Sai Gon and Hanoi
It's rather hard to categorise
travel Vietnam as one kind of holiday or another. On the one hand,
there are the luxury hotels offering modern conveniences in the rapidly
progressing cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Sai Gon city. On the other, there are the sights of amazing beauty
with awe-inspiring mountains, mysterious dense forests with lush vegetation with
powerful rivers, caves and wonderfully long stretches of white sand.
In fact, holidays here could probably be described as sort of a mix between a beach holiday, a mountain holiday, a nature retreat and an indulgent resort holiday. But even that would be doing the country a disservice, because it is much more than that, with plenty of surprise, beauty and wonder awaiting.
With so many wonderful sights to see, where does one start getting to know the wonderful country that is Vietnam? Tours are available for various parts of this amazing destination, but here are the two great cities that make a wonderful start for those visiting for the first time.
Ho Chi Minh City
The country's business and financial hub and its rapid growth in the last decade have turned it into one of the most amazing destinations in Southeast Asia. The city formerly known as Saigon is now growing faster than perhaps any other Southeast Asian city, creating a distinctive identity that's a blend of the traditional and urban-a perfect starting point for Vietnam tours that serve as an introduction to the country.
Where to go
Ho Chi Minh City is entertaining, insightful and emotional as well. Don't miss the War Museum, Reunification Palace, Thien Hau pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Fito traditional medicine museum. Do a little shopping at Ben Thanh Market in downtown Ho Chi Minh, and enjoy a quiet evening of good food at the little bistros and restaurants uptown. Finally, don't miss the Cu Chi tunnels, the incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence- an amazing testament to ingenuity and an unforgettable reminder of a time that is hard to understand.
Where to go from here
Ho Chi Minh offers a full range of transport options to extend your Vietnam tours to the other sights and wonders of the country-even transport to Cambodia if you so choose! Visit the "River of Poems", Can Tho, with its picturesque floating market, the beaches at Vung Tau, mangrove forests, mountainside villages and more.
North of Ho Chi Minh City is the country's capital, and a wonderful destination for Vietnam tours focusing on culture, arts and literature. Said to be the country's heart and soul, its slower pace, tranquil ambience and gentler nature is a perfect place to go exploring on foot or take a Cyclo ride.
Where to Go in Hanoi
Absolute musts in Hanoi include the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum (Mondays & Fridays closed), as well as his house on stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc pagoda, the Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam (the Temple of Literature) and Ngoc Son temple. Don't forget to stroll around the city's ancient streets for a little shopping and sightseeing and enjoy the French-inspired architecture. Another must-see is the Water Puppet show at Thang Long Theatre.
Where to go from Hanoi
Ha Long Bay, with its amazing scenery, and the Sa Pa mountains are two of the most popular side trips while staying in Hanoi.
Vietnam Travel Information
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Dear Mr. Huy Hoang
We had a wonderful amazing trip and will return as soon as we can afford it again. Thank you so much! I will write a great review on tripadvisor. Really the guides and hotels and tours were awesome. Ms. Nhung was very sweet and refreshingly honest, very likeable. Mr. Tam was fantastic, highly knowledgeable and funny. Probably our best "tour" was the day we spent on motor bikes visiting the tombs near Hue. The bikes allow for a much more intimate view of the countryside. And then - as I wrote - Mr. An was absolutely the best guide ever...Read more