Vietnam

Vietnam

With over 4,000 years of history stretched between 2500 miles of coastline, stunning northern mountain scenery and two steamy river deltas, Vietnam clings determinedly to the eastern half of the Indochinese peninsula.

It’s a nation of survivors, as any 20th century history book will tell you, and it’s one of the most popular travel destinations in South East Asia. The country’s economy is developing as fast as the country’s millions of motorbikes can rev – in lightning speed – and Vietnam long ago shed it’s outdated image as a war torn nation.

Start your journey among the swarms of Honda Dream motorcycles in Saigon, where Versace chic and Communist dogma clash in a war of neon and bright lights, mushrooming skyscrapers and markets bursting with everything from pungent durian to handwoven silk. Then head down to the watery world of the Mekong Delta, a mesmerizing warren of cool green rice fields, fruit orchards and interlocking canals linked with monkey bridges.

Hitch a ride on the Reunification Express up the coast to relax on a beach in Nha Trang, the country’s premier beach resort, home to some of the best seafood you’ve ever tasted.

Glide on further up the coast to Hoi An, a town so quaint and packed with history you’ll stay far longer than you planned, wandering the redtiled streets or at each full moon, setting adrift floating candles into the Thu Bon River. 
Journey over the Pass of The Ocean Clouds,Vietnam’s version of Big Sur or the Great Ocean Road, stopping to admire the crumbling pillboxes and fortifications there, before taking in the view of Lang Co, a picture perfect lagoon famous for its mother of pearl shells.

Next, cycle under the flame trees in Hue, the ancestral home of the Nguyen Lords, with tombs overlooking the Perfume River, savoring delicious food descended from the kitchens of the Vietnamese emperors.

From Hue, fly to Hanoi, the quiet capital of reserved people prettily decorated with reflective lakes and French colonial buildings. From there its an easy jumping off point for Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can relax in the jade green waters and attempt to count the 3,000 limestone islets that rise like dragons teeth, turtle shells and other whimsical names bestowed on the rocks by inventive fishermen.

To the far north lies the rich ethnic minority villages that offer fantastic trekking and cultural exploration opportunities. Conquer Mt. Fansipan, Vietnams’s highest mountain, or explore Dien Bien Phu, the tiny valley that ended France’s colonial legacy in Indochina, or practice your Thai with the numerous groups that inhabith this misty, cool region.

Whether its lying on a beach, gorging on delicious spring rolls and grilled prawns, exchanging smiles with some of the world’s freindliest people, or attempting to count the different shades of green in the verdant agricultural regions, it’s all waiting for you in Vietnam, the Land of the Descending Dragon.

traditional-vietnamese-building

Vietnam

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