In recent years, Vietnam holidays show you one of the best spots to visit in all of Asia. It is a country of astounding beauty, delightful cuisine and a complex heritage.
Hanoi, the capital is an exotic mix of the old and new Asia. Referred to as the 'Paris of Asia', it's a beautiful city with a decidedly French feel. A shoppers' paradise, some of the best bargains in all of Asia can be found in the renowned Old Quarter, a series of trading streets filled with thousand year old 'tunnel houses'.
The Old Quarter also has many street stalls with reasonably priced food. The Apocalypse Now Bar (there is also one in Saigon) is the most popular night spot. Traffic in Vietnam (particularly Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) is dominated by motorbikes and can be chaotic, even overwhelming for the uninitiated.
Try to make eye contact with oncoming drivers and slowly make your way across the road. Be patient and pay attention, and you'll stay safe.
Ho Chi Minh City (known by almost all as Saigon) is Vietnam's largest city. Head to the Tourist Information Centre in the heart of the city, grab a free map and find out what the city has to offer. Stop by the Reunification Palace, where you'll feel you've stepped through a time warp - little has changed there since the Fall of Saigon in 1975; you'll get a feel for the war through the eyes of the locals.
Saigon is at the forefront of Vietnam's economic boom and investments have led to new lavish hotels, restaurants and nightclubs as well as high end boutiques. For Vietnam's nightlife, Saigon is the place to be. The Apocalypse Now club stays open later than most. Great music, cheap drinks, good food, it's very popular. Or try the Blue Gecko Bar, an Aussie bar with the coldest beer in town, and friendly staff. You have to try their chocolate Vodka shots!
Nha Trang with its white sandy beaches and turquoise, clear waters is the scuba diving capital of Vietnam. You should also try a boat tour of the islands, where you'll visit a makeshift bar in the water, with all of the fruit wine you can drink for free. Watch out though, it's potent!
Hue is the capital of the central region, and is the location of Vietnam's Forbidden City. You could take 3 or 4 days to explore this area, visiting the citadel and the Imperial Tombs. Check out Thu's café, a bar with 50c beers and great food. The DMZ bar, near the river has a fantastic vibe and is popular with expats and tourists alike.
A trip to Vietnam would not be complete without an overnight trip on a Chinese junk boat in the stunning Halong Bay, or a meandering trip through the Mekong Delta. May, June and September are the quietest months to visit, therefore the least expensive.
Whatever adventures you're chasing, a Vietnam holiday will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
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