Welcome to our Holidays to Vietnam page at eTravelDeals.
Rich in culture, steeped in history, Vietnam is a long strip of land shaped like the letter S lying on the eastern side of the Indochinese peninsula, bordered by China to the north and Laos and Cambodia to the west.
Vietnam is an exciting mix of the bustling cities of Hanoi in the North and Saigon in the south, whilst in between lie pristine white sandy beaches, towering mountains, ancient pagodas, jungles and green terraced rice paddies. Inland peasant women in conical hats still tend to their fields, and buffalo are used to plough the land. The people are warm and friendly, a nation that has survived war, colonialism and communism. Chinese trade, French occupation and the Vietnam war have left a legacy of different cultures evident in the architecture and wonderful food.
Hanoi is the ancient and traditional capital of Vietnam, a blend of old and new, wonderful French colonial architecture, a bustling old quarter buzzing with street traders, parks, peaceful lakes and historic temples. Visit the Ho chi Minh Mausoleum where President Ho lies embalmed, and take a tour of the ‘Hanoi Hilton’, Hanoi’s central prison famous for the incarceration of the leaders of Vietnam’s Liberation movement and later US airforce pilots shot down over North Vietnam, now a fascinating museum. Take your life in your hands by crossing the wide roads swarming with motorbikes, and spend an evening watching Hanoi’s famous water puppets followed by a delicious dinner at one of the many local restaurants.
A 3 hour drive from Hanoi and you arrive at Halong Bay, Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder and a World Heritage site. Cruise this breathtaking area where over 3000 limestone islets emerge from the South China Sea – towering cliffs, jungle topped islands, hidden caves, grottoes and calm waters.
Sapa lies in Vietnam’s northwest mountains near to the Chinese border and is easily reached by an overnight train journey from Hanoi. It’s a vibrant town with a large street market especially busy on Saturdays where villagers from the surrounding hilltribes sell clothing and handicrafts. From here you can also visit some of the local hilltribes and discover the spectacular scenery - vertical rice terraces, mountain peaks and the Thac Bac waterfall.
On the banks of the perfumed river Hue is the old imperial capital with its palaces and temples, tombs and pagodas. Travel by dragon boat and visit the Citadel which is gradually being restored. It was the home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors.
Hoi An used to be one of South East Asia’s most famous trading ports and walking through the narrow streets of the old town the influences of the trading communities of China, Japan, France and Portugal can be seen. There is the Japanese covered bridge, old merchants houses, Chinese assembly halls temples and art galleries to visit. It is also a fashion paradise - with over 300 tailors in Hoi An you can have a suit made at a fraction of the price in the UK.
Every year during the rainy season, particularly in October and November, Hoi An has problems with flooding, especially in areas close to the waterfront. The greatest flood ever recorded in Hoi An took place in 1964, when the water reached all the way up to the roof beams of the houses. In late 2006 the town bore the brunt of the worst typhoon in 50 years.
Dalat in the Central Highlands of Vietnam used to be a French hill station and even has its own mini replica of the Eiffel Tower. The best way to travel round Dalat’s attractive landscape is with the ‘Easy Riders’ as long as you’re comfortable on the back of a motorbike. They will take you on day trips to the surrounding area to see such sights as the summer palace of Vietnam’s last emperor, Bao Dai, a silk factory where you can watch them making silk scarves, and the impressive Elephant waterfalls. For the more adventurous you can be driven to a traditional Lat village from where you can walk to the top of the mountain for stunning views over Dalat and beyond.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon by the locals, is a vibrant, fun city with boulevards, churches and villas from its French colonial days. It has many historic French landmarks - the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral and Hotel de Ville are just a few. It is also known for its shopping, wonderful restaurants and nightlife.
A couple of hours out of Saigon are the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a network of tunnels built by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war to hide from the American forces. The tunnel complex covered over 250km and included schools, hospitals, kitchens, meeting rooms and sleeping quarters.
Further South is the Mekong Delta, the most fertile region in the country. You can travel by boat to one of the many small islands visiting fruit orchards and sampling local delicacies. Meandering through the network of canals you will pass small colourful villages, rice paddies and floating markets. Known as the ‘ricebowl’ of Vietnam, it is Vietnam’s main source of rice and tropical fruits.
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