With stunningly beautiful landmarks and rich cultural backups, Vietnam is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is an inexpensive tourist destination when comparing to any other countries, and it stands true with the spirit of Vietnam tourism slogan, "Vietnam-The Hidden Charm,” in every aspect. If you are on a Vietnam tour from Belgium, we have some necessary info and exciting ideas for you to make this trip more memorable.
The first question tourists ask is whether Belgium travelers need a visa to visit Vietnam. The answer to this question is yes; they do. There are two ways to apply for Vietnam visa
• You can obtain a visa on arrival by applying online, receive the approval letter and collect your visa at the Vietnam airport
• Before leaving for Vietnam, you can visit the Vietnam embassy in Belgium and apply for the visa there and get it stamped on your passport.
Applying for a visa online is a much simpler process, doesn’t cost much at all and is a better option.You need to pay two types of fees in this case. First is the visa letter service fees, and the second is the stamping fees. And while the visa letter service fees vary according to the type of visa you need and how fast you need it, the stamping fees are fixed and will cost you $25 for single entry visa and $50 for multiple entry visa at the landing point.
You need to pay the amount in cash in either US dollars or Vietnamese currency, and there are high chances that credit cards might not be accepted. It is also important to note that visa on arrival works out only when you are traveling via air.
How to get to Vietnam?
The simplest, cheapest, and mosthassle-free way to travel from Belgium to Vietnam is by taking a flight. It takes around 17 hours to reach Vietnam that way, and it would cost you somewhere in the range of $350 to $650 depending upon several factors such as seat availability and the season you are traveling.
Traveling via road from Belgium to Vietnam is an impractical option. It takes around 6 days and 10 hours to reach Vietnam via car. The road distance from Belgium to Vietnam is about 13,041 kilometers, and it can be exhausting to drive all the way.
You can also take a cruise to reach Vietnam from Belgium, andyou will enter Vietnam via Mekong Delta. If you are traveling by cruise to reach the country, you need to get aloose-leaf visa. The cost of the ticket will be anywhere between $25 to $40 per head depending upon the type and cruise company.
Top destinations to visit in Vietnam
Since Vietnam has many interesting locations to explore and cannot even complete in a month-long tour, we have shortlisted the top 10 locations for you. For the best Vietnam tour, giving these places a visit is essential:
1. Han River bridge, Da Nang
Han river bridge is a cable operated swing bridge located in Da Nang. Constructed in 1997,is the first swing bridge of Vietnam. The bridge is a proud symbol of the city and one of the top tourist attractions as well. Every Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 11:30 pm, the bridge swings for 15 to 20 minutes during tourism season. It is an amazing and alluring experience to watch the swing moment of the bridge.
2. My Son
If you are a history buff, this UNESCO world heritage site will interest you deeply. It contains many ruins of Hindu temples that were constructed between the 4thand 14th centuries by the rulers of Champa. The temples were made to worship Hindu god Lord Shiva known by different local names, the most popular being Bhadreshvara. Even though large parts of these temples got damaged during the Vietnam war, it is an exciting place to visit.
3. Hoi An Night market
If you like shopping and happy to collect souvenirs from the places you visit, there is no place better than Hoi An Night market. A bustling market which will excite you, intrigue you and keep you awed. You will find over 50 local vendors here selling different types of dishes, clothing, trinkets, accessories, and even basic souvenir items such as T-shirts and keychains.
The place is known for the amazing paper lanterns that cover the sky, making it a fantastic place for photography as well. The market is opened daily from 5 pm to 11 pm and is a must visit a site of Vietnam. However, the vendors usually sell their products at an inflated rate to the tourists; hence, do not forget to bargain, and you will be surprised.
To have the best experience while visiting Vietnam, make sure you choose a reliable Vietnam tour operatorwith a sound reputation.
4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is the resting place of the revolutionary leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and is located in Hanoi. The museum opened first to the public in the year 1975, and its architecture shows a stellar influence from the Lenin's Mausoleum situated in Russia. However, the queue is long to get into the museum, and you have to dress a specific way (no short dresses or sleeveless shirts) to gain entry into the museum.
5. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi
Built in the year 1997, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology focuses on 54 ethnic groups of the country. The museum built to promote cultural diversity in the country as well as for the purpose of cultural preservation. It gives an interesting glimpse into the way these ethnic groups lead their lives and carry out important religious events. The museum has more than 15,000 artifacts, including audio tapes and photographs.
6. Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Also known as the Temple of Culture, this is one of Vietnam's most precious preserved historical architecture. It was a University built in the year 1070 which initially accepted only elites and aristocrats as its students. You can see the name of successful graduates carved on stone stele located at the top of stone turtles. The Imperial Academy, which is the first National University of Vietnam, is also situated in this building.
7. Vietnam military history museum, Hanoi
Built in the year 1956, this is one of the 7 national museums of Vietnam. Also known as Army Museum, it gives a great insight into the Vietnam war. The museum contains important war relics, photographs, weapons used during the war and a detailed account by the soldiers who fought against the American and the French soldiers. The museum is a great place to visit for people who are history buffs and interested in the Vietnam war and how it shaped the country.
8. Ha Long Bay
Located in Quang Ninh Province, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site and a famous tourist destination. It contains 1600 isolated islands and islets that cover a distance of 1500 sq.km. Cruise ships are the best way to explore the bay where the tourists relax and enjoy the premium services while enjoying the beauty of the islands that look so surreal and attractive; it seems something straight out of the movies. While traveling to Vietnam, make sure your Vietnam tour package includes a visit to Halong Bay.
9. Imperial Citadel, Thang Long
Also,popularly known as Hanoi Citadel, Imperial Citadel is situated at the heart of Hanoi and is also a UNESCO world heritage site. This ancient site was the capital of Vietnam for 8 centuries and was a political center for 13 centuries.
In the year 2004, archeologists were able to excavate important artifacts and antique items, dating back to 6th to the 13th century. Studying these materials provided an interesting perspective on the history of Vietnam. These dug up items are placed in the display room and are a great tourist attraction. Till now only a small part of Thang Long has been excavated, and a large part is still unexplored. The imperial citadel was built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet dynasty.
10. Ninh Binh
A small City located in northern Vietnam, Ninh Binh is known for its beautiful picturesque scenery and significant cultural and religious sites. Because of its breathtaking natural views, it has got a popular nickname as the 'Halong Bay of Land.'
Unlike other destinations, this one is also quieter and less touristy, thus providing travelers with a calm and relaxed feeling. Tourists also visit Ninh Binh for its delicious food. Goat is the local dish, and one can find delicious goat dishes selling on the highways. However, the region experiences heavy rainfall and flooding during the rainy season, and one must be careful while planning their itinerary.
Vietnam is a beautiful country with so many exciting places to visit and explore. And while it's not possible to visit every location, we have shortlisted the top ten destinations for you that are most loved by tourists. If you are on a Vietnam tour, do not give these spots a miss.