Vietnam was originally higher on the list, because my dad fought in the Vietnam War. I have always been interested to see what he saw as a young man on his first and only trip abroad. However, it lost the top spot, like its neighbor Thailand, because of the low likelihood of me learning and retaining the language. Natural beauty, extremely low cost of living, and proximity to the rest of the SE Asian jewels has kept it in the 4th slot. for now.
Reasons to Go:
Phu Quoc Island
has always been contentious over the territory. Just last year, Vietnam granted tourists the ability to travel to the island without a visa for up to 30 days. Due to the new regulations, even more spoiled rich kids can drop their Louis Vuitton luggage on these white sand beaches. Phu Quoc is known for its seafood and its fish sauce. Not for the feint of heart: Take a visit to Nuoc Mam Hung Thanh, the fish sauce factory on the island. Beware, the smell is pretty rank, but the end product tastes amazing and they will allow you to sample it in the store. Or just grab a book, a hammock, and a coconut filled with rum. You do you, boo.
The Mekong Delta
the sea. Rich in biodiversity, over 10k new species have been discovered here, and even a few species that were thought to be extinct have been rediscovered. Due to its location and the effects of global warming, it is believed that the Mekong Delta region will be flooded by the year 2030, so you better see it now before it disappears forever. Many people who have visited Vietnam say that no trip is complete without a tour of the Mekong region, as so much of life in Vietnam relies on this part of the country. Just don’t fall off the boat, because that water looks pretty rank. While you are here, check out the floating market, where all the vendors hawk their ware via long boat.
every weekend begging for grandchildren, while you sob hysterically into the phone? If so,better make your way to Sapa ASAP. Every Saturday night, this northwestern Vietnam town hosts what is known as the “love market.” I know what you are thinking. South East Asia, love market, prostitution. Normally, my thought progression would run the same course. However, this “love market” is actually the regions largest singles night. Because the town is very isolated, and market day is Sunday, people would come to town the night before to set up their stalls. This would allow the younger folks to meet, and mingle with other stand operators. What it has evolved into is a cultural event that should not be missed.
Cu Chi Tunnels
tunnels under the capital that extend to a much larger system of tunnels the run below much of the country. They were originally used by the Viet Cong as hideouts during battle, pretty interesting right? During the war, many people lived nearly full time in the tunnels for safety, and a good portion of those people died of malaria. After the war ended they cleared the malarial bacteria out and turned the tunnels into tourist attractions. Glad you got the malaria vaccine now aren’t you? Oh wait. it’s not required for Vietnam. Get it anyway.
its place on this list. I added Nihn Bihn to my list of reasons to visit Vietnam because it is a great base camp for exploring the vast countryside surrounding it.Tam Coc, pictured above, is just one of many examples of the natural beauty that exists in this region of the country.
Ha Long Bay
The first time I heard about Ha Long Bay was when Avatar was in theaters. I remember doing an image search and just scrolling through page after page of pictures of this place. The bay is filled with over 1,900 limestone islands. The name means Bay of Descending Dragons, which is really fucking cool. Bo Hon Island, one of the most popular islands in the bay, is home to the Virgin Cave. According to local legends, the shire inside was build to honor a young woman who commit suicide in the cave because she was being forced to marry against her will. The plot thickens.
Dalat’s location in South Central Vietnam and its mountainous terrain makes it a welcomed escape from the heat and humidity experienced in the rest of the country. The mid-sized city offered everything anyone could want. It has a small urban center, surrounded by a fusion French-Vietnamese architecture, rolling hills, and coffee and tea plantations. The French influence has resulted in a more Western feel to the town, which makes it feel very out of place in Vietnam.