Imagine a country in Asia where the major cities are dynamic but not polluted, the people are genuinely friendly and not tourist weary and the rural areas are still unspoilt? Vietnam is the country for you. This is "authentic Asia" with bustling cities, stunning coastal getaways, tempting food, majestic mountains, a traditional way of life, intriguing culture, fascinating history, street markets and some of the best shopping in Asia - Vietnam is captivating!
The North to South geography of Vietnam dictates that the weather is different from one region to the next at any given time. When it is rainy in the north it is sunny in the south. Rain periods are generally heavy but brief. The cooler months are December to February and the hotter months June to August.
Hanoi has a very ‘earthy’ feel with charming architecture from its French colonial past. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam in the north of the country. A visit to the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh is a must see. While in the north, be sure to take the trip up to Halong Bay, arguably the most beautiful place in Vietnam. The Bay is populated by hundreds of exquisite limestone islands and is World Heritage protected. A cruise on a junk in the emerald green waters of The Bay make this area a photographers delight.
It is then a short flight down to Hoi An on the mid-coast. Hoi An is the best city to experience old Vietnam with the old quarter closed to cars and with wooden buildings dating back to the 19century. Hoi An is also one of the best places in Vietnam to get some tailored clothes made. Hoi An Beach is also a popular spot for those wishing to combine culture with a relaxing beach holiday. A range of resorts are available, all with private areas on the long white sandy beach. If you have a bit more time it is worth a visit to Hue. Founded as a royal city in 1678, Hue is widely known for its magnificent architecture of citadels, palaces, royal tombs and temples.
If you would like to take a break and experience some beach culture then Nha Trang or Phan Phiet on the mid-coast are popular sea-side destinations. Nha Trang is typically for the young at heart, while Phan Phiet is more family oriented.
Saigon otherwise known as Ho Chi Minh City is the southern capital and the largest city in Vietnam. It is a modern city mixed with typical Vietnamese culture and is a great place to base yourself for touring in the south. A trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels is highly recommended as is a day trip down to the impressive Mekong Delta.
In all, Vietnam is very welcoming to visitors, presents great value for money and will undoubtedly be one of your most enjoyable and memorable travelling experiences.
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