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 the nearby commune of Kim Lien. It’s an important stop for those with an interest in the past 100 years of Vietnamese history, because here you can see where Ho Chi Minh was born and then jump to decades later to learn how the city was flattened during the war against America and rebuilt with East German aid, evident in the ubiquitous Soviet-style architecture.
A great choice for travellers 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, with the option of relaxing on the beach or exploring the countryside. And if you're planning the overland haul to Laos, this is the ideal spot to stretch your legs for a day or two before catching a bus across the border.
Things to do
Buses take intrepid travellers all the way from Vinh to Phonsovan in Laos, an overnight trip of 12-plus hours. The bus driver will even ferry you through immigration. Is it worth the time and discomfort for the amazing scenery and promise of adventure? It's up to you to decide!
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 Uncle 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. Find the specialities the city is known for in its local restaurants: succulent barbecued meats served in bread rolls, grilled corn, and the city's most famous dish, eel soup.
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 a local favourite, 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.
Visit pine-tree covered Quyet Mountain on the outskirts of town. Once you’ve pounded the 400 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with views over the city. There’s not a huge amount to do on top but you’ll enjoy the breather and value the chance to take some panoramic snaps of the war-damaged city.
Distance to city centre 7km
Taxi A meter taxi to the city centre takes around 15 minutes and costs about VND 60,000.Back to top
When to go
Vinh experiences very hot, dry summer weather from June to August, which is also when domestic tourism is at its busiest (school holidays are in June and July). The wettest months are from September to November, while temperatures and rainfall are at their lowest from December to March.Back to top
The ever-reliable Mai Linh brand is among the taxi companies that operate here, catch them if you can. Motorbike taxis can be found on just about every corner, but make sure you agree on a price up front (don't be afraid to bargain), and be sure motorcycle travel is covered in your travel insurance.Back to top