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Vietnam Travel Highlights


Highlights of Vietnam

Vietnam. Below are just some of the Vietnamese holiday highlights submitted by you, our readers...

Halong Bay Vietnam
Halong Bay Vietnam
Cat Ba
We got to the top of the hill and stopped for a rest - that was all. But what we saw was one of the most spectacular views ever! The little harbours were full of local boats, some busy, some lying idle but the wooded hills in the background made us feel like we'd discovered some hidden shangri-la.
Susan Thairs
Halong Bay
Magnificent limestone rocks and islands crowd Halong Bay and around every corner is yet another awesome vista. In the dry season, the blue sky, the turquoise waters, and the towering grey cliffs are stunning, but between February and April the weather maybe be cool and wet, and low cloud can obscure the horizons and in the summer months tropical storms can be a hazard. Dozens of tour boats go out everyday, for one or two night trips, and some arrange to stop at Cat Ba Island overnight to include a trek or cycling. The tours can be easily booked in Hanoi but choosing a trip is a bit of a lottery unless you can afford the upmarket, expensive air-conditioned boats, so look for a trip that include some sightseeing in one or more of the bay's many caves, or advertises some sea kayaking in secluded bays and swimming from the remote unexploited sandy beaches. After that, sit back and enjoy the view!
Hoi An
An Adventure in Vietnam August 2008 After years of European holidays in Majorca, France and Italy it was time to experience a new culture. My husband and I took our 11 year old son on an adventure to Vietnam. Visiting Vietnam was a truly extraordinary experience. Our introduction to this mesmerising “s” shaped country was the city of Hanoi in the North. One of the first lessons we had to learn on arrival in Vietnam, was how to cross the road. We had to forget everything we were told as children. One simply had to step into the raging, hooting traffic, proceed to walk at a steady pace while the traffic manoeuvred around us. Very disconcerting at first, but by the time we reached Ho Chi Minh at the end of our tour we were experts, gaily walking out into a stream of hundreds of mopeds and cars. Hanoi is a chaotic, busy, noisy and beautiful city. The phrase “shabby chic” perfectly describes the mix of French colonial architecture and traditional narrow tube houses found in the old part of the city. The old part of the city is a maze of shops and houses. Families live in squalid, dark and cramped rooms often spilling out onto the pavements to eat, feed their babies and wash. It was best experienced on a cyclo ride. From our seats we had a most intimate view of the many small trading streets known as 36 Streets. Each street is dedicated to one type of product, be it paper, shoes, candy and sweets, stone masonry or metal work. Many shops are also the workshop. Locals can be seen making the goods they are selling right there on the pavement. Most tours include a visit to the infamous Halong Bay, but ours was different! We travelled off the beaten track to the less well known but stunningly beautiful Tam Coc, approximately 2 hours drive south of Hanoi. It is a serene and picturesque area of limestone towers surrounded by fresh water lakes and rivers. We hired a boat for a gentle cruise along the Ngo Dong River passing through the caves and arches, our “rowers” often using their feet instead of hands to manipulate the oars. A short internal flight away from Hanoi is the World Heritage Town of Hoi An. In the 16th and the 17th centuries, Hoi An was the international trade centre of Southern Vietnam. The old town has avoided over development and there are many attractive buildings and pagodas. When we visited in August it was the day of the Full Moon Festival. The town was decorated with fairy lights and Chinese paper lanterns at night. Small children sold pastel coloured paper lotus flowers with candles to float gently down the river. Whole families promenaded along the main streets whilst music played in the background. Our evening culminated in a delicious BBQ of grilled prawn, chicken and pork wrapped with salad inside delicate pancakes – with newspapers on our knees for napkins. Truly a magical and unforgettable experience. We can’t wait to return.
Janet Bathurst

Tay Ninh temple
Tay Ninh temple

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