Vietnam is an exquisite country with dramatic coastlines and untouched beaches; cities of diverse architecture and delightful people; exceptional cuisine and, of course, a compelling history. With such variety, it’s not surprising that Vietnam has become one of the top travel destinations in Asia!
If you’re considering a trip to Vietnam, here are some not-to-be missed stops:
Ho Chi Minh Market
- Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, features charming French colonial architecture, the shopping-centric Dong Khoi Street, Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre and the Ben Thanh Market—the largest and oldest market in the city. At the War Remnants Museum, you’ll have a rare opportunity to gain perspective and understand the details and conflict of the Vietnam War through Vietnamese eyes.
- On the banks of the Red River is Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. When you arrive, I’d suggest first taking a Cyclo (three-wheel bicycle taxi)ride to become accustomed to the layout of the city. Hanoi features the Old Quarter, where you’ll find a fascinating maze of narrow streets lined with markets and pavement restaurants and cafés. (Getting lost here may be one of the best experiences of Hanoi.) It is also a city of lakes. In the middle of the city lies the peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake with the 18th-century Ngoc Son Temple (Jade Mountain Temple) sitting on an island in its center. Don’t miss Ho Chi Minh Museum, the mausoleum erected in the Vietnamese leader’s honor, and Nha San Bac Ho, (Uncle Ho’s Stilt House), the cottage where Ho Chi Minh lived during most of his presidency.
- The beauty of Halong Bay makes it one of the top sites to visit in Vietnam. A four-hour drive east of Hanoi in the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay is spectacular with almost 2,000 limestone islands that rise like monoliths from the water. Legend says these islands were originally emeralds dropped from the mouths of dragons. With its unique bio-diversity, Halong Bay offers some active recreation such a Scuba, caving, kayaking and even mountain climbing.
If you’ve had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam, I’d love to hear about your experience!