Vietnam is a thin slice of a country with attractions inconveniently scattered along its length, with Ha Noi (Hanoi) over 1,000 miles from Ho Chi Minh City, whereas for example, neighbouring Cambodia hosts a group of magnificent old buildings in one compact area, Angkor.
However, though travel in Vietnam requires a little more time and effort, this will be rewarded by good standards of accommodation, great cuisine, some pretty good cultural offerings, impressive beaches and the usual friendly Asiatic people. American and French failed imperialist warmongers welcome!
One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, one of a good selection of attractions.
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Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city, is set in a beautiful lake-scattered landscape with a relaxed, old fashioned atmosphere, some impressive Colonial and Vietnamese architecture, plenty of fine culture and cuisine, all in a sticky sub-tropical climate.
Rural women heading for market in Vietnam's prettiest little town, Hoi An.
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Kai Dinh's brilliant tomb in Hue. Plenty more where that came from.
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These pictures start in North Vietnam at Hanoi and works south past Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), covering Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An and other interesting tourist attractions en route and ending on Mui Ne beaches.
Ho Chi Minh Square, the core of a big, brash and rapidly modernising city (that used to be Saigon).
The weather is best
for tourism from November-April.
Worst: May-September when it's hot, humid and invaded by mosquitoes and typhoons
(violent rain storms).
Beware of floods in Mekong Delta in September.
Mui Ne beaches aren't perfect but cheap, cheerful, very popular with kite boarders and five hours from Ho Chi Minh City.
Hanoi, the 1,000-year-old capital city is set in a beautiful lake-scattered landscape with a fair number of interesting sights and museums and a sticky sub-tropical climate. It features many striking French colonial buildings from its time as centre of the French Indochina empire, as well as fine Chinese-influenced Vietnamese architecture including many temples. The city is now being modernized with some speed, speed being the operative word as motorcycles take over the streets.
Halong Bay, the panoramic view of the bay with more than 3,000 limestone islets (karsts) is one of the world's must-see natural wonders. A one day trip from Hanoi is possible, although it is better to stay overnight at nearby Haiphong, or on board a cruiser at whatever level you can afford, in order to sail further for much more scenic views or for wildlife. e.g. Cat Ba island.
the ancient imperial city, beautifully located with a tranquil
atmosphere, Hue houses a Citadel and a fortified palace which is one of
the country's most important historic sites.
Da Nang, Vietnam's 4th biggest city has not much to see but head a few miles out and there is the Cham Museum, My Son - an ancient Cham religious site, limestone caves and glorious Buddhist temples of the Marble Mountains and the endless white sands of China Beach where American troops landed during the War.
a medieval trading port, has a unique historic background of mixed
Chinese, Japanese and European influences.
Chi Minh City (Saigon), a vibrant commercial centre with
buzzing street life where tourists can get a glimpse of ancient
culture between the high-rise glass towers, though it doesn't measure up to Hanoi for tourist-oriented attractions.
Mekong Delta offers a good example of local agriculture lifestyle.
Vietnam Beaches. Vietnam has nearly 3,500 km of coastline, with many newly built resorts.
The beaches are not as impressive as those in Thailand nor Malaysia,
but less commercial and with far less visitors.
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