The Socialist Republic of Vietnam was once a colony of the French,
although the language is hardly spoken in Vietnam today.
Ho Chi Minh
City, Hue, Map of Vietnam,
Trang, North Vietnam,
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Countries neighbouring Vietnam are:
For twenty years the country was a battleground of
Communism against Capitalism, and a bloody nose for the Americans.
National Administration of Tourism:
80 Quan Su, Hanoi.
Weather in Asia:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Asia.
The capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is near the Red
River (Song Hong) Delta, in the north of the country.
From the 1880s to World War II, Hanoi developed as a French colonial
The region around Hanoi has been a wet-rice growing area for more than
2,000 years and is considerably cooler than the humid south.
Hanoi still lags behind Ho Chi Minh City in terms of population,
commerce, and standard of living, but it is the seat of power.
For a long time that power was held by Ho Chi Minh, and you can visit
his final resting place; the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
The Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh's former house, and a new Ho Chi
Minh Museum are all nearby. Hanoi's lakes and shaded boulevards also make for pleasant
|Ho Chi Minh Trail:
From Hanoi to Saigon; with all the little should-sees in between. Travelling south from
Hanoi, all the major cities are on the coast.
Hanoi is very compact, and the citys most interesting places for tourists are all
relatively close to each other, which makes it easy to enjoy the best parts of the city on
foot or by cyclo.
Accommodation in Hanoi
Hotels in Hanoi.
Compare Hotel Prices in Vietnam
The Tonkin region stretches from the Hoang Lien Mountains, across
the Red River to the islands of Halong Bay.
The mountainous areas are home to many hill tribes, and Halong Bay has
thousands of limestone islands in the Gulf of Tonkin; where exploring caves is the order
of the day. Tours can easily be arranged from Hanoi.
Hue was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty and the site of the
Emperor Gia Long's imperial palace - the Forbidden Purple City.
Outside the city walls are the tombs of past emperors.
Accommodation in Hue
If you're flying, ask for a window seat on the one hour flight from Saigon to Nha Trang.
As you approach to land over the sea, the views of Nha Trang's islet-studded bay are truly
Also called Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is located on the Saigon
River near the Mekong delta, in the south of the country.
The main downtown area, district 1, is built on a bend in the Saigon
River, while the large Chinese market area of Cholon (district 5) is a few kilometres to
Saigon was captured by the French in 1859, and made the capital of the
colony of Cochin China, and later all of French Indochina.
Even if you don't stay in one of the upmarket hotels, a visit to them
is a must.
The roof garden of the
Rex Hotel is
an excellent place for an evening meal. The streets below are full of mopeds.
All you can eat breakfast buffets are always a good deal and set you
up well for the sweaty day ahead. Try the one in the Majestic.
Ho Chi Minh City is
easily visited on foot. Most major tourist attractions are in District 1, which is fairly
HCMC Travel Guide:
As the largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide range of entertainment and
culinary options. This online guide provides helpful information on restaurants, hotels
and Saigon attractions.
Located in the heart of the commercial district of downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Within
walking distance of the Saigon market (Ben Thanh) and only 15 minutes to Tan Son Nhat
Accommodation in Saigon
in Ho Chi Minh City.
When you've had enough of the noise in Saigon and the you've seen
the Reunification Hall, the Revolutionary Museum, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, you can
always take the hydrofoil to Vung Tau.
Ho Chi Minh City's closest beach resort, and can be reached by a picturesque hydrofoil
ride down the Sai Gon River or by a rather circuitous highway route.
Vietnam by Road
Buses go almost everywhere, and they're extremely cheap.
Foreigners will pay more than the Vietnamese, unless their bargaining
skills are good and the driver is sympathetic.
Vietnam by Rail
The train now goes all the way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, but
no-one in their right mind would want to do it all in one ride; there's too much see along
Best used for the Hanoi to Hue stretch, and Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh
City; if you don't have time for Dalat.
Vietnam by Air
Vietnam Airlines is the national airline, and Aeroflot fly between Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh
City and Hanoi on the way to Moscow.
Popular flights to Vietnam are from
or Hong Kong.
The majority of tourists arrive in Vietnam in either Hanoi or Ho Chi
Minh City and then make their way up or down the coast, with the choice of travel method
depending both on budgets and the amount of time.
With more limited time, flights present the best option to hop between
the further apart destinations in the north, south and central areas of Vietnam.
Trains are also quite popular, especially overnight trains in a soft
sleeper. Vietnams Reunification Express runs the entire coast between Hanoi and
HCMC, with stops along the way in Hue, Danang and Nha Trang. In addition, the train is the
main way to get between Hanoi and Sapa in the north.
On a tighter budget, the most popular way to get around is the
open-tour bus allowing travellers to stop and stay in destinations as long as they
like and the prices and convenience are hard to beat. For those who prefer to
travel more independently, there are public buses that run many of the same routes, as
well as many additional routes.
Private cars with driver can also be easily arranged for travel and
can be a good option for those with families or groups, for popular routes that are not
served by flights, or for longer routes with more customized stops.
For the more adventurous and those with plenty of time, a motorbike or
bicycle can also be a great way to see the country, or just a good way to get around once
you have already landed in a destination.
By Kurt -
In a region that is on the move, Vietnam is without rival in
providing the traveller with images of an authentic, enchanting culture, together with
examples of Asian economic dynamism still in its infancy.
Highlights in the north of Vietnam includes Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba
Island and Cat Ba National Park, Perfume Pagoda, Hoa Lu and Tam coc, Cuc Phuong National
Park, Ba Be Lake and National Park, Tam Dao Hill Station, Hoa Binh, Mai Chau, Son La, Dien
Bien Phu, Sapa, Fansipan Summit, Bac Ha Hill - tribe Market, Northern Mountain (Northwest
and Northeast) and the Vinh Moc Tunnels.
In the centre of Vietnam, popular attractions include Hue, DMZ,
Danang, Marble Mountains, Hoian, Cua Dai beach, My Lai, My Son Hollyland, Nha Trang, Cana,
Phan Thiet, Dalat, Dalat Flower Garden, Hill tribe Museum, Lak lake, Kontum and Pleiku.
Highlights in the south of Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon),
Vung Tau, Tay Ninh, Cu Chi, Mekong Delta, Mytho, Con Phung Island, Can Tho, Ca Mau, U-Minh
Forest, Chau Doc, Con Dao Island and Phu Quoc Island.
Karin's story is brought excellently to the Internet medium.
General Advice About Travelling in Vietnam.
Vietnamese people are very gracious, polite and generous and will make
every effort to make guests feel comfortable. Do not be surprised if somebody you have
just met invites you home to meet the family and friends. These are the experiences that
will enrich your visit to Vietnam.
From the worker's simple outfits in the rice fields to western style
business suits in the city, the Vietnamese are conservative in their dress. Visitors
wearing shorts are tolerated, even though you may see many shirtless Vietnamese men in
Wear conservative clothing if you visit a culturally sensitive area
such as a temple or pagoda -- the less bare skin the better.
Keep in mind that, although tolerant, people may be judgmental.
Unfortunately you cannot expect hospitality at every turn and you may experience problems
with petty theft and pick pockets. This is more prevalent in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and
Nha Trang. In other areas, especially in the north, reports of these activities are
extremely minimal. It is not something to be paranoid about but be aware of your
Below is a list of do's and don'ts to help you avoid some of the
social taboos during your visit. Take heed of these pointers and you will be rewarded with
a culturally and socially enriching experience.
What You Should Do
Store your cash, credit cards, airline tickets and other valuables in
a safe place. Most 4-star hotels have in-room safes, otherwise ask the reception to keep
your valuable things in their deposit facility.
Take a hotel business card from the reception desk before venturing
out from your hotel. This will make your return to the hotel in a taxi or cyclo much
Carry a roll of toilet paper in your daypack on long excursions from
your base hotel. You never know when you might need it!
Dress appropriately. Not only for the prevailing weather, but also not
to cause offence to the local people. Vietnamese have conservative dress codes, and it is
only in larger cities that these codes are a little more relaxed. Do not wear revealing
If invited into a Vietnamese home, always remove your shoes at the
front door when entering.
Ask for permission when taking a photograph of someone. If they
indicate that they do not want you to, then abide by their wishes.
Things Not To Do in Vietnam
Offer money or push the issue.
Drink plenty of bottled water. During the summer months you should be
drinking a minimum of 2 litres per day. If you drink tea, coffee and alcohol you should
increase you water intake accordingly as these will help to dehydrate you.
Never carry more money than you need when walking around the streets.
Do not wear large amounts of jewellery. There are two reasons for not
doing this (1) It is considered impolite to flaunt wealth in public; (2) It is more likely
that you may become a victim of a pickpocket or drive-by bag snatcher.
Don't be paranoid about your security, just be aware of your
Don't wear singlets, shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck
lines and bare shoulders to Temples and Pagodas. To do this is considered extremely rude
Avoid giving empty water bottles, sweets and candies or pens to the
local people when trekking through ethnic minority villages. You cannot guarantee that the
empty bottles will be disposed of in a correct manner, and the people have no access to
dental health. If you want to give pens, ask your guide to introduce you to the local
teacher and donate them to the whole community.
Never sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the
family altar when in someones house.
Never lose your temper in public or when bargaining for a purchase.
This is considered a serious loss of face for both parties. Always maintain a cool and
happy demeanour and you will be reciprocated with the same.
Do not try to take photographs of military installations or anything
to do with the military. This can be seen as a breach of national security.
Never take video cameras into the ethnic minority villages. They are
considered to be too intrusive by the local people.
The above advice is meant to help you have a perfect trip to
Do not be overly paranoid though. Generally, Vietnamese people are
very appreciative if they see you trying to abide by their customs, and very forgiving if
you get it wrong, or forget. If you make the effort, you will be rewarded.
By Discover Mekong.
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