Introduction to Vietnam

Vietnam is a country of many colours. There's emerald waters in Ha Long Bay, a red bridge in Hanoi, green rice paddies lined along the Mekong Delta, gold buildings in Ho Chi Min City and pink clouds at sunset along the coastline. Visually, Vietnam is stunning. Culturally, its awe-inspiring.

While the natural beauty of Vietnam will take your breath away, it's the cultural experience of the Southeast Asian country that will stay with you long after you've posted all your travel shots. Boarded by China, Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam is the eastern-most country on the Indochina Peninsula. But its influences spawn further than just its neighbours. In the south, Indian and Hindu culture has made its impact on the cuisine and spirituality of the communities, while in the country's capital Hanoi, East and West blend effortlessly to create a modern city that wears its history proudly.

History is another trait of Vietnam that makes this holiday destination so special. You can see it at Hoi An's Ancient Town and shed a tear about it at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Then there is the food. A highlight on any itinerary, Vietnam's cuisine is much like a Vietnam holiday; cheap, full of flavour and served with a smile.

Must Do

As an incredibly diverse city, the list of must-dos in Vietnam runs long. Most travellers will begin in the main cities, braving the bustling streets in Hanoi and the karaoke bars in Ho Chi Minh City. Towards the coastline and its Vietnam's beach towns such as Nah Trang and Mui Ne that also lure their fare share of travellers. Their glistening waters, swaying palm trees, spectacular sunsets and cheap prices proving irresistible to backpackers.

But for all the well-trodden tourist paths, Vietnam is one of the few places left in the world that can still provide adventure, and a reasonably safe one at that. For all its problems and petty crime, danger is a rare trait in Vietnam — unless of course you're attempting to cross the road. Away from the bustle, Vietnam's countryside is where explorers will be in their element and tours are a particular highlight. Join one and you can cruise around the majestic Ha Long Bay, enjoy a once in a life time farm stay along the Mekong Delta, explore the cave systems in Phong Nha and cycle to the Cu Chi Tunnels.

For more must-dos in Vietnam check out our things to do page and start planning your Vietnam holiday.

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