THESE VIETNAM DESTINATIONS MEAN ADVENTURE
HANOI – THE CAPITAL OF VIETNAM.
Hanoi welcomes travelers to Vietnam through Noibai Airport (HAN), which is approximately 35 km (about 22 miles) and 45 – 60 minutes away depending on traffic. The airport is modern and efficient, but modest in its amenities. The Old Quarter attracts travelers because of its bargain hotels, travel agencies, inviting restaurants and traditional architecture.
HALONG BAY VIETNAM – A WONDER OF THE NATURAL WORLD.
VINH HALONG or BAY OF THE DESCENDING DRAGON is blessed with calm water and hundreds of limestone mountains emerging from the sea. Halong Bay lies in the northeastern part of Vietnam and is about 165 Km from Hanoi and takes about 3 ½ hours by tour bus. This is truly a Wonder of the World and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
SAPA – A MOUNTAIN CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
SAPA is located in Cao Lai Province in the Northwest corner of Vietnam near the China border is a favorite destination for tourists (after Halong Bay, of course) in the northern part of Vietnam. MORE ABOUT SAPA.
HUE – THE IMPERIAL CITY
HUE is the former Imperial Capital and the city most influenced by the French. Home of the Citadel on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue has above average accommodations and restaurants. It is comparatively more expensive than other cities. Most historical sites have entrance fees, so those on a tight budget usually take in a couple of sites, eat and move on north or south. Native Vietnamese view Hue as a tourist attraction and, therefore, put some upward pressure on tourist prices. Coming south by train you can get off in Hue in the morning, find a place to stay and site see, then catch a open tour bus to Hoian the next morning. About a 5 hour bus ride. Or if you’re going north – vice versa.
HOIAN – ANCIENT TOWN
HOIAN MARKET IN THE MORNING
HOIAN is located about 30 kilometers south of Danang. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
DALAT – “CITY OF LOVE” – COOL AND COLORFUL.
DALAT is the gateway to the Southern and Central Highlands of Vietnam. Its 4500 foot elevation (1500 meters) results in a very attractive climate in the summer. On cooler days in December you might see locals dressed in Russian style fur hats and woolen over coats to endure the 60 degree F. nights. It is also a popular honeymoon destination for Vietnamese.
This area will also introduce you to Montagnards or hill tribes. This is an area of pine forests, secluded streams with waterfalls, well worth the hikes to see and photograph.
NHA TRANG – A SEASIDE SEAFOOD LOVERS DESTINATION
NHA TRANG is located on the central coast of Vietnam. If you love sea food this is the city for you. It also has some very impressive beaches and accessible Cham ruins. If Cham ruins are a minor curiosity for you, the Po Nagar Cham towers in Nha Trang are close to the beach area and hiring a cyclo driver for a half day tour will get you up close. There also a Buddhist monastery with a huge marble statue of Buddha and a massive bronze bell on the tour. Try to ignore the teenagers telling you a tear jerking story to separate you from a few dong.
Scuba diving is big attraction here, as is snorkeling if you’re not a qualified diver. US$40.00 a day is the going price for a day of scuba diving, unless you would like to relax on a ‘live-aboard’ dive trip. Snorkeling is $6.00. There are many hotels along Tran Phu Street. This is the street that runs parallel with the beach. They are very reasonable, just pick one that strikes your fancy and walk in; prices are negotiable – $10.00 to $20.00 depending on the view. Keep in mind there is an amusement park along one block between Tran Phu St. and the beach. The remaining area between Tran Phu St. and the beach is occupied by restaurants, dive shops and parks.
SAIGON – THE PEARL OF THE FAR EAST
SAIGON, a former colonial city, today is a center of free-market frenzy. Officially known as Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam or HCMC. Most northerners refer to it as Ho Chi Minh City and most southerners still refer to it as Saigon. The international airport designation is “SGN”. It is the business center of Vietnam. For the tourist, Saigon has two histories – traditional and revolutionary. Traditionally, it is a religious, artistic, architectural, business and cultural goldmine. Revolutionary history – during and since World War II – relies on emphasizes this struggle including the American War. Revolutionary ideals are rapidly being overtaken by both tradition and modernization. For those interested in the revolutionary era: the Revolutionary Museum, the Museum of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, the Reunification Palace, and the War Remnants Museum will present the grand tour of this struggle. From the traditional history there is an abundance of temples (memorials) and pagodas (places of worship), even a few mosques. The Xa Loi Pagoda, Gaic Lam Pagoda, the Hindu Sri Thendayyutthapani Temple, and the Cholon Mosque offer a colorful reminder of Saigon’s traditional religious heritage. The Notre Dame Cathedral next to the Saigon Post Office is a popular site. Respectful attire should be worn to visit these shrines. The traditional Vietnamese marketplace is well represented by the Ben Thanh and Binh Tay Markets. These markets will introduce you to 2 things: the true meaning of the word “cramped” and the enduring work ethic of the Vietnamese. Some or all of these sites can be easily seen in a day on a Xich Lo (cyclo) tour for a few dollars. Saigon is the place to be when you get hungry, Vietnamese food from the very unusual to traditional cuisine adapted to the western palate, is in abundance as well as western styles including the French influence.
MEKONG DELTA – VIETNAM’S RICE BOWL
THE MEKONG DELTA stretches from just outside Saigon southwest to the Gulf of Thailand and west to Cambodia. It is the mouth of the world’s 3rd longest river – the Mekong – starting in Tibet, south through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and, finally, Vietnam. Open tour buses can take you from Saigon to all parts of the Delta – My Tho, Can Tho, Ben Tre, as well as the crossing point to Cambodia – Chau Doc, and on to the docks for boats to Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand. Boat tours, including hydrofoil, can get you to most of the Delta. Ferries and a series of canals make travel here an adventure. Orchards, vast rice paddies and fields of flowers and vegetables insure great photographic opportunities as well as colorful markets, both on land and water. The 15th day of the tenth lunar month marks the end of the year for Khmers or Cambodians and one of the celebrations is the Ghe Ngo Boat Festival. On the western calendar this date varies from early November to early December. Traditional boats, hollowed from huge logs, each manned by as many as 50 crew members race to the cheers of locals as well as enthusiastic visitors. The dry season here is from December to May and serious flooding can occur during the rainy season.
PHU QUOC ISLAND – AN OUT OF THE WAY PARADISE.
PHU QUOC VIETNAM is a beautiful island lies 65 miles off the south-west coast of Vietnam. It is Vietnam’s largest island is situated in the gulf of Thailand near the Cambodian border. Tour the Mekong Delta on your way out or back. What can you do on Phu Quoc – RELAX!!
MORE ABOUT PHU QUOC ISLAND
HO CHI MINH TRAIL
BUON MA THUOT VIETNAM
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