This long, coastal country is spectacular from North to South, changing dramatically as you travel from Hanoi, the capital in the North, down to Ho Chi Minh in the south. Bordered by Laos, China and Cambodia, it is also an ideal place to visit if you want to check out the surrounding areas. The best way to travel through is to take the overnight train which goes through the entire country, and watch as the landscape changes wildly from the window. Here are our top reasons to visit this really lovely country:
This beautiful capital is like a strange mixture of French and Vietnamese architecture which makes you feel like you’re in the 50s. The Old Quarter particularly has this feeling, with its many silk shops and original trade. The Temple of Literature can also be found in this area, site of the oldest Vietnam library, built in 1070. If those don’t pique your interest, maybe one of the many city lakes that you can sit by and have a drink in the summer will.
2. Halong bay
This bay is filled with majestic hills, known as “limestone islands” rising from the water and is truly a spectacular sight. Take a junk boat tour or kayak your way around these beautiful little island in the luscious emerald waters.
3. Hoi An
Famous for its affordable tailor-made clothes, if you want to get the perfect dress made for you, you can do so in this lovely ancient town, crisscrossed with canals, at a very low cost and very quickly. French colonial buildings adorn this town which is definitely not to be missed. So many wonderful photo opportunities are to be had here.
4. Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi Tunnels, which are open to visits from tourists, are a huge network of underground tunnels which underlie most of the country and were a large part of the Vietnamese’s resistance against the U.S in the Vietnam War. You can now visit the war memorial park and get an idea of what life in the tunnels was like – bleak. An educational visit!
5. Street food
Whether you prefer to eat in a literal hole in the wall at some of the most delicious mini-restaurants you’ve ever encountered, and for less than 3 dollars including your drink, or you want to try your luck with some skewers of unidentified meat of the street (delicious but what is that?), or maybe you want to try deep-fried crickets with spicy sauce, Vietnam caters for all of your wildest whims! This is definitely the place to come if you aren’t scared of hordes of mopeds on the streets and strange and wonderful flavors on your taste buds.