Ever since I shared my travelogue on Sapa, a lot of people have shown immense interest in visiting Vietnam and have sought my help in planning their trip. So this post and few upcoming posts are dedicated to help you plan your first trip to the incomprehensibly exotic and utterly compelling, Vietnam.
Vietnam is abundant with breathtaking natural beauty, unique heritage and culture. Travel becomes addictive in this country which is brimming with infectious energy and warmth. Once you visit Vietnam, you can’t stop but prolong your trip or return again. Vietnam is a living example of resilience. A War trodden country until 1975, Vietnam has bounced back remarkably to make up for the time lost to the ravages of the war and a government that kept the outside world at bay until 1990s.Vietnam does have its task cut out when it comes to attracting tourists from across the world, in comparison with its more open and developed south Asian neighbours. But thanks to cheap currency and unique cultural experiences, it is slowly and steadily becoming the darling of tourists.
So without further ado let me help you plan your maiden trip to Vietnam. Here is my personally experienced and curated recommendations – a practical guidebook for your first Vietnam visit.
WHERE TO GO?
Vietnam is a long, snake like narrow country sandwiched between the South China Sea and the border between Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam is unrivalled for its diversity of landscapes – from the lush rice terraces and majestic mountains in the far north to the picturesque valleys of the Central Highlands and the fertile delta to the beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the south. And that’s not all. Vietnam offers a unique mix of booming modern cities, colonial towns, traditional villages, UNESCO heritage sites, archaeological marvels and otherworldly islands. Vietnam has a lot to offer. Perhaps even few months are not enough to see all, forget admiring the beauty! Here are some recommendations.
- Don’t rush into seeing everything in one trip. Travel slow to absorb the vibe of the place.
- Decide what you want to see first and keep the rest for subsequent trips.
- Most travelers who I’ve met prefer North Vietnam over the central and Southern regions.
- If you are a history buff or a beach bum and is not wary of chaos and crowd, south is for you. I prefer mountains and peace therefore I decided to do just North and far North.
The geography of Vietnam is as follows
- Mountainous Far North: Sapa, Ha Giang, Bac Ha
- North Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Cuc Phuong, Mai Chau & Ninh Binh
- Central Vietnam: Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Quy Nhon & Nha Trang
- South Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, The Mekong Delta, Dalat & Phu Quoc
WHAT TO SEE?
I explored only North and North Western Vietnam and hence I am going to share what I experienced