Blessed with a ravishing coastline, emerald-green mountains, breathtaking national parks, dynamic cities, outstanding cultural interest and one of the world’s best cuisines, Vietnam has it all. Vietnam is a nation going places. Fast. Its people are energetic, direct, sharp in commerce and resilient by nature.
Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the eastern most country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 87.8 million inhabitants as of 2011, it is the world’s 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The name Vietnam translates as “South Viet”, and was officially adopted in 1945.
It is a beautiful country, a long, hourglass of land, stretching over 900 miles up the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Vietnamese people describe their country as a bamboo shoulder pole slung with two baskets of rice – the fertile southern Mekong Delta and the northern Red River Delta.
From these lowland paddy fields stretch vast rubber plantations, rolling hills covered with thick jungle, and jagged mountains rising more than 10,000 feet in height.
Vietnam may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of taking a relaxing holiday, however it may be time to readjust your thinking.
It has plenty to offer by way of attractions and historical sites, and walking in Vietnam is a rewarding experience too, with many different destinations to discover.
Vietnam has a tropical climate, which is characterized by lots of sunshine, high rainfall, humidity and two distinguished seasons in general: the cold and dry one from November to April and the other, hot and wet from May to October.
If you need a little inspiration, here are some of the more unusual places you could enjoy while you’re in the country.
Witness the waterfalls at Dalat
Cam Ly waterfall is located by Cam Le Spring, over 2 kilometers to the west of Dalat city. You will be impressed by the landscape of the marvelous waterfall surrounded by pine trees hills. The Cam Ly waterfall is formed by two branches of Cam Ly Spring interrupted by big blocks of granite rock.
If you’re on holiday walking in Vietnam this is definitely a must-see area on the itinerary. A guided walk will ensure you see the best of your surroundings. If you feel like a change of pace from walking you can head for the Datanla Waterfall to try the toboggans that make their way from the top of the cliffs to the bottom.
Visit the Hanoi Zoo
Walking in Vietnam is never better than when you are taking in some of its finest attractions. The zoo or “The garden of Hanoi” was originally known as Bachthao Gardens, but today it showcases about 800 animals with over 90 different species; big cats, reptiles, monkeys including a rescued tiger, “Lam Nhi” or “baby of the forest” who was rescued after being taken from the jungle to be sold for its skin.
A local competition was held to name the tiger with over 10,000 school children submitting entries; today the celebrity tiger attracts many visitors. Some other spectacular big cats, including Indochinese Tigers, Siberian Tigers and Clouded Leopards. There are also many mammals, amphibians and birds here – some you will never have encountered before.
The zoo is built around a lake with an island in the middle, and is easy to get around. There are many trees and flowers, a picnic area where children can play and a large Chinese Temple that has a life size horse statue in front of it.
Breeding and other educational programmes are in place and the zoo is consistently striving to improve standards and facilities.
Hanoi Zoo is located a short taxi ride northeast of the main Hanoi centre.
The Suoi Tien Amusement Park
Now this one might come as a surprise – few may think of Vietnam as the ideal destination to house an amusement park. But if you want to get away from exploring the country proper for a day and just have some all out fun, this is the place to do it.
Suoi Tien Cultural Theme Park is a Vietnamese water-filled fantasy land, located rather unromantically next to a rubbish dump 15 kilometres South of Ho Chi Minh City.
Suoi Tien, or “the fairy stream,” is the world’s first water park devoted to Buddhism, specifically the Southeast Asian animistic form of Buddhism.
The park focuses on Vietnamese history, folklore, and of course on the Buddha himself. Among the parks many features are an oversized golden dragon whose mouth contains a neon haloed shrine to Buddha, avenues lined with pillars in the shape of giant elephant tusks, a swimming pool surrounded by a massive concrete facade of dragons and a giant rotating frog sculpture at the entrance.
A huge beach and pool area, a snow castle, offering the chance to try ice skating, and some thrilling rides are among other attractions at this park.
A holiday walking in Vietnam can take you to many different locations. From Da Nang to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay to Dalat, there is no shortage of destinations that are worth a closer look.
If you really want to make the most of each attraction or place you want to see, make sure you rely on the expertise of a tour leader to show you a side of the country you will never forget.
Learn what the country is all about from the inside out; learn about its history and its landmarks, both natural and man-made. Only then can you fully experience the heart and soul of this delightful country.
So, ready to go?
CULTURAL TREASURES OF VIETNAM
Enjoying onsite history lessons with local experts at the Cu Chi tunnels and Hoa Lo Prison, Immersing yourself in local culture, Meeting local people in rural towns and floating villages, Tasting your way through local markets, Learning the basics of Vietnamese specialities in cooking classes.
Comments or questions are welcome.