7 Must Have Experiences in Vietnam - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Friday, June 22, 2018

7 Must Have Experiences in Vietnam

Magical Tam Coc river of Ninh Binh, Vietnam

A must sought after destination in South East Asia, Vietnam is that perfect combination of stunning nature, great history and affordability. Be it cultural sites, beaches, islands, river delta, bustling cities, mind blowing limestone karsts, waterfalls, forests or sand dunes, Vietnam offers all this and much more. If you are planning a trip to this amazing country, here are 7 experiences that must find a place in your Vietnam holiday itinerary.

1) Float down the magical Tam Coc River

Tam Coc river flanked by paddy fields on either side, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

One of Vietnam’s surreal natural wonders, a ride on the Tam Coc river takes you through lush paddy fields, a flooded cave karst system, a series of mountain pagodas and misty limestone karst mountains. This magical river ride that is part of the UNESCO heritage Trang An scenic landscape is what I fondly refer to as Halong bay on land. The Vietnam countryside, the laidback lifestyle and the totally spectacular landscape give it that special charm. Throw in a few pandas and you will feel like you are inside the Kung Fu Panda movie. That is how interesting this place is!

2) Take a Cruise in Halong Bay

Vietnam's Halong Bay - one of mother nature's best creations

A Halong Bay Cruise is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Vietnam. Taking a boat cruise through the mist covered limestone karst landscape is definitely one to experience in one’s lifetime. If you like a bit of adventure, then you can throw rock climbing, cliff jumping and kayaking into the mix to make for an adrenaline packed holiday. Even if you aren’t into cliff jumping, which is definitely a lot of fun, I would certainly recommend climbing to the top of one of the accessible limestone karsts to get a surreal view of the entire Halong bay landscape.

3) Roam the Heritage Streets of Hoi An

Old quarter of Hoi An, a traveler's paradise in Vietnam

A UNESCO World heritage site, Hoi An is that perfect destination for the culture lover. Heritage homes, Japanese bridges, hospitable people, a gorgeous riverside, many avenues for rich shopping and an aura of well preserved culture, that is how I would describe this dreamy town. Be it day or night, the Hoi An riverside is a treat to the senses with its color and action. A little away from Hoi An, you come to close quarters with the paddy fields and the rural life of Vietnam. And then for adventure lovers, there is the opportunity to go scuba diving amidst the white corals of the UNESCO Biosphere Cham Islands that is located right off the Hoi An coastline.

4) Indulge in some Dune Surfing at Mui Ne

Mui Ne - where sand dunes and the sea meet in Vietnam

It is hard to imagine gorgeous red sand dunes in Vietnam and when it overlooks the South China Sea, the view becomes heavenly. South Vietnam’s Mui Ne is one such magical destination. This beach destination not only allows you the chance to enjoy the coastline, the beach and the water, but it also allows you to indulge in some dune surfing at its many sand dunes. Some of them are so huge that they tower over the city and provide a majestic view of the coastline. The sand dunes are mostly white in color, but there are a few that are red and when you stand on them, you feel like you have standing on Mars.

5) Trek amidst the terraced rice fields of SaPa

Scenic hike over the mountainous trails of Sapa, Vietnam

Rich tribal cultures, rolling mountains, fast mountain streams, lush green landscape and terraced rice gardens is how I would describe Sapa in North Western Vietnam. This place is perfect for those trekking holidays where you stay with the locals in their villages, eat fresh local produce and breathe in the pure mountain air while you climb up and down its narrow mountain trails. This is also a great place to shop for tribal arts and handicrafts.

6) Explore the Hindu Trails of the Champa Kingdom at My Son

Beautiful green ruins of My Son Kingdom - a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In its hey days, Hinduism used to exist as far as Vietnam as the Chola kings of South India spread their presence in many South East Asian countries. One such Hindu kingdom can be seen at My Son. Located an hour away from the cultural capital of Hoi An, this Champa kingdom is in ruins and like most of Ta Prohm in Cambodia, trees and their roots have taken over these ancient buildings. Lovers of Hinduism, ancient cultures and ruins will find this place mesmerizing. The rich Vietnam countryside and the traditional dance performances are an added bonus.

7) Indulge in some Bargain Shopping at Ho Chi Minh City

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Sports apparel, shoes, bags and many other products are manufactured in Vietnam. Products of popular brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma are available at a steal. Such bargain shopping is the norm in Ho Chi Minh City, especially in its marets locate din and around District 1. The Ben Thanh market, An Dong market, Bin Tay market and Saigon square are some of the popular locations for bargain shopping. Ho Chi Minh City is also a great place to get yourself a tailored suit for a fraction of the cost. And when you are done with the shopping, watch a water puppet show at the Golden Dragon Theater, one of Vietnam’s top heritage performances that you should not miss.

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