Vietnam is full of historical culture. The coastlines are stunning and the weather warm throughout the year. The countryside is quite different to the city areas, with farming families wearing conical hats in the rice fields, while the streets bustling with motorbikes in built up locations. There are all sorts of accommodation in Vietnam from budget hotels to more luxury ones.
Top Things about Vietnam
Vietnam boasts both vast areas of countryside as well as some stunning architectural structures. Loa Thanh, or Co Loa, in Phuc Yen is an ancient royal place with a strong defence system. It sits in the middle of a maze of various mud enclosures. Tay Do is another famous citadel. With a more French style, Hue Citadel varies from the more traditional Vietnamese structures. Buddhism is the main religion in the country, which is portrayed in the many temples, such as Khai Quoc, Dien Huu and Phat Tich. The many lakes and peaceful villages make Vietnam an amazing place to explore. Due to the wealth of historical culture and war sites, it makes for an educational and interesting sightseeing experience for any tourist visiting the country. Hanoi has over 600 pagodas alone and is situated on the Red River Delta, providing natural beauty as well as stunning man-made constructions within one area. Hue includes various royal tombs, palaces, citadels and temples to explore, while Ho Chi Minh City is always bustling with people. It is also known as Saigon, where some top attractions include Saigon Central Mosque, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens and Saigon River, which are all well worth a visit.
Best Cities to Visit in Vietnam
Certain areas of Vietnam are more popular with tourists than others, so knowing the best places to visit is recommended. Hoi An is a small town situated on the coast of the South China Sea next to the Thu Bon river, providing stunning natural beauty to those who visit. It boasts many ancient temples, wooden houses and shrines to make for a popular sightseeing experience. This is the ideal place when looking for peace and quiet.
For those who prefer bustling cities, Ho Chi Minh City is the one to visit. It is a very popular area and probably one of the busiest with plenty of shops, restaurants and things to do. With several markets, such as the Markey of Cholon, you are bound to find some unusual souvenirs to take back home. The Notre Dame Cathedral and Emperor Jade Pagoda are also situated here. For a historical war experience, Cu Chin Tunnel and the War Remnants Museum will provide further information on this tough national era.
Hanoi is another popular city with tourists, because of its French colony heritage and the Red River. This is a hub for the country’s arts and culture with lots to see and do. Beautiful parks and boulevards provide the perfect place to relax while shopping can keep tourists occupied with the many different types of goods on offer. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is very popular with tourists in the area, as the museum provides an interesting insight into the country’s background. Bao Tang Cach Manh and Bao Tang Lich Su are other top museums in the city.
With many festivals in Vietnam, such as Huong Pagoda Festival, Yen Tu Festival, Phu Day Festival and Giong Temple Festival, you are never short from a celebration. Dance, folk songs and other traditional music often form a big part of these. Many also include buffalo fights, pigeon races and tugs of war. Thanh Minh is Day of the Dead and is simply to worship those that have long gone. It takes place on the third lunar month and graves are covered in flowers and food to pay their respects. Every April, Vietnam has their Liberation Day, which remembers the day that marked the finish of the American War when fighting ceased and peace returned. This is known as Ngay Giai by the locals, but sometimes also Reunification Day or Victory Day in English.
Vietnamese food often uses a lot of various sauces, from hoisin, soy, fish, and also lime and lemon grass, filling each dish with an aura of flavours. The meat can sometimes be quite exotic and even range from snake and turtle to goat and dog. Pork, prawns, beef, chicken and tropical fish are common meat dishes though. Stir-fries and noodle soups are traditional Vietnamese dishes, which are prevalent mainly in the north, while the southern cuisine is a bit more daring. Fresh food is widely used here and French gastronomy has had a major influence. Fresh seafood and vegetables are commonly integrated into southern dishes. Central Vietnamese food has a lot of strong flavours and tends to be the spiciest of all three areas. Balut is a traditional dish within the country, which is a fertilised egg that has been boiled and is eaten from the shell.
Brimming with culture, Vietnam tends to stick to its traditional values. Clothing is kept quite modest, particularly in the poorer countryside areas, where conical hats are often worn. Silk shirts and trouser outfits are widely worn in the northern parts. Folk music and dance is a popular affair throughout, while ritual, chamber and ensemble music is also common. People enjoy poetry sessions and theatre performances, as well as various arts and crafts. Ivory, ceramic and woodcarvings are trademark artworks in the country. Vietnam also boasts stunning architecture, including the pagodas in the Son La Mountains as well as Giac Lam in Ho Chi Minh City. The food is also quite unusual, with noodle soups and other exotic dishes such as dog and snake meats are common. It is safe to say that Vietnam is different to any other country and has a unique style of its own.
The types of hotels in Vietnam vary from area to area, so it is best to research beforehand. For example, the backpacker locations, such as Pham Ngu Lao, have cheap Vietnam hotels and hostels that are affordable and fairly basic, while other locations are brimming with luxury hotels often complete with a gym, spa, in house restaurants, swimming pools and stunning vistas. No matter what your budget or preference, you will find a suitable hotel in Vietnam.