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Vietnam | Cheap Flights Cheap Hotels
 
Wed, 01/08/2012 - 07:32

Vietnam

If you’ve not been to Vietnam, you are in for a treat. If you have been there before, there is always more to discover.  It is a fascinating, enchanting and quickly evolving destination.

Known to much of the world originally from the Vietnam war, once you scratch below those preconceptions a treasure trove is to be found.

I first went to Vietnam some 7 years ago and have been back numerous times since,  if I had to say why the first word that springs to my mind is vibrancy, intriguing landscapes and culture, great food, friendly people and of course cheap flights and cheap hotels.

Vietnam is situated just south of China and is neighboured with Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. When you arrive at Vietnam it is likely to be from one of the main cities, Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) or Hanoi in the North. Both cities are fascinating in their own right yet quite different as well. A popular route in Vietnam is to go from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City along the coast or vice versa.

When you’re in Vietnam, you’ll definitely want to go to these places and see what they have on offer.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

HCM City is located in the south of Vietnam on the mighty Mekong River and about an hour away from the coast line. HCMC is a bustling vibrant city that is going places – in a hurry.  If food is your thing, you will love HCMC as Vietnam is famous for its food and there’s no better place to experience this than here, however some would argue that Hanoi is equally as good.

Just walking around the city will send your senses into overdrive; it is a fast moving city with a lot on offer. One thing you will quickly discover about Vietnam is the traffic – it is crazy and crossing the roads is like taking a leap of faith with your life, no exaggeration here! However, don’t be too daunted – although it’s hard not to be! Once you get the hang over crossing the roads you’ll be fine. A good way to start is to cross with a local; they will show you how to do it. Crossing the road usually involves taking gradual steps and letting the traffic whiz past you. The traffic will see you and move around you, to help them with this (and to save your life) make sure you take gradual but intentional steps. If you erratically move quickly it will be hard for the traffic to gauge where you will be and therefore harder for them to make sure they go around you.

Once you’ve mastered road crossing, you can discover all of the fantastic shops and restaurants. Vietnam has some great bargains when it comes to shopping, particularly for backpacks as many are made in Vietnam for major brands.  However some of these sold to the public are not officially the brand and can be cheap knock offs, some you can’t tell if it’s the legitimate or not – price usually tells.

If you’re interested in doing something a bit adventurous, try the Cu Chi tunnels just outside of the City. This is a fascinating experience that gives you real insight into how the Vietnamese retreated and lived a network of underground tunnels. You will also have the opportunity to go down these tunnels for yourself; however this is not for the faint hearted or claustrophobic! But and entirely rewarding experience if you decide to do it.

Nha Trang

Is a coastal town north of Ho Chi Minh City renown for its white beaches and good scuba diving. Nha Trang is increasingly becoming popular with backpackers who want to chill out by the beach and enjoy some nightlife. Nha Trang has some great hotel options to meet any budget. While you’re in Na Trang you should enjoy a drink at one of the beach bars.

Hoi An

Is a standout town in Vietnam that boasts pretty much everything you could be looking for? It has its own large white beach and resorts, while the heart of the town has French architecture, cobble stone lanes and is situation overlooking the river. There is much to do in Hoi An, shopping, tailor made shoes and clothes, fine restaurants and chilling out at the beach or resort.

Ha Long Bay

Is a world heritage bay that is covered in limestone karsts, it is truly a natural wonder of the world that should be experienced. The dramatic scenery really makes you think you might be on the set of a James Bond movie. The best way to experience the bay is on a traditional junk; many of these junks are luxuriously decked out with living areas, accommodations and have great food.

Hanoi

Hanoi is the nation’s capital and was once known as the Paris of the orient.  Some say Hanoi has lost a lot of its yesteryear majestic charm as it has grown to be a large busy city, yet there are still many old French buildings and the city still has a charm all of its own.  Hanoi is renowned for water puppetry and you can catch a show any day of the week in – a very interesting experience.  Walking Hanoi’s streets in the old quarter is very entertaining as many streets specialise in one thing, you can have a shoe street, a clothes street, Kitchenware Street and so on. The food in Hanoi is excellent with many new and old options. Try their local “fresh” beer, it tastes great and has been said to not give a hangover!

This is just a start to Vietnam, there is so much more to discuss so you should allow yourself enough time to check it out, or just go back a second time.