Top 11 Rivers In Vietnam: Nature’s Splendor And Cultural Marvels

Top 11 Rivers In Vietnam - Student Exchange

Do you know how many rivers in Vietnam there are? Indeed, Vietnam is a country full of legendary rivers. For more than 4,000 years, rivers have accompanied the lives of Vietnamese people and witnessed many ups and downs in history.

From north to south, there are 2,360 rivers over 10 kilometers long, with a total length of 41,900 kilometers, forming fertile deltas in the river basin area. Not only that, Vietnam’s traditional cultural features are cultivated and preserved in peaceful villages and bustling cities along the river.

When you come to each river, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the river, listen to the legends of the residents, and experience the unique cultural features. If limited time does not allow you to explore all the beautiful rivers in Vietnam, why not try to refer to the 11 most beautiful rivers in Vietnam in the following list?

Reasons You Should Visit Rivers In Vietnam

There are various compelling reasons to visit Vietnam’s rivers, making it an appealing location for tourists.

Breathtaking beauty

These waterways meander across stunning terrain, giving spectacular vistas and tranquil environs, from the majestic Mekong Delta to the lovely Red River. Exploring these rivers allows tourists to become immersed in the allure of Vietnam’s rich and lush natural environment.

Beautiful River In Vietnam - Student Exchange

Major historical and cultural significance

Numerous of these waterways have been instrumental in forming the nation’s rich legacy. They have been witnesses to historical occurrences, have been important trading channels, and have shaped the growth of the villages along their banks. Travelers may learn more about Vietnam’s history, customs, and the lives of the people who have relied on these rivers for water for generations by visiting these rivers.

Mekong River - Student Exchange

A paradise for nature lovers

A large variety of plants and animals, including rare and endangered species, thrive thanks to the abundant river ecosystems. Visitors may view lively wildlife, intriguing marine life, and the varied vegetation that flourishes along the riverbanks by exploring the rivers. The rivers of Vietnam provide a plethora of opportunities for nature enthusiasts, whether they choose to go birding or fishing or are content to simply take in the peace of nature.

Top 11 Rivers In Vietnam - Student Exchange

Numerous adventures and leisure opportunities

Exploring the nation’s waterways may be excitingly accomplished by enjoying leisurely boat rides, river cruising, or spectacular kayaking excursions. Travelers with a sense of adventure can explore twisting river channels, find secret caverns, or even go on multi-day river expeditions to discover the hidden treasures of Vietnam’s river systems.

Discover Vietnam's rivers - Student Exchange

To have a satisfying exploration trip to Vietnam and its charming rivers, we recommend Vietnam Vacation Travel, a professional local travel agency. They can help you with tours, transportation, entrance tickets, etc., and give helpful travel advice.

11 Significant Rivers In Vietnam

Mekong River

Mekong River - Student Exchange


The Mekong River is the largest in Southeast Asia, flowing through Vietnam. The river has two main tributaries, Tianhe and Houhe, which flow through the southwest and then flow into the East China Sea at nine estuaries, so it is also called the Mekong River.

The Mekong River in Vietnam has a total length of about 500 kilometers and a basin area of nearly 71,000 square kilometers, accounting for more than 8% of the total area of the Mekong River Basin. In the southwest, canals and canal systems were built to supply water to all delta provinces.

What To Do

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is not only known for its tranquil and colorful life but also for its characteristic floating markets, which are part of the culture there, with rustic bamboo boats and abundant merchandise.

When you come to the Mekong River, there are many floating markets that you should visit at least once, such as Cai Rang (Can Tho), Long Xuyen (An Giang), Cai Be (Tian Jiang), and Phung Hiep (An Giang), etc. Also, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the biodiversity of the Southeast region at the Tram Chim, U Minh Thuong, and U Minh Ha National Parks.

Srepok River

Srepok River Vietnam - Student Exchange


The Dak Krong River is the second largest river in the central plateau of Vietnam, with a total length of 406 kilometers (125 kilometers in Vietnam) and a drainage area of 30,100 square kilometers.

As the main tributary of the Mekong River, Srepok includes two tributaries, Krong No and Krong Ana, which mean “father river” and “mother river,” respectively, in the local language. In the legends of residents on both sides of the river, this river is related to the love story of a boy and a girl who were stopped by the tribe.

What To Do

Compared to these two gentle tributaries, the Szepok appears to be more violent, making this river a haven for spectacular waterfalls. Many of these majestic waterfalls have been developed for tourism, such as Dray Nur, Dray Sap, Gia Long, Bay Branch, and Trinh Nu waterfalls. Not only that, but the Srepok River Basin is home to many species of flora and fauna, including the world-endangered species.

Down the Srepok River, there are two national parks worth visiting: Chu Yang Sin and Yok Don National Park. The best time to visit the Srepok River is between November and April, during the dry season, before the heavy rains interrupt your journey.

Saigon River

Saigon River - Student Exchange


While most rivers in Vietnam are associated with tradition and natural beauty, the Saigon River is one of the exceptions. When mentioning the Saigon River, many people will immediately think of a busy modern city image, which the French call Ho Chi Minh City, the Pearl of the Far-East.

The Saigon River is a tributary of the Dong Nai River and one of the two rivers that flow through Ho Chi Minh City. In the city’s more than 300 years of history, the Saigon River has witnessed the rise and fall of Saigon, so that today, on both sides of the river, we can see a vibrant city.

What To Do

To visit the Saigon River, you can take the Saigon water bus at the Bach Dang port and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Ho Chi Minh City.

The river meanders through tall buildings, dense residential areas, and busy streets, leading tourists to visit Ho Chi Minh City’s landmarks such as Nha Long Wharf, Bitexco Mansion, and Tower. Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnam. As night falls, take a walk in Riverside Park and watch the city reflect its colorful lights on the Saigon River.

Perfume River

Perfume River Hue - Student Exchange


The ancient capital of Hue has always been known for its poetic beauty. It has been the source of inspiration for many writers and poets. Speaking of such a beautiful element of decoration, we must mention the Perfume River, the symbol of Hue City.

Originating from the majestic Truong Son mountain range and gestating the ancient traditions of the residents on both sides of the river, the Perfume River has been likened to the city of Hue on the way of a girl with a strong personality looking for her lover. The Perfume River seems to slow down as it enters the city center, bypassing unspoiled villages such as Kim Long, Vy Da, Nguyet Bieu, and Bao Vinh.

What To Do

The Perfume River Cruise is an unmissable experience in Hue. The cruise will take you to enjoy the magnificent river landscape of Hue City, including Hon Chen Shrine, Ngoc Tran Mountain, Truong Tien Bridge, the ancient capital of Hue, Minh Mang Tomb, Thien Mu Pagoda, and many other attractions.

Hue Huong River Vietnam - Student Exchange

Especially when night falls, the bright lights are on on both sides of the river. While floating on the Perfume River in a small boat, you can immerse yourself in the elegant music of the ancient city of Hue and feel the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

Ngo Dong River

Ngo Dong River - Student Exchange


Despite not being a big river, the Ngo Dong River is an attraction in Ninh Binh province. It rises from the core area of the Trang An complex, winds its way through limestone cliffs and vast rice fields, and finally empties into the Vac River.

On both sides of the Ngo Dong River, the increasingly towering mountains are quietly reflected on the flat river surface, outlining a wonderful watercolor painting of nature. The Ngo Dong River is like the smooth hair of a beautiful girl sleeping on the vast plain of Ninh Binh.

What To Do

Taking a boat along the Ngo Dong River, you will get to Thai Vi Temple and Tam Coc-Bich Dong. It has a cave, namely “Nam Thien De Nhi Dong,” which is the second most beautiful cave in Vietnam. Visiting the caves on the Ngo Dong River, you will marvel at the hastily grown stalactites of various shapes and sizes. You will strongly feel the careful arrangement that the hands of nature make for each stone.

Tam Coc-Bich Dong - Student Exchange

Moreover, what will excite you the most about the Ngo Dong River is its harmonious combination of nature, religion, and people. Therefore, you will feel as if you are entering a fairy tale, with charming scenery around.

Nho Que River

Nho Que River Ha Giang - Student Exchange


When you come to the mountainous Ha Giang Province in northern Vietnam, in addition to the spectacular and famous mountain passes that attract every backpacker, you will relish a characteristic river in the canyon—the Nho Que River.

This river originates in China and flows southeast into Vietnam. Although one of its sections runs through Cao Bang Province, its first section is in Lung Cu Commune of Ha Giang Province. This first section is also considered the most scenic. Before, the Nho Que River was not as calm as it is now. However, it was not until there was a hydroelectric dam that the Nho Que River became calm.

What To Do

To enjoy the beauty of the entire Nho Que River, many tourists choose to stand at the top of the Ma Pi Leng pass, a 20-kilometer pass that is popular with all backpackers in Ha Giang. Ma Pi Leng Pass, also known as the “Road of Thorns,” has an impressive cliff on one side and a deep abyss on the other. From this pass, you can set your sights on the majestic Tu San Alley. Here, you will see the clear blue waters of the Nho Que River meandering its way over towering cliffs.

In addition, you can join the Nho Que River boat tour and lift your eyes to admire the towering cliffs. Come to touch the cold, clear blue waters of the Nho Que River and soak up the atmosphere of its mountains, water, and clouds.

Han River

Han River - Student Exchange


Every river in central Vietnam is associated with its own unique bridge, and the Han River in Da Nang is no exception. When it comes to Da Nang, the most worth-seeing city in the world, tourists will immediately think of a modern and vibrant city, an attractive tourist destination along the Han River.

The river is clear and pollution-free, with the soft charm of a full-moon girl. More interestingly, on the banks of the Han River, the city of Da Nang is booming, with high-end tourist areas, skyscrapers, and unique works that once marked the city.

What To Do

Of all the bridges across the Han River, the Dragon Bridge is the most fascinating. It is considered one of the most impressive bridges in the world due to the construction of the Golden Dragon.

In addition, on the Han River, there are 5 spectacular bridges: Thuan Phuoc, Tran Thi Ly, Nguyen Van Troi, Tien Son, and Han River Bridge, making Da Nang known as the “Bridge City.” Every year, on the banks of the romantic Han River, the Da Nang International Fireworks Festival is held. The fireworks performances by world-class artists attract many domestic and foreign tourists.

Hoai River

Hoai River - Student Exchange


The Hoi An River is a tributary of the Thu Bon River, flowing through the ancient city of Hoi An. For locals and tourists in Hoi An, the Hoai River is an integral feature of this old quarter.

On the banks of the Hoai River, the yellow-brown old houses quietly reflect their images on the tranquil Hoai River, giving people a peaceful feeling of being in an ancient city in China or Japan. With the development of the ancient city of Hoi An for more than 500 years, the Hoai River once played an important role in the commercial activities of this land, and many merchants from all over the world flocked to purchase goods.

What To Do

The livelihood of the people of Hoi An is closely related to the Hoi An River. When you come to Hoi An, you can take a non-motorized boat rowed by the locals to stroll on the charming river and enjoy the beautiful scenery on both sides.

Hoai River Hoi An Ancient Town - Student Exchange

In addition, you also have the opportunity to listen to the interesting stories told by the boatman in the picturesque scenery, along with the sound of the oars waving in the water. At night, especially on special days, the Hoai River seems to change its appearance and become a sparkling river dotted with the flickering lights of ancient houses.

Son River

Son River Quang Binh - Student Exchange


The Son River, also known as the Troc River, is a tributary of the Giang River in Quang Binh Province. The upper reach of the mountain river is a 7,729-meter-long underground river. It originates from the limestone mountains in the center of Phong Nha-Ke Bang, a world heritage site in Quang Binh Province.

The name “Son” means “unshakable loyalty” and derives from the faithful love story of a couple on the banks of a river. On the other hand, many people believe that the river is called “Son,” which also means “red,” for its red color during the floating season. The river has witnessed the resilience of the Vietnamese nation in repelling American invaders in the 20th century.

What To Do

When visiting the Son River, there is nothing more interesting than sitting on a cruise ship on the river to enjoy the poetic and picturesque scenery. Your soul will greatly engage in the riverside scenery. The main color of the riverside picture is green: the emerald green of the water, the dark green of the forest, and the fluorescent green of the fertile fields on both banks.

Furthermore, you should book a river port to visit the Phong Nha caves, the Xuan Son ferry terminal, and the many peaceful small villages along the river with friendly people.

Ben Hai River

Ben Hai River - Student Exchange


Quang Tri Province suffered and was devastated the most during the Vietnam War. The Ben Hai River and Hien Luong Bridge, known as the temporary demilitarized border between the two regions of Vietnam since 1954, are historical witnesses to that pain.

It saw the division and reunification of the Vietnamese people during the fierce war. Until 1975, the disintegration of the Republic of Vietnam led to the withdrawal of this border. Lastly, Vietnam achieved complete reunification. Therefore, people at both ends of the bridge could walk freely without hindrance, creating a moving scene of history.

What To Do

More than half a century has passed. Moreover, earth-shaking changes have taken place in Quang Tri, the former “Land of Fire.” The battlefield has given way to vast rice fields and green rubber forests. Nowadays, the Hien Luong Bridge and the Ben Hai River turn into historical relics for visitors.

The bridge has two colors, yellow and green, for future generations to remember the arduous course of the war of resistance of the ancestors. During important festivals in Vietnam, when you come to Ben Hai River and Hien Luong Bridge, you will have the opportunity to meet Vietnam War veterans and American veterans. Listening to their stories and experiencing the value of peace in Vietnam are exciting for historical lovers.

Lam River

Lam River Nghe An - Student Exchange


Although not as popular as other rivers in Vietnam, the Lam River in Nghe An is one of the best places for you to explore Vietnam’s rivers. The Lam River, also known as the Thousand River, originated in the Xiangkhuang Plateau of Laos and is one of the two major rivers in the north-central region.

Together with Hong Linh Mountain in Ha Tinh Province, it has become a symbol of the holy land of outstanding people in Vietnam’s history. The name “Lam River” comes from the indigo blue water here, respecting the sky background and the quiet trees by the river.

What To Do

Visiting the Lam River is an unforgettable experience of Lam Hong culture, the culture of the residents along the Lam riverside. In the villages along the Lam River, you can see scenes of children soaking in cold water, grazing cows, and their mothers washing clothes. Moreover, you will catch sight of primitive boats casting nets for fishing and people stretching their waists on still water to make a living.

Tien Dien Village, the hometown of world cultural figure Nguyen Du, and Kim Lien Village, the hometown of President Ho Chi Minh, are two of the most famous villages you should visit when exploring the Lam River.

FAQs About Rivers In Vietnam

Q: Which river flows through Ho Chi Minh City?

A: The river that flows through Ho Chi Minh City is the Saigon River. The river joins the Dong Nai River in Ho Chi Minh City before emptying into the sea.

Q: Which is the largest river in Vietnam?

A: The river with the largest drainage area in Vietnam is the Red River (72,300 square kilometers). Meanwhile, the largest river flowing in Vietnam is the Mekong River (795,000 kilometers), and its section of Vietnam extends to 71,000 kilometers.

Q: Is the Saigon River like the Mekong River?

A: No. The Saigon River is the main tributary of the Dong Nai River. It originates in the southeast region and flows into the mainstream of the Dong Nai River in Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile, the Mekong River originates in China and flows through Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Finally, it flows into Vietnam in the southwest and into the sea.

Rivers In Vietnam: Conclusion

For more than 4,000 years, rivers in Vietnam have played an important role in our culture, instilling traditional values in every landscape they pass through. Each river has its own story, and all these stories together form the unity of Vietnamese culture. If you ever have the chance to visit Vietnam, pack your bags, embark on an incredible river adventure, and let Vietnam’s enchanting rivers leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.

Thanks for reading our travel blog. Student Exchange Vietnam wishes you a wonderful trip to Vietnam.