Using a local tour guide when you tour Vietnam can save you time and money. A local Vietnam tour guide can help narrow your choices of where to go locally and help avoid some of the “tourist traps”. You can check online in advance or ask at the hotel when you check-in.
Vietnam is now one of the most popular destinations in the South-East Asia. Hanoi, the capital of the country, is an ancient city, the political, economic and cultural center. The city began its rapid development in the 11th century, when the Emperor Wan Li Kong, moved his capital to the citadel of Thang-Long. Today it is one of the most interesting cities in Asia, with its wide avenues and European-style skyscrapers, numerous lakes, parks and fountains interspersed with hundreds of colonial houses and pagodas.
Downtown areas of the city have been turned into a huge shopping district. The capital is literally full of historical landmarks, including the Temple of the White Horse, the Flag Tower, the largest lake in the capital, Ho Tay, with many buildings of the era of emperors on its shores. The Temple of the Rising Sun and The Forbidden City are perhaps the two most romantic places adored by tourists. The remains of the ancient defense system of the capital, and the complex of monuments of An-Duong Vuong will please the admirers of historical sights. The Cathedral of St. Joseph, Kwan-Su Pagoda, as well as numerous bridges are some of other popular places.
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is home to 36 streets named after the trades that were offered in the shops. For instance, Hang Bac was the street of silver smiths; and Hang Dao Street housed silk merchants.
The monuments of later periods include the Temple of Literature, the Presidential Palace, the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, and a network of tunnels used during the Vietnam War as a shelter from air raids. Very original and numerous are the museums of Hanoi, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of Folk Architecture, and the Army Museum. It is worth visiting the Municipal Puppet Theater on Lake Hoan-Kem and the Hanoi Municipal Theatre. In January, one can witness the famous festival of spring flowers.
Halong Bay is famous as ‘the place where the dragon descended into the sea’. Perhaps it is the most important and beautiful sight of the country listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is an amazing complex of 3,000 tiny rocky islands that are picturesquely scattered in the sea and surrounded by tiny beaches and quaint caves and grottoes. Of special interest is Vandong, an ancient trading port in South-East Asia, as well as numerous historical sites scattered throughout the bay.
Hue is the capital of the last emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. It is one of the cultural, religious and educational centers in Vietnam, as well as one of the most interesting cities in the country. Here are restored imperial palaces, the walls of the citadel Kinh Thanh, the palace of Thai Hoa, the Museum of Emperor Bao-Tung Wat Ku with a small military museum. Da Nang lies in the heart of the country, in a picturesque setting on the rugged coastline. It is a major industrial and commercial center, one of the main ports of the country.
Nha Trang is a beautiful seaside resort, situated almost in the center of the country, in the province of Khanh Hoa. Despite the proximity of large industrial enterprises, Nha Trang is one of the best places in the country. The symbol of the city is a huge statue of Buddha.
Ho Chi Minh City is one of the largest cities of Indochina and a significant trading port. During its development, it experienced many difficult years, as reflected in the architecture and numerous monuments of this great city. This is a noisy, bustling and ever-dynamic center of the south, the economic capital and cultural center of Vietnam. Its streets are a myriad of markets, shops, cafes and hawkers selling their wares on the sidewalk.
If you are the adventurous type consider a motorbike tour of the Ho Chi Minh Trail Highway (Highway 14).
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