Vietnam has it all – a ravishing coastline, lush mountains, spectacular national parks, developing cities, excellent cultural interest and energetic people. Traces of war are still visible but the resilient people managed to overcome the impact. Vietnam is a country of diverse cultural influences – Indian and Hindu culture in the south as evidenced in the Cham temples and spicy cuisine reeking in chili tempered with coconut. The Chinese influence is strong in the north. An archetypical Vietnam resulted from the competing cultures found in the graceful old port of Hoi An, the royal tombs, pagodas and imperial cuisine of Hue. As if these were not enough, factor in the French colonial lineage evident in Hanoi’s beautiful boulevards or in Ho Chi Minh’s stately museums and in the French-inspired baguettes and coffee culture in every corner. The American interlude adds to the diversity plus the ruling Communist Party influence that completes the Vietnam package: unique, diverse and intoxicating.
Vietnam is a great place to explore the azure ocean with protruding surreal- looking limestone islands in Halong Bay, marvel at the majestic inland mountain formations of Cao Bang or hike mountain tracks and explore tribal villages near Sapa and Bac Ha. No visit to Vietnam will be complete without exploring the big-city life in Hanoi – the grand old lady of the Orient, and Ho Chi Minh City – the engine room of the economy and the nation. Vietnam is more than a beautiful country to explore, it is history to learn.