Thursday, October 17, 2013

Top 5 Favorite Destinations in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of those South East Asian countries that has beautiful tourist attractions right from the south to the north. I spent close to 40 days in this country across 2 backpacking trips and based on this experience below are my top 5 favorite destinations of Vietnam.

Hoi An
Sunset at the Hoi An Riverside
In my mind, this is Vietnam’s cultural hub. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a shopping hub, close to the yesteryears Hindu kingdom of My Son, has beaches, has tropical islands around it, has a river flowing through it and has marble mountains next to it. What more can one ask for? This place deserves the most of your Vietnam time as this place has variety, class and very friendly people. I totally dig this place, the relaxed atmosphere of having dinner at its river side restaurants, diving amidst the white corals of its offshore islands, exploring its rich cultural past and seeing true Vietnam countryside around it.

Tam Coc @ Ninh Binh
View from Hang Mua, Vietnam
This place is Halong bay on land. For some reason, I like this place more than Halong Bay. The mighty limestone karsts, the green paddy fields and the snaking river cast a scene out of a fairy tale. And the best part is that it is not as expensive or crowded as Halong Bay. And the more you stay at Ninh Binh, the more rare discoveries you make.

Halong Bay
Sunset over Halong Bay, Vietnam
If there is one place that people think of when you mention Vietnam, it has to be Halong Bay. It is a natural wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The views of these limestone hills jutting out of the sea with mist surrounding them is a sight to die for. Climbing the crags and jumping into the sea from a height of 20 feet is possibly one of the best thrills of Halong. Going on a boat cruise and kayaking through the bay has to be a close second. The jungles of Cat Ba island are also a great allure.

Scenic Hikes through the villages around Sapa, Vietnam
The mountains of north west Vietnam with its different tribes, terraced rice plantations, gorgeous mountain hikes and scenic natural beauty is very unlike Vietnam, but its beauty makes it one of Vietnam’s top attractions. It’s mountain culture, its cooler climes and its laid back atmosphere makes it special.

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam Paddy FieldsThis is the bustling capital of Vietnam. It’s French architecture, it’s gory past, it’s unlimited shopping opportunities and its proximity to the Mekong delta gives it a special edge. Whether you are exploring it from the Saigon river or from inside the Cu Chi tunnels, this metropolis has a lot to offer. It’s high two wheeler population is also a sight to see, though one cannot see it for too long.

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