Introduction to Vietnam
Vietnam is a country of many colours. There's emerald waters in Ha Long Bay, a red bridge in Hanoi, green rice paddies lined along the Mekong Delta, gold buildings in Ho Chi Minh City and pink clouds at sunset along the coastline. Visually, Vietnam is stunning. Culturally, it's awe-inspiring.
While the natural beauty of Vietnam will take your breath away, it's the cultural experience of the Southeast Asian country that will stay with you long after you've posted all your travel shots on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Bordered by China, Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. But its influences reach further than just its neighbours. In the south, Indian and Hindu culture has made its impact on the cuisine and spirituality of the local communities, while in the country's capital, Hanoi, East and West blend effortlessly to create a modern city that wears its history proudly.
History is another trait of Vietnam that makes this holiday destination so special. You can see it at Hoi An's Ancient Town and shed a tear about it at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Variously the site of wars, occupation and rebellion, the resilience and renovation of Vietnam draws travellers keen for an unique Southeast Asian experience. With a population of over 90 million people, most of whom were born after 1975, Vietnam is shrugging off its troubled past to embrace its future head on.
Cultural influences veer from French to American, and Chinese to Buddhist. Then there is the food. A highlight on any vacation itinerary, Vietnam's cuisine is much like a Vietnam holiday; cheap, full of flavour and served with a smile.