It is hard to imagine that Vietnam was once a war-ravaged country with a people brought to its knees by the savage fighting between North and South. These days there are only subtle reminders of those times and the image of Vietnam is now emerging as one of a peaceful, friendly people who share their warm hearts with anyone who cares to visit their beautiful country. Planning a trip to Vietnam is now an easy matter and apart from the usual formalities such as visas and travel insurance, there is nothing else to stop you from enjoying this wonderful destination.
Vietnam offers a wide variety of cultural, artistic and culinary delights, especially in the southern regions, that it will be difficult to you to fit everything into a tight schedule. If you can manage it, said a leisurely pace and give yourself time to explore the country from north to south, using trains where you can, cycling in the cities if you’re up to it, and strolling through the dozens of markets that seemed to spring up at every turn.
To get the real flavour of Vietnam however, there are some things you simply can’t miss. Let’s take a look at five of these so that you will come away with a more complete idea of what this country has to offer.
Ho Chi Minh City. This hugely populated city is still getting on its feet but is growing in confidence every day. You can visit the fabulous Cho Ben Thanh Market every morning and marvel at the variety of fresh produce and stalls that contain flowers, trinkets and memorabilia that could easily rush vietnam visa fill your suitcases in just one morning. For those with a historical eye, make sure you visit The War Remnants Museum which will not only remind you of the troubles which the city has had to overcome in just a few short years, but will also give you an idea of the perspective of the war held by the Communist regime.
Hanoi. Situated on the banks of the Red River, Hanoi will entrance you in a way that very few other Southeast Asian cities can do. The small art museum will give you an insight into the depths of culture that has laid largely hidden from the West and don’t forget to take in a performance at the Hanoi Opera for a unique look at Vietnamese musical heritage.
Hue. This grand city was once the capital of many Vietnamese emperors but many parts were destroyed during an armed offensive in 1968, most notably the Imperial Citadel. Historically, the ruins are still visible and are well worth a visit.
Sapa. The Highlands of Vietnam are less well known to Western visitors, but the sheer beauty of the jungles, waterfalls and sweeping scenery are one of the true delights in visiting Vietnam.
Dalat. This wonderful city reminds us of the French influence in the development of Vietnam especially in the years after the Second World War.