The North of Vietnam is the land of myths and legends of dragons and Kings, heroes and heroines, gods and deities, brought to life in the present in the many colorful time-honored traditional festivals and rituals. Traveling the North is the wonderful chance provides you some insight into the diverse cultures and customs of Vietnam that you won’t be disappointed. That will be the ideal trip for those into photography and adventure. Amazing valleys, majestic mountain ranges, local market visits and a mixture of cultures and ethnicities will leave a long-lasting impression.
1. Visiting Hanoi
Hanoi,the historical and political capital of Vietnam, lying on the bank of the Red river, is founded in 1010 by King Ly Thai To. In Vietnamese, Hanoi is usually written as two words, ha meaning the river, in reference to the Red River and Noi meaning this inner side. Hanoi is the Asian city with European characteristics with much of its French influence retaining where you could immediately fall in love with. Hanoi’s original characters are very much intact, preserved in traditional pagodas and temples, colonial architecture, tree-lined streets, lakes, and the ancient heart of the old town center. Visiting Hanoi, you can also enjoy the street food with the elegant, fresh and particular delicious flavor which is well-known all over the world. Hanoi is really a heaven for foodies.
2. Visiting the ancient village lying on the bank of the Red River.
Leaving Hanoi and its populous suburbs, you enter the picturesque provincial regions with their chequer-board patterned paddy fields. Green belts of trees and bamboo enclose villages where traditional communal houses, pagodas and temples remain hidden from view beyond the roadside fields. Men, women, children and buffalo toil together in the fields seven days a week in all weathers. The scene is one of tranquil beauty. You can visit Duong Lam ancient village located in SonTay city, 20 km far from Hanoi to explore the old unique Vietnamese houses, pagodas and customs of wet rice cultivation remains in this old village.
3. Experience Northern Vietnam's ethnic minority groups
Mai Chau district of Hoa Binh province is home to Thai minority. Visitors can be arranged to a village where you can partake of the home brewed rice wine through long reed straws while acquainting yourself with some of the other customs of your host.
Sapa is among the well- known beauty spots in Vietnam. It is famous not only for its landscapes but also convergence of many ethnicities living together. Coming there, visitors will enjoy vibrant dresses of ethnics as H’mong Black, Red Dao, Tay, Giay, etc. Each ethnic is different in dress, lifestyle, customs, and farming methods.
Explore Dong Van, you shouldn’t miss the chance to visit the colorful ethnic market to discover the way of life of its people. In the afternoon, you can Stroll around the village, interacting with the friendly locals, or assisting the host to prepare the dinner and overnight at your home stay.
4. Relax, swim, and kayak in the stunning surrounds of Halong Bay
Ha Long bay located in Quang Ninh province , propably the most stuning scenery in Viet Nam. The bay’s tranquil beauty encompasses 1500 square miles (3880 square km) dotted with well over 1000 limestone islands and islets, many of them named. Bizarre rock sculptures jutting dramatically from the sea and numerous grottoes have create an enchanted, timeless world. The sail of the junks and sampans gliding on the bay add further to the timeless beauty of the scene. Tourists can take to the water in kayaks to further discover the fishing village and then return to the vessel for free time with optional activities such as swimming, traditional massage, snorkeling and more. Afterward, Enjoy the sumptuous Seafood Set-dinner onboard and Retire to your cabin or join the fishing program.
Known to travelers as "Halong Bay without water" Halong Bay on the rice paddies" an so on. Tam-Coc boasts breathtaking scenery..While Halong Bay features huge rock formations jutting out of sea, Tam-Coc has them jutting out of its rice paddies..The best way to see Tam-Coc is by rowboat on Ngo Dong River. The boats are rowed into caves, and this a very peaceful and scenic trip. The boat trip to all three caves takes about two hours. Even on cloudy days, bring sunscreen and a hat or umbrella-there's no shade in the boats.
Water puppetry is a traditional that dates back centuries in the Red River Delta region of northern Vietnam. Originally, when the rice fields would flood, villagers would indulge in this unique form of amusement. A large rod is used to support the puppets, which gives them the appearance of moving on top of the water. Now performed in a theatre, a live band accompanies the performance.
While the performance feels slightly chaotic, the puppets are charming. Performances run for approximately on hour and tickets can be purchased in advance for one of several afternoon and evening performances. Booking in advance is a good idea if you are not flexible with times or dates.
Towering karsts rising out of emerald rice paddies make a spectacular, and less touristed, alternative to Halong Bay. Boats can be hired to take you through caves and waterways at Tam Coc, approximately 9 kilometers from Ninh Binh.
It is possible to get to Ninh Binh either as a jump off stop from one of the regular tourist buses that ply the north to south or south to north run - it is not a regular stop. Local minibuses also do the run from Hanoi - this trip takes approximately 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on traffic. There is accommodation available in Ninh Binh and it is easy to hire a motorcycle to reach nearby Tam Coc. Ninh Binh itself isn't particularly interesting, but it does provide a good jumping off point to explore the nearby countryside, including a boat trip around the waterways of Tam Coc.
The Cu Chi tunnels are located approximately 40 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh city in southern Vietnam. The tunnels were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War during the 1960s, although they were first developed earlier. The tunnels were built by hand and some sections of the several hundred kilometers of tunnel are open to visitors. It is a fairly crowded experience - even with some of the tunnel 'extensions' that have made parts of the tunnels slightly bigger to accommodate visitors.
A multitude of tour buses leave Ho Chi Minh city each morning, bound for the tunnels. However, particularly if there are two or more of you, hiring a private car can give you more flexibility. It is more expensive than the buses, though. Guides are available at the tunnels and there are a range of artifacts from the Vietnam war to view.
One of the things I did in Vietnam, was to simply stroll around and visit those beautiful parks around Ho Chi Mhin. I feel good to see those people around simply walking and having some chit chat in the many parks in HCMC. The parks are full packed beginning in the morning up to the evening.
People seem not to care whether the weather is sunny and hot. I can see the simplicity of just being with friends and families... make them look so contented in life
Check this Facebook page, full of photos from everywhere in Vietnam!
However if you have only 4 days to spend I think the North/Hanoi would be most appropriate
I recommend NhaTrang, SAPA this is 2 best place beautiful in Vietnam
went you come HCMC if you want have a Travelmate ( Guider Free), email for me went you come HCMC, i'll arrange time to help you have a good trip.
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I agree that Sapa beats out Dalat, which is known for a honeymoon destination for Vietnamese.
If you are looking for beaches, then I definately would go to Nha Trang.
They do have the beach activities you are looking for, including para sailing and windsurfing.
You might also like to take in a boat trip, and although I am no longer a fan, it is really very nice, as you can snorkle and go to another island which has the same beach activities, as well as a stop at a fishing village.
There is alot to do in Nha Trang and side trips that can be made.
You should check out posts about Nha Trang and other Vietnam destinations for helpful tips.
I have also posted this as a tip in things to do with a few pictures including windsurfing, taken this year.
December is during the wet season in Vietnam colder in the north and warmer in the south. But wet.
Saigon can be very romantic depending on the where and what, but it is crowded. Try a romantic dinner cruise on the river. The Carmen Bar is rather nice and romantic or even a cocktail on the roof of the Rex Hotel or one of the others downtown.
You could go to Saigon and take a day trip down to the delta. Lot's of different trips to take through the many tour companies found around the Pham Ngo Lao tourist area.
You can also fly to Nha Trang which is on the coast. Long beaches, share a lobster cooked right on the beach by one of the many vendors. Plenty to do,
Not sure if you can fly to Phu Quoc Island on a direct flight from Hanoi but that is maybe a nice romatic getaway.
Seven days is not a lot of time, so I would try for a couple days in Hanoi and then hit one place for the rest of the time.
Check out the travel pages on Vietnam for more insight.
The Mekong is the 12 longest river in the world. It runs through seven countries, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Burma, china and Tibet.
The Mekong river is a lifeline for the people that live on it. Many water Hyacinth grow on the river, the people believe the plants are lucky.
The Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam is huge and is home to thousands of Vietnamese people.
Life on the river is easier than life in the cities. Lots of families have their own small fish farms and they grow vegetables and rice nearby. Most houses are built on stilts to cope with the rising tide water.
The river empties into the South China Sea.
Small boats of which most of the local have, sail through the floating market buying their food fresh daily the market consists of small boats with poles displaying what they were selling. Some sold turnips and pumpkins, then there were onions, potatoes, flowers and fruit.
Whilst on the river we went on a sampan. Each boat held three passengers with the rower standing at the back.
The journey was very restful as all that could be heard was the swishing of the water and the birds in the trees.
The Mekong river is the only waterway in the world to reverse it's flow at different times of the year.
I did not know what to do for my 3 days off, three days without my office work. Scott - my Australian friend said “ Lets go to Da Lat”. I knew Da Lat already because of my first trip I did in Viet Nam was in Da Lat by Motorbike or Easy Rider. I said “Ok, but let do it by different way”. Then we called Mr Tin from AnOpenHandTravel Company, we know him because last our company ’trip we got the arrangement from his company and it was fantastic.
Very soon we got a very exciting plan from him. We got a driver picked up us from our flat in Ho Chi Minh city to Da Lat, 300 km driving and finally we arrived in Da Lat, that night we had a great dinner at Mountain Town restaurant I will never forget the salad there and the view is beautiful. Then we went to the Hot soy milk street and Mr Tin told me that I should try, every local people here know this street they come here to drink the Soy Milk. I took one glass with Soy and Peanut. It was very hot and tasty. Next morning Mr Tin woke us up very early, we did not know the detail of the programs we just heard that we will visit the University. We was very surprised when Mr Tin introduced us with two students and we will have a day tour with them on their Tiny motorbike, we was confuse for a while because I am 89 kg and Scott is 83 kg. They are Hung and Kin , Hung is studying at Tourism department and Kin is from English department of Da Lat university. They looked at us with their bright eyes and told us “it is not our first time, you will like it”. Of course we can not refuse them.
We first went around the city and stop at “Church”, “city flower garden” for taking some photos then Hung and Kin took us to their University. We was so surprised because there were another 10 Students waiting for us there, they gave us a tour around with many stops at History Department, Vietnamese studying Department, English,…They introduced us a lot about their university even sometime I and Scott did not understand their English. Honestly, it is very beautiful university, it stays on many different Pine hills, for going from this department to the other one you have to walk quite far , it takes one day I guess to visit all the places here. Luckily, Mr Tin said” Ok, now is time for breakfast” Then we all went to a small restaurant of student next to the Library, Hung recommend me “the Student Noodle Soup” and Kin recommend the” Student Sticky rice ball”. We decided very quickly, I took noodle and Scott got sticky rice. It was very tiny Noodle bowl like a half compare with the noodle soup I normally have at a restaurant near by my flat in Ho Chi Minh city. But it was ok with an egg and a lot of onion. Scott loved his sticky rice but it seemed too small for him so he took two.
We loved that place, you do not know what happy we were when every student when they saw us they all came to us and try to say some thing, very friendly and studious. Kin told us that they have “AnOpenHand Club” with many students from different departments and they are very happy when the AnOpanHandTravel company gives them the chance to meet Tourist, it is very good chance for them to learn English..
We left Hung and Kin with a small tip for them and promise them that next time we will take our colleagues visit them. We continued our tour with Mr Tin to Ta Nung village – a minority village outside of Da Lat, It was a very nice walk we did through that village and meet a lot of friendly people, it was different with some Village I visited before in Da Lat, they was too touristy. After that we went to Elephant water fall – a very beautiful water fall, silk factory, coffee plantation,…We ended our day at 5 pm and we stayed at Da Lat one more night before going back to Ho Chi Minh city for a working day coming.
I still could not keep away in my heart the feeling in the University , the eyes of students when they looked at us, tried to tell something they know,… It is a beautiful memory of my life.
(if you want to try it you can contact to Mr Tin by visiting the website: www.anopenhandtravel.com)
Live in Hochiminh city
Work at Songthan Industry park- Viet Nam
It is recommended to visit at least one Chinese temple whenever you visit the city of Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City has many beautiful and wonderful Chinese temples as the city in particular and the country in general has large Chinese population. There is even a Chinatown in Ho Chi Minh City. We cannot remember the name and the exact location of this Chinese temple as depicted on our photographs. If you know the name and the exact location of this Chinese temple, please let us know so that we can update our Vietnam travel pages. It is certainly worthwhile to visit one of the Chinese temples in Ho Chi Minh City. Many of them have lovely and colourful architectural roofs.
Those booby traps as depicted on our photographs were used by Vietcong guerrillas to injure or kill American and South Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Many of these booby traps were certainly very highly successful during the war. Don't miss these booby traps when you visit Cu Chi Tunnels Complex at Cu Chi district in southern Vietnam!
Vietcongs are North Vietnamese guerrillas fighting against American and South Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Visitors can view some of these wonderful full size models of Vietcong guerrillas at Cu Chi Tunnels Complex at Cu Chi district in southern Vietnam. These Vietcong models are popular items for excellent souvenir snapshots.
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