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Vietnam, A Real Assault on Your Senses!

February 23, 2015

vietnam

Vietnam can be regarded as a frenetic, dizzying and fascinating place to visit in Asia, an utter assault on your westerner senses! I mean, Vietnam truly is a fascinating country, with its ancient capital Hanoi, one thousand year old city, steaming with nightlife and filled with exotic colors and odors. But let’s not anticipate, shall we?

Vietnam (still) is a socialist country just like China, stretching long and thin in the Southeast Asia, neighbored by China on the northern border and Cambodia and Laos on the west.

With a land surface of 331,690 square kilometers and a population of 90, 5 million souls, Vietnam has a rich culture and a tumultuous history.

As a former French colony and occupied by China no less than 4 times in its history, Vietnam had to fight invaders for thousands of years.

Just like China, Vietnam has 2 sides : there’s a rural, very different Vietnam very close to the cities, where water buffalo is a common sight in the green rice paddies and the urban Vietnam, with streets filled with people enjoying the nightlife and the country’s excellent cuisine (life and business is conducted in the streets, literally).

rural vietnam

What to see, what to do in Vietnam

I must tell you that the beaches in Vietnam are awesome, especially Nha Trang, making for the perfect combo between a beautiful sandy beach with palm trees and the whole nine yards and a small and chic town, boasting with nightlife and exquisite bars and restaurants filled with lazy tourists. While here, you can take a boat trip and explore the local coral reefs or go snorkeling, regardless of your budget, you’ll be very happy here, trust me.

nha-trang

Cao Dai temple is located near Tay Ninh and it’s home to the Cao Dai sect, with their followers wearing blue, red and yellow robes making for an almost Disney-like style.

Go visit Dalat in the Central Highlands, a place stunningly beautiful in terms of waterfalls and scenery.

You can take cooking lessons in Hoi An or head for Dalat if you want to escape the hot weather in the plains. Here you’ll enjoy the architecture dating back to the French colonial times, the romantic lakes and the awesome alpine scenery.

Halong Bay makes for a truly impressive sight if you choose to take a boat trip there, you’ll be surrounded by a flotilla of ancient junks, you’ll pass floating villas in the process and you’ll admire the sunset, while later you’ll look up in the sky for shooting stars.

Hanoi-Vietnam

The capital Hanoi is a city with large and leafy boulevards, boasting with nice colonial buildings located in the former French quarter, a place of contrasts and tranquil lakes. While you’re here, you’ll be assaulted by the permanent buzz of motorbikes that are ubiquitous in the streets of Vietnam’s capital. There’s a cool trip to be taken from Hanoi to Ho-Chi-Min via train, that will take 30 to 40 hours and it’s worth every penny.

Ho Chi Min city sits next to Saigon River and boasts with its line of skyscrapers contrasting with the old and ramshackle buildings dating back to the French colony.

Mac Lake, Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam

You can go hiking  in Cuc Phuong National Park, south of Hanoi or explore the watery paradise of the Mekong Delta, take a motorbike ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min on a hired Russian-made Minsk 122cc bike, Vietnam has it all folks.

Vietnamese Food and Drinks

Vietnamese cuisine is rich and superb, and I’m not exaggerating a bit. The specialties are rice and noodles, making for the basis of every meal.

Specialties include congee for breakfast or a noodle soup with meat, spring rolls, pork with noodles, mushrooms and eggs wrapped in rice paper, rice porkand onions wrapped in big leaves (Fried usually), nuoc mam, grilled pork, deep fried rolls and a special fermented fish sauce. Regional drinks include soda chanh made of lime and sugar (with mixed ice), local grown Vietnamese coffee, green tea (also grown locally), rice wine and fresh beer.

cuisine

Visa Requirements

If you want to visit Vietnam you’ll need a valid passport and a Visa.

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