Vietnam has 21 world heritage properties including 5 cultural heritage sites, 2 natural heritage sites, 1 mixed heritage site, 9 intangible cultural heritage forms, and 4 documentary heritages.
Natural Heritage Sites
1 – Halong Bay – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 1994
Halong Bay was listed in 1994 as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization. Having been a famous destination for years, this site becomes even more renowned after this world famous recognition. With 1960 islands in different sizes and an unbelievable smooth sea surface, Halong Bay has written its name to one of the worthiest places in the world to visit. An especially great time to visit Halong is in May when the annual Halong Bay carnival takes place.
2 – Phong Nha Ke Bang – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 2003
Phong Nha Ke Bang Park does not have a long history like Halong Bay but the area bears its own ace. It has the largest grotto in the world, as well with the longest underground river. Moreover, Phong Nha has rocks and stones naturally set in different sizes and shapes and a wide range of living creatures inside the park. Son Doong Cave, the largest cave in the world, was recently discovered in this complex of natural wonders.
Cultural Heritage Sites
1 – Hue Complex of Monuments – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 1993
The Complex of Hue monuments is a combination of many royal aspects from the Nguyen dynasty (the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam) with the Imperials City (Hoang Thanh Hue) including the famous High Noon Gate (Ngo Mon), many tombs of Nguyen Emperor (Gia Long, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, Tu Duc, Dong Khanh, Khai Dinh..), monuments, temples, pagodas, and load of other interesting elements. A visit to Hue will not be complete without a day spent on appreciating the historical values of Hue citadel and tombs.
2 – Hoi An Ancient Town – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 1999
Ancient Town Hoi An is already famous for its Chinese and Japanese influence on architecture, hand made toys (lantern, lotus floating candle) and the biggest and most marvelous Full Moon Festival (Trung Thu) of the country. Moreover, the bridge buit by Japanese here and many Chinese Assembly Halls are the most attractive places for the tourists. Formed in the 16th and 17th century and thriving as a trading points of various countries, Hoi An now still retains much of its trait since the old days: from family cult houses to community gathering place and colorful pagodas.
3 – My Son Sanctuary – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 1999
My Son Sanctuary, containing somewhat 70 ruined and abandoned Hindu temples and tombs, was built by Champa Kings between 4th and 14th Century AD. These temples here once were the place for the royal family of Champa to remember their ancestors and worship their Gods. Plus the wild nature of the place, My Son creates a wonderful scene for people visiting the Holy place.
4 – Thang Long Imperial Citadel – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 2010
Thang Long Imperial Citadel, which has been declared a World Heritage in 2010, is a very strong citadel, standing in Hanoi from 11 century after Ly Thai To moved the capital here. The Citadel was once the living place of many royal families: Ly Dynasty, Tran Dynasty, Le Dynasty, Trinh Dynasty…and nowadays become one of the most famous Citadels of the country.
5 – Ho Dynasty Citadel – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 2011
Ho dynasty fortress in Thanh Hoa province is the only one ancient stone Citadel left in Southeast Asia, built in 1397 with unique architecture and beautiful natural base. Moreover, Ho fortress is combined by many heavy stone packs, some of them weight more than 20 tons, strong enough to against even the most powerful campaign at that time. In addition, inside the fortress, archeologist found the stone balls for cannon (Ho Nguyen Trung is the inventor of cannon gun), one of the oldest cannon balls in Asia.
Mixed Heritage Site
Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex – UNESCO World Heritage Site listed in 2014
Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was recognized as Viet Nam’s first mixed heritage by UNESCO on 23 June, 2014. Covering an area of 61,720 ha in Hoa Lu, Gia Vien and Nho Quan districts and Ninh Binh City, Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex includes Trang An Eco-tourist Site, Tam Coc- Bich Dong Landscape, Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel and the Hoa Lu primeval forest.
Being called as an “Halong Bay on land” with numerous caves, mountains, valley, trees and historic relics, Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex is considered as an outdoor geological museum because it is entirely surrounded by bow shaped limestone mountain ranges lying on a delta wetland area.
Intangible Cultural Heritage Forms
1 – Nha nhac, Vietnamese Court Music, that Hue has preserved so long, was officially listed by UNESCO among masterpieces of the Oral and intangible heritage of humanity on 7th November 2003
2 – On November 25, 2005 in Paris, France, the space of gong culture in Central Highlands was recognized by UNESCO as an oral-transmitted masterpiece and intangible cultural heritage of the humanity.
3 – Ca tru singing has been inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding on October 1, 2009 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
4 – At 16h55 on September 30, 2009 in Abu Dhabi Capital of United Arab Emirates, UNESCO recognized Quan ho Bac Ninh folk songs as intangible cultural heritage of humanity for its cultural value, social custom preservation, performing arts, style of contact, lyric and costume
5 – The Giong Festival of Phu Dong and Soc temples has officially been recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by the UNESCO since November 2010. UNESCO has shortly and fully recorded of the Giong Festival as “a Viet Nam culture museum that keeps many alluvial layers of culture and beliefs.”
6 – On November 24th 2011, at the 6th meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee for the Conservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO held in Bali, Indonesia, Xoan singing in Phu Tho was officially recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent safeguarding. It meets necessary requirements as unique lyrics, melodies and tunes; combining elements of culture, history and art; containing many cultural values; and having been preserved through many centuries.
7 – With unique and distinct values, on 6 December 2012, in Paris (France), UNESCO officially recognized the worship of Hung Kings in Phu Tho Province as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is the first belief in Viet Nam recognized as world heritage
8 – On 5 December 2013, at the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Baku City (Azerbaijan), UNESCO recognized officially Don ca tai tu as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
9 – With unique and outstanding values, on 27 November 2014, in the 9th session of Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO in Paris (France), Vi and Giam folk songs of Nghe Tinh was officially recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
1 – On 16th May 2012, at the meeting of Asia Pacific Regional Committee of UNESCO held in Bangkok (Thailand), Buddhist Sutra Woodblocks of Truc Lam Zen at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda was recognized as World Documentary Heritage in Memory of the World Programme, based on three criteria as authenticity; uniqueness, irreplaceability; and its position and role in the region.
2 – On 30th July 2009, the woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty have been recognized as a World Documentary Heritage at the meeting of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the UNESCO in Bridgetown (Barbados), from the 29th to the 31st of July 2009. They became the first entry of Viet Nam in the list of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme. The Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty are particularly rare documents in Viet Nam as well as in the world.
3 – On March 9, 2010 in Macau, China, the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee of Memory of the World recognized 82 stele records of the royal examinations of Le and Mac dynasties in Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam as world documentary heritage in the Memory of the World Program of UNESCO.
4 – With unique and outstanding values, on 14 May 2014, in the 2nd session of the 6th general meeting of Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific (MOWCAP) at Guangzhou (China), Imperial records of Nguyen Dynasty were recognized as documentary heritage in the Memory of the World Programme in the Asia/Pacific region.