Beautiful beaches and relaxed people
And this year I was off to Vietnam for my December holidays. Vietnam is a country that is making huge strides in the global scenario, coming out of their war-torn history and making full use of their tourist potentials.
Some of the must see places in Vietnam include.
Ho Chi Minh
The former capital of Vietnam, also formerly called as Saigon, this is the most populous city in Vietnam, filled with narrow streets and french cafes. A perfect place to start your Vietnamese adventure. Being the former capital, this city describes the country through the ages, with museums, palaces and gardens.
The Memorial for the President at HCM
The capital of Vietnam, its a bustling SE Asia city with a bulging population that quickly outruns the developments, its way up in the North, along the long coastline of Vietnam. Hanoi also serves as a gateway to the rice gardens of Sapa and the beautiful Ha Long Bay, which brings me to my next city.
I missed out on going to Sapa due to lack of time, but you can see the gardens if you fly into Hanoi, just before you land, you’ll see the glistening rice gardens. My choice of destination was Halong Bay or locally known as “the Bay of the Descending Dragons”. Its a beautiful creation of jagged limestones carved out my the environmental forces.
I’ve heard wonderful things about this coastal city, its midway between Hanoi and Ho – Chi Minh City and is a bustling tourist spot with its swanky hotels and recreational activities, unfortunately, due to the paucity of time, I couldn’t stop by this place.
Hue – Imperial City
The imperial city of Hue was a Japanese settlement, again, this was a city that I missed seeing and was heartily recommended by my fellow comrades on the road.
Things to Note
The official currency of Vietnam is Vietnamese Dong, however, the unofficial currency is USD and this is readily accepted right from the airport to the hotels, the Vietnamese Dong translates to about 7000 Dongs to 1 USD, which means your wallet is going to be full with maybe 10 dollars worth of local currency.
The visa needs to be pre-booked in Vietnam, not to worry though, there are truck loads of visa agents that can do the job for you, the approval is pretty quick, mostly the same day.
The French Connection
Vietnam has an interesting mix of French influence, especially in their food, ahhhh the Baguettes and the coffee… oooh la la.
The resilient people
Total respect for the Vietnamese people, they have been through so many wars and the country has come out winning, through the internal civil war, the French, Japanese and the American occupation.
The museums and the camps are a stark reminder.