in the ubiquitous, Soviet-style architecture.
For the traveller keen to explore the unbeaten path, Vinh has yet to feel the full impact of tourism. It offers visitors the chance to experience local life in a smaller Vietnamese city, not to mention relaxing on the beach or traversing the countryside.Jumping over to Laos? This is the ideal spot to stretch your legs for a day before getting a bus across the border.
Things to do
From the main bus station on Le Loi Street, buses take travellers all the way to Phonsovan in Laos, a trip of 11 hours for which tickets costs about VND 235,000 (USD $11). The bus driver will even ferry you through immigration.
Ho’s the boss
Highly revered leader Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890, in Hoang Tru village, Kim Lien commune, 14km west of Vinh. The two simple houses made of bamboo and palm-leaf thatch are 1959 reconstructions, now surrounded by sweet potato fields. The museum nearby illustrates Ho’s world travels with memorabilia and photos.
Unlike Vietnam’s bigger cities, Vinh’s streets aren't packed full of street food vendors, making walking easier but eating harder. The city is well known for a few specialties, like its barbequed meat in a bread roll, porridge, noodle soup and grilled corn. Find all of the above in any local restaurant.
Sands of time
Home to crystal-clear waters ripe for safe swimming, Cua Lo beach, about 18km from Vinh, is a great spot to take in a sunset before feasting on fresh seafood. The beach is geared more towards locals, so it can get quite busy and loud during Vietnamese holiday periods. But it’s fairly quiet otherwise and in the “winter” months you might just have the whole beach to yourself. Catch the bus at Vinh Bus Station.
Visit pine-tree covered Quyet Mountain on the outskirts of town. Once you’ve pounded the 400 steps to the top (take water!) you’ll be rewarded with citywide views. There’s not a huge amount to do on top but you’ll surely enjoy the breather and value the chance to take some panoramic snaps of the war-damaged city.
Travel time 15 minutes
Taxi Approx VND 49,000-64,000 (USD $2.30-3.00)
Airport pick-up can be arranged with your hotelBack to top
When to go
Vinh experiences very hot but dry summer weather from June to August. The wettest months are from September to November. Temperatures and rainfall are at their lowest from December to March. Domestic tourism is at its highest during the school holidays in June and July.Back to top
Ever-reliable Mai Linh is among the taxi companies that operate here. Motorbike taxis can be found on just about every corner, but negotiate prices up front. And don’t hesitate to start walking if you fancy an adventure – if you get lost in Vietnam, there will always be someone willing to give you a lift on their motorbike or help you on your way for a small fee.Back to top