Vietnam is a mysterious gem, brimming with history, culture, simplicity and unrivalled scenery at every turn.
Your experience of Vietnam greatly depends on how you choose to explore it. Pre-arranged tours with 5-star accommodation make for a leisurely experience. However, for a richly rewarding discovery of how the locals live, be prepared to check your expectations at the door.
Northern Vietnam is vastly different from the south in the way of its French influences, communist remnants and unapologetic coarseness. While it’s a little rough around the edges, the capital city of Hanoi has an old-school charm that is hard to dismiss. Its intricate alleyways snake their way through the city, revealing sights and sounds of the local way of life. For a sensory trip of the surrounding landscapes, be sure to visit Ha Giang, Mai Chau, the emerald rice fields of Sapa and the limestone cliffs of Ha Long Bay.
To veer off the beaten track, the Central Highlands offers adventurous trekking, gushing waterfalls and ethnic minority villages with lush plantations of coffee, tea and silk.
For history buffs, the imperial city of Hue is a must-see, while a little further north the DMZ paints a stark picture of the Vietnam War. Da Nang is a resort paradise with its beautiful beaches and romantic town of Hoi An.
Southern Vietnam offers up cosmopolitan flair in the way of Ho Chi Minh City, a thriving metropolis of commerce and entertainment. The orchards and rice paddies of the Mekong Delta are breathtaking; further ashore Phu Quoc Island welcomes visitors to its palm-fringed beaches.
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