Vietnam is a country I haven't visited yet, but one which I hope to visit later on in the year. As I am currently researching what to see and do there, I thought I might as well write an article at the same time. Two birds, one stone, and all that! Here then, are some of the best things to see and do in Vietnam, according to my background reading!
Researching Things to See and Do in Vietnam
When planning to visit a town, place of interest, or country, I always do a little background research first. This involves a combination of reading guide books (in this case the Lonely Planet Vietnam edition), looking at other peoples travel blogs (obviously!), looking at YouTube videos, and generally surfing the net.I also like to ask people I know have visited the place, although in this case, I don't know anybody that has been to Vietnam. Weird, considering I know tonnes of people who travel a lot!
Although my plans to visit Vietnam are far from concrete, if I do visit at the end of the year, it will probably be for two or three weeks. This then, is a list of the things I would like to see and do in Vietnam when there.
Things to See and Do in Vietnam: The North
Halong Bay – Halong Bay is famous around the world due to its white limestone pillars. Apparently, there are over 1600 of them! Every photo of them I have seen looks amazing, and I can't wait to see it with my own eyes!
Hanoi: From all accounts, Hanoi is considered to be one of Vietnam's more attractive cities, due to its blend of east meets west architecture. It also has an old quarter section, with plenty of colonial style shop fronts. Museums are always going to appeal to me of course, and Hanoi has them aplenty. The Ho Chi Minh museum looks the most intriguing. Here's a guide to spending 2 days in Hanoi.
The main points of interest in Hanoi, seem to be the Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hoan Kiem lake, Red Bridge, and plenty of opportunities to sample the local food!
Things to See and Do in Vietnam: The Middle
Hoi An: Nobody seems to have a bad word to say about Hoi An. It is well known for its charm and beauty, as well as the mix of cultural influences. The streets have mixes of Japanese, Chinese, and French colonial style buildings. Hoi An also has a dedicated Lantern Street, where you can choose from thousands of designs in vibrant patterns and colours. It would be great to see these, especially if they are lit up at night!
Things to See and Do in Vietnam: The South
Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City: There are plenty of things to do in Saigon! Perhaps here more than anywhere, I can brush up on my knowledge of the American War (as not doubt the locals call the Vietnam War!). The War Remnants Museum has strong recommendations as a place to visit, and apparently even has a tank or two! Other places of interest within the city include the kitsch Reunification Palace, Opera House, and Cathedral.
I have always wanted to visit the Cu Chi tunnels (which were constructed during the conflict with the USA), as well as the Mekong Delta. Saigon should make a good jumping off point to get out an explore those areas as well.
Best Island in Vietnam
Vietnam also has some nice islands to visit. I think the best island in Vietnam is Con Dao. It's still relatively undiscovered by mass tourism, so see it while you can!
Have you visited Vietnam, and if so, do you have anything to add to my list of things to see and do in Vietnam? I would love to hear from you, so please leave some suggestions below.