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  • Writer's pictureNina Price


The S- shaped country of Vietnam is over 1,000 miles long and swoops all the way from the Gulf of Tonkin toward the Gulf of Thailand and is bordered by China, Laos and Thailand. It’s becoming the rising star of the East due to the country's rapidly growing economy and tourist numbers, this isn’t to say you won’t find a quiet place in Vietnam.

From the hill tribes in Sapa, junk boats in Halong bay, beaches galore and the mighty Mekong there is something for everyone in Vietnam, and that’s without mentioning its major cities and history.

Where to start and what itinerary to follow can be hard with so much to do, a good length of time is two weeks to do the North (Hanoi) and Center or South (Saigon) and the Mekong including beaches. Of course you can spend 2 weeks going from North to South but you might have to be selective in where you go and how you get around.

Transport in Vietnam is fantastic and caters for all budgets. You can fly internationally into Vietnam or easily fly internally from Asia or cross the borders by bus. It’s only a two hour flight  the length of Vietnam from North to South or alternatively you can take the sleeper train which is scenic but takes around 40 hours. For the more budget conscious and if you have more time you can take the “luxury” bus along the coast. These buses are not as bad as they used to be as they have sleeper beds, but it's a long winding trip along the coast alongside trucks, cars and many motorbikes.

Where to go? Read on for a few of the main places to visit in this spectacular country.

Starting in Hanoi, experience the charm of Hanoi’s charming old quarter and ride papillon on a motorbike through the backstreets or take an old quatro bicycle ride. If it’s sweeping fields, hill tribes and hiking you're after then head 300km North West to Sapa.

Next up and a must is the twice recognised UNESCO world heritage site of Halong bay. Take a day trip or a more popular night and day trip on a Junk boat and sail among limestone, islands and pristine natural beauty. Kayak, abseil and even go squid fishing in this very popular destination.

Start heading south to Ninh Binh and hop on a rowing boat to see the stunning eroded limestone formations and lush scenery. Carry on South for a relaxing beach break in Da Nang on the coast then continue to the beautiful lantern city of Hoi An. Wander the old streets, get suits made, try delicious food and enjoy a place that feels like it’s stepped back in time.

Next up is Hue, see the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda and the Imperial Purple Palace which is hidden behind the walls of the ancient Citadel before heading South for more beach resorts. Maybe take a motorcycle ride along the famous Hai Van pass before stopping for beach time in Da Nang or Mui Ne. 

A mere three hours South by bus, or you can fly you are then in the bustling city of Saigon. Dodge motorbikes galore and embrace this crazy city and watch the world go by in one of the city's many rooftop bars. Take a day trip from Saigon to the Cu Chi Tunnels and discover the legendary tunnels which were used masterfully by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War or perhaps you might like to take a slow ride down the Mekong Delta.

If you want to explore the Mekong more then cruise the waterways on a traditional sampan, visit local cottage industries and enjoy lunch in a local home. Perhaps the final stop or an option on your trip might be Phu Quac, a tropical island at the very Southern end of Vietnam only an hour's flight away from Saigon. All in all there is so much variation in this wonderful country, that it makes it hard to choose.

Weather can vary from the North, central  and South with rain hitting each area at different times, so it’s always great to visit all year round depending on what you do. One all year round month across the length of Vietnam is March.

South Vietnam - Dry, December to April. Rains, May - November

Central Vietnam around Hue - Dry, March to August. Rains, September - February

North Vietnam - December to March, Rains - April to September and cool October to November

For more information or to enquire about a trip please contact, Our World | Your Way

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