Having opened its doors to the outside world in the early nineties, Vietnam has been charming travellers ever since. Towering limestone needles that rise like dragons’ teeth from dramatic blue-green waters, ancient temples of fascinating intricacy, dense green jungle, pristine sun-bleached sands, and people renowned for their warmth and hospitality; these are just some of the unique sights and experiences associated with this engaging country.
From the remarkable beauty of Sam Mountain and Halong Bay to the numerous sacred temples and pagodas, Vietnam has a lot to offer. It is a country that offers everything from exotic culinary delights to breathtaking scenery. Seemingly endless, tranquil rice paddies stand in stark contrast to hectic, bustling cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi which embrace all the technology and conveniences that the modern world has to offer. The well-preserved colonial buildings of Hoi An play host to a slew charming boutiques and tempting cafes while, further North, the local hill-tribe people of Sapa sell a wide variety of exquisite crafts and handmade trinkets.
Beyond the urban areas this diverse country is characterised by vast, verdant jungles and lush mountainous regions as well as an enticing coastline peppered with golden sand, palm lined beaches. With all of this diversity on offer, Vietnam always makes for some inspiring, fascinating, and invigorating travel.
A: They are the tunnel network built by the Vietnamese resistance fighters. There are 125 miles of tunnels and they provided shelter for up to 10,000 troops. Learn about the area’s tragic history and the ingenuity of the tunnels’ wartime inhabitants.
A: They include the Reunification Palace (formerly the Presidential Palace), Notre Dame Cathedral, the War Museum, Historical Museum and Ben Thanh Market.
A: Hoi An, on the central eastern coast, is a very old trading town that still retains much of its original 17th- and 18th-century architecture. Ten minutes out of town, there’s a beautiful beach.
A: Vietnam’s capital lacks the drive of Ho Chi Minh City, but this garden city, with its elegant boulevards and inner-city lakes, has kept its strong French ambience. Key sights include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Old irter, the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature.
A: Vietnam Airlines operates four flights a week from Gatwick: two to Hanoi and two to Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam’s cuisine is based on a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions. Noodles and rice provide the basis of most meals — rice is the local Staple and accompanies virtually every meal, and is consumed in the form of pancakes, rice paper, rice noodles and rice wine. Pork and fish are popular. Visitors should try the street stalls that serve a variety of tasty and cheap food such as noodle soup, pork sausage, spring rolls and fish balls. Tea, similar to Chinese green tea, is among the most popular drinks.