A spectacular landscape of mountains, rice terraces, pretty villages and vibrant cities, all framed by rough jungle and emerald seas.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN VIETNAM
- Explore the stunning streets of Hoi An
- Sail around Halong Bay
- Hike in the highlands of Tavan
- Get lost in the Old Quarter of Hanoi
- Learn more about Vietnamese cuisine at a cooking class
EXPLORE BY AREA
Vietnam is a long thin country which you can split into Northern, Central and Southern regions. With large international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the country is easily traveled from one end to the other.
The north is cool and green with dense jungles and rice terraces. Hanoi is the sprawling capital which contrasts to the tiny villages hidden up in the hills, close to the Chinese boarder. In fact, whole region was once a part of China which has left its influence on the food.
Hanoi is an eclectic mix of old and new. Explore the Old Quarter’s narrow streets and sample some of Vietnam’s most famous dishes.
Thousands of limestone islets studded across an emerald sea, where legends tell of a dragon that protected Vietnam from invaders.
Sapa & Tavan
Rocky cliffs, valleys and beautiful rice terraces, home to small ethic communities.
The historical centre of the country where ancient trading ports and emperors palaces sit amoungst spectacular national parks and sandy beaches.
Discover the lost in time labyrinth of canary yellow buildings and beautiful temples in Hoi An’s Ancient Town.
Hue straddles the Perfume River with mountains behind and ocean ahead. Hoi An might be well known for its delicious food, but it’s Hue were the Vietnamese emperors dined on beautifully presented dishes from a menu that changed daily.
Phong Nha National park
Paradise Cave and Dark Cave
A varying landscape of coastal towns, cool highlands, busy cities and the vast Mekong Delta. Out to sea are tropical islands with sandy beaches and warm waters.
Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
Formally known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh (HCMC) is the largest city in the south, with a mix of French colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers.
This old French hill station is, much cooler than the rest of the south with activities such as Canyoning and motorbike tours. Visit the ever growing Crazy House and drink in the 100 Floors Bar.
A modern highrise beachside resort with lots of bars and nightclubs. This is a good place to relax on the beach and at the mud baths.
What to Wear
Dressing modestly with shorts to the knees and women’s top covering the shoulders will be respectful of local customs. Keeping covered will protect you from sunburn in the day and insect bites at night. When entering religious buildings it’s important to cover up. When entering a temple or someones home you should remove your shoes.
As with many Southeast Asian nations, if there isn’t a marked price it’s appropriate to barter. At first you might feel uncomfortable but soon you’ll enjoy it. You should always look to pay in the local currency and have a maximum price you’re willing to pay in mind – it can be very easy to get carried away! You’re more likely to get a good price if you’re friendly and keep smiling. Rudeness and aggression are not good tactics for negotiation. In Vietnam keeping face is very important. Losing your temper with someone causes ‘loss of face’ and you’re going to get anywhere after that.
FOOD & DRINK
Vietnamese cuisine varies between the north and south with the changing landscape. Like much of Southeast Asia the aim is to balance spicy, salty, sour and sweet flavours.
Northern dishes take influence from China. Vinegar is used to add sourness rather than tamarind used in southern cooking.
The noodle soup that everyone raves about when they visit Vietnam. Flat rice noodles.
Barbecued pork with thin vermicelli rice noodles.
Bun Bo Hue
Spicy soup made with thick round noddles. Central Imperal City
Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)
This is the most common fish sauce used in Vietnamese cooking made from small fish. The little fish are layered up with salt and left to ferment for a year. Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc Island are both famous for their nuoc mam.
Baguette with lots of delicious fillings
Visited December 2016 – January 2017