Vietnam is a country filled with natural beauty, rich history and culture, exceptional food and people. To little surprise it has become a rapidly growing tourism destination over the past few years. For travelers who want to find something a bit different, something more authentic then a beach holiday in Thailand or Bali, they chose to come here. And with pictures like this below it is no surprise why Vietnam is more and more popping up on peoples travel list.
Covering the main highlights of Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi is very doable in around 2 weeks. Weather you are a budget backpacker or looking for more comfort and luxury Vietnam has something tailored to everyone’s need.
Vietnam is rapidly changing from a place frequented by people exclusively familiar with the country through the brutal wars that the country endured here during the 20th century to one of the leading nature destinations in the world. Countless national parks combined with a beatiful culture, people and food make Vietnam a country that hits all the needs a traveler would want for their trip.
With added infastructure throughout the entire country, and a young population that speaks some of the best english in Asia, traveling in Vietnam has never been safer and smoother. Even though there has been a surge of tourism in the country, the size of the country and number of beautiful locations to explore means that you are rarely overwhelmed in high traffic tourist destinations.
To simplify your planning, there are three regions of Vietnam that should be covered if time allows. The southern Mekong Delta Region, Central highlands and surrounding cities, and Hanoi and the north. One week to ten days can easily be spent in each of these areas so you will most likely have to pick and chose between great options.
The Southern Mekong Region
Ho Chi Minh City
South Vietnams capital, Ho Chi Minh City, will be your entrance into this area. This hustle and bustle city is quickly becoming one of South East Asia’s livliest cities rivaling the likes of Shanghai and Hong Kong. Even with the rapid development the city is still uniquely Vietnamese. Thousands of tiny back alleys, streets, canals makes this city seem like the biggest maze in the world. Motorbikes whizzing past you every second, street vendors yelling out their offerings, people sitting by the streets sipping on Vietnamese coffee, the senses are overloaded here with. 2 days will cover the main musuems, landmarks and markets for the most part. Doing a private food tour here on a back of a motorbike is by far the best way to get a feel for the city while dipping your toes into Vietnamese cusine. Lying just outside the city are the Cu Chi Tunnels which can be easily visited in a half day tour from the city.
Lying south of Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta is one of the natural of wonders of the world that can easily be reached from Ho Chi Minh. Given the sheer size of this region it is highly recommended doing at least a 2 day tour from Ho Chi Minh. Although possible to do a one day tour, they often tend to take you to heavily crowded tourist areas and offer you little time to be alone in this vast natural pearl. The joy of being in the Mekong delta is floating in the small back alley rivers going past the villages that are built along the banks of this giant delta.
Con Dao Islands
An unconvential destinations to be included on travel lists, these islands are in our opinion the best kept secret of Vietnam. While the majority of tourist flock to the commercial island of Phu Quoc for their island paradise vacation, the Con Dao Islands are in a different league when it comes to natural beauty and relaxation. Located a 2 and half hour ferry ride from the Mekong Delta city of Soc Trang, or a one hour flight from Ho Chi Minh, these islands offer pristine isolated beaches, a mountanous interior, diverse wildlife including Sea Turtles and Monkeys and a dark history as this island was used by the French to build a political prison that would stand for more then 100 years and costing 20,000 Vietnamese their lives. This combination of stunning natural beauty, diverse wildlife and fascinating history makes this Vietnams best kept secret.
Usually when traveling in the south Vietnam you are faceing tropical temperatures of around 30 degrees. There are few places here where you can escape the heat and humidity, except the mountanous paradise of Da Lat. The temperature is cooler here, the air is fresher, and the pace of the life here is significantly slower then anywhere else in this region. Known for its stunning mountanous beauty, Da Lat is an absolute must do in this region. Hopping on a Orignial Vietnam Easy Rider Tour taking you on a full day adventure where you see the stunning landscapes surrounding this town is an absolute must. Besides the nature you will make stops at a Weasel Coffee brewery, where you get to sample coffee that has been processed through a Weasels digestive system, aka shit coffee!
The ancient trading port of Hoi An is considered by many to be the most beautiful town in Vietnam. With pictures like this below it is not hard to understand why.
When in Hoi An do a Vegetarian Food Tour to take in the city and sample some incredibly fresh local Hoi Anese cuisine.