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Overview  |  History  |  Sightseeing

Vietnam is a country of fascinating towns and cities featuring old architecture that invokes heart-warming feelings. Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Hue are the country’s biggest tourist hotspots and contain many worthwhile sights. Vietnam also has numerous fine beaches and is largely rural with the Mekong Delta and Da Lat providing welcome escapes from the more urban areas.

Da Lat
Located inland and north of Phan Thiet and Ho Chi Minh, Da Lat is ideal for those who prefer beautiful mountain settings and tribal culture than skyscrapers and modern shopping malls. There are loads of traditional tribal villages in this area, the most popular being the Lat and Chicken village hill tribes.

Hanoi is Vietnam’s leafy capital and most vibrant city. Located in the north of the country and featuring somewhere in the region of 600 oriental pagodas and temples, Hanoi is great to look at. Its positioning on the picturesque Red River lends it extra appeal, as does its old town area characterised by narrow winding streets. One of the most endearing sights in Hanoi is Ngoc Son Temple on the island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. The temple’s perfect setting on one of the most beautiful lakes in Hanoi makes it well worth a visit. Other attractions include Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and various top-notch museums.

Ha Long Bay
Another must-see is UNESCO protected Ha Long Bay, which features striking limestone formations amid emerald green water. Tours of the bay typically depart from Hanoi and include a night on an authentic junk boat. The rugged peaks that jut from the water make for postcard-perfect pictures and exciting terrain for kayakers.

Visit this website for photographs of Halong Bay in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly named Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is Vietnam’s largest city as well as being one of the most popular destinations in all of Southeast Asia. Have a wander around the city, take in the sublime architecture and be awed by the bustle of Chinatown. The city is loaded with old buildings and temples, and also has some excellent museums, while shopping opportunities are particularly good. Apart from the obvious allure of Chinatown, there are many chic boutiques and traditional antique shops. Those into the market scene can try the Cai Be floating market with its range of handicrafts. In addition, Ho Chi Minh is surrounded by fascinating landscapes providing for some great daytrips.

Hoi An
Not far south of Hue, Hoi An is a smaller, more laid-back town than its bustling neighbour and has many worthwhile sights and shopping. The city is ancient and features narrow streets and old wooden buildings among the more modern boulevards. Shopping opportunities abound with silk being the main product. Know what you are buying beforehand as visitors often get caught out with inferior Chinese replicas.

Located on the east coast of the Perfume River, roughly midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Hue is a major tourist destination and a place rarely missed by visitors on a tour of Vietnam. Hue was once an Imperial City and is thus loaded with incredible old-city architecture, while its ‘fashion capital’ status is also hard to deny. The city’s bustling thoroughfares are full with choice shops, hotels and restaurants. Hue is busy with tourists year-round and it is wise to book accommodation here as far in advance as possible.

Mekong Delta
Many people come to Vietnam to enjoy the nature of the mighty Mekong Delta, which is within easy reach of Ho Chi Minh City. Boat trips go along the canals and through the myriad of swamps and are best taken from local towns such as Can Tho or My Tho.

Phan Thiet
Situated to the east of Ho Chi Minh on the coast, Phan Thiet is a very pleasant-looking town with its turquoise waters offshore and a backdrop of rolling, flower-filled hills. Many tourists come here to escape the bustle of nearby Ho Chi Minh, and the many oriental temples and plush palaces in the town centre add a great deal of appeal. Visitors also have the choice to party here at the many lively bars or dine in a gourmet restaurant. Nearby Mui Ne Beach is another big attraction of the region with its perfect tropical beach dotted with coconut trees and large sand dunes.

Top Things to Do
Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels.

The most visited attraction in Vietnam is part of a massive network of tunnels and trails that stretch for around 300 miles fromHo Chi Minh City. The tunnels were created and expanded in the French Indochina and Vietnam wars by the Vietcong and include complete facilities, such as kitchens, accommodation and ‘street’ signs. Tours go from Tay Ninh suburb to the northwest of central Ho Chi Minh and include an overview of the tunnels. Website:

Hike Sam Mountain. A few miles from the Cambodian border town of Chau Doc, climbing Sam Mountain can easily be combined with a trip along the Mekong and provides a great opportunity to get away from it all and snap dozens of picturesque temples and pagodas.

Join in beach volleyball. Popular at the beach and in Ho Chi Minh City, afternoon is the best time of day to try a game with the locals, who are generally welcome to have visitors join in.

Kayak around Ha Long Bay. Take the time to kayak around this amazing region strewn with limestone formations and small islets jutting up from aqua-marine waters. You won’t need to paddle hard as much can be discerned in just a small region including a colourful array of plants and wildlife.

Meander along the Mekong. Take a boat tour along the river and see this fascinating southern region of Vietnam. Tours will whisk you across the open water and through a myriad of canals while explaining the ecology of the region. 

Relax on Phu Quoc Island. Vietnam’s largest island, also known as ‘Emerald Island’, is great for an escape to sample the clear, warm waters and lounge on its fine beaches.

Visit this website for photographs and further information about Phu Quoc Island Vietnam .

Take in a Vietnamese baguette and coffee. Originally introduced by French colonials, baguettes are now a big part of Vietnamese cuisine and go great with a Vietnamese coffee on a typical street corner or in any village.

Visit this website for further information about Vietnamese Coffee .

Visit cosmopolitan Hoi An. Explore this World Heritage site and pick up some high quality local silk in the process. Hoi An’s prominence came about after Dutch, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese traders made their mark between the 16th and 18th centuries. As a result, the town is as cosmopolitan as they come. Silk and ceramics were once the main products of the region and can still be picked up at a snip today.

Overview  |  History  |  Sightseeing

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