Vietnam’s booming popularity as a holiday destination should come as no surprise. This is a country that packs a lot in, offering dramatic natural landscapes, fantastic food, stunning beaches, vibrant cities and a fascinating history. Although most Vietnamese have moved on from the ‘American War’, as it’s known here, there is still a discernible distinction between the traditional North and the more westernised South.
Highlights of northern Vietnam include the exhilarating capital, Hanoi, along with the rice terraces and hilltribes of Sapa, close to the Chinese border. No tour is complete without a junk boat cruise around spectacular Ha Long Bay, one of the world’s true natural wonders, while the enchanting riverside town of Hoi An is the perfect stepping stone to the balmier south. Buzzing Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is developing at breakneck speed into a modern Asian metropolis, while the lush Mekong Delta is Vietnam at its most iconic. The conical hats, the rice terraces and the teetering mopeds piled high with goods and livestock aren’t just for show; life for many Vietnamese remains rooted in rural tradition, and travelling around this multi-faceted country offers an invigorating taste of authentic Asia.