One of Asia’s most enticing cities, Hanoi is an intoxicating mix of old-French charm and Vietnamese energy. The city’s Old Quarter is an atmospheric jumble of shops of all description and enticing restaurants, while there are some fascinating historical sights to see.
Want to explore floating markets, be rowed down a creek covered in leafy jungle or meander through lush green paddy fields? If so, this is the place to go for a quintessential taste of Vietnam.
Cu Chi Tunnels
This labyrinth of tiny tunnels (they’ve been widened to accommodate western tourists) sustained the Vietcong during their war struggle against the US and South Vietnamese forces. Wandering through the tunnels is a humbling (yet compelling) experience as you realise thousands fought and died in these tiniest of spaces.
Nice threads. Hoi An is Vietnam’s clothing capital, where you can pick up a hand-made, tailored suit, shirt or dress for a fraction of the price you’d pay back home. But that’s not all. Hoi An is an attractive town with streets lined with charming, historic buildings. There’s the fantastic My Son temple complex nearby, and the palm-lined Cua Dai beach backed by restaurants and bars is just 10 minutes down the road.
In the mountainous north-west of Vietnam, in and around the city of Sapa, lies some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see. Rice fields cut into the mountain in all shades of green and huge mountains rising in the distance provide a dramatic backdrop to a great place for trekking, or just sitting on a balcony soaking up the view.
Halong Bay is the undisputed natural wonder of Vietnam. Beautiful green-blue waters, with islands rising majestically (think Krabi in Thailand or Guilin in China) make for a postcard perfect panoramas.