Vietnam  travel guide

This Vietnam travel guide is the result of extensive travelling in Indochina by the authors. It provides useful information about all the major destinations based on our experiences in the region. As travel professionals in Europe we were well aware of the potential pitfalls of journeys to unknown lands so we were well prepared for our visit to Vietnam. This Vietnam guide is a summary of what we learned on our travels in this magnificent country which we hope will prove to be a useful resource in preparing your trip.

 

Some words about destinations

Some destinations evoke mental images the moment their names are mentioned, and Vietnam is one of them. A frenetic and fascinating country, it calls to mind conical-hatted street vendors, water buffalo plodding across rice fields, mopeds buzzing through cities and floating markets on the Mekong River.

The days when Vietnam was best known for its conflict with America are long gone. From the temples of Hanoi and the islands of Halong Bay to the beaches of Nha Trang and the palaces of Hue, it is a country now firmly etched in the travel psyche.

At times, Vietnam is an assault on the senses. Life in its feverish cities is conducted largely on the streets, among chattering bia hois (pavement pubs) and steaming pho (noodle soup) stands. The country’s two main cities – Hanoi in the north, Ho Chi Minh in the south – are different in many ways, but they share an intoxicating energy. Ancient pagodas and colonial houses jostle for space with new-build skyscrapers, while labyrinthine back-alleys hum with life. These narrow streets are atmospheric places to spend time, day or night.

The country’s long, thin shape, sometimes compared to two rice baskets at either end of a pole, means these two cities form natural start and end points to an itinerary. The highlights along the way, meanwhile, are as well packed as the spring rolls which adorn market stalls: nature-lovers, history buffs, beach bums and foodies are all catered for in singularly Vietnamese style.

Those heading into the countryside can expect not only glorious scenery, but a rich cultural web of different ethnic groups. The US wartime legacy can still be readily explored – perhaps most notably at the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh – but this is a country to enjoy for what it is today, whether you’re here for a few days or a month.

khiri-travel-vietnam

DESTINATIONS

 

Hanoi City

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam with a population of around 3.5 million people. Located 35km north of the city, the Noi Bai international airport attracts less long haul flight arrivals than Ho Chi Minh City though there are many arrivals from hubs all over Asia. The airport is a modern structure which is pleasantly hassle free as its outer city location doesn’t attract city dwellers looking to…Read more

Halong Bay

Halong Bay lies in the Gulf of Tonkin to the east of Hanoi. It consists of some 3000 tiny islands which together form a dramatic limestone seascape which is without a doubt Vietnam’s most natural wonder. If you’re in Hanoi then you simply MUST ensure that you find time for…Read more

Hochiminh city

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is home to some 6 million people, most of whom you will see at some point during your stay as they whiz around town on their motorbikes. The city’s Tan Son Nhat Airport lies 7km north west of the city centre and is the most popular arrival point in Vietnam for international travellers. As well as long haul arrivals there are many flights to HCMC…Read more

Hoian

Hoi An is certainly a contender for the most irritating UNESCO World Heritage City. We arrived here planning to spend maybe five days relaxing after a trip through the Central Highlands but the constant sales patter from the tailors shops, the bar and restaurant workers and…Read more

 

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