So where are you going on your next vacation, Eh?
Stop daydreaming about your next vacation, experience Vietnam this summer and make it an experience of a lifetime.
The Crown Jewel of South Asia destinations, Vietnam is the perfect blend of modernity and the old world charm. Vietnam travel is on the top 10 of everyone’s bucket list. Whether it is exotic naturally beautiful wildlife or relaxing sublime beaches or amazing seafood, Vietnam is sure to please the senses of every visitor. Vietnam is a historically rich country with spectacular and breathtaking natural beauty nature flora and fauna and food which is to die for.
The loonie has the best bang for the buck now and it will allow you to explore Vietnam on any budget. A recent report mentioned that Canucks consider a week an ideal duration for a vacation and prefer historic cities with old world charm. Canadians are diverse in their provinces, languages and food but there is one common thread binding them – TRAVEL.
A Vietnam tour promises to be a fascinating cultural, modern and gastronomic melting pot guaranteed to keep you coming back for more.
Vietnam is a part of the Indochinese Peninsula which is the geographical area lying between India and China. The word ‘Indochina’ has originated from the French word ‘Indochine’ which again is a mixture of the names of the two countries-India & China.
Yes, it is not only the name but also cultural, social and other influences which Vietnam bears till date of its two major influencing countries. To compare, we can safely say that China’s character has a greater bearing on the Vietnam as we see today.
Vietnam is one of the 4 one party communist ruled countries which have been colonised in the past by various countries. This has led to Vietnam as we see today as a blend of cultures and kaleidoscope of languages and amazing natural beauty which is breathtakingly beautiful and waiting to be explored.
The Journey begins
Vietnam comprises of 58 provinces which is spread across the coastline in an S Shape in Southeast Asia and comprises of tropical forests, mountains and level land. The climate varies widely from coast to coast due to differences in topography and latitudes.
The best times to visit Vietnam would be between the months of November to March and then again from July-August which would be breezy and pleasant. You can also plan your visit in the Vietnamese festival of TET which is a springtime festival celebrating the beginning of the Chinese calendar. The Vietnam tour package typically begins from north and spans its way to the south of the S Shaped geography.
Top 10 places to see in Vietnam
1. Phu Quoc
A quiet heavenly island in which you can relax with your partner is what Phu Quoc offers to its connoisseurs with privacy reigning supreme. It is still untouched and though it is fast becoming popular, it is one of the top choices for those seeking a private and calm getaway.
2. Mai Chau
Rural Vietnam like Mai Chau offers a rare scenic beauty and experiences that are bound to last a lifetime. It includes the minority tribes whose ways of life are distinct and untouched with the modern influences through generations.
Cycling and hiking are the activities which you can explore in little ways meandering through lakes and mountains. Traditional Vietnamese cuisine and a charming and traditional stilt house will make you cherish the stay and entice you to come again.
3. Chua Tran Quoc, Hanoi
This Buddhist pagoda is more than 1500 years old lying amidst a huge lake. It is a sacred site for all Buddhists and has a bodhi tree on its grounds. It is said that this is the same bodhi tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment.
5. Hoi An
A tantalizing mix of fashion, footwear and jewellery combined with UNESCO heritage sites defines Hoi An is bound to appeal to every traveller. Customized boutiques abound in this city which is a fashion lover’s dream. It is advised to come with empty suitcases and take them full with smartly designed tailored suits and dresses at a fraction of the cost.
Bring out your cameras and capture the beautifully designed colonial architecture which has French, Chinese and Japanese influences. Don’t miss the Japanese bridge which is made in Pagoda style and is a icon of the city.
4. Hang Son Doong
Discovered in 2009 by a local Vietnamese man, the world’s largest cave has a river and jungle running through it. Its runs more than 9 kilometres long, 150 metres wide and 210metres high situated in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park in Quảng Bình Province. It has vegetation inside and permit is required for accessing the cave which is regulated in number.
Oh no, I was not going to miss this one! It is a curious mix of honeymooners and adventure seekers who frequent this amazing city. It has cascading waterfalls with vertical rocks in which canyoning is really known for. Hiking and walking trails are abundant in this landscape where the adrenaline junkies will get their high from and promise to come back. Dalat will surely make you want to come to Vietnam again.
Yes, it’s on this list ! A Vietnam tour is incomplete without having your fill of Vietnamese cuisine. Hanoi is the perfect place to try the distinct and amazingly flavourful dishes which have originated here.
Cha Ca is dish which has white fish with butter, spring onions served on rice noodles and peanuts. Pho is a national breakfast dish which is a noodle soup with chicken, pork or beef meat with chicken or beef broth. Goi Cuon is a famous dish made of spring rolls stuffed with greens and combination of meat – pork or shrimp which is wrapped with translucent paper and coated with peanut sauce. Yummy, well I am going to make a trip soon to this lovely rich gastronomic city and am not going to miss this for anything.
8. Halong Bay
This is fit enough to be called a world’s wonder. Halong bay designated as a UNESCO world heritage site, the stunning natural beauty of numerous limestone islands cannot be missed. It covers an area of more than 1550kilometres and was created through more than 500 million years of geographical and topographical evolutions in different environments. The breathtaking beauty of this place has to be seen to be believed and has many villages with floating houses built in between the bay waters.
9. The Mekong Delta
Located in south-western Vietnam, visitors throng Mekong Delta for its boat tours which showcase the floating markets and the beaches. This is an amazingly beautiful landscape which is not to be missed despite the number of tourists flocking to this lovely little place.
10. My Son
Memories of an era gone by with huge historic and religious importance define My Son. It is located in Quang Nam Province in a valley surrounded by mountains. My Son consisted of numerous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva regarded as the Lord of Destruction as per Hindu Mythology. The Champa dynasty kings had constructed the temples between 4th to 14th centre AD, which later on also became a burial place for Vietnamese royalty and national heroes.
Much of this UNESCO heritage site was destroyed in the US bombing in the World War but that has not dampened the religious significance and historic beauty of this sacred site.
More than 70 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and historically important inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham can be found in the My Son temple complex which is highly revered and recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Top Things to do in Vietnam (Read more at https://www.vivutravel.com/vietnam-travel-guide/things-to-do-in-vietnam)
• Have your Double Double !
Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee beans in the world so Canucks will get drawn to it. Vietnamese coffee has a special ingredient which imparts that amazing taste – condensed milk. Do you need any more reason to get your double double Eh?
• Aha, Vietnamese Cuisine
A visit to Vietnam is not complete until you have sampled all the country has to offer which is amazing and leaves you wanting to come back again !
Vietnamese cuisine is an amazing blend of pungent spices, seafood, locally grown vegetables flavoured with different aromatic sauces. The wide variety of dishes includes (read more at https://www.vivutravel.com/vietnam-travel-guide/vietnamese-food-and-drink)
• Banh Xeo-pancakes with shrimp, pork, egg and bean sprouts wrapped in rice paper served with a side dish of fish sauce
• Pho – the national dish of Vietnam which is a noodle soup flavoured ginger with beef/chicked broth, noodles, beef or chicken pieces
• Cao Lao – a bowl of rice noodles, pork pieces, bean sprouts with mint served with crispy rice paer and rice flour crackers
• Cha ca- amazing mix of white fish sautéed with spring onions, dill, peanuts served with rice noodles -Mi Quang – is a dish of meat noodles sprinkled with shrimp, peanuts and quail eggs flavoured with mint
• Nom hua chuoi- a vegetarian dish which has lime, chilli and banana flower tossed together
• Goi cuon it has translucent spring rolls which has a mix of minced pork, beef, greens, coriander served with a bowl of mint or lettuce.
Getting in and around Vietnam
Vietnam is a country with number of modes of transport easily available, accessible and friendly on the pocket as well. Yes your Canadian dollar goes a long away also due to the exchange rate of the Vietnamese Dong, which is the national currency here.
Bus can be used to travel within the city. To get to a place faster, use the taxi which is reasonable and can be used for places not served by the buses. Planes are best to travel between the cities in the country. Well, trains are one of the most exciting ways to explore the views and sounds of Vietnam so do take at least one train journey. It will be worth it!
One unique and very common mode of transport in Vietnam is the motorcycle taxis also called ‘Xe Om’ in Vietnamese which literally means ‘hugging vehicle’. This is available widely and pretty cheap and a 10 minute trip should cost you around 10000 dong (60 cents).
This gets you in the little nooks in the city and fast. Yes, you can use this for trips to places outside the city as well but do negotiate and book the rate well in advance.
The Vietnamese dong is the local currency in circulation here which approximately comes to 16990 dong for one Canadian dollar. Most of the big shops accept US dollars but the small, roadside stalls and vendors will need dong. It is advised that you keep good amount of local currency to avoid being out of dong.
Vietnam is a safe and welcoming country to travel to and with few tips and practices, your trip can be unforgettable journey.
• It is always advisable to keep your cash, valuables and passports in a safe place like a locker and not leave them lying outside anywhere.
• The locals in Vietnam dress conservatively and it is better to follow that to blend in rather than stand out or you will only draw stares.
• Water should be taken always bottled, my friend !
• It is also advised that you travel with highly recommended and rated travel companies or tour operators to avoid any unreliability or bad experiences
• The attributes of being respectful and polite are just the same in Vietnam like anywhere else in the world, so do note that.
• While travelling in Vietnam, keep your bag safely with you to avoid any snatching incident as petty crime can happen anywhere.
• PDA is frowned upon in Vietnam so be careful (Public display of affection)
Vietnam is a compelling mix of meandering valleys, amazing mountains, rugged limestone monuments and long deep caves with fantastic and mouth watering cuisine which is to die for.
Vietnam travel is a stunning medley of contrasting cultures, amazing natural beauty with a perfect blend of the sophisticated cities and lazy beaches with little rural villages having the old world charm.
Vietnam is in top gear right now and the best time to visit is NOW. Experience Vietnam in all its beauty and make this an experience of a lifetime, one that you cannot easily forget.
So when are you coming Eh!