“ Xin Chao Vietnam” means “Good morning, Vietnam.” If you love the idea of East meeting West, then you will love this fascinating and friendly country, which is a true melting pot of both Chinese and French culture. Vietnam, located in Southeast Asia and adjacent to the South China Sea, is a rare mix of old world charm and the modern world.
A Whole New World
It is one of the most fascinating countries in Asia, with plenty of historic places to visit, and wonderful beaches, quaint cafes, and rural villages that time has forgotten. When you trek through Vietnam, you will discover a whole new world.
The best time to visit if you’re going to the North is between May and October, although the central part of the country will offer better weather between December and February. In the South, your best bet for pleasant climate will be from December to April.
Have Fun Not War
The name “Vietnam” of course conjures images of war-torn jungle. Although remnants of the war still remain, and you can still hike along the infamous Ho Chi Minh trail, Vietnam is just a delightful place to visit. The country has opened up to the West and to tourism, and many people today are starting to enjoy the wonders this country has to offer.
From French Cafes to Flora and Fauna
Vietnam offers an incredible array of choices, and you can move easily from one world to the other in the course of just a few hours. You can sit in a French-style café in the morning to enjoy the rich, flavorful Vietnamese coffee, and then in the afternoon, you can be trekking through the jungle and viewing incredible wildlife, flora and fauna. You may meet sophisticated people from the big city, and then shortly after, rub elbows with tribal villagers in the remote countryside.
The shopping opportunities are also incredible. One thing you will want to take home is a sample of the hand-crafted lacquerware, which is a local specialty, and often inlaid with detailed mother-of-pearl designs.
Hot Nights at Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh
larger cities, such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, boast a spectacular nightlife, with plenty of clubs, bars, dance venues and the ever-popular karaoke bars. Hanoi, the capital city, is a beautiful city full of French colonial architecture and glimmering skyscrapers, standing alongside ancient temples and historic structures. It is marked by wide boulevards, and the city has been planned with plenty of green space, parks and beautiful lakes. Ho Chi Minh City has a much different character and appears more modern and trendy. For those traveling to Vietnam to explore the history of the war, the museum in Ho Chi Minh has a lot to offer.
Explorers wanting to trek off into the mountains will start their journey at Dalat; and when there, don’t forget to visit the French quarter, and then take a journey up to visit the remote hill tribe villages. And for a rich cultural experience, the cities of Hue and Hoi An both offer a look into Vietnam’s rich culture and heritage.
Vietnam has it all. If the big city or the mountains don’t appeal to you, then the beach might just do the trick—and Vietnam has some of the most spectacular and unspoiled beaches in Asia. A trip to Nha Trang will yield excellent opportunities in scuba diving and relaxing on the beach. And Halong Bay, adjacent to a series of islands in the Gulf of Tonkin, offers an excellent nature retreat.