Vietnam might not be your first choice, but the ultimate Vietnam vacation will quickly change your mind.
Your Guide to the Ultimate Vietnam Vacation
Vietnam tours are plentiful and you should have no problem finding one that meets your desires.
Bai Tu Long Bay
This area requires a good two days to allow you to see and experience it all, and no ultimate Vietnam vacation will be complete without it. You'll want to make sure you see Paradise Island, where you can go kayaking and explore all of the caves in the area. The scenery here is a can't-miss part of your trip to Vietnam, so make sure you bring your camera. Part of the allure is the beautiful sunsets you can witness from many parts of the area. You can take a boat tour that includes meals and all of the stunning vistas surrounding the bay, including the lovely blue-green water.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, and it has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing and history. Many Vietnam tours will include various destinations around the city so you can pick and choose the ones you want to see the most. The Sofitel Legend Metropole is a popular hotel that has seen the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Spending two days in Hanoi is necessary for experiencing all the best the city has to offer. See Hoan Kiem Lake, where you can exercise or take a walk, eat Pho at the many authentic places scattered throughout the city, and make sure to shop in the Old Quarter. The Hanoi Opera House and St. Joseph's Cathedral are two other places you won't want to miss.
Ho Chi Minh City
You can see a lot of the stunning vistas in Vietnam by taking a ride on the Saigon River. It is close to Ho Chi Minh City and allows you to see the scenery, but it also lets you stay close to the action in the city. You'll want to make sure you see the An Lam Saigon River, which is a secret garden that has a lot of allure and beauty to behold. Spend a day or two staying in Ho Chi Minh City and you'll get to eat local cuisine and shop at some high-end locations for things like scarves and dishes. Make sure you spend some time seeing the French Colonial influence here as well, including Vietnam's own Notre Dame Cathedral. The Ben Thanh Market, one of the oldest Saigon sites, is also a place you can't miss for the authentic shopping experience. Other attractions not to miss include the Saigon Central Post Office, which dates back to French-Indochina days, and the Museum of Vietnamese History. Families will enjoy the Suoi Tien and the Sam Sen Amusement parks, along with the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
Cu Chi Tunnels
A lot of what people know about Vietnam relates to the devastating war that took place there many decades ago. The Cu Chi Tunnels are part of a war museum and can be accessed northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. Inside the tunnels, you can see kitchens, living areas, an armory, storage areas, a hospital and the many command centers used by the Vietnam soldiers during the war. Before entering the tunnels, you'll see a short video with more information, and there are a variety of guided tours available that will take you into the tunnels. It's important to note that these tours may not be appropriate for people with breathing difficulties.
The Imperial City is located in the city of Hue, Vietnam, and is a walled fortress and palace in the former imperial capital of the country. In 1968, the city was seized by Vietcong soldiers and the area was heavily damaged during the war. Ten sites remain, and you can tour them while learning more about the history of the city and how the war changed it. Make sure you see the city gates, the Forbidden City, the outer and inner courts, the temple area and the gardens while you are here. People who enjoy history will love how much culture and architecture remains here to give you a clue about the life that passed through.
In addition to the sites already listed, there are other war relics and places that you can see while on the ultimate Vietnam vacation. Go to the Vietnam Military History Museum for more information about the war and to see artifacts from it. Items on display include tanks, guns, statues and airplane wreckage. Independence Palace is located in Ho Chi Minh City and was the home of the president of South Vietnam during the war. When a North Vietnam tank drove through the gates, the palace endured heavy damage and had to be rebuilt. What you see today is the new palace that is used as offices and is a tourist attraction you won't want to miss. The War Remnants Museum is full of artifacts and information for people who want to know more. Hoa Lo Prison was once the home of American politician John McCain, and it allows you to get a sense of what the prisoners of war endured.