Vietnam Time

7/3/2018 4:33:46 PM

17 reasons to visit Vietnam: Telegraph

The Telegraph has picked 17 reasons visitors should take advantage of a paperwork-free trip to Vietnam, which has maintained its essences despite a tourism boom.

Vietnam has become increasingly attractive to tourists from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy who will enjoy visa exemptions for the next three years until June 30th, 2021, from July 1st, 2018.

The country first offered visa waivers for citizens from the five European countries in July 2015. The policy has been updated annually and would have expired at the end of June. The continued visa exemption is expected to push up the development of the Vietnamese tourism sector.

Hanoi, Vietnam's capital. CREDIT: GETTY

1. Hustle and bustle in Hanoi

What makes Hanoi so interesting is that it feels very old-fashioned, stuck in the past with its French colonial history entrenched in its pavement cafes, architecture and wide tree-lined boulevards.

“Take a ride in one of the thousands of tuk-tuks swarming through the city’s streets to get a sense of the daily buzz,” The Telegraph wrote.

2. Visit late President Ho Chi Minh

The first president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam lies embalmed in his mausoleum in Hanoi. His body lies in a glass case in a cooled, central hall, through which visitors will pass silently to pay their respects.

President Ho Chi Minh led the nation to success in the struggle for national independence and in establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam following the August Revolution in 1945. He passed away in 1969.

Hoi An recently named among world’s top destinations for the solo traveler. Source: Internet

3. Get suited and booted

Head to the trading port of Hoi An – regarded not only as the tailoring capital of Vietnam, but of Southeast Asia too – to have a suit tailor-made for as little as EUR 75 (USD 87.3). Ladies can have dresses made to measure for a similar cut-price. Take an empty bag on the outbound flight so that you can take your new wardrobe home with you.

4. Breathe in the Mekong

The famed river winds its way through Southeast Asia, but flows into the East Sea at the Mekong Delta just south of Ho Chi Minh City. This is Vietnam at its most pastoral. Here, more than 1,000 species of animals live side by side in what is described as a “biological treasure trove”. If you're looking for a little more human interaction, take a boat to explore the floating markets.

5. Go underground

A bit of a cliche, perhaps, near Ho Chi Minh City, but the Cu Chi tunnels of the Vietnamese are worth crawling through. You can shoot a kalashnikov or an AK47 (for a small fee) if that’s your thing.

Ha Long Bay. CREDIT: Internet

6. Find the right angle at Ha Long Bay

Increasingly popular, especially with the Chinese thanks to its proximity to the border, Halong Bay remains a staggering sight: shimmering turquoise waters punctuated by mossy rocks rising steeply out of nowhere.

7. Eat, eat and eat some more

In addition, The Telegraph’s experts also picked cuisine is one of the reason why should visitors choose Vietnam. From pho to banh mi, and spring rolls to steamboat, Vietnam’s cuisine is fascinating.

“We watched tofu being made and shaped into pliable white girders, ready to be cooked with tomato sauce. There were stalls heaving with tiny clams; baskets of colourful chillies and limes; delicious and sweet jackfruit (best fried in flour with coconut milk); plumes of banana flower; sacks of lotus seeds to make puddings, and giant live catfish that periodically made a bid for freedom from their giant bowls,” Mark C O’Flaherty wrote for The Telegraph Travel after visiting a market in Hanoi.

Park Hyatt Saigon. (Credits: Courtesy Park Hyatt)

8. Stay in a hotel with history

This luxurious, colonial-inspired grande dame sits right at the historic heart of Ho Chi Minh City, with contemporary comforts including a world-class spa. The hotel was a base for the U.S. military during the war and DJ Adrian Cronauer made his daily broadcast from it, made famous in the film Good Morning, Vietnam.

9. Look out over Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City offers a contrast to northern Hanoi. The swaggering city of the south is all modern skyscrapers and new building projects. Find a hotel bar high up to admire the lights as the sun sets.

10. Fly direct - on a swish plane

Vietnam Airlines is the only carrier to fly direct from London, into either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, and you’ll do so on a shiny new 787 Dreamliner, one of the most advanced planes.

11. Find luxury in Da Nang

On the east coast half way between north and south, Da Nang has developed a reputation for its sandy beaches and luxury accommodation. La Maison 1888 at the InterContinental in the city was the first restaurant in the country to boast a Michelin-starred chef, in the shape of Michel Roux during his first foray into Asia.

UNESCO world heritage My Son Sanctuary in central Quang Nam province. Photo: VNA

12. Find peace in a templex complex...

My Son, the former capital of the Champa kingdom, lies 25 miles south-west amid a circle of mountains. The Cham ruled parts of what is now central and southern Vietnam from the fourth to the 13th centuries and this site of 70 red-brick temple towers, dedicated to Hindu deities, represents the height of their spiritual and artistic expression. People say “it’s not Angkor Wat”. No, it isn’t, but it has its own atmosphere of ruined majesty.

Arrive early to avoid the heat and other tourists, though if you walk to the edges of the site you will always find a quiet spot.

13. ...or better, in a cave

Vietnam is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary subterranean landscapes, with the most popular of the country’s caves the gigantic Son Doong Cave. So big it has its own weather system, the caves could accommode a 40-storey skyscraper, or let a Boeing 747 pass through. Only 1,000 visitors are allowed into the caves each year, with each tour taking four days and three nights (from EUR 2,245 or USD 2, 614). Other caves include the Tu Lan cave systems, used in the filming of Kong: Skull Island (2017), and Hang Va.

Explore a war tunnel. Source: Internet

14. Enter the DMZ

Arrange a car for a day in the former De-Militarised Zone (DMZ) two hours north of Hue. On the shore of the East Sea lies the fishing community of Vinh Moc. The people here stayed underground to avoid U.S. bombardment and today you can stoop through 2,000 yards of tunnels, some as deep as 70ft. You should also drive up Highway Nine to Khe Sanh, a U.S. base besieged in 1968 – hardware and a museum.

15. Marvel at rice terraces

The Sapa region, close to the Chinese border, offers vast swathes of vivid green rice paddies to trek through.

16. Combine with Cambodia

One of Vietnam’s key draws is that it acts as a gateway to Cambodia - and Angkor Wat - for those looking to complete a Southeast Asia double-header.

17. Cycle the length of it

On tours such as Intrepid Travel’s 15-day Cycle Vietnam (intrepidtravel.co.uk) you can ride through some of Vietnam’s most stunning landscapes. Pedal through mountain passes, seaside villages, the landscapes of Ninh Binh, paddy fields, the karst of the Mai Chau Valleys and the imperial city of Hue./.

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