Recovering from the ravages of war, Vietnam remains underdeveloped but is certain to explode as the destination for the 21st Century.
This destination certainly deserves a visit. After decades of war and conflict peace has been reached and people are building upon the wealth of visitors. What has been compared to Thailand 20 years ago there is no doubt that this is the next destination to benefit from tourism.
At present the infrastructure is still being built to prepare itself for the increase number of visitors. New roads and airports mean much of the landscape is rapidly changing to make room for these improvements. Our guide book was already out of date even though it was the latest edition ( a year old), airports had closed, getting around had changed and some hotels were no longer as they were described.
We traveled with Vietnam Airlines throughout the country as this was the best option to cover as much as we could in such a short amount of time.
This is one of my favourite destinations and biggest surprises, it certainly felt like it was an adventure beyond the usual holiday, cultural and unspoiled. Its the people that make this so special, with as little as they have, unspoiled by the material goods the western world are spoiled with, its the smiles and welcome of the people of Vietnam that make it so welcoming.
Everything to expect from a big city, traffic and noise but vibrant as well. Each street in the French quarter has a different theme and is named appropriately shoe street, paper street etc. After a long day dodging the traffic treat yourself to the local Pho noodle soup. We stayed at the Hanoi Hilton for an ultimate luxurious treat.Halong Bay
A World Heritage Site, expect to be taken away by the thousands of islands and views. Best to book your trip in Hanoi with a package which include transport, food and your stay on a Junk boat.Hoi An
Take a step back in time in this Unesco World Heritage Site, be there during the full moon when the town lights itself with only lanterns and motorbikes are banned. They specialize in making shoes and tailor make clothing in just hours in any style you want, be sure to visit Impressions Boutique Hoi An for the best quality fabric. We stayed the charming Phuoc An Hotel.Nha Trang
The airport is 30km away, be sure to book your taxi at the airport representative to avoid being overcharged. We stayed at the Sea View Hotel which no longer has views of the sea but is good value and centrally located. Known for its islands and offshore diving. Killer dolphins were left by Americans during the war and not all have been accounted for.
Previously known as Saigon, it is a buzzing city with plenty to attract the tourist, a visit to the Vietnam War Museum will give you a different point of view from a different angle with some shocking photos of American soldiers showing some real brutality, and visit first hand prisons and execution rooms.
We stayed at The Spring Hotel, it offers great value and perfect location. Make sure to visit Pho24 for the best Vietnamese pho noodle. Its best to book day trips to the Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels.Phu Quoc Island
Vietnam's largest island has already plans for an international airport but there is still an opportunity to see unspoiled beaches, forest, mountains and towns. This is the place for rest and relaxation and days on the beach.
Mai House Resort which has lovely bungalows and great beach front, we changed after 2 nights and moved on to Sao Bien Sea Star Resort with a sea view bungalow with air conditioning, tv and fridge for less than half the price.
Video of Vietnam 2005 © Joe Mendonca
|Area||128,066 sq mi