One of Asia’s worst kept secrets: Vietnam. The war-torn country that reinvented its history of war into hipster war-themed cafes, and awestrucking history museums. Besides war – Vietnam has the mountains, oceans, beaches, crazy compact cities, as well as chilled out towns. It is truly the most dynamic and divine gem in all of Asia– worthy of the ultimate road trip – so grab a motorbike (or jump or the back of one) – and don’t delay.
Although many tourists come across from Thailand, you shouldn’t expect to find the same pimped out islands like they have there; Vietnam is growing but it is not overridden. You’ll find countless cost effective tourist hostels of a high standard. Plus plenty of eagle-eyed fellow tourists, as well as helpful locals, while all the same achieving some of those “look what I discovered” moments alone. Vietnam is a rags to riches story – trading in its rich colonial history and unfortunate proxy war for tourism, it’s a country to learn, discover and fall in love with.
Northern Natural Beauty
Starting in the most Northern city of Hanoi, you’ll be captivated by the colour and chaos and inability to cross the road in this city. The city is home to more coffee shops than your favourite hipster hangouts in England, Hanoi offers a contemporary twist on an ancient city. Explore the Old Quarter, visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, countless temples and museums, shop around the markets or just kick back with a Vietnamese coffee.
Short of a few hours away from the city you will find Halong Bay, Vietnam’s most popular tourist attraction, but with good reason. A designated world heritage site, the bay is a spectacular scatter of limestone islands. Feel the breeze in your hair and the sun on your face- kayak through the caves, spend the night on a ship or even a mystery Island in the depths of halong – your options are like the caves, seemingly endless.
Wander in the evergreen by going to the most northern parts of Vietnam – get lost in the panoramic views. Go trekking in rice fields with local tribes in Sa pa or hide in the hills of Ha Giang province that borders China.
Dive in the start of your southern adventures by going to the coast of Nha Trang, embrace the coastlines and boutique shopping by day and the party atmosphere by night.
Change scenery by visiting ancient Phan Rang–Tháp Chàm, the beautiful Da lat highlands and explore the sand dunes of Mui Ne.
Hit up the capital of Ho Chi Minh City, embrace the coming of age city, countless malls and high rise bars, discover the past of Saigon, from modern museums based on history, to padagas of an old city and bunkers from the war.
Final stop in the south of Vietnam is the most southern, Mekong Delta, a mix of river, swaps and islands upon a floating village.
Pack your bags for some secret islands
Scenes, Snorkels and Seafood, Cham islands– 8 small islands just of the coast of Hoi an.
Coasts, Clear waters and Coral reefs – Con Dao islands- a group of islands of the southeast coast of Vietnam, a breeding ground for turtles.
Wild tropical island of the south with unexplored beaches and forest, Phu Quoc is tipped off to become Asia’s greatest island which offers low key accommodation to 5 star resorts with infinity pools.
World Heritage Caves
Get lost in Phong Nha. Visit the UNESCO National Park with mountains, forest and underground rivers. Get inside the world’s largest cave – Hang Sơn Đoòng Phong or get messy and explore the dark cave, Hang Toi where you can float in a mud bath.
Drive with a view
Vietnams beauty was widely recognised in a televised Top Gear special in 2008. But one of the most eye catching moments was a motorbike ride through the Hai Van Pass. A breath-taking view of the mountains and coast that Jeremy Clarkson described as “one of the best coast roads in the world”. Safe to say, it is worth learning how to ride a motorbike for. But fear not, tour companies like “family riders” offer unexperienced riders the same experience by being on the back of a professional rider.
Feel the Chinese vibes in the city of Hue, visit the 19th century citadel incorporating the imperial city, with palaces and shrines.
Embrace the colonial past and find fresh French architecture in Hoi An.
Fill up with a bowl of Pho
A delicious noodle soup, usually containing meat.
Start your night with a shot of Snake
Dare to drink the heart of a snake in a shot
Sip a cup of strong and flavourful coffee
Sweet, and cheap iced coffee to cool down the heat, or go extra sweet and treat yourself to a coconut coffee smoothie!
Stay with Locals
Homestays are popular in Vietnam, from camping with a tribe to staying at beach huts – gain an insight of real and rural Vietnamese life
The War Ridden History
From the moving War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh, to experience the real bunker tunnels, to visiting the DMZ – Vietnam is willing to share its sore story with those who should listen and learn
A country known for its cheap price and high quality suit and dress tailoring, don’t lose out on an experience like no other – most popular in Hoi An, find endless streets of tailors.