4 Places in Vietnam You Simply Cannot Miss
Vietnam is one of those countries where you can linger for a long time and not quite scratch the surface. It’s abrasive; the cities are busy and beaming, there are numerous scams you need to be aware of, including restaurants, hostels and hotels copying the names of more successful companies in order to steal their business. Despite all these quirks, Vietnam has a lot to offer. There’s a rich history here, as well as the recent effects of the war that was here only a few decades ago. Much of Vietnam was bombed, but there are still a few places such as Hue and Hoi An that offer an insight into the old Vietnam. There’s so much to do and see in this country, you might find yourself aching to return. Here are 5 places in Vietnam you simply cannot miss and don’t forget to check out some vacation places to stay in Vietnam before you head over.
Located in the north of Vietnam, Sapa is a beautiful area that feels like you’re stepping back in time. Layers and layers of rice paddy fields are etched into the sides of rolling mountains. The locals don beautiful clothing, the air is crisp and fresh and there are numerous hikes to do in the area. I explored by going on an organised trek that lasted for three days. We stayed in a village, although our accommodation was very Western (if a little basic). There was ample time to walk around, get lost, and enjoy the natural beauty.
Ho Chi Minh (Saigon):
This city is chaotic and crazy, crossing the road is a battle as you weave between thousands of motorbikes. This probably isn’t the best place to pursuit zen, but it does have a lot to offer. From some wonderful roof-top bars, to the chu chi tunnels, there’s something different in Ho Chi Minh. Here you’ll also find the War Remnants Museum which is one of the most moving museums in the world. It has accounts from both the Vietnamese and American sides, although you’ll find it is heavily swayed to the Vietnamese perspective. It is a hard place to visit, but one of the most important places in Vietnam.
This little town feels like a part of Europe, smack bam in the middle of Vietnam. It’s a great place to slow down, rent a bike and cruise around. There are numerous delicious restaurants dotted either side of the river, gorgeous lanterns that light up at night and tailor shops for miles. I wont lie, Hoi An is very touristy, but that makes it a very comfortable and easy place to be. There’s a lovely beach that you can easily bike to. If you’re looking to get clothes, shoes or even a handbag made, Hoi An is the best place in Asia for this hands down.
Ha Long Bay:
This looks like something out of a dream; thousands of limestone karsts protruding out of the ocean. If you can, make sure you go on a sunset kayak around Ha Long Bay as it’s likely one of the most gorgeous things you’ll ever do. It’s very easy to organise a tour from Hanoi which will include transfers to Ha Long Bay as well as some time aboard a boat; it’s up to you whether you choose to just do a day cruise or something a little longer. I spent three days and loved waking up to the morning sun piercing through the beautiful limestone.
Have you been to Vietnam? Was there anywhere you wish you’d stayed a little longer?