In the past I’ve posted on Scotland, Ireland, and other European travel destinations but have only grazed the surface of Asia travel. Today I delve deeper into Vietnam travel with a great guest post from Kian. Enjoy!
When you start to think of vacation ideas, holidays to Vietnam are not always top of the destination wish-list (much to this authors consternation) I’m going to explain why they should be. Hundreds of miles of deserted beaches; the limestone islands of Halong Bay; the frenetic streets of Saigon; the charming French-colonial feel of Hanoi’s old-quarter; ancient Hue and its famous citadel; the breathtaking rice terraces of Sapa; the idyllic Mekong Delta and the ancient port town of Hoi An. Whatever you’re looking for in a holiday, you’ll find it in Vietnam.
Begin your holiday in Vietnam’s north and explore the rice terraces of Sapa. A regular train service runs between Sapa and Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi. After a 10 hour train ride steaming through Vietnam’s picturesque northern countryside you’ll arrive in Sapa town. Although the town offers little in the way of sightseeing and genuine culture, some of the wares crafted in the surrounding villages are worth a look and make for great shopping. A couple of hours out of Sapa town you’ll see the regions unmistakably verdant scenery. Take a trek in the hills, stay at the Top Eco-lodge and admire the endless rice-terraces from your balcony or visit one of rural villages and ethnic minorities like the Red Dzong.
If history is more you then head for Hue. A 1 hour flight from Hanoi, Hue is one of Vietnam’s oldest cities. From the 17th to 19thcenturies it served as the seat of power for Vietnam’s ruling dynasties. Their most famous remnant is the Imperial Citadel. A walled city, the citadel’s circled by a glittering moat, filled with ancient drum rooms, a still functioning monastery and in its expansive grounds you’ll see elephants that continue to roam. Hue was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the American/Vietnamese war and in some areas the scars are still evident. Elsewhere in Hue you can take a cruise on the Perfume river or pay a visit to Tu Duc’s Tomb (circa 1848 and around 8km from Hue central Hue).
If you’re looking for culture and beaches in your holiday then keep going south. From Hue it’s a 45 minute flight to Danang followed by a 50 minute drive to the UNESCO protected town of Hoi An. A magnificent ancient port town made famous for its fusion of French, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture. This incredible architecture sits alongside a small river commonly used by local fisherman, all this makes Hoi An a photographers dream. Head out early morning to avoid the crowds and get the best shots of this stunning town.
Hoi An is also home to great shopping (especially if you like your clothes tailored), great food and charming locals! For central Hoi An, an excellent eating option is Mango, Mango – located just by the river in the centre of town it offers a fantastic menu of Vietnamese fusion food. A typical three course meal will cost around $20/$30. For accommodation, go for the Hoi An Riverside as a good 4* option. Elsewhere you’ll find an abundant number of accommodation options from the budget (mostly in the northern half of town) to 5* resorts outside of town. Ho An town is a 15 minute taxi from some of the best beaches in Vietnam: golden, crowd-free and endless. Holiday accommodation options are bountiful. The Victoria, Nam Hai and Hoi An Boutique are all good options and most centred around China beach.
Finally, If you’ve time then head to Saigon and visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, organise a day trip through the Mekong Delta, shop until you drop in some of Saigon’s famous boutiques or see the city’s famous Reunification Palace or War Remnants Museum! Those with more time should skip the flight from Danang to Saigon and jump on the train for a more intimate experience of Vietnamese culture. Author Bio: Kian has travelled extensively across Asia. India is next in the list and he recently returned from Indonesia and Burma.
Thanks for the amazing post, Kian! Come back anytime!
For everyone else, which place in Vietnam would be your ideal traffic destination? Mine has always been Halong Bay, but yours might be different. Tell me in the comments!
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Feature images courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons. Click on photos to see the respective photographers.