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Vietnam is a land of diversity from the bustling metropolis cities to its alluring hillside villages, this culturally rich country truly is a magnificent place to explore. We have compiled this list of things that are unique to Vietnam – Take a journey with us!
1. Take a Sampan ride down the HOai River
A visit to Hoi An is not complete without exploring their waterways on the traditional Vietnamese canoe, the Sampan. These modest wooden boats will give you some of the best vantage points, of seeing the bustling life of living on this iconic river system. It is worth while getting up early and watching the local people get prepared for a day on the water. If you are not an early bird, a sunset on the water can be just as spectacular. Either way avoiding the midday sun is a good idea.
2. Visit the world's largest cave
Few people are aware that Vietnam is home to the largest cave in the world. This impressive cave even has its own jungle and river. The main cave Hang Son Doong is so large it could even fit a number of skyscapers inside. This UNESCO protected cave is over 5 kilometres long and can be found in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in the province of Quang Binh.
3. Release your own personal lantern into the river at the Hoi An Lantern Festival at Full Moon
If you can plan your visit to coincide with a Full Moon you will not be disappointed. The Hoi An Lantern Festival is a vibrant event celebrating Vietnamese life and showing respect to their ancestors. It is also symbolic for Buddhist Vietnamese who also link the full moon with enlightenment. Lanterns come in a variety of beautiful vibrant colours, select one of your own to light during this magical event and place along the river bank. You will hear traditional flutes and drums play by folk artists.
4. Visit the permanent houseboats of Ha long Bay
The bay of the descending dragon has long been a hot spot for travellers due to its natural beauty with its limestone islands meeting the sparkling waters below. What truly makes this bay special is the residents, who have called this bay home for many generations. Living mostly on boats and rafts buoyed by tires and plastic jugs to facilitate the fishing, cultivating and breeding of aquatic and marine species.
5. Ho Chi Minh / Cu Chi tunnels
This stunning country has sadly also seen the affects of war and as such, remnants of this era can still be seen today. One of these are the Cu Chi Tunnels. These tunnels were built in the 1940’s as protection from the air raids occurring above, this tunnel system stretches more than 250km under Ho Chi Minh City. Underground even housed hospitals, living quarters and even booby traps. A tour is a great way to learn about the history of the structures and see the highlights.
6. Sing songs of romance at the Love Market
The Love Market is a regular event held on Saturdays in the Sapa region. Every Saturday would be lovers meet at the markets and do their best to impress, you will hear traditional songs played as the young locals make their intentions known to one another. Many girls are dressed in colourful attire and dripping in silver. One thing to note is this beautiful display of love is gradually moving underground by those trying to preserve this tradition. You may need to ask a local as to where the next market location will be.
7. Dine at a Michelin star restaurant - La Maison 1888. Don’t forget to try traditional Pho for a great taste at any street stall
The cuisine in Vietnam is like no other place in the world. Why not experience the Michelin star restaurant – La Maison 1888 and try some of the famed French-Vietnamese fair at its finest. Or if you want to get amongst it with the locals, you cannot go past a bowl of traditional Pho at one of the many street stalls. It is a true culinary adventure.
8. Vietnamese bakeries
The delicious fair on offer at the Vietnamese bakeries is very hard to resist. From the tasty Banh Mi baguettes, a blend of french bread with tasty Vietnamese fillings inside – The perfect lunch on the go! Don’t forget to grab a pastry or 2 for an afternoon snack to enjoy whilst exploring the area. You could almost think you were in Parisian bakery, this is due to the lingering influence of the French Colonial past in the Indochina region.
9.The Perfume Pagoda
This beautiful temple complex is one of Vietnam’s most important pilgrimage sites. An amazing collection of Buddhist temples Shrines and Grotto’s. You can get a true sense of the area’s history exploring the old pagoda’s. The Perfume Pagoda region is surrounded by lush jungle, calm waterways and fascinating cave temples.
10. Take a river cruise on the Mekong
One of the best ways to explore Vietnam is on water. A river cruise is a spectacular way to take in the countries natural beauty and view the day to day life on the shores of the spectacular Mekong River. A number of Cruises are on offer amazing itineraries on this water way.