Vietnam is a beautifully diverse country known for its beaches, rice paddies, jungles and quaint seaside towns just as much as the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Vietnam’s culture is highly influenced by China but tempered with aspects of Hindu and French colonial culture so you’ll likely find just as many Buddhist temples as cafes selling coffee and baguettes!
Vietnam cruises disembark at Ho Chi Minh.
Sights to See
Ho Chi Minh city is a chaotic delight that is almost too diverse to describe. Along its clustered streets you’ll find fine hotels and friendly guesthouses, modern restaurants as well as ramshackle street food stalls, and just as many boutique stores as wild and wandering markets.
If you’re in need of a time out from Ho Chi Minh, head to one of the many places of worship in the city. One of the most atmospheric is the Jade Emperor Pagoda. It’s filled with statues of heroes and gods, with exquisite wooden carvings and elaborate tiles on the roof – all swathed in incense smoke.
Hoi An is another must-see destination, a historic and peaceful seaside town where the seafood is fresh, the buildings full of character and the locals extremely laid back.
What’s For Lunch
Vietnam is well known for its fresh produce – seafood, vegetables, herbs and more. Rice paper rolls, beef or chicken with noodle soup (Pho) and crab soups are all highly recommended!
If You Only See One Thing
If you can make it to Halong Bay in the country’s north, your efforts will well be rewarded. This bay is known for its bright green waters and thousands of tall limestone islands that jut out from the waters, topped with lush rainforest. Take a cruise on a traditional junk boat or kayak around at your own pace to see these tremendous rock formations, some of which hide caves and sandy beach coves ripe for snorkelling.
You’ll likely be eating a lot of fantastic Vietnamese food so let the chef or cook know how much you liked it by exclaiming Ngon quá! It simply means, that was delicious!
Pick up a non la, or circular cone hat made out of bamboo. It’s cute, cultural and will protect you from both rain and sun!