Vietnam is one of those crazy colourful places that envelops the senses. Mix the aromas of the Vietnamese Parisian cuisine with the stretches of pristine beaches and top it off with the handful of beautiful heritage listed sites. Vietnam has a little something for everyone. East truly meets west when discovering Vietnam, and here are my favourite places to visit.
Ho Chi Minh City
You can’t go to Vietnam without experiencing the sites and sounds of Ho Chin Minh city. Think bustling traffic, tuk tuks and entire families loaded on a single motorcycle. Crossing the road any time of the day is one mean feat for the tourist. I’m not one for hustle and bustle on a holiday, but it’s definitely worth stopping here on your way in or out of the country. Indulge in a cocktail at a roof top sky bar and take in the mixed landscape of colonial style buildings juxtaposed with the newer flashier skyscrapers.
An up an coming resort destination, Nha Trang delivers the perfect mix of beach side bliss with local life. The pristine beaches sprinkled with the colourful coral reefs attract tourists from all over the world. Spend your days sprawled on a sun bed, visit the hot springs for a mud bath or take a scuba dive and discover the reefs below. You then have the choice of fine dining restaurants or street markets food stalls before dancing the night away at the beach side clubs.
This heritage-listed town has to be my #1 destination in Vietnam. Spend the days meandering through the markets, have some clothes tailor-made or indulge in the delicious street food. The Vietnamese rolls here are to die for. Test your culinary skills at a cooking class at Morning Glory, rent a bike and ride to the nearby beach, or bar hop the quaint little nightspots. Make sure you stay at least 3 days in this gem!
A city of Parisian charm with an Asian edge, Vietnam’s capital has much to explore — museums, parks, history and culture abound. The streets of Hanoi are always flowing with nightlife in this busy city. Sample the local cuisine, shop the night markets and take in the most cosmopolitan city of Vietnam.
Not only a UNESCO world heritage site, Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful natural places in the world, famous for the majestic beauty of the dense rocks and islands, and the natural caves. The best way to experience this area to its fullest is to have an stay on a traditional junk boat. Kayak through the jade green grottoes or explore the limestone caves and revel at the beauty of the spectacular stalagmites and stalactites formations.
Travel date: November 2011.