Vietnam – 5 things you must do there
for question like :
We are planning a trip to vietnam next year. For those who have been or are planning to go, what 5 things must be done, seen or experienced in Vietnam?
another question :
I’m planning to go to Vietnam this summer, I want to know “must go” places and “must eat” food. Any advice or suggestions? I appreciate it a lot.
Here is answer :
It will be my second visit in recent years. We will be there for three weeks later this year and plan to visit:
1. Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon): The largest city and the most dynamic economic area of Vietnam. On our agenda: The Reunification Hall (the Old Independence Palace) where the last American-backed regime surrendered to liberation forces on April 30, 1975. Ben Thanh Market: Easily the largest market place in the world. Cholon: Vietnam’s Chinatown. Museum of War Remnants: displays of war crimes committed by the American side.
2. Cu Chi Tunnels: The tunnel system that sheltered ressitance fighters during the war against the Americans. Not far from Saigon.
3. Mui Ne Resort: A seaside resort area full of beautiful and luxurious hotels/bungalos. Near the city of Phan Thiet and just 160 miles North of Saigon.
4. Vinpearl Resort: Another 150 miles up the coast from Mui Ne. Near the City of Nha Trang. The diving capital of Vietnam. Even better than in Thailand.
5. Hoian: An old mideaval harbor town once thriving with traders from other countries and hosted several international settlements. There are now several famous tailor shops in the area: you can have suits, shirts and dresses made exactly to your measurements and in any style of your choice for a fraction of what you pay for an off the rack item in the US. They’ll even ship the items home for you or you can pick them up at the shop within a couple of days. Hoian has been designated a Unesco Heritage Site. North of Nha Trang but South of Hue.
6. Hue: The old Imperial City locating about half way between Hanoi and Saigon, also not far from the coast. We’ll visit the old Imperial Palace and the tombs of the Nguyen Emperors nearby.
7. Halong Bay: The beautiful bay in Northern Vietnam, full of natural wonders. Also a Unesco world heritage site.
8. Sapa: the hill town with a great local market where you can buy local craft products from colorfully-garbed inhabitants who are members of Vietnam’s mountain minorities. We have also arranged for a visit to a minority village.
9. Dienbienphu: In the Northwest of Northern Vietnam about 200 miles from Hanoi. Now a modern town but it was a frontier village in 1954 and site of the greatest battle wage by the Vietnamese against the French occupiers. The French were thouroughly whipped and sued for peace in Geneva. They left Northern Vietnam by May of 1955 and Southern Vietnam a year later.
10. Hanoi: The ancient capital of Vietnam, much older than Hue. A beautiful city on the Red River and with several beautiful lakes. We’ll visit the Ho Chi Minh Musoleum (where Vietnam first president’s enbalmed remains can be seen), the Museum of Military History, the original/mideaval “36 streets” where even more traditional craft and modern products can be purchased at great prices (the women in our group will go beserk over this shopping opportunity). Also the Temple of Literature: the 900-year-old university, the first Vietnamese institution of higher learning.
We are looking forward to meeting the friendly, hospitable and beautiful Vietnamese people again and have the opportunity to sample the best food this side of heaven: fresh, flavorful and low in fat. The cost there for everything is so reasonable for what you get people are going to Vietnam for their vacaction more and more every day. $35/night for a nice hotel room, $1 to $3 for a great meal, $1 for a long taxi drive…The facilities are so clean and well maintained, often very new …great values for your money. ”
Must Eats: Pho (of course), Cha Gio (Fried Rolls), Nem Cuon (Spring Rolls), Cha Ca (Fish Patties), Canh Chua (Fish Chowder), Bun Cha (Vermicelli and Pork), Thit Bo Bay Mon (Seven-Course Beef) ..many more…
More Specs for the answer about where to go in Vietnam
Vietnam is a fascinating country in Southeast Asia, with a long history and a great deal to see. Vietnam is a long slender country bordered by China on the north, Laos and Cambodia (Khmer Republic) on the west and the South China Sea to the east and south.
When visiting Vietnam, any foreigner who wants to visit Vietnam must fill out one entry visa application form. A valid passport and a Vietnamese visa are required. Entry visas are not available upon arrival. If you plan to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country, you might need a visa allowing multiple entries. If you should lose your passport while in country, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General can issue limited validity emergency replacement passports in as little as one day
Places to Visit in Vietnam:
Halong Bay, Bay of Descending Dragons, is a UN World Heritage site, and it is one of the top sites to visit in Vietnam. Halong Bay is a four-hour drive east of Hanoi, Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. It is spectacular with almost 2,000 limestone islands that rise like monoliths over the bay. The largest island in the bay is Cat Ba Island and is 87 square miles. There is a hotel on the island where many tours spend the night. In these islands are many caves with at least 20 of them open to visitors. Here is a list of some caves you might want to visit,
- Do Go (Cave of the sticks). This is where in 1288 General Tran Hung Dao stopped the invading Mongol ships by placing steel-tipped sticks in the water.
- Hang Trinh Nu (Virgin Cave).
- Thien Cung Grotto (Heavenly Cave)
- Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)
- Luon Cave (Tunnel Cave)
- Trong Cave (Drum Cave)
- Tan Cung Cave (Three Palace Grotto)
- Bo Nau Cave (Pelican Cave)
Tours of the bay can be done in one very long day, but it is usually best to have a two-day tour. Some overnight stays are on Cat Ba Island or can be spent on the tour boat. Check with your travel agent for the best boat tour of Halong Bay.
Sung Sot Cave-Photo by Adam Jones adamjones.freeservers.com
Hue, pronounced (hway) is the ancient capital of Vietnam and has many historical sites as well, though many have been damaged through war, they are still very much worth visiting. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hue is located 335 miles south of Hanoi and 400 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Places to see in Hue are:
- Cua Ngo Mon (The Noon Gate) is the main southern entrance to the city and was built in 1823.
- Thai Hoa Palace, also known as the Palace of Supreme Harmony and was built in 1833.
- The Imperial City, also known as the Citadel is Hue’s main attraction. Construction began in 1804. Some areas are still badly damaged from war and are undergoing reconstruction. There is enough to see that you should allow yourself several hours at least. Hire a good English-speaking guide.
- There are also the tombs of the Emperors, which include tombs dating back to the 19th century.
- Thien Mu Pagoda, which was built in 1601 and is considered the official symbol of Hue.
Hoi An can be a side trip in the Hue area. Hoi An was major international port from the 15th to the 19thcenturies. Hoi An’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visiting Old Town can be somewhat touristy, but it is free of cars and the usual karaoke style places.
- Quan Cong Temple built in 1653.
- Museum of trade Ceramics is the best place to learn of the history of the area.
Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon is a large city and has many sites to see, a few of them are.
- Notre Dame Cathedral is a reminder of the French rule and was built in 1883. Services are held only on Sundays in both English and Vietnamese.
- Jade Emperor Temple built in 1909 honors the Emperor of Jade.
- Giac Lam Temple was built in 1744 and is the oldest Chinese temple in the city.
- Mui Ne is a resort community with sand dunes and beaches; the sand dunes are an interesting contrast to Vietnams lush tropical landscape.
- Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is the largest pagoda in the city.
- There are also boat trips on the Mekong River as far as Cambodia.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is in the northern part of the country. It was the capital of French Indochina between 1887 and 1954 when it was a French colony. There is still a large influence of the French architecture. There are numerous sites to visit in Hanoi including numerous sites commemorating Ho Chi Minh, other sites are:
- One-Pillar Pagoda, which was built in 1049, The Goddess of Mercy.
- The Temple of Literature is a beautiful example of both Chinese and Vietnamese architecture. First founded in 1070 to honor Confucius became the countries first university in 1076.
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is dedicated to the 53 different peoples who live in Vietnam.
- Cuc Phong National Park is the largest national park in Vietnam and is a quick trip from Hanoi.
In the Hai Phong area there are numerous places to visit.
- Du Hang Pagoda was first built in the 11th century.
- Do Son beach
- Cat Ba National Park is composed of more than 360 small islands located between Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.
Halong Bay photo by Andrew Crump/Wikimedia.com
When to go to Vietnam
There are many more places to visit while in Vietnam including sites of battles from the Vietnam War. In the area around the DMZ north of Hue, it would be advisable to hire a knowledgeable guide to see these sites.
The best tourism season in the north is from November to April, spring is the best when it is usually cooler and drier and there are many festivals. In the south it is much warmer and more humid, the best times to go October through April or May. Some people have said that March isn’t the best time to go since that is the smoggy season in Asia when rice paddies are burned after harvesting. May through October is the time of year when visibility is best Halong Bay, but it is also the hottest time.
- The Temple Club in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Pho Co in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Green Tangerine in Hanoi.
- Paris Deli in Hanoi.
- Metropole Hotel in Hanoi also one of the best hotels.
My own experience