VietnamThe vibrancy of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City contrast with the natural beauty of the paddy fields and mountains to create a truly unmissable destination.
From ancient Chinese influences to French colonialist history, through civil war and emerging onto the global stage, Vietnam is a country only now realising the potential of its stunning landscape and dynamic youthful population. Flying into either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City will determine your first impressions of the country, where Ho Chi Minh City echoes the glitz and dynamism of other South East Asian cities such as Bangkok, Hanoi is seeped in its colonial past and is considered more intimate and reserved.
The traditional tourist route starts in Ho Chi Minh City and travels north through Dalat and Da Nang before ending up in the capital Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh is a bustling, vibrant city typical of the region and the ideal place to sit and people watch and soak up the culture of Vietnam from one of the many cafés or rooftop terrace bars. The city has something for everyone, from luxury boutiques and hotels, to amazing street food and cheap and cheerful hostels.
The Vietnam War obviously casts a long shadow over the country, and in Ho Chi Minh City, the government has preserved many of the tunnels used by the Viet Cong in their campaign against the South Vietnamese. The Cu Chi tunnel system is where the Viet Cong set up weapon caches, supply routes, hospitals and living quarters during the Vietnam War. Today, the tunnels have been preserved and opened to the public to see the scale of the tunnel system and some of the booby traps installed to stop the American soldiers advancing.
Read more in the January issue…