The easternmost country on the Indo-China peninsular, Vietnam is a compelling country. Steeped in rich history with breathtaking natural beauty and welcoming people, it’s one of our favourite SE Asia destinations and has something to offer everyone.
Mountains occupy about 40% of the country and ‘level land’ only 20% so expect undulating journeys and stunning vistas. Generally speaking, the north of the country is more mountainous than the south which largely consists coastal lowlands. Due to the length of the country and the large range of topography, the climate varies enormously from place to place. As a result, Vietnam is credited with a uniquely high level of biodiversity, much of which is exhibited within two of the countries World Heritage Sites - namely Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the centre of commerce. Buzzing 24/7, the city pulses energy. With wide diversity, there is accommodation and eateries to suit any budget and much to do, including visiting one of the war museums, the Jade Emporer Pagoda or the Ben Thanh Market.
Located in the north of the country, Ha Long Bay is a popular destination on tourists radars, and rightly so. The Bay is home to thousands of limestone caves and stunning monolithic isles that protrude vertically from the clear sea. Other coastal regions such as Nha Trang with its beautiful beaches and the Marble Mountains near Da Nang city provide other worthwhile trips.
Travel across the country is relatively straightforward and comfortable. Originally developed by the French, the infrastructure has been well reconstructed post-war and the main trunk roads are in good condition. As with much of SE Asia, bicycles, scooters and motorbikes provide the most widely used transport devices for locals but buses are a great way to get around.
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