While independent travel has become very popular, especially amongst the young who can use a gap year, before going to university or after graduating before starting work, to see the world. South East Asia has become a very popular region in recent years. The fact that Vietnam is now attracting in excess of 10 million visitors each year is testimony to that. Anyone who enjoys a tour to Vietnam is likely to return home with great stories of their experience and an album full of wonderful photographs. Independent travel is not for everyone. Most people prefer to book their holidays and know exactly where they are going. If you are one of those, why not talk to a good Vietnam travel agent with an intimate knowledge of the Country? It is a certain way to know about the highlights of Vietnam and have them all includes while you travel in Vietnam.
The Internet has transformed the way that people arrange their holidays. The information available online as preparation to deciding on different destinations can be read at your leisure. You can get some general ideas and book your flights online once you have made your decision. When it comes to Vietnam, when you talk to an experienced Vietnam-based agency, you can ask questions about different places. Likewise, you may find that some suggestions you have not thought about are worth serious consideration.
There is no obligation on your part to commit to anything until you are comfortable in a Vietnam tour package. You can book once you agree to a proposed itinerary and then everything will be in place for your holiday. You can get a Vietnam visa on arrival which will permit you to enter the Country for a defined period. Your agent will advise you on the specific requirements, depending on your nationality.
The beauty of having everything in place before you travel is that you do not have to worry about anything. You will be met on arrival, normally either at the international airports of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, and from there you will have a guide throughout your holiday. That does not mean that you will not have free time but it does mean you will have support, help and advice throughout your Vietnam tour.
Vietnam is a fairly large country, covering several degrees of latitude. That has implications on climate as well as the simple issue of being able to cover the whole country within one holiday. The good news for tourists is that Vietnam has an excellent travel infrastructure. Domestic flights between Hanoi, Danang in Central Vietnam,Ho Chi Minh City in the South and Phu Quoc Island in the South China Sea mean that you can cover the whole country fairly easily. Overland, the road and rail routes north to south are equally well-developed.
One of the joys of foreign travel is meeting the locals. They are very hospitable and happy to meet tourists. It is important to understand local custom and etiquette and your local agent will give you all the guidance you will need, especially when it comes to the dress code when visiting religious sites.
The question is what to include in your dream trip? You can include the country’s highlights in three distinct regions.
• Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital, a bustling city that has an old Town with its narrow streets, street food to eat while sitting on plastic chairs by the roadside and vibrant and colourful markets. There are many landmarks in the City where there are still signs of the former colonial masters, France.
• SaPa Terraces up towards the Chinese border vary from green to gold depending on how close the rice is to harvesting. The hill tribes of the North have maintained a similar lifestyle for generations and the region as a whole is great for trekking.
• Halong Bay due east of Hanoi is a UNESCO World Heritage site, around two thousand limestone outcrops and islands in a Bay where fishing villages have existed since time began.
• Hue was the capital during the Nyugen Dynasty in the 19th Century, and until the French departed in the middle of the 20th. The City has many lovely buildings to visit.
• Hoi An was an important trading port during the Champa Kingdom which began in the 7th Century.
• Danang is regarded as the third city of Vietnam. As well as having many attractions itself, the beaches in the immediate area and heading south have attracted development to become popular resorts. This was the area where US soldiers took a break during the Vietnam War.
• The Highlands close to the Laos border is another area ripe for hiking and a place where the French headed to avoid the heat of lowland areas.
• Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s commercial centre and largest city but there is some lovely colonial architecture to enjoy.
• The Cu Chi Tunnels north of Ho Chi Minh City were used by the Viet Cong during the War. They were home, shelter, storage and a means of getting around unseen.
• The Mekong Delta is the most fertile region of Vietnam. The morning markets are evidence of the wonderful range of produce that comes from the Delta. You can cruise the main channels but also down the narrow channels between orchards, fields and villages.
• Phu Quoc Island is off the Cambodian Coast but it is very much Vietnam, a great place to relax after a hectic, but stunning holiday.
If you book your Vietnam tour in advance, not only will you be able to enjoy the things listed above and much more, you may get the chance to stay in one of the rural villages that are found throughout Vietnam. There should be the chance to take a cookery class or two and impress friends and family when you return home. All in all, Vietnam offers a great experience and local help can ensure tourists miss nothing at all.