Tiny Vietnam has anything but a tiny spirit. A country fiercely proud of its culture and independence, they've had to endure a French takeover followed by French colonialism, years of communism, and years of a horrendous war followed by isolation by much of the world. Through it all, the people have endured and have come out, for the most part, stronger because of it. Also through it all, they've never lost their graciousness, warmly inviting outsiders in to enjoy their spectacular country. This Vietnam travel guide is dedicated to provide tourism and travel information about the country to make your vacation in Vietnam a unique experience.
Vietnam has more than its share of scenic splendor: lofty mountains, miles of swimmable coastline, and shimmering green rice fields. Peasant women still don cone hats as they tend the fields, kids stand on the backs of buffalo on the dirt roads, and old toothless men crack jokes on the street corners.
To get away from the cities, many travelers go west to the mountainous green rice fields and villages in the Mekong River Delta near the Golden Triangle. Phu Quoc Island also makes a nice escape with its lovely sandy beaches, while Mui Ne Beach on the east coast is also magnificent, although a little more crowded. For fashion lovers, Hoi An is a city of tailors ready to design and sew anything you send their way. It's estimated there are over 500 tailors working in this beautiful city. Hue is the ancient imperial capital, and its pagodas, palaces, temples and tombs are worthy of a visit of at least several days. This city also hosts its own arts festival every two years, The Hue Festival, but you must book accommodation early since it's a popular event.
For absolutely over-the-top vistas, a must-see is Halong Bay with its 3000 tiny islands poking out of the clear green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Now a World Heritage Site, Halong Bay has been called magical and it's easy to see why when you stare out in disbelief at this what looks like an art gallery of weirdly shaped sculptures carved by nature. These miniscule islands are filled with grottos carved by the waves and wind and to swim here is purely transcendental. You can take boat cruises through Hanlong Bay and explore the caves this way and there are also numerous hiking trails throughout the area.
The gateway to this lovely otherworld spot isn't so enticing, however. Halong City is ugly and most visitors get out as fast as they can on their way to the paradise of the nearby Halong Bay.