In 2020, Formula One will add another wonderful Asian venue to its calendar when Hanoi hosts a race in April. Vietnam no longer needs an introduction to the World. A few years ago, the Country celebrated over 10 million overseas visitors in a calendar year. In 2020, it is not unrealistic for that figure to have doubled to 20 million such has been the popularity of Vietnam travel packages.
The 2020 event will be the first of several that will take place a few kilometres from the heart of a city which is filled with local traffic. While an early idea was to hold the race in the vicinity of the famous Hoan Kiem Lake, it was decided that it was impractical to do that because of the daily traffic in the neighbourhood. As a result, the race will be at the My Dinh Complex in Nam Tu Liem around a course of a little under 6 kilometres. Its capacity is 40,000 so there is certain to be great demand to attend this ground-breaking event.
If you are intending to be among the 40,000, you can buy one of 3 types of ticket: Hospitality Ticket (VIP), Grandstand Ticket and Walkabout Ticket. The event itself takes place on Sunday but there is free practice on Friday, further practice on Saturday and qualifying later in the day. The walkabout ticket costs just US$75 and the Grandstand tickets are US$390 which is cheaper than the cost at many other Grand Prix races around the world.
Anyone who has enjoyed a Vietnam holiday will know about its capital Hanoi with its many attractions. Race goers are expected to join in that experience to book Vietnam tour packages with the Grand Prix just part of their experience in Vietnam.
Experienced Vietnam travel agents will put together an itinerary so that first time visitors can truly experience the Country which has become increasingly popular in recent years, and quite rightly!
Anytime is a great time to travel to Vietnam whose climate is regional and seasonal but neverunattractive even in the rainy season. April in Hanoi, up in the north of Vietnam, is likely to be warm, in the upper 20s with a pleasant night-time temperature still around 20. Those attending the Grand Prix are likely to be watching under clear skies and sun.
In recent years, the Vietnamese Government has overseen a relaxation of the requirements of getting a visa. There are different conditions for different nationalities. If you want a visa to Vietnam, you can get help from a Vietnam travel agency which can arrange a suitable itinerary as well. In common with most countries these days, immigration officials will require that you have at least six months’ validity on your passport and a clean page in that passport for the stamp. For a single entry, limited stay in Vietnam there is a good chance that you may be exempt from getting a visa.
The top worldwide TV audience for a Grand Prix exceeds 100 million so it is easy to see the popularity of Formula One and hence the exposure that Vietnam will get by hosting this event in April 2020. While coverage cannot possibly reveal all the Country’s attractions, there is every reason to think that an increasing number of tourists will visit as a result.
What should they do and see?
• Hanoi City is a fascinating place and if you take a tour you will see its highlights without having to navigate for yourself. Hoan Kiem with its lovely pagoda, Ngoc Son across a bridge into the Lake is one of many highlights. The Old Quarter with its narrow streets is a place where you can wander around, watching the street vendors marketing their goods and selling delicious street food. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature and the Museum of Ethnology are just some of the places that are likely to be included in the itinerary. If you remember your history, you will know that the French were the colonial masters in the 19th and first half of the 20th Century. Colonial reminders of that time include St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hoa Lo Prison and the Hanoi Opera House.
• Sample the Cuisine either from the street vendors or in one of Hanoi’s many restaurants. Vietnamese cuisine is gradually gaining popularity across the world. Its most popular dish is Pho which is a noodle broth with vegetables and perhaps chicken, different condiments, spices and herbs and probably a side dish or two as well. Baguettes are a legacy of the French while you will find grilled fish, vermicelli, different rice dishes and spring rolls.
Even if you only restrict yourself to North Vietnam during your first visit to the Country, there are several things that you can do or see outside Hanoi.
• Halong Bay is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site due east of Hanoi in the Gulf of Tonkin. It can be visited on a day trip but if you have the time, you should book a trip whereby you stay on board a boat overnight. It will be a change to enjoy the sun set, drink in hand, before dinner and then get up early to see an equally stunning sunrise. The Bay has many hundreds of limestone karsts coming up from the sea, almost all uninhabited but ripe for exploration. Fishing villages with houses on stilts surround the Bay on its 120 kilometre shoreline.
• Ninh Binh has been described as ‘’Halong Bay on land’’, another limestone region where you can be taken on a sampan slowly down the river between the many rice fields, equally impressive limestone structures and perhaps explore the caves? UNESCO has also recognised the importance of Ninh Binh and the Red River Delta Region.
• Mai Chau can also be visited on a day trip. It is located north west of Hanoi where you will find a lovely valley below slopes where local villages grow rice.
• Sapa is in the Northern Highlands up towards the Chinese border. It is a trip that certainly involves more than a single day and ideally three days and two nights. The stunning Terraces where the water is retained on the slopes so that rice can be grown are worth a visit in themselves. If you visit after the Grand Prix, you may find it is planting time and the Terraces filled with water shimmer on sunny days. Mount Fanispan is close by, accessible by cable car if you wish, and the highest mountain in South East Asia.
Are You Tempted?
As already mentioned, the popularity of Vietnam is now well-established. It is a naturally hospitable country with an ever strengthening economy. There are excellent flight options into the Country with the Airport of Hanoi well capable of welcoming all the overseas tourists aiming to attend the 2020 Grand Prix with plenty of hotel accommodation within the Capital within all budget levels.
Vietnam travel companies are experienced in arranging itineraries for anyone wanting to enjoy the Country. Should you decide to spend an extended time in Vietnam as well as attending the Grand Prix, the transport infrastructure is very good, and you will be able to get to Central and South Vietnam without any difficulty. These regions have many historical and cultural attractions as well, and it is important to remember Vietnam’s extensive coastline is filled with beautiful beaches and offshore islands where swimming and diving are major activities. When you are planning your visit, see if you have an extra few days and you won’t regret it. If you need any help, it is at hand to make your holiday as memorable as the Grand Prix is certain to be.