Sitting nestled within the picturesque backdrop of Asia is Vietnam. The country boasts a truly unique heritage and culture like no other, which means there are many wonderful secrets for you to discover and marvel at during your holiday. Read on to find the best tips on how to uncover such hidden treasures in multiple destinations across Vietnam.
An Introduction to Vietnam
For any visits to Vietnam that are expected to take less than 15 days, simply having a UK passport is enough to gain entry. For visits up to 30 days, you would need to get yourself an “e-visa” online before you travel, with specified entry and exit points from the country, and anything more than 30 days would require you to visit the nearest Vietnamese embassy to apply for a longer visa.
The population of Vietnam has been rising by roughly one million per year for the last decade, currently sitting at over 96 million. The majority of the population live in rural areas, so there is plenty to do whether you prefer life in the city or in the countryside.
Halong Bay Cruises
Halong Bay is one of the biggest attractions in Vietnam, drawing over 10 million people a year to see the isles amongst the sparkling emerald waters. In recent years the government has regulated cruises to keep the area in the best condition possible, meaning that your cruise is not only beautiful but responsible, too. Ranging from budget day trips to luxury overnight cruises, there are options for everyone. Plus, the bay is easy to get to thanks to a variety of travel options (including a local airport), so you won’t have to go too far out of your way to get there.
The Mekong Delta is a sprawling flatland, full of agriculture, swampland, and snaking rivers, making the region beautifully diverse. Whether you want to visit the more popular tourist-oriented towns such as My Tho to the south of Ho Chi Minh City, or you’d rather range further afield to the more remote villages of the delta for a slice of local life, the Mekong River Delta holds a wide range of cultural options. You can also take boat trips through the rivers and streams of the delta for a beautiful series of views and insights into agricultural life in Vietnam.
Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi region of Vietnam was a major factor in the Vietnam War, primarily because of the Cu Chi tunnel network that sprawled over 75 miles. Viet Cong fighters would retreat to the tunnels to avoid B52 bombing runs, before later emerging to engage the enemy in combat in the time and location of their choosing. After years of effort, these tunnels were routed, but to this day they are considered a major factor in America’s loss of the war. Now, the tunnels are an attraction for historically interested tourists, allowing you to see how the Viet Cong were able to hide and fight. You can go through the tunnels yourself, and there’s even a gun range above the surface. For any tourist with even the slightest curiosity, this is a must.
Ho Chi Minh Quarter of Hanoi
The old French quarter of Hanoi is a relic from the country’s colonial past and is one of the must-see destinations of the capital. There is a lively dining scene with a huge variety of modern Viatnamese restaurants serving up the best in the region’s cuisine, interspersed with cafes and more low-key eateries. The quarter is also a cultural hub featuring the Vinh Nghiem pagoda, a contemporary Buddhist temple featuring a vegetarian restaurant (whilst keeping the style you see in more traditional pagodas). This area is perfect for anyone seeking a slice of the urban Vietnamese lifestyle.