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Vietnam has surged in popularity since it opened it’s doors to tourism at the start of the 1990’s and having just returned from my own family vacation, it’s easy to see why this relatively small country has been named by many travel experts among the top 20 destinations to visit in 2017.
Now, certainly is a great time to explore and experience this wonderful country, as it embraces a period of peace, innovation, creativity and success.
The natural wonders are in abundance, from the misty green mountains of Sapa to the mysterious wetlands of the Mekong Delta. The cities by contrast are absurdly in-your-face, driven by the buzz of a million motorbikes and the palpable thrust of energy and commerce. It was the Vietnamese people however, that totally captivated me; their optimism, warmth and communitarianism was an absolute delight to witness and truly contagious
The best way to experience Vietnam is on a multi centre tour and at Travel Essence they have the experience and relationships with specialist operators to enable them to tailor itineraries to best meet your requirements, that take account of travel dates, duration available and the highlights you wish to include.
Vietnam’s touring highlights with the inclusion of some memorable, authentic experiences:
A RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE
From the French colonial rule through to the problematic war of the sixties, Vietnam is a country that has undergone extensive change. Come here to see the underground tunnels of the Viet Cong and explore the cultural sites that make up this beautiful country, from the citadel of Hue to the historic streets of Hoi An, both designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There’s a frenetic energy that pulses through Vietnam’s two major cities. Whether it’s Ho Chi Minh’s vibrant metropolitan allure or the colonial charm of Hanoi, you’ll feel compelled to hit the streets and discover these great cities for yourself.
A watery landscape of stilted villages and floating markets fringed by paddy fields and fish farms. A cycling tour or a cruise along the waterways will offer you a fascinating insight into local rural life and is also possible as a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.
A UNESCO world Heritage Site, Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most iconic landscapes; lime karsts seemingly rise out of the emerald ocean from nowhere. An overnight cruise is the best way to experience this atmospheric place and catch a glimpse of the life of traditional families and their floating homes.
A Foodie’s heaven !! The Vietnamese cuisine offers some of the most delicate, carefully balanced food in the world and is an essential part of the Vietnamese culture. Most cities have their own specialities, which is why there are said to be nearly 500 traditional Vietnamese dishes! Throughout this country you’ll feast on regional dishes that combine staple ingredients like lime, chilli and the abundant rice noodle. For budding Master chef's, why not join a days cooking course in a local cafe or enrol in a week long professional culinary programme, that includes shopping daily for local produce. Be inspired, there’s definitely something for everyone.
After touring through Vietnam enjoy well deserved rest and relaxation at one of the country’s beach resorts. With over 3,400 kilometres of coastline, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to tropical beaches and island destinations.
WHEN TO GO
Although Vietnam is not a large country, it is long and thin, so its climates are mixed due to differences in latitude from north to south. Therefore, the ideal times of travel vary throughout the country but generally speaking the best time to visit Central Vietnam is during our summer months, whereas for North and South Vietnam the more favourable weather conditions are from December – March.
WHERE TO STAY
A couple of my favourites: