Vietnam has still a way to go before being a world-renowned destination. However, it still has its share of activities. These range from stunning Ha Long Bay to beautifully quaint Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum.
The Cu Chi tunnels represent the sheer grit and ‘can-do’ attitude of the Vietnamese while a visit to the War Remnants Museum brings home the horrible reality of war. On the more positive side, the marvelous Hue Monuments, along with the My Son Sanctuary will awaken your spiritual side. Explore the best of Vietnam.
Ha Long Bay, in northern Vietnam near the Chinese border is one of the world’s natural wonders. The Bay is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sqkm. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, for many visitors, this surrealistic place is like something right out of a movie.
The large central sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site just in time for Hanoi’s millennial anniversary in 2010. The ancient site was the political centre of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries.
Hoi An is more than just a charming seaside town; it was one of the most important trading ports connecting Asia and Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. Though large-scale trading had long moved elsewhere Hoi An has been successful in preserving and restoring its charming roots.
Ho Chi Minh is probably the most popular leader of Vietnam and known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’. His body is preserved here in a glass case at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in central Hanoi (albeit against his wishes). Started in 1973, the construction of the mausoleum was modeled on Lenin’s mausoleum in Russia.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are basically a huge war museum offering visitors a sneak peak at the underground life of Viet Cong-era soldiers. Comprising more than 120km of tunnels, they were first started around 1948 when the Viet Cong were fighting the French. The work never stopped and resulted in a massive collection of tunnels.
My Son Hindu Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a great sample of the ancient Champa civilization located in the southern part of Vietnam. It was an independent state from around the 2nd to the 17th century, at which time it was occupied by Vietnam.
The Complex of Hue Monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in the city of Hue in central Vietnam. Hue was founded as the Vietnam capital city by Gia Long, the first king of the Nguyen Dynasty in 1802. It held this position for nine Nguyen dynasties until 1945.
The War Remnants Museum once known as the ‘Museum of American War Crimes’ first opened to the public in 1975. It’s a shocking reminder of the long and brutal Vietnam War with many graphic photographs and American military equipment on display. All these weapons were used by America against the Vietnamese.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang is more than a National Park, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Quang Binh Province, north-central Vietnam. The result of earth crust development 464 million years ago it’s the oldest major karst formation in Asia. Phong Nha-Ke Bang Park features a 2,000 sqkm of limestone zone.
The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne are the most important tourist attraction apart from the beaches of Mui Ne and Phan Thiet. Some 65 km northeast of Phan Thiet, the massive dunes range in colour from gold to white. There are also red dunes to be found further south, close to Mui Ne.