There was a time when anyone mentioned Vietnam the first thought was war. It was a terrible time when the Viet Cong fought to unify the Country, North and South, with American forces determined to prevent the takeover of South Vietnam by communists. The Americans failed and the result over recent decades has been the increasing attractiveness of Vietnam, its stunning environment, history and culture, friendly people and great cuisine. Rarely has there been a better outcome following a brutal war, especially one that was supposedly being fought over freedom.
Vietnam holidays have been facilitated by the ease of access to the Country, especially by air into Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City though overland routes are good as well. The Internet has been a great tool for companies offering Vietnam holiday packages with several different alternatives both in duration and content. Cities are important to some travellers, especially those interested in history and culture but the natural beauty of the Country cannot be ignored. Ha Long Bay with its host of islands lies due east from the Capital, Hanoi, and has now become a UNESCO World Heritage site, but right down the length of Vietnam’s extensive coastline there are things to see and do. There is no point in coming for Vietnam holidays and then rushing away too soon. When you begin to think about a holiday in Vietnam, you should look at these highlights and decide whether you can afford to miss any of them:
• The Sa Pa Terraces
• Halong Bay
• The Coastal Resorts
• Cu Chi Tunnels
• Ho Chi Minh City
• The Mekong Delta
Hanoi Vietnam’s Capital is a delight.
It has had a rich history which includes the obvious influence that the former colonial masters, France, had on the place. It is naturally beautiful with several lakes; the French added wide avenues with trees to add to the city’s natural beauty while just outside the city boundaries rural life and local farmers provide tourists with a real insight into how the ordinary Vietnamese who choose the countryside for their home live their daily lives. The Chinese have also made an impact, especially in the northern parts of Vietnam. The most famous of Hanoi’s lakes, HuanKiem, meaning ‘’returned sword’ gets its name from the legend of King Le Loi receiving a sword from the gods to defend his country from the Chinese. Once he had done that he returned the sword to the Lake. Hanoi has many historical and cultural attractions as well; there are few better starting points to Vietnam holidays than Hanoi.
The Sa Pa Terraces
Heading north-west from Hanoi up into the highlands near the Chinese border tourists will encounter the Sa Pa terraces where local farmers grow rice and vegetables. The terraces themselves are beneath the Fanispan Mountain in Muong Valley. It is a fairly poor region of Vietnam and provides a further insight to life as it has been led for generations. Those with time may well like to spend some of it walking on some of the many trails in the immediate vicinity.
No one should head south towards the center of the Country before they have experienced Halong Bay. As already mentioned it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and it has 100 km of coastline itself. Tiny fishing villages throughout the area exist alongside those now employed in the tourist industry. A cruise is a must on all Vietnam holidays.
The Coastal Resorts
The beaches of Vietnam are wonderful. They are spread along the country’s coastline with the most southerly actually on an island offshore from Cambodia. Although Phu Quoc is becoming increasing popular one of its charms is that it remains fairly undeveloped. In contrast one of the resorts that has grown to the size of a city having just been a fishing village is Nha Trang and likewise Mui Ne deserves serious consideration.
Cu Chi Tunnels
These tunnels are a stark reminder of the War. They were built by the Viet Cong deep in the South to provide shelter and the means of moving around under cover. The original tunnels are narrow, indicative of the relative size of the Vietnamese. Some areas have been lit and enlarges for those who really want an idea of what the experience was like living underground. The Americans knew of their existence and were regularly trying to destroy them but they had limited success. Even if you do not want to go underground if you are on a holiday to Vietnam, you must visit these tunnels.
Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly Saigon and the Capital of South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is comfortably the largest city in the now unified Country. Once again the influence of the French and more recently the Americans is clearly evident. Vietnam holidays inevitably include this city and rightly so. It is a mixture of skyscrapers and traditional architecture. There are plenty of pagodas, a bustling Chinatown as well as modern shopping precincts.
The Mekong Delta
The significance of the River and Delta cannot be under-estimated. This is the most fertile region of Vietnam and cruising around to experience the environment must be part of any Vietnam holiday packages. In the monsoon season there is the chance of flooding but that should not deter visitors from taking a holiday in Vietnam at that time because monsoon does not mean constant heavy rain every day; there may just by a short afternoon shower.
The popularity of Vietnam holidays seems to be here to stay. The positive memories that people take with them when they leave for home have only increased the desire amongst others to see this wonderful exotic country. There is plenty of advice available and good tour companies are likely to be able to design a tour to exactly meet their clients’ needs. These are just a few of the highlights; there are certainly more and the cuisine alone could cover pages. Everyone can do their own research and advice is readily available for those wanting to know more. Questions anyone?
To start your Vietnam holidays, please feel free to submit your tour inquiry and Vivutravel will help you apply Vietnam visa and plan a great Vietnam holiday packages.