Before I first visited Vietnam, my impressions of this unique country were largely born through Hollywood movies of the Vietnam War.
All those images of rich tropical forest, peasants in conical hats and G.I’s shooting madly at anything were shattered when I flew in over Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. As the sun was setting, I could see the vastness of this city, a massive urban sprawl reaching out into the darkness.
I discovered a Vietnam of amazing diversity; modern bustling cities with a rich French colonial architectural presence; river life on the mighty Mekong Delta with floating houses and markets; amazing photo opportunities at ancient ruins of temples; the endless magic of Halong Bay, famous for its breathtaking limestone islands rising from the emerald green waters to the minority hill tribes of the north and days spent lazing on beautiful beaches.
Vietnam is becoming an increasingly popular place to visit. Its newness to tourism plus years as a closed country to the Western world have added to its mystery and appeal. Vietnam offers something for everyone. The days can be filled up with tours, shopping, sunbathing, trekking, boat cruising or snorkelling. Night times offer a chance to reflect on the day with a fresh cup of coffee in a cafe, dine in a local Vietnamese or historic French restaurant or explore the nightlife.