Where is Vietnam?
Vietnam is shaped like a long letter 'S' occupying the eastern edge of what was once known as Indochina. With an area of 330,000 square km, it's similar in size to Italy or Japan.
It's bordered to the north by China and to the west by Laos and Cambodia. From north to south, the country is 1650km in length, though its width varies from 50km at its narrowest point in the middle to around 600km on the northern border. The long, narrow, coastal strip connects the two "rice bowls" of Vietnam - the lush valley of the Red River in the north and the delta of the massive Mekong in the south.
Weather in Vietnam.
Vietnam has a combination of a tropical and temperate climate influenced by strong monsoons. The weather is characterized by plenty of sun, a high rate of rainfall and high humidity. Regions located in the mountains are cooler.
There are two main seasons, the cool season occurring from November to April and the hot season from May to October. The best time to visit the south of Vietnam is between December and April, when the heat is not overpowering and the monsoon rains have not yet arrived. The North, by contrast, is best visited between October and December. At this time the rains have stopped, the skies are clear and the air is fresh.
Ho Chi Minh
The official currency in Vietnam is Dong. The Dong is non-convertible and in summer 2014 trades at approximately 21,000 to USD. You can use the website of Vietcombank to see the daily exchange rate. The U S dollar, preferably crisp clean bills, is widely accepted among major shops and restaurants. The downside to this is that the prices will be converted from Dong at the vendor's chosen exchange rate, which may or may not be close to the official exchange rate, and will be rounded up to the nearest USD, making it more expensive than the cost in Dong.
Make sure that the Vietnamese notes you receive are not torn, this is because many shops and restaurants will not accept them. Also try not to change too much money at one time, as you will end up with a large wad of notes. The largest denomination is currently 500,000 dong (approx. USD 24). Be careful, the 20,000 notes look only slightly different from the 500,000 one but the value is a big gap. Handy tip: Keep 500,000 dong notes separate from your other dong notes. Less chance of confusion then. Other paper notes are 1,000, 2,000, 5,000; 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 200,000 Dong. Most are clearly identifiable by color.
When you are agreeing prices with Taxi drivers or shops, always use Dong to save arguments later about the exchange rate you were expecting. Always double check the conversion rate you have been offered.
Also with such high denominations of note, be careful of common scams run by street sellers where you are short changed by a factor of ten (eg as part of your change, you may receive five 2000 dong notes as "100,000 VND!").
Outside Vietnam the Dong is normally not accepted (excluding Cambodia and Laos), so before leaving the country remember to exchange any Dong left. In Saigon airport you can change before immigration at two bank booth that use the standard rate plus 2% fee. After immigration there are two more small booths that charge no fee, no receipt and standard rate.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Huế during the Nguyen dynasty as the capital of Vietnam, but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam. The city is located on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is located at 1,760 km (1,090 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City. October 2010 officially marked 1000 years since the establishment of the city.
Old Town Area
The Old Quarter (Vietnamese: Phố cổ Hà Nội) is the name commonly given to that part of Hanoi that has been in existence since imperial times and which used to be located outside the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long. This quarter used to be a residential, manufacturing, and commercial center, where each street was specialized in one specific type of manufacturing or commerce. Nowadays, the quarter is an attraction for people interested in the history of Hanoi. Another common name referring to approximately the same area is the 36 streets (Vietnamese: Hà Nội 36 phố phường), after the 36 streets that used to make up the urban area of the city. These 36 streets are not all located inside the Old Quarter proper, though.
Hanoi Ancient House at 87 Ma May Street
Located within Hanoi Old Quarter, the ancient house at 87 Ma May street which was built at the late of the 20th century, is quite intact with typical architecture of ancient houses.
The house consists of two main blocks linked together by a square yard in the middle on the ground floor, and a small balcony on the 1st floor. The yard is included at the centre of the building to moderate the air, provide the house with sunlight and cool winds. The balcony above is an ideal place to put small plants, flower pots for the owner’s interest and relaxation. The room on the ground floor which is street- front is used for selling goods, and the room on the next floor is living room to host the guests and worship the ancestor also. The room which is behind and linked to the living room by a balcony is bed room. On the ground floor, all behind space is for production activities, then kitchen and bathroom.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi
The large central sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site just in time for Hanoi’s millennial anniversary in 2010.The ancient site was the political center of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries.
Lake Hoan Kiem
Hoan Kiem Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Hoàn Kiếm, Hán tự: meaning "Lake of the Returned Sword" or "Lake of the Restored Sword"), also known as Hồ Gươm (Sword Lake), is a lake in the historical center of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life.
Large soft-shell turtles, either of the species Rafetus swinhoei or a separate species named Rafetus leloi in honor of the emperor, had been sighted in the lake for many years. The last known individual was found dead on January 19, 2016. There are three remaining turtles of the species R. swinhoei. Near the northern shore of the lake lies Jade Island on which the Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple) stands. The temple was erected in the 18th century. It honors the 13th-century military leader Tran Hung Dao who distinguished himself in the fight against the Yuan Dynasty, Van Xuong, a scholar, and Nguyen Van Sieu, a Confucian master and famous writer in charge of repairs made to the temple in 1864. Jade Island is connected to the shore by the wooden red-painted The Huc Bridge (The Huc, meaning Morning Sunlight Bridge).
The beautiful Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 by the then ruling French. It’s a phenomenal piece of neo-classical French architecture featuring Gothic themes on the doors and domes with pillars, shuttered windows, balconies and a glass room. Musicians, actors and dancers play to a 600-strong audience delivering powerful operatic and classical performances, making it a very popular theatrical attraction. The Hanoi Opera House is the biggest theatre in Vietnam and speaks volumes as historical and cultural evidence of Vietnam under French rule. The interior is even more magnificent than the exterior with many arguing it is aesthetically even more appealing than the Paris Opera House. Visitors today will be entertained at this architectural landmark which features a range of events including local Vietnamese opera, traditional folk music, ballets and many international concerts.
Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge was designed by world renowned engineer Gustave Eiffel, who was also the designer of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was constructed between 1899 and 1902 and first opened to traffic in 1903. At the time it was then the only bridge spanning the Red River connecting Hanoi and Haiphong port city. The 116-year-old bridge spans three centuries and is considered an important and central part of Hanoi’s development and history. The steel structure witnessed the withdrawal of French troops from Hanoi and welcomed Vietnamese soldiers to liberate the capital in 1954. It was also severely damaged by fierce American bombardments during wartime.
Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum in Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi. It is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the most iconic and popular leader of Vietnam, known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’. His body is preserved here in a glass case at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in central Hanoi (albeit against his wishes). For visitors, a trip to Uncle Ho’s final resting place can be an extraordinary experience as it is not just an average attraction; it’s a part of a unique history.
Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House
This humble, traditional stilt house where Ho lived intermittently from 1958 to 1969 is set in a well-tended garden adjacent a carp-filled pond and has been preserved just as Ho left it. The clear views through the open doorways and windows give an insight more fascinating than most museum mementos. It's now used for official receptions and isn’t open to the public, but visitors may wander the grounds if sticking to the paths. From here, you look out on to the opulent Beaux-Arts Presidential Palace. There is a combined entrance gate to the stilt house and palace grounds on P Ong Ich Kiem inside the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex. When the main entrance is closed, enter from Ð Hung Vuong.
Vietnam Military History Museum
Easy to spot thanks to a large collection of weaponry at the front, the Military Museum displays Soviet and Chinese equipment alongside French- and US-made weapons captured during years of warfare. The centrepiece is a Soviet-built MiG-21 jet fighter, triumphant amid the wreckage of French aircraft downed at Dien Bien Phu, and a US F-111. Adjacent is the hexagonal Flag Tower, one of the symbols of Hanoi. Tower-only admission is free from the coffee shop. Access is possible to a terrace overlooking a rusting collection of war matériel (equipment and supplies used by soldiers). Opposite the museum is a small park with a commanding statue of Lenin.
Hoa Lo Prison Museum
This thought-provoking site is all that remains of the former Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US prisoners of war (POWs) during the American War. Most exhibits relate to the prison’s use up to the mid-1950s, focusing on the Vietnamese struggle for independence from France. A gruesome relic is the ominous French guillotine, used to behead Vietnamese revolutionaries. There are also displays focusing on the American pilots who were incarcerated at Hoa Lo during the American War.
These pilots include Pete Peterson (the first US ambassador to a unified Vietnam in 1995) and Senator John McCain (the Republican nominee for the US presidency in 2008). McCain’s flight suit is displayed, along with a photograph of Hanoi locals rescuing him from Truc Bach Lake after being shot down in 1967. The vast prison complex was built by the French in 1896. Originally intended to house around 450 inmates, records indicate that by the 1930s there were close to 2000 prisoners. Hoa Lo was never a very successful prison, and hundreds escaped its walls over the years – many squeezing out through sewer grates. Polyglots might notice that the French signs are watered down compared with the English equivalents.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
This fabulous collection relating to Vietnam's ethnic minorities features well-presented tribal art, artefacts and everyday objects gathered from across the nation, and examples of traditional village houses. Displays are well labelled in Vietnamese, French and English. If you're into anthropology, it's well worth the approximately 200,000d each-way taxi fares to the Cau Giay district, about 7km from the city centre, where the museum is located. Local bus 14 (4000d) departs from P Dinh Tien Hoang on the east side of Hoan Kiem Lake and passes within a couple of blocks (around 600m) of the museum; get off at the Nghia Tan bus stop and head to Ð Nguyen Van Huyen.
St Joseph Cathedral
Hanoi's neo-Gothic St Joseph Cathedral was inaugurated in 1886, and boasts a soaring facade that faces a little plaza. Its most noteworthy features are its twin bell towers, elaborate altar and fine stained-glass windows. Entrance via the main gate is only permitted during Mass: times are listed on a sign on the gates to the left of the cathedral. At other times, enter via the Diocese of Hanoi compound, a block away at 40 P Nha Chung. When you reach the side door to the cathedral, to your right, ring the small bell high up on the right-hand side of the door.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Trấn Quốc Pagoda (Vietnamese: Chùa Trấn Quốc, chữ Hán:), the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, is located on a small island near the southeastern shore of Hanoi's West Lake, Vietnam. The Trấn Quốc Pagoda in Hanoi is the oldest pagoda in the city, originally constructed in the sixth century during the reign of Emperor Lý Nam Đế (from 544 until 548), thus giving it an age of more than 1,450 years. When founded the temple was named Khai Quoc (National Founding) and was sited on the shores of the Red River, outside of the Yen Phu Dyke. When confronted with the river's encroachment, the temple was relocated in 1615 to Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) islet of Ho Tay (West Lake) where it is now situated. A small causeway links it to the mainland. The last major repair to the temple was undertaken in 1815 when the main sanctuary, reception hall and posterior hall of the dead were renovated. The pagoda is one of the main parts of the Trấn Quốc Temple for it holds the important monk's ashes. Most of the pagodas were made in the 17th century but the tallest pagoda was remade in 2004. The pagodas are red because in Chinese and Vietnamese culture red symbolizes luck and prosperity.
The Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture. This ancient site offers a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty. Visiting the Temple of Literature you will discover historic buildings from the Ly and Tran dynasties in a revered place that has seen thousands of doctors’ graduate in what has now become a memorial to education and literature. Originally the university only accepted aristocrats, the elite and royal family members as students before eventually opening its doors to brighter ‘commoners’. Successful graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles.
One Pillar Pagoda
The One Pillar Pagoda (Vietnamese: Chùa Một Cột) is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples. The temple was built by Emperor Lý Thái Tông, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. According to the court records, Lý Thái Tông was childless and dreamt that he met the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Lý Thái Tông then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple in gratitude for this in 1049, having been told by a monk named Thiền Tuệ to build the temple, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, similar to the one he saw in the dream. The temple was located in what was then the Tây Cấm Garden in Thạch Bảo, Vĩnh Thuận district in the capital Thăng Long (now known as Hanoi). Before the pagoda was opened, prayers were held for the longevity of the monarch. During the Lý Dynasty era, the temple was the site of an annual royal ceremony on the occasion of Vesak, the birthday of Gautama Buddha. A Buddha-bathing ceremony was held annually by the monarch, and it attracted monks and laymen alike to the ceremony. The monarch would then free a bird, which was followed by the people.
Water puppetry (Vietnamese: Múa rối nước, lit. "Making puppets dance on water") is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. Today's Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition. The puppets are made out of wood and then lacquered. The shows are performed in a waist-deep pool. A large bamboo rod supports the puppet under the water and is used by the puppeteers, who are normally hidden behind a screen, to control them. Thus the puppets appear to be moving over the water. When the rice fields would flood, the villagers would entertain each other using this form of puppet play.
Bat Trang Village
Bat Trang, traditional porcelain and pottery village with history of seven centuries, is an interesting attraction in Hanoi that tourists should not ignore.
Bat Trang, the seven-century old pottery village, is an interesting attraction in Hanoi that tourists should not ignore. Bat Trang ceramics are produced for daily household use (bow, cup, plates, pot, bottle…), worshipping, or decoration purposes. Nowadays, the pottery artists bring into ceramics many innovations in production techniques, and creativity in products’ features, hence many new products have been born, and even daily household items may have the beauty like decoration ones. Visiting Bat Trang, tourists can take a walk or join a buffalo tour for sightseeing and shopping. Besides many ceramic stores along the road in the village, tourists should visit Bat Trang Porcelain and Pottery Market where they can directly make pottery products by themselves. Many youngsters and foreign tourists are interested in in this pottery- making experience, and spend a whole day in the market to make a gift for family or friends.
Ha Long Bay
Halong Bay is a beautiful natural wonder in northern Vietnam near the Chinese border. The Bay is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. This extraordinary area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. For many tourists, this place is like something right out of a movie. The fact is that Halong Bay features a wide range of biodiversity, while the surrealistic scenery has indeed featured in endless movies.The best way to get to Halong City is by car, minibus or bus from Hanoi which is only 170km away.
Tràng An is a scenic area near Ninh Bình, Vietnam renowned for its boat cave tours. On 23 June 2014, at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tam Cốc-Bích Động is a popular tourist destination in north Vietnam and part of the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located in Ninh Binh province, near the village of Tam Cốc. The closest city is Ninh Binh. It consists of two distinct attractions: Tam Cốc, a flooded cave karst system; and Bích Động, a series of mountain pagodas.
Hoa Lư was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. It lies in Truong Yen Thuong village, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lư District, Ninh Bình Province, Vietnam. The area is one of ricefields broken by picturesque limestone mountains, and is approximately 90 km south of Hanoi. Together with Phát Diệm Cathedral, Tam Cốc-Bích Động, Bái Đính Temple, Trang An, and Cúc Phương, Hoa Lư is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ninh Bình Province.
Son Doong Cave
Son Doong Cave is in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in the Quang Binh province of Central Vietnam. Only recently explored in 2009-2010 by the British Cave Research Association, the cave has only been open to the public since 2013.
Less people have seen the inside of Hang Son Doong than have stood on the summit of Mount Everest. Join us on this otherworldly expedition and become one of the lucky few who have had the life changing experience of exploring the world’s largest cave.
Imagine trekking straight into the depths of the world’s largest cave on an expedition unlike any other. A cave so massive that a 747 could fly through its largest cavern. A space so mesmerising that it forces you to question whether you are still on this planet at all. Foreign landscapes found nowhere else, enormous stalagmites rising from the ground and statuesque stalactites hanging from the ceiling like an alien species. Jungles emerge from inside the cave itself, a scene so surreal that you have to see it to believe it. Misty clouds envelop the whole scene, a result of the cave’s own localised weather system. Passages adorned with ancient fossils offer evidence of the millions of years that have passed on this Earth. As you approach the jungle just outside the entrance, the rush of cool wind that cascades out brings to life everything inside of you. Hazy, cold and exhilarating, it is apparent that there’s something magical waiting just beyond the opening to the cave.
Ban Gioc Waterfall /Detian Falls
Ban Gioc Waterfall is known as the most beautiful waterfall in Vietnam, and the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia shared by both Vietnam and China. Ban Gioc waterfall is located in Dam Thuy Commune, Trung Khanh District, Cao Bang Province. Far 20 km from Trung Khanh district center northeast. Surrounded by picturesque peaks, it is said to be the fourth largest natural waterfall in the world located on a national frontier.
The water is enough any time year round to make your trip worthwhile. But its volume changes considerably between the dry and rainy season. And best time to visit Ban Gioc Waterfall is from May to September, when the falls are most impressive.
Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa today is the tourism centre of the northwest. Sapa is oriented to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days; it overlooks a plunging valley, with mountains towering above on all sides. Views are often subdued by thick mist rolling across the peaks, but even when it's cloudy, local hill-tribe people fill the town with colour. If you were expecting a quaint alpine town, recalibrate your expectations. Modern tourism development has mushroomed haphazardly. Thanks to rarely enforced building-height restrictions, Sapa's skyline is continually thrusting upwards. But you're not here to hang out in town. This is northern Vietnam's premier trekking base, from where hikers launch themselves into a surrounding countryside of cascading rice terraces and tiny hill-tribe villages that seem a world apart. Once you've stepped out into the lush fields, you'll understand the Sapa area's real charm.
Victoria Express Train
Victoria Express Train is the most luxurious train service on route Hanoi - Lao Cai. At present, it is reserved exclusively for travelers who book a stay at Victoria Hotel and Resort Sapa. The train runs daily except for Saturday when it does not operate.
Victoria Express is reserved for only in-house guests, meaning that you have to stay at Victoria resort in order to purchase the train tickets. Please book your resort stay in advance and have a confirmation ID ready when you book your train tickets. We reserve the rights to decline your booking if you do not stay at Victoria resort. There are two types of cabins: superior cabins which have 4 berths and deluxe cabins which have 2 berths. The superior cabin is ideal for families or larger group of travelers while the private deluxe cabin offers privacy and intimacy. There are a total of 2 deluxe and 8 superior cabins on each train. It goes without saying that Victoria Express train is a treat for the eyes: the interior is artistically decorated, with wood being paneled in all cabins and the theme is after classic Western style with an Eastern fusion. Located at both end of the carriage are toilets which are well kept and decorated with wooden furniture.
Note: from May 2016, the dining carriage has ceased to operate so there is no option for dinner on board.
Set in an idyllic valley, hemmed in by hills, the Mai Chau area is a world away from Hanoi's hustle. The small town of Mai Chau itself is unappealing, but just outside the patchwork of rice fields rolls out, speckled by tiny Thai villages where visitors doss down for the night in traditional stilt houses and wake up to a rural soundtrack defined by gurgling irrigation streams and birdsong. The villagers are mostly White Thai, distantly related to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China. Most no longer wear traditional dress, but the Thai women are masterful weavers producing plenty of traditional-style textiles. Locals do not employ strong-arm sales tactics here: polite bargaining is the norm.
Due to its popularity, some find the Mai Chau tour group experience too sanitised. If you’re looking for hard-core exploration, this is not the place, but for biking, hiking and relaxation, calm Mai Chau fits the bill nicely.
Da Nang is Vietnam's fourth or fifth largest city, and is on the South China Sea coast, midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the largest city of Central Vietnam.
The city itself has neither the ambiance of Hanoi nor the hustle-bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, but has its share of sights and is close to the charms of Hoi An and the imperial capital of Hue, making it a popular vacation spot for those looking to explore the attractions of central Vietnam or soak up some sun while hanging out on the city's beaches.
Once a major Southeast Asian trading post in the 16th and 17th centuries, the seaside town Hoi An is basically a living museum featuring a unique mixture of East and West in the form of its old-town architecture. Among the heritage architecture stand Chinese temples, a Japanese-designed bridge, pagodas, wooden shop-houses, French- colonial houses and old canals. Though large-scale trading had long moved elsewhere Hoi An has been successful in preserving and restoring its charming roots and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in December 1999.
Vietnam's Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, is the area around the former border between North and South Vietnam. Historically it was a narrow band of terrain extending from the Laos border to the coast, five km on either side of the Ben Hai River, roughly on the 17th parallel north of latitude. The area saw heavy fighting in the war, and ruins of old American military bases still exist. Even if you're not interested in the history, the area has some spectacular mountain scenery and rugged jungles. There, visitors can still see Camp Carroll, one of the largest bases of the US Marine Corps; the Truong Son National Cemetery, which is the official Vietnamese war cemetery; the Vinh Moc Tunnels, where an entire village tried to wait out the war; and much more. The tour for DMZ visiting, the origin place is Hue.
Huế is the capital city of Thua Thien – Hue province, Vietnam. Between 1802 and 1945, it was the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty. Its population stands at about 950,000. Huế is well known for its historic monuments, which have earned it a place in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The seat of the Nguyễn emperors was the Citadel, which occupies a large, walled area on the north side of the Perfume River. Inside the citadel was a forbidden city where only the emperors, concubines, and those close enough to them were granted access; the punishment for trespassing was death.
Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa province, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is bounded on the North by Ninh Hoà district, on the East by the South China Sea, on the South by Cam Ranh town and on the West by Diên Khánh district.
The city has about 300,000 inhabitants, a number which is projected to increase to between 500,000 and 600,000 inhabitants by 2020 according to an estimation of Nha Trang Administrative Board Statistics. Nha Trang is well known for its pristine beaches and excellent scuba diving and is fast becoming a popular destination for international tourists, attracting large numbers of backpackers as well as more affluent travelers on the Southeast Asia circuit.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam. It was once known as Prey Nokor, an important Khmer sea port prior to annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. The city center is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60 kilometers (37 mi) from the South China Sea and 1,760 kilometers (1,090 mi) south of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.The metropolitan area, which consists of the Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan area, Thủ Dầu Một, Dĩ An, Biên Hòa and surrounding towns, is populated by more than 9,000,000 people, making it the most populous metropolitan area in Vietnam and the countries of the former French Indochina.
War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum once known as the ‘Museum of American War Crimes’ first opened to the public in 1975. It’s a shocking reminder of the long and brutal Vietnam War with many graphic photographs and American military equipment on display, including a helicopter with rocket launchers, a tank, a fighter plane, a single-seater attack aircraft and a 6,800kg conventional bomb. All these weapons were used by America against the Vietnamese at some point during the infamous war that lasted from 1945-1975.
Touring the orchards, paddy fields and swamplands of the Mekong Delta, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into the pages of a geography textbook. A comma-shaped flatland stretching from Ho Chi Minh’s city limits southwest to the Gulf of Thailand, the delta is Vietnam’s rice bowl, an agricultural miracle that pumps out more than a third of the country’s annual food crop from just ten percent of its total land mass.
Chua Ba Thien Hau
The Chua Ba Thien Hau Pagoda (The Pagoda of the Lady Thien Hau) is a Chinese style temple located in the Cho Lon district of Ho Chi Minh City. It is dedicated to Thien Hau, the Lady of the Sea, who is also known as Mazu. Thien Hau is a deity of traditional Chinese religion, who is revered in the southern maritime provinces of China and in overseas Chinese communities. She is not specifically a deity of Taoism or Buddhism, though she has been brought into connection with figures and themes from Taoism and Buddhism.
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market, Southwest end of Le Lai: a den of thieves, but some great shopping. Ben Thanh is recognizable from its clock tower on the large traffic circle. The largest old-style market in the central district, with several hundred small stalls stuffed with goods on almost impassably narrow aisles. Due to its popularity with tourists, the market is now divided between tourist goods (jeans, T-shirts, smaller souvenirs in abundance) and regular items (fruit and vegetables, rice, kitchen wares, flowers, meat, fast food and local-style pickled fruits and candies). Most items are not price-marked, and vendors always quote a 50-100% higher price to tourists, so bargaining hard will save you money.
The Cu Chi Tunnels
Cu Chi is about 40 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City in Southern Vietnam. The Cu Chi Tunnels are an elaborate underground community made up of 250 km of tunnels and chambers below the city. The tunnels were dug with simple tools and bare hands during the French occupation in the 1940s, and further expanded during the Vietnam War in the 1960s to provide refuge and a defensive advantage over the American soldiers.
What to eat in Vietnam
Vietnamese baguette or French bread traditionally with pâté, Vietnamese mayonnaise, cold cuts, jalapeños, pickled daikon, pickled carrot, and cucumber slices. While traditional cold cuts include ham, head cheese, and Vietnamese bologna, it is common to see varieties of stuffing such as eggs, canned sardines, shredded pork, fried tofu, and grilled meats. Sandwiches are often garnished with coriander leaves and black pepper.
literally means "sizzling cake", named for the loud sizzling sound it makes when the rice batter is poured into the hot skillet are Vietnamese savory fried pancakes made of rice flour, water, turmeric powder, stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, diced green onion, and bean sprouts.
Also known as Vietnamese fresh rolls, or summer rolls. They are rice paper rolls that often include shrimp, herbs, pork, rice vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped up and dipped in nước chấm or peanut sauce. Spring rolls almost constitute an entire category of Vietnamese foods, as there are numerous different kinds of spring rolls with different ingredients in them.
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat. It is primarily served with either beef or chicken. Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Southern Vietnamese eat it for breakfast and occasionally lunch, whereas northerners eat it at any time of day.
Vietnamese sour soup - typically include fish, pineapples, tomatoes, herbs, beansprouts, tamarind, and various kinds of vegetables; when made in style of a hotpot, it is called Lẩu Canh Chua.