The city centre is an architectural museum piece, its blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a provincial French town of 1930’s, contrary to the fast living and bustling air of Saigon. As Vietnam develops to compete with other South East Asian nations, Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem lakes reflects the modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and tangles of ancient streets. The city hums with the never ending flow of bicycles, cyclos, latest model car and every thing from edible stuffs to diamond rings!
Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the breathtaking secluded Halong bay covers an area of 1500 square km with more than 3000 thousand towering limestone backdrops emerging from its crystalline emerald water. The bay is one of the natural wonders of the world and now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The islands are dotted with innumerable white sandy beaches and grottoes created by wind and waves. Halong means “dragon descends into the sea”. Legend has it that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon who stationed in the mountains.
Haiphong has a special place in the nation’s history books a the sited of glorious victories over invading forces, the first led by Ngo Quyen and the second by Tran Hung Dao. Haiphong today is more a port for costal shipping than a destination for deep-sea trade. In the summer the city is a blaze of color thanks to the red flowers of the ubiquitous Poinciana trees.
Sapa is a charming former French hill-station, created during the 1920’s so that Hanoi’s colonial residents could escape from the stifling summer heat in the plains. At a altitude of 1650m above sea level Sapa boasts warm days and cool evenings. Nowadays it is still a popular destination due to its beautiful scenery and colorful ethnic people. Situated in the country’s northwest in an area still referred to as the Tonkinese Alps, Sapa is reached via winding 40km road from the town of Laocai. The drive provides a taste of what is to come as the road winds its way up through some breath-taking scenery. Lush rice-terraced valleys and mountains covered in pine tower over the ethnic minority villages nestled below. The valleys surrounding Sapa are home to several of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups, each with their own distinctive dress, customs and dialects.
Dien Bien Phu
Laying in the heart-shaped Muong Thanh Valley near the Lao border, Dien Bien Phu is one of the remotest parts of Vietnam. The valley is surrounded by steep heavily forested hills inhabited by many hill tribes, notably the Tai and H’mong. Dien Bien Phu was the site of that fierce of military events. It was here in 1954 that Viet Minh forces overran the beleaguered French garrison after a 57-day siege, forcing the French government to abandon its attempts to re-establish colonial control of Indochina. Dien Bien Phu now bears few scars of its past except for the occasional rusty tank and is remote and as yet relatively untapped by tourism. The hill tribes living around the area of Dien Bien Phu make up 70% of the region’s population, and the ethnic minority groups include the Northern Tai (Tai Dam and Tai Kao) Nung, H’mong and others.
The DMZ saw some of the heaviest fighting in the Vietnam War. On the southern side the Americans established a number of bases running the length of the 17th parallel to counter North Vietnamese infiltrations. Firebases Lang Vay, Khe Sanh, Con Thien and others were scenes of fierce fighting. Today, some 30 years on the DMZ is still littered with cratered landscapes, shell casings and even the odd tank. Tailor Made Vietnam explores some of these areas, and the history which has shaped the landscape.
Situated on the banks of the Perfume River, Hué was the capital of the old Nguyen dynasty and traditionally one of Vietnam’s cultural, religious and educational centres. The remains of the huge, moated Citadel, constructed by Emperor Gia Long from 1802, contain many interesting sights, such as the Nine Holly Cannons, the imperial Enclosure, the Palace of Supreme Harmony and the Halls of the Mandarins. Sadly, the intriguing Purple Forbidden City was largely destroyed during the war. Now thanks to UNESCO , much of the City is being faithfully restored to its former glory. South of Hue are the splendid Royal Tombs. Hue has many other places of religious and dynastic importance and great museums.
Hoan is a charming , small town which can be easily explored on foot. Between the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoian was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, and Portuguese and Arab traders. These people came to trade primarily for the high grade silk, ceramics and spices, which is till produced in the area. Today, Hoian is a quaint riverside town popular among tourists for its eclectic architecture, souvenir and tailor shops, and cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets are as they were over one hundred years ago. More than any other place in Vietnam, Hoan retains the feeling of centuries past and is a favorite with all travelers. You can spend your time walking around the historic town soaking up the atmosphere, exploring the many Chinese assembly halls and fascinating ancestral homes, some of which have been occupied by the same family for fifteen generation. Nearby Hoian is the lovely Holy Myson which is former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled in the central Vietnam area between the second century and the thirteenth century. These people religion was heavily influenced by Hinduism form India.
Danang city was founded in 1888. It is one of the country’s major ports and an important economic centre for central Vietnam. Its tropical climate has two clear seasons, rainy and dry, with an average temperature of around 28 degrees. The area is home to a variety of rare animal and plant species, and has a range of landscapes from the lofty Hai Van Pall to the north of the city, Son Tra peninsula to the east, a long coastline with a series of beautiful beaches and Ngu Hanh Son to the south. Hai Van Pass the 496m peak that crowns Vietnam’s great natural barrier between north and south, with stupendous views. Ngu Hanh Son five marble mountains which symbolize metal, wood ,water fire and earth with peaks that soar above the clouds, the mountain is famous for its climate of four seasons in a day. Non Nuoc Craft Village skilled craftsmen specialize in carving marble from nearby Ngu Hanh Son Mountain. Ngu Hanh Son festivals are held in February of the lunar year at Quan the am pagoda at the foot of Kim Son mountain. Lasting three days, the festival has religious elements including mass prayers and recitals of Buddha’s words, plus popular activities such as folk singing and human chess. China Beach five km of white sand and clear green water at the foot of Ngu Hanh Son Mountain. Furama Resort located on a sweeping beach of pure white sand, the resort is acknowledged as one of the finest places to stay in the country with its comprehensive range of leisure facilities and luxurious standard of accommodation.
Central Highland (Ban Me Thuot, Kontum, Pleiku) The Pleiku Plateau :
Located on the National Route 19 and 14, 540km from Ho Chi Minh City.
Pleiku – The Foggy City is well – known for its natural attractions such as Bien Ho lake which provides deep blue and clean water all year round. Chu H’Drung mountain can be seen from the center of the city and bares a striking resemblance to the roof of a Roong House. Add to these natural features, diverse range of cultural relics, green parks, pagodas and warm friendly Highlanders and Pleiku becomes one of must-see tourist areas of Vietnam.
The Bahnar Minority Culture : A cluster of four villages such as Dektu – Deron – Dedoa and DeKop is 35 km the east of Pleiku. Here, you can visit and stay overnight and of course you will enjoy yourselves exploring the traditional culture, custom and Gong ceremony atmosphere. The Jarai Minority Culture : Pleiphun village belongs to Iamnong Commune, Chu Pah District is considered an ideal place for traveler who want to visit and learn about Jarai’s traditional custom especially the Wooden Statues culture. Waterfalls. Elephant Ride: Not only GiaLai is known for its primitive forests, mighty waterfalls and rivers and original minority villages but for hundreds of years elephants have been a prominent part of the the Jarai people’s life. You can now experience a ride on the back of an elephant through highland forests and local villages. Former Battlefields : Many former battlefields where violent confrontations took place can now be visited in GiaLai :
These are Tay Son Thuong Dao area – the vestige of peasant Hero Tay Son Nguyen Hue, Stor village – The home of Hero Nup, the victory of Dak Po, An Khe and others which are forever remembered such as Dragon mountain, Plei Me and Ia Drang valley etc… Trekking : Ban Me Thuot & Gialai present an abundance of varied eco-tourism potential. For over ten years, Different kinds of trekking tours has been arranged. These tours will take you over mountains and rivers and give you a chance to experience first-hand the unique culture of the Bahnar and Jarai Minorities as you visit their villages
Nhatrang is one of the most pleasant locations on the South central coastal of Vietnam. A busy fishing town with picturesque scenery in its charming harbor, Nhatrang boasts beautiful ancient towers built by the architects of Champa Kingdom. No wonder Vietnam’s last emperor, Bao Dai set his summer villa here overlooking the South China Sea and Nhatrang Bay. To make it complete, Nhatrang has beautiful beaches, white sand fringed by a line of coconut trees and stunning diving sites. A boat trip to nearly fishing villages or a scuba diving trip is absolutely wonderful. stay in Nhatrang.
Dalat is set in the hills north of HCM city and is a renewed retreat for poets and artist. This atmosphere typifies this patronage with typical French provincial villas and lush undulating hills. The city highlights include King Bao Dai’s Summer Palace and unusual Crazy House. The markets of the town are fascinating – an amazing variety of fresh produce is brought here to sell; fruits of all kinds plus vegetables, are readily available. Fresh cut flowered are in abundance and color the streets and laneways. Encounter some of the scenic vantage points and places around Dalat’s hilly country side. Saigon Saigon is Vietnam’s largest city with a population in excess of 7 million. It is a fast-paced city full of contrasts as street vendors selling fruit and vegetables can be seen next to glitzy western-style bars and boutiques. The huge number of people rushing about their daily business gives Saigon a vital and dynamic atmosphere. Saigon is characterized by a vast verity of sights and sounds, from ancient pagodas, mosques and cathedrals to the former Presidential Palace and the War Museum, from historic Dong Khoi str., ( the Rue Catinat from Graham Greenes’ novel The Quiet American ) to the bustling markets of Ben Thanh and Cholon ( China Town). In 1858 the city was captured by French and became the capital of Cochinchina. From 1956 until its dramatic demise in April 1975. Saigon was the capital of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam. Today Ho Chi Minh city is very much the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurs. The city’s skyline is rapidly changing, reflecting the sharp influx of foreign trade within the last decade. And yet the city still retains its connections to the past, particularly in Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown. Here dozens of elegant temples and pagodas can be seen. The French too left their mark here – the city has many street cafes and patisseries where fresh croissants can be purchased. The visit to Saigon unravels city’s turbulent pass and also provides a glimpse into the fascinating variety the city has to offer Cuchi With a network of over 200km, Cuchi became legendary during the 1960’s.
The Cu Chi tunnels played a vital part in the American war in that they allowed the VC to win back control a large rural area of around 40 km from Saigon. At its height, the tunnels system stretched from Saigon to Cambodian border. The network, parts of which were several storey deep, included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centres and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and feel of what underground life in the American war was like. Mekong Delta Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam. It is often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam producing the majority of the country’s food and is easily accessible from Saigon. The fertile Mekong Delta is also famous for its tropical fruits and flowers. The Delta area marks the end of a 4,500km journey make by the Mekong River after having traveled through six countries, Traditional transportation the Delta is by boat along a vast network of canals and channels. Boating along these canals and visiting the floating markets always proves to be a fascinating and rewarding experience.
The main city of southern coastal Baria-Vung Tau province. Its principal feature is a plateau 100 km about sea level, declining gradually to 80 km of beautiful beaches. The city is blessed with plentiful sunshine and sea breezes.