Some countries simply demand to be explored; Vietnam, with its diverse culture, glorious landscapes, stunning beaches and magnificent, vibrant cities, ranks among the best. What is it about this wonderful South-East Asian country that makes it so special? It’s all of the above and more – plus the fact the majority of Vietnam remains untouched and undeveloped, and remains as it has been for centuries.
Yet to be over-run by tourists – in fact, until quite recently it would not have made a list of even possible places to visit – Vietnam is an experience like no other. The cities and towns offer you the chance to visit excellent restaurants and sample the local cuisine – seafood is a staple part of the diet, so if that is up your street you simply must go – while the amazing countryside offers a diverse and always beautiful selection of sights and scenes. Then there’s the history of the place – both ancient and recent – which is documented in some fascinating and compelling museums that are certainly worth visiting.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
I want to tell you about the two main cities in Vietnam – Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City. The thing is, they are both must-see places, but as different as could be. Hanoi, in the north, is a wonderful place; it offers a real opportunity to experience the old and the new of Vietnam, and the Old Quarter is simply one of the most wonderful, charming and friendly places in the world. Colourful and welcoming, there is plenty to see and do in Hanoi, and it comes highly recommended from me.
Ho Chi Minh City – formerly Saigon, and now named after the former Prime Minister who remains an icon of the country – is a bustling, lively, whirlwind of a place. You won’t find many cities as exciting and busy as this one, and yet it resonates with history and is certainly intoxicating. You can stay in anything from top-class hotels to cheap guest houses, and east in a choice of street cafes or classy restaurants – the choice is yours, but I urge you not to miss it.
Travelling in Vietnam
It is worth remembering that much of Vietnam remains undeveloped, so if you are travelling, prepare for road surfaces that are not as smooth as you are used to at home! The most popular method of travel in Vietnam is by motorcycle, and I recommend you hire one for the duration if you are planning to explore the country properly. You should check out Tigit Motorbikes, who have depots in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang where you can pick up and return your bike, and you will find their rates to be excellent, and their guarantees of reliability to be reassuring.
There really is every reason to visit this wonderful, enticing and exciting country now, before the crowds begin to flood in. It will leave you with memories you will never forget, so book your trip now, and look forward to finding out about Vietnam – a country like no other.