Vietnam. Go for the sights, go for the people or go for
the food. Either way, make it a point to put Vietnam on
(the top of) your bucket list.
It’s a country I will never forget and will always have
the urge to go back to.
A country of contrasts, at times chaotic with the incessant sounds of motorbikes and buzzing cities, and at other times, a country where one can experience deep peace and tranquility surrounded by nature like no other. Vietnam is a destination that feels so overwhelmingly foreign but so welcoming at the same time. A world in its own right, made of happy and kind people who are genuinely excited to see you leave with a smile.
A two-week trip to Vietnam is ideal to explore the length of the country. Start from Ho Chi Minh City in the South or Hanoi in the North, working your way up or down by either bus, train or for the more adventurous, Vietnamese style – by motorbike.
HO CHÍ MINH CITY (ALSO KNOWN AS SAIGON)
In many ways Ho Chí Minh City truly lives up to its
name as the Diamond of the East. New skyscrapers
sprout from the ground next to French colonial
buildings. For a taste of modern Vietnam and real
good Vietnamese food, don’t miss Ho Chi Minh City.
Đà Lat is a must for those chasing waterfalls. And by
waterfalls, I mean incredible waterfalls, surrounded
by lush landscapes and a charming village.
Nha Trang is famous for its long sandy beaches,
nearby islands with coral reefs and of all things, their
famous mud baths. Get one, you deserve it.
Hoi An is the Venice of Vietnam. Well-preserved and untouched by the war, this romantic city is a mix of Chinese shops and French colonial architecture all brought to life at night with beautiful colourful lanterns and floating candles along the river. Hội An is also home to many Vietnamese artists and artisans where you can shop for handcrafted goods at the lovely boutiques.
Hue is home to the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City, which is surrounded by a 19th century citadel, moat and all. It’s worth a day trip. You’re floating down a river, surrounded by lush green valleys and Karst mountains on either side of you. Now, wake up. You’re in Ninh Bình. One of the most beautiful places you can go to in Vietnam for the nature seeker.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital and the heart of the North. It’s a buzzing city full of culture and life with influences from China, Southeast Asia and French colonialism. Squat down in tiny plastic chairs and indulge in a hot spicy bowl of pho from one of the street vendors and
wash it down with a 30 cent beer.
Vietnam’s Halong Bay is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and sadly, I completely missed it on my trip. It’s known for its unearthly emerald green waters with limestone karsts that dot the bay. You can take a trip by kayak, boat or even an overnight cruise to truly explore the beautiful bay.
In the very northwestern corner of Vietnam, lies Sa Pain a mountainous region along the Chinese border. For visitors to Sa Pa, a trek is essential to truly take in the tranquility of the cascading rice terrace fields. 1-3 day overnight treks can be booked in Hanoi where guests stay at a local homestay. Along the way you’ll meet the
local hill tribes like the Hmong, Tay and Dao.
Photos: Jonas Kempter
© 2018 – VIDA Magazine