to visit Vietnam 2020
Best cities to visit in vietnam ? Vietnam ?
When I ask my friends, who have not travelled to Vietnam, what they know about the country, most will say “Oh, the Vietnam War” ……..
But having travelled the length of Vietnam and visited several times, there is, and still is for me, so much more to this country and it’s people that is a constant draw to keep me returning time after time.
As everyone gets older, we see more and more of the world and it’s harder and harder to find things to surprise or excite us, things we weren’t expecting but that are a welcome addition to our knowledge and a new experience.
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Best cities to visit Vietnam
Vietnam is a country that stretches approximately 2,100 miles from its northernmost border with China down to the South China Sea and when you travel from North to South it changes along the way. The words you learn as general greetings in the north don’t work so well in the south. The weather, the culture and the landscape changes and the journey is the most wonderous awakening of all the senses.
The constant throughout the country is the warm welcome local people give you and their keenness to help you enjoy all the best cities to visit along Vietnam.
Best cities to visit in North of Vietnam
Sample the street food, but take a reputable tour guide to make sure you eat at good places. Tripadvisor is great for this. I don’t remember the names of all the things I tried on my street food tour, but it’s nothing like European food and a great experience. (Beware of the chili and squid sauce. Try a little to begin with to see if you like it) I discovered and fell in love with Pho. I sat on a tiny stool (4 inches high) on a street corner, traffic (1000’s of mopeds) hurtling by, at a ladies street cafe, where she had been cooking pho for locals for breakfast and lunch for 25 years. The dish is the most amazing soup/broth with some chicken strips, beansprouts, rice noodles and herbs. I came I saw, I conquered heaven. From that day on I passed on the full English breakfast at my hotel and went in search of pho.
Best cities to visit in Central of Vietnam
Going south, stop at Hoi An, one of the best cities to visit & keep your feet stay. A change of vibe and so many colours of the silk materials in shops, tailors to make you fitted clothes, rice paddy fields with water buffalo grazing, You can hire bicycles and cycle for miles across the paddy fields. There are also so many historical places to visit, including the old town of Hoi An and nearby Hue. In the old town enjoy a beer on a screet corner café and watch the world go by. Street sellers will try and sell you hand made pop up greeting cards, but they go away, you only have to ask politely. I have actually bought a few cards on occasions and they are lovely cards to give to family who’ve never been to Vietnam. They have 3d pop ups of the historical buildings and bridges in Hoi An.
Best cities to visit in South of Vietnam
Then to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as it used to be when it was the capital of Vietnam. There is such a buzz about the city that to me it still feels like the capital. The city is huge, so why not take a ferry down the river to get an overall idea. See Sagmeko’s recommendations for the ferry in our separate blog article. And another way to see the city is by moped tour at night, when the City’s all lit up, travel pillion with an experienced local driver, visit local restaurants, have a beer and a sing along at a local bar and be delivered back to your start point at the end of the evening.
Go shopping in the many markets selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to material (my favourite! All my curtains at home are made from material bought in the big China Town market) to herbs and spices, Vietnamese coffees, household goods and fancy cutters for making flowers out of vegetables, coconut sellers – fascinating to watch them making pulp from the flesh of the coconut with a manual machine. The pulp is used in cooking, fish and meat markets, although be warned many of the fish are live in tanks, it’s the best way to keep them fresh with no refrigeration, although there’s also tons of dried fish available too. Try a bag of dried chilli chicken. Sounds gross? Tastes delicious!
What I love about HoChiMinh or Saigon, one of the best cities to visit Vietnam is “the Bustle”. Everyone is busy, from the laundries, dressmaking and clothes repair shops, on the street barbers, bike repair garages, street food sellers, people selling fresh fruit juice made as you watch, beautiful gardens, busy museums, thousands of mopeds driving in all directions at every turn and in contrast the 5 star hotels, hidden gem restaurants, like The Temple Club, seriously good shopping in the newly built Vincom Centre. See Segomeko’s blog on Vincom for more details. Many designer shops here Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Hermes among many others.
And if you’re into architecture you’ll find all different periods from the different occupations of Vietnam in the city, French colonial being one of the most prominent.
Having written this article I realise I have barely scraped the surface of all the things I could say about Vietnam and why it’s such a great place to visit. But if this little bit of information has helped you and you do take a trip to Vietnam I wish you a truly amazing holiday.
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