Vietnam is a land of cultural complexities and staggering natural beauty! Well dressed in a riot of colours, Buddhist pagodas, beaches and dynamism, this Southeast Asia country in the South China Sea is simply magnificent. Harnessing the power of local brews and delicious foods, we travelled around Vietnam, absorbing her through a multitude of lenses; history, ecology, tourist, street, and high end local.
First stop – Hanoi. On the banks of the Red River, Vietnam’s capital city is known for the Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences and cultures that shape her character.
Second stop – Halong Bay. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay is a popular stop for tourists. Towering limestone structures and island forests rise from the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Two nights on a boat will give you plenty of happy experiences in mid-night squid fishing, kayaking and sea-cave explorations.
Third stop – Hoi An. This delightfully historic and colourfully grand little town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Blissfully free of 21st century traffic and pollution, Hoi An’s architectural treasures, peaceful residential lanes and riverside entertainment, are best explored by cycle. Three days weren’t enough in this charming town.
Fourth Stop – Hue. The capital of the Nguyen Empire, this tiny town still resonates imperial glory! With imposing statues and towering structures, Hue may seem more like an action-movie filmset.
Fifth Stop – the Mekong Delta. A maze of rivers, mudflats and marshes, the Mekong River is a lifeline for hundreds of communities in Vietnam. Dotted with floating markets, rice paddies, colourful villages, it can be accessed from nearby Ho Chi Minh city. Our boatman gave us conical hats as protection against the hot sun as we paddled down the Mekong.
We weren’t able to spend more than one night in Ho Chi Minh city, which was regrettable but provides an excellent excuse to return to Vietnam in the future :)