Vietnam should be on the top of everyone's travel list. It's that simple. With its dramatic landscapes, fascinating history, epic food and pulsating energy, Vietnam will electrify all of your senses and seize you from all angles. Vietnam is at once crazy and serene, thrilling and relaxing.
There are endless reasons to hop on a flight to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and travel down or up this amazing country by train, plane, bus or the preferred method of transport motorbike. If you need persuading, here are 10 reasons to fall head over heels in love with Vietnam:
1. The History
Vietnam’s history is one of its main draws for tourists. The country is filled with educational sites for visitors that documents the Vietnam war and other historic events. Start in Saigon and visit the emotion inducing war museum and imperial palace. You can see old war planes scattered around the city and visit the Cu Chi war tunnels to get an insider look at what the war was like for many soldiers. Scattered around the city are war monuments and in Hanoi, you can even visit the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh himself. Whether you like history or not, there is no doubt that you will learn a thing or two just by being in the country.
Vietnam's history is tumultuous and complex, the country having been occupied and divided by various countries for decades. Colonial influences are visible everywhere, from the architecture to the food and the coffee. The aftermath of the Vietnam War is apparent too -- in the museums and monuments but also in the faces and stories of survivors and the overwhelmingly young population. Interwoven with our own history, Vietnam's past is not only fascinating, it's also important to learn about.
2. The culture
The Vietnamese culture
is very much still alive and well despite the bustling tourist industry. The street side food stalls and home-brewed beer in the bia hoi drinking spots can be found all around the cities and amongst the countryside. The countryside is still afloat with hardworking farmers, bison led equipment and modest homes which remind visitors of the backbone behind the flashy cities. The French occupation has also left its mark as well on the people and the towns. You can see the European architecture, the abundant café culture and see the locals meeting outside of them for traditional Vietnamese coffee and tea.
3. The people
Most clients travelling with Amity Smile Travel
send feedback on their trip experience highlighting their deep impression of the friendliness and hospitality of Vietnamese people. According to travellers, Vietnam really has a precious treasure: its people. You are welcomed warmly by local people from North to South, whether or not you are familiar with them. Ethnic minority people in Sapa especially always consider you as a friend, even if you are on your first visit to their home with a local guide. People in Hue are royal-like in attitude but welcoming, while those in Hoi An are known as honest. Local farmers in the Mekong Delta always welcome you to their families with enthusiastic smiles.
4. Traditional festivals
Thanks to its long history, rich tradition and Buddhist influence, Vietnam has festivals organized all year round- many of which are unheard of in the West and really fun to learn about. Tet holiday, for example, is an ideal time to see how families celebrate their love for their ancestors and for each other. Tet should not be mistaken or called Chinese New Year, which may even be an insult to some nationalists. It resembles the Lunar New Year
in many ways, but modified with a Vietnamese feel in it. For example, in the countryside, people stay over night and make chung cake- over a bit of fire and some end-of-year gossips. In Hai Phong, the buffalo fighting festival is a well-known occasion: the winning buffalo will get killed and presented to the village god. Even public holidays in Vietnam are worth joining: come to Vietnam on the 2nd of September and you will see nation-wide parades. The whole streets will be lighted by the red flags- and fireworks take over the sky at night. Check our events page to see what events you can join in your next trip.
5. Breathtaking landscape
If you opt to discover the hidden charm of Vietnam, you will be surprised by the intense beauty of some top-listed World Heritage Sites, namely Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Hoi An Ancient Streets, and Cham Island. The 1600 islands and islets in Ha Long Bay form a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. If you are a photographer or a nature lover, you will rack up piles of satisfying pictures of different subjects. Some of the non-heritage sites will astonish you even more. Dalat is picturesque with many French style villas; Sapa is misty and romantic just like a girl waking up in the morning; and Vietnams long coastline brings seemingly endless scenic sea views, leisurely and private sunbathing, or a simple stroll along the beach.
6. A large number of beautiful sandy beaches
may be one of the country's most unsung beauties. While travelers may think of Thailand and Cambodia as the countries to visit for white sand and clear water, Vietnam boasts beaches that rival these countries' beloved tourists spots. Sure, some beach towns in Vietnam, like Nha Trang and Mui Ne, get a lot of attention, but quieter, less-traveled beaches like Doc Let are the real treasures. Con Dao and Phu Quoc are some of the most gorgeous islands in South East Asia, and travelers would be wise to hurry there now, before these isolated, idyllic spots suffer the same fate as the over-traveled beaches in Thailand and Cambodia.
You can find the right place for yourself, depending on whether you want something more secluded, where you can be alone with a significant other, or want to be in an urban environment, but have the ability to get down to the beach for a quick swim in a matter of minutes.
If you are looking for an exotic location, with lots of fun and worthwhile things to do, Vietnam is definitely the place to visit. Even if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want out of your vacation, there’s something for everyone in this proud country.
7. The activities
Besides the beautiful sites and cuisine, there is enough to do within Vietnam
so you will never grow bored. Go trekking and shopping in traditional villages when you visit Sapa. Kayak, swim and tube in between beach lounging while in Ha Long Bay or trek deep into the cave system at Dong Hoi. Scuba diving, snorkelling and wind surfing are all viable options when you visit the beach towns of Nha Trang and Phu Quoc and canyoning and motorbike tours are popular with travellers in the highlands. Stick to the cities and listen to live music, see traditional dance and water puppet shows or take a cooking class and learn the language. There are endless activities for everyone’s different tastes.
8. The Affordability
There is almost a place for every budget if you travel to Vietnam. Many budget travellers choose Vietnam
on their list of destinations. There are plenty of hostels and guest houses in most cities at prices below 30 US$/room/night. And even high end adventure travellers often enjoy experiencing the local street food, which is both delicious and cheaper than in many other countries. In fact, although Vietnam is suffering from high inflation, with prices rising monthly, it is still a more affordable destination than many other nations.
9. Tasty and exquisite cuisine
is popular all over the world so why not come taste it at its source. Women somehow whip up delicious meals
out of the contents of a single bag on the side of the road and tiny street stalls fill the alleyways offering up papaya salads and the popular meat and noodle soup, Pho. Fried and fresh spring rolls are served up at the markets and the amount of delicious dipping sauces can make your head spin. Try the giant seafood filled pancakes, the grilled corn on the cob or the warm banana cake in a coconut milk sauce.
Markets in Vietnam
may not be cavernous underground worlds of stunning rock formations and skyscraper high stalagmites, but they can be cavernous worlds unto themselves. Markets like this one in Danang sell everything
from fabric for clothing to dried baby shrimp. Needless to say, you can get lost exploring the rows for hours. They're most active in the early morning and late evening, when the temperature cools down a bit and shoppers come out. During the middle of the day, you might find shopkeepers taking a nap in front of their stalls. When we say you could spend all day in these markets, we seriously mean it.