Vietnam offers a tremendous variety of experiences; enough to suit every taste or preference – it’s difficult to say just which places should top your list.
Beach lovers will almost certainly want to check out tranquil Mui Ne Beach, or the bustling party scene further north in Nha Trang. More adventurous beachgoers will appreciate remote Phu Quoc Island.
The splendid rock formations, sea cliffs and grottoes of Halong Bay could easily rate as one of the wonders of the world. Nearby, Cat Ba Island also gets rave reviews from those who make the effort to get there, despite its rapid development. Similar scenery (without the water) can be found at the Perfume Pagoda and in Tam Coc.
Sapa and nearby Bac Ha offer a glimpse of traditional lifestyles in the mountains along the Chinese border. Trekking through Mai Chau and myriad other less – travelled parts of the northern mountains offers the opportunity to visit hilltribe villages. A motorbike trip through the rugged overland ‘northwest loop’ passes through some of Vietnam’s most scenic highcountry landscape; this route ranks among the most memorable for many.
History and architecture buffs will be attracted to Hue and Hoi An, the latter being among the most charming spots in the country. For those fascinated by the American War and all its implications, what better place to explore than the old Demilitarised Zone (DMZ)?
Dalat, with its waterfalls, ethnic minorities and cool mountain climate, is considered the kitsch jewel of the central highland.
The Mekong Delta is more varied than most people imagine, and growing in popularity with three international land borders now open to travelers. Popular scenic spots include Cantho, Soc Trang and Chau Doc.
And if you’ve spent time admiring Vietnam’s landscape, perhaps you’d like to see what lies underneath – there are few better place to do this than in Phong Nha Cave.
Finally, don’t forget Vietnam’s big cities. Freewheeling Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), with its dilapidated colonial elegance, outstanding food and bustling nightlife, is a laboratory for Vietnam’s economic reforms. Hanoi, with its monuments, parks, lakes and treelined boulevards, is the beguiling seat of power is a country trying to figure out in which direction to head.