This holiday, we embarked on a journey around the globe to Vietnam where we learned about the nation’s fusion of Asian-European cultures. This is incredibly evident in Vietnamese architecture, which can be easily broken down into four defining historical periods: ancient, French-colonial, new, and contemporary. Here were some of our favorite sights from the mountain town of Da Lat, Vietnam, Hanoi, and beyond 🇻🇳.

Ancient Temples

When you think about Vietnamese architecture, you’re probably picturing the ancient Hindu inspired and Buddhist temples nestled in the mountainsides.

MySon Hindu-inspired temple near Hoi An

“Purple City” The emperor’s residence in the Imperial City in Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda, a Buddhist Temple in Hue

Monk’s house at Thien Mu in Hue

Exploring Vietnamese Architecture in Dat – La, Vietnam

Known for its mist-covered, winding roads, and booming agricultural industry, Dat La used to be a mountain getaway for the French colonists and Vietnamese royalty, which informs its architectural contrast of ornate structures with cozy mountainous style.

Yum… Vietnamese Street Markets are a Food-Lovers Dream!

Because Vietnam is hilly and moist and its structures either stand out or are hidden amongst its dense forest landscape, the architecture has to be durable to withstand incredible conditions.

The Crazy House in Dat-La Vietnam

This massive residence, now an operational hotel with 10 rooms, is known colloquially as “The Crazy House.” It truly lives up to its name and is one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see. Built by Vietnamese architect, Dang Viet Nga, who trained in Moscow, cites Dali and Guadi as her primary influences for the building which exhibits a whimsical fairy tale style with very few right angles to be found.

The Yellow Chalet: French-Vietnamese Architecture

The Yellow Chalet in the Woods is a charming French-built mountain retreat, one of many built by French settlers as second homes before they left in 1954. They were built in a Swiss chalet style with Vietnamese influence. Whole mountain towns are filled with these great architectural gems.

Royal Vietnamese Architecture: The King’s Palace 

The King’s Palace was built by a French millionaire and bought from him by the King of Vietnam 🇻🇳. It used to be the Kong’s residence until he and his family were exiled to France.

Urban Buildings In Vietnam

Vietnamese architects often try to bring a bit of nature into Vietnam’s urban environments: As in these buildings inspired by lotus flowers and tulips.