Now guys, I've just done an epic 3 month trip in SE Asia and I can definitely tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Vietnam is the bestest country I've visited so far! I would live there. FACT.
But you can live there but you can take a travel experience there. But where to go and what length of time? I'd recommend giving Vietnam 3 weeks. You could push it at 2 weeks. And I'll tell you where to explore Vietnam.
Start off in the manic city of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and experience your disbelief at the crazy traffic that befalls before your eyes. Don't forget to check out the amusing anti American propaganda at the War Remnants Museum but equally prepare yourself for the victims of Agent Orange. Try your first taste of Pho, the national Vietnamese noodle dish. And then check out the Reunification Palace.
Using HCMC as a base, you can visit the Cu Chi Tunnels where you force yourself to squeeze rough extremely claustrophobic tunnels or you can take a day trip or 2 to the Mekong Delta and see how rice wine is made. Maybe you just want to wear one of their funky hats.
Head on up the coast and visit for the day, the sun kissed Mue Ne Sand Dunes and try your taste at sand boarding or even power kiting. The winds are lethal here. From there, take a stop over at Dalat and stay at their crazy house. Want to see glowing red eyes in the dark as you sleep, this is the place!
Now you're in the mood to party, so head back to the coast and hit up Nha Trang, Vietnam's premier beach. Chill out by day at the sandy shores or get beautified at the old style mud baths there for those wanting some thrill, hop on the cable car to go across to VinPearl, the famous water park!
Now you're in the mood for Culture. Head on up the coast and visit Hoi An, the ancient capital of the Chams. Get your suits and dresses made here and visit the legendary tombs of the Cham Kings at My Son. Chill out at one of the many riverside cafes and drink the delicious Vietnamese filtered coffee.
Ready for some grandeur? Take a quick trip up to Hue, and pretend to be the Emperor in the Imperial City Ruins. Take a lovely boat ride up the Perfume River and relax in the lap of luxury.
Finally, you reach Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Explore the well named streets and buy some shoes on 'Shoe Street' or go and clap at the Water Puppets. Challenge your stomach by partaking in eating Snake in the Snake Village or perhaps drink some snake bile shots?
From Hanoi, you can visit the world UNESCO Heritage site of Halong Bay and glide through the majesty of the rock formations in the South China Sea caused by a dragon falling into the Earth. If you are willing, you can partake in a booze cruise for which you will always remember!
Also from Hanoi, you can finish your stay with a view over Vietnam by sitting upon the highlands of Sapa where you can trek to see many villages and also through the clouds to reveal the Vietnamese basked in morning glow.
WOW!! This review is so great and I am really looking forward to my trip in September this year. I am just not sure about the bycycle rides in the country as I cannot ride a bike. What do you recommend doing as an alternative?