Vietnam - Your Destination to an Exotic Experience
The musical Miss Saigon has captured the hearts of many theater viewers. It all happened in the war-stricken country of Vietnam, where dispute, struggle, and death became the pervading themes. It is about the tragic story of a failed romance between an American soldier and a Vietnamese bar girl, as well as the effects the war has had on the land and the people.
Theater adaptations of this story have contributed to the popularity of Vietnam. Many years after the war and after some dark regimes, the country has prospered tremendously. Today, Vietnam is one of the well-loved tourist destinations in Asia. If you have plans of visiting this unique and rich country, here are some tips.
Where to go
In 2007, about 4.2 million foreign tourists visited this country. This number is 17.2% higher than in 2006. More than half of the visitors recorded paid a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in the country. Some of the most famous tourist destinations are the Cu Chi Tunnels, Dalat, Halong Bay, Haiphong, Hanoi, Hoi An, and Mekong.
Cu Chi Tunnels
During the French Indochina and American wars, Viet Cong tunnels consisted of a network of tunnels called Cu Chi Tunnels. These had complete facilities, street signs, kitchens, and even printing presses. Today, you can tour these tunnels.
If you want to experience the tribal villages in Vietnam, visit Dalat where the villages of some of hill tribes are located. Some of these villages are the Chicken Village and the Lat Village.
Halong Bay is known for its islets, grottoes, arches, sheer cliffs, limestone formations and night time excursions. You can also try kayaking and paddling at this place.
Here, you can find lots of historical museums that contain artifacts from different historical times in Vietnam, such as the culture of Mekong Delta, Khmer kingdoms, struggles against French and Communist Party. These are the silent witnesses to the country’s past.
Hoi An was an international commercial port during the 16th to 18th centuries for some Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch, Chinese, French and Arab traders. Many go to Hoi An to trade high-grade silk and ceramics.
If you like nature tripping, you can sail across the water or through local canals. You can take boat trips along the Mekong River.
The adventures are endless, especially if you continue navigating and exploring the country.
What to Do
You can also enjoy the beach. Relax your mind, walk along the beach and simply breathe in the fresh scent of the beaches of Vung Tau, located southeast of Ho Chi Minh City; of Nha Trang.
You can ride horses or go hiking (Tips on how to ride a horse). Visit the beautiful countryside around Da Lat, or the emerald green lakes and mountains. Horse-riding and hiking are also very pleasant in Ba Be Lake National Park, Cuc Phuong National Park, and Cat Ba National Park.
You can hire a bicycle and try long-distance cycling. Vietnam has light traffic because there are very few vehicles.
If you want to see some Vietnam War sights, walk the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was used by the North Vietnamese as supply routes during war; or go underground into the Cu Chi Tunnels. You can savor food by trying Vietnamese dishes and learning Vietnamese cookery in ancient Hoi An.
What to Remember
Some tourists think that Vietnamese food is like Chinese food, but it’s actually different from Southeast Asian or Chinese food. It is a combination of Indian, Malay, and French tastes. It has adopted the French pate and baguettes plus the chilies and curries of India.
When you go to Vietnam, you can expect some healthy dishes to be served. Health experts have actually voted Vietnamese food as the world’s healthiest food, because their dishes consist of fresh vegetables, grilled meats, cold noodles, seafood, along with tamarind and chili. (Like Vietnam’s Pho, sticky rice and French bread which is rated no.1 in the list of Top Ten Most Delicious Southeast Asian breakfast meals)
Enjoy an exotic Vietnamese experience!