Flights to Asia and the Pacific
The strength of character in the Vietnamese people can be seen in the way the country has rebuilt itself and has transformed into one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tourist hotspots. Flanked by Cambodia and Laos, and with Thailand within easy reach, Vietnam is now one of the highlights of the backpacker trail.
A good place to start is the bustling Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the south. With a population of more than seven million people (and seemingly twice as many motorbikes), the frenetic pace of life is exhilarating, especially to first-time visitors. Plus, this is where you’ll find some of the most luxurious hotels, fanciest restaurants and tastiest street food in the country. Ho Chi Minh is also one of the best places to learn more about Vietnam’s history, with cultural attractions such as the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum being located here.
Hanoi in the north is the (slightly) quieter city, and the capital of Vietnam. It’s a fascinating mix of influences from China and France, which you’ll see evidence of in everything from the architecture to the restaurants. There are plenty of sights to see, including the famous 11th century Temple of Literature and the labyrinthine streets of the Old Quarter.
But perhaps the biggest reason to head to northern Vietnam is Halong Bay. This Unesco World Heritage Site is astoundingly beautiful – a collection of more than 3,000 limestone karsts jutting out of a serene lagoon, interspersed with islands where you’ll find some of the prettiest and most peaceful beaches in the country. There are plenty of tours to choose from, but the best ones are those that allow for an overnight stay on a boat out on the water – an unforgettable experience.