Vietnam is a country with a rich
past, containing romantic legends, heroic struggles and deep
cultural traditions. Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups, most of whom
live in remote areas, follow age-old customs. These diverse,
fascinating cultures dwell within a stunning countryside of
spectacular natural scenery and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Vietnam extends along the eastern coast of the Indochina
Peninsula from the fertile southern Mekong Delta and the
northern Red River Delta, to vast rubber plantations, rolling
hills covered with thick forest, and stretches of white sand
beaches on nearly two thousand miles of coastline. Many say that
Vietnam’s greatest resource is its friendly, welcoming people.
Long closed to the outside world, Vietnam retains a charming
innocence. Yet in the decade since the country opened its doors
to visitors, it has built world-class hotels and tourism
facilities with both international standards and traditional
• Enjoy a delightful
water puppet show in Hanoi, a fascinating art form
originating in northern Vietnam
• Cruise the emerald waters of
Ha Long Bay on a traditional wooden boat
• Explore picturesque Hoi An, a riverside town south of Danang,
and mingle with local vendors at the Hoi An Market
• Visit the heart of the
Mekong Delta Cai Be and see the sights of the Cai Be
Vietnam is an utter assault on the senses; it is at once
dizzying, frenetic and fascinating. Yet it is lovable. The
Vietnamese are friendly and endlessly generous, and traveling
the country is nothing but a delight. The cities of Hanoi and Ho
Chi Minh City are both chaotic and captivating: the capital
Hanoi is the focus for arts in Vietnam and has been since its
foundation in the year 1010, while Ho Chi Minh, still referred
to as Saigon, is the business hub, but no less interesting. The
imperial city of Hue offers a well-preserved insight in to
Vietnam's proud past.
Life in urban Vietnam is conducted on the streets. In bia hois
(pavement pubs) men sup ice-cold beer and nibble on boiled
quails eggs. Odours from makeshift food stalls fill the
nostrils: see steaming pho, a noodle soup with various
unidentifiable chunks of meat, or grilled chicken feet. Along
nearly all the moped-clogged streets produce is sold. Tubs
wriggle with live sturgeon, crabs and frogs (still a delicacy
from French colonial days), baskets are top heavy with colorful
and bizarre fruit, and every possible piece of a pig is on sale.
Rural Vietnam is entirely different. Just a short distance from
the cities, water buffalo wallow in green rice paddies and
elegant women wearing traditional conical headwear cycle along
dusty paths. Vietnam's remarkable geography, from the lush
Mekong Delta in the south to the remote Sapa valleys in the
north, demonstrates a traditional way of life.
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