is a country with a rich historical background that has survived invasions, wars, colonization, and finally rebellion. Influenced heavily by myriad cultures such as the French, Chinese, and American, this diverse country offers a truly unconventional travel experience.
Although, the name Vietnam invokes images of a post-war era, this country has transcended into a modern, yet grounded centre of epicurean delights and breathtaking natural beauty. With its fair share of large and thriving cities, Vietnam is best described as a land of laidback villages, rustic towns and coastal hideouts, where time appears to stand still.
For any traveler, the Vietnam itinerary would consist of traveling its elongated stretch from lowlands in the south to delta highlands in the north. Here is a list of some of the exhilarating "must-visit" places that offer undiscovered pockets of culture.
1. Ha Long Bay
Soak in the mystical blue-green seascape of surreal limestone islets topped with sparse vegetation. Ha Long Bay translates as the "Bay of Descending Dragons" and is the most coveted tourist destination of Vietnam.
The capital of unified Vietnam, this energetic city is a potpourri of cosmopolitan restaurants, boulevards and remnants of the French occupation. Famously known as the 'Paris of the East', it features several promising places to visit such as:
- Hoan Kiem Lake
- Temple of Literature
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
- Hoa Lo Prison Museum
- National Museum of Vietnamese History
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex
- Fine Arts Museum
3. Ancient Cities of Hoi An and Hue
Gear up for an authentic Vietnamese experience. Hoi An, once a bustling port and a fishing village, paints a quaint picture with winding lanes, retro-style architecture and traditional houses, transporting you back in time.
Hue, situated on the banks of the Perfume River, was the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty. This ancient city houses many monuments such as the Citadel and the Thien Mu Pagoda that reflect the golden period of Vietnamese architecture.
4. Phu Quoc
The largest island of Vietnam, Phu Quoc features pristine tropical forests, coral reefs, and amazing beaches.
5. Sa Pa
If you are looking for the road less travelled, Sa Pa is the place to be. Beware of the beautiful terrace farming landscapes of Sa Pa; they might just compel you to extend your stay!
6. Mekong Delta
This fertile area produces approximately half of Vietnam's gross agricultural output. The villages of this Delta are mainly accessible by the Mekong River, the pivotal driving force of this region.
7. Cu Chi Tunnels
Get a firsthand feel of war hazards at the Cu Chi Tunnels. Step into a maze of underground pathways, used as hiding spots by the Viet Cong guerillas and the locals during the Vietnam War.
8. Nha Trang
It is the scuba diving center of Vietnam. Featuring exotic beaches, Nha Trang is urban and vivacious as compared to the quaint beach destinations of Mui Ne or Phu Quoc.
9. Ho Chi Minh City
Previously known as Saigon, this city served as the capital of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Present day Ho Chi Minh City is culturally diverse and features vibrant shopping, nightlife and exquisite dining experiences.
What Not To Miss
A traveler's journey is incomplete without touring the local markets, a place considered by many as the heart of Vietnam. A smorgasbord of sights, smells and cuisine, the markets with their colorful shops and friendly disposition of Vietnamese citizens firmly etch an unforgettable memory in the onlooker's mind.
Vietnam, due to its geographical stretch, enjoys varying climatic conditions. This could be a spoilsport for travelers prone to illness due to sudden weather changes. So, before you pack your bags for this trip, remember, it is advisable to opt for a travel insurance plan to monetarily secure yourself in case you fall sick during your stay abroad. Click here to know more about the benefits of such a plan.
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