Vietnam has a wealth of attractions that make it one of the must-visit destinations in the world. It is a beautiful country with a stunning coastline, highland areas inhabited by colorful hill tribes, miles of lush green rice paddies, several World Heritage sites, a rich imperial history, delectable cuisine and fun-loving, friendly people.
Here are the top ten reasons to visit Vietnam, selected by Anita Sach of Luxury Travel and five star Emperor Cruises www.facebook.com/emperorcruises .
1. The people
It goes without saying that Vietnam is a particularly beautiful country, but this is enhanced by its people, who are hardworking, forward looking, hospitable and who have a wonderful sense of humour.
2. The variety
Vietnam is a country of contrasts with its lush green patchwork of rice paddies, dramatic mountains, unspoiled coastline and the watery worlds of the Mekong and Red River deltas. Other top attractions include the enigmatic limestone karsts in Halong Bay, bustling Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, laidback Hue and also Hoi An.
3. The accommodation
Whatever your budget there is somewhere to stay that is perfect for you from simple mini-hotels, through to welcoming mid-range hotels, stylish boutique hotels and smart international chains.
4. The food
Vietnamese food combines the best of Thai and Chinese cuisines with a twist of French heritage and Vietnamese creativity. Seafood is fresh and a hearty bowl of pho a must. Whether you choose to dine in a roadside café with the kitchen out front where you can watch your selection being freshly cooked or in a chic restaurant in an old colonial mansion, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, if you are hankering for a burger, curry or pizza, you won’t have to look far.
5. The culture
Culture vultures won’t know where to start! Take in ancient temples and pagodas such as the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, the Jade Emperor in Ho Chi Minh City and Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh. In Hue, wander round the intriguing, beautifully landscaped tombs of the Nguyen dynasty emperors and try to imagine how the imperial palace would have looked in its heyday.
6. Colonial history
Wherever you look you will see the remnants of the French colonial period from the freshly baked French-style bread to the gorgeous old villas in the former hill stations. Dalat could be a typical Provencal town surrounded by alpine scenery. The hill tribes selling vegetables in the market are a reminder that you are actually in Vietnam.
7. Luxury journeys
With new luxury hotels and world-class golf courses opening as well as helicopter tours and sea plane flights over Halong Bay Vietnam is fast emerging as the world’s latest luxury destination. For train lovers, the evocatively named Victoria Orient Reunification Express is a must.
From the decks of a smart river cruiser, enjoy viewing river life as you cruise along the waterways from the Mekong delta deep into Cambodia or overnight on Halong Bay.
Leave plenty of space in your suitcase for those must-have items, clothes, silk bags and lacquerware all of which can be found in the colourful markets. Enter into the fun by bargaining hard!
Travelers always want new and exotic experiences, plus value, both in terms of personal value and value for money. They seek new destinations, new hotels and new experiences. They want to be the first to discover a destination. Many have moved towards a quieter understated luxury and plan their trips with a focus on authenticity and experiential travel, particularly enriching once-in-a-lifetime experiences. For travel experts, it is essentially about creating a experiential travel that is personal as well as authentic and memorable.