With its golden beaches, lush green mountains, jungles, fertile river deltas, ancient pagodas and temples, and delicious cuisine, Vietnam is a fascinating country of diverse landscapes and peoples. Whatever your dream trip to Vietnamentails, this Travel Guide will prove the perfect traveling companion.
As well as the famous picture-perfect HalongBay, Vietnam has a wealth of other natural beauty to savor. Enjoy spectacular vistas from the north’s dramatic mountains at Sapa, laze on long stretches of pristine, palm-fringed sands by an azure sea on the east coast, and inland, trek through the rugged jungle of the cool central highlands. Meanwhile, in the south, watch the rich birdlife and bucolic rural landscape of the Mekong Delta from a riverboat, or chill out offshore on the remote and beautiful Con Dao Islands. The human landscape is no less varied.
Explore the ancient temples and pagodas dotting the capitalHanoi, try a steaming bowl of pho noodles at a bustling night market, or stroll the moped clogged streets of Ho Chi Minh City with its imposing French-Colonial architecture. Between the two main cities lie the country most spellbinding historic sites that include the grand ancient capital of Hue, reminders of the Vietnam War in the Demilitarized Zone, the weathered ancient Cham temples rising from the jungle at My Son, and pretty, pastel-coloredFrench and Chinese buildings in Hoi An.
We’ve picked out themes and planned itineraries to whet your appetite, broken the country down into easily navigable chapters, and created colorful, comprehensive maps to help you plan the perfect visit. Whether you’re staying for a week, a month or longer, the thisEyewitness guide will ensure that you see the very best the country has to offer. Enjoy the book, and enjoy Vietnam.
REASONS TO LOVE VIETNAM
With its rich history, diverse cultures, dynamic and charming cities, and stunning landscapes, Vietnam offers a wealth of sights and experiences. Superb food and welcoming people add to the many reasons to visit:
NATURE AND WILDLIFE
In Vietnam’s stunning national parks you can explore the coastline, mountains, rivers, and jungles, and the worlds biggest cave. Look out for birds, elephants, monkeys, deer, dolphins, and other wildlife.
STREET FOOD IN HANOI
Try a steaming bowl of pho noodles at one of the many street food spots in Hanoi. Goi Cuon (spring rolls), bank Thom(shrimp patties) and Banh Cuon(steamed rice rolls) are other delicious, healthy staples.
CRUISE IN HALONG BAY
Take a boat trip around the steep, jungle-covered limestone outcrops jutting out of an azure sea in one of the most beautiful bays in Southeast Asia.
RIVERBOAT TRIP THROUGH PADDY FIELDS
Chug gently up the Mekong River on a boat from Nam Binh to Tam Coc, traversing verdant rice paddies with a backdrop of dramatic karst mountains.
COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE IN HO CHI MINH CITY
Stroll along the grand streets of Vietnam’s capital, where France’s legacy of imposing colonial buildings is stamped on a varied and vibrant cityscape.
Wander or cycle through the narrow streets of the beautiful, laid-back historic town of Hoi An past well-preserved traditional Chinese and French architecture.
MY SON ANCIENT TEMPLE RUINS
Don’t miss the fascinating, vegetation-cloaked ancient temples and towers – known as Vietnam’s Angkor Wat – that rise up through the jungle at My Son.
NHA TRANG BEACHES
Vietnam’s most popular beach destination, Nha Trang is replete with beautiful stretches of sand and excellent accommodations, with some great dive spots just a boat ride away.
WATER PUPPET THEATER
The most Vietnamese of art forms was originally performed in rice paddies and village ponds. See a show at Hanoi’s highly acclaimed Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
The faded but atmospheric Citadel, palaces, pagodas, and tombs at Hue reflect the glories of imperial Vietnam under the Nguyen Empire. Take a stroll by the Perfume River at sunset.
CON DAO ARCHIPELAGO
Relax on the golden beaches and enjoy the fresh air and remarkable nature on the remote string of Con Dao islands, most of which form a national park.
Colorful, noisy, and vibrant, a traditional market is the best place to get an authentic feel for local life and the art of haggling.