Vietnam Overview

Vietnam is a development success story. Political and economic reforms launched in 1986 have transformed Vietnam from one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita income below $100, to a lower middle income country within a quarter of a century with per capita income of $1,960 by the end of 2013. Vietnam has already attained four of its ten original Millennium Development Goal targets and is likely to attain three more by 2015.

 

Country: Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

 

Cities: Hanoi is the Capital. Ho Chi Minh City (normally called Saigon) is the largest city and more exciting industrial centre. Hue, the Capital of the last Kingdom up to 1945 is still maintaining traces of the old reigns. Danang, the most important city in Centre of Vietnam, with close Hoian ancient town and My Son Sanctuary. Halong Bay is recognized by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage Site.

 

Geography: Located in the centre of Southest Asia. Vietnam borders China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the East Sea and the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the south. The main land of Vietnam covers over 331,211 square kilometers with a total length of 1,650km. The territory also includes thousands of islands and islets scattered along the coast. Among these are Truong Sa (Spratley Islands) and Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) Vietnam’s coastline measures more than 3,260km in length and its inland border is 4,510 km long.

 

Climate: Vietnam lies in the tropical and temperate zones, so its climate is influenced by two monsoons. In the North, these are four seasons, with average temperatures of around 17°C in winter and 34°C in summer. In the South, the climate undergoes less variation with an annual average temperature of around 27°C in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Topography: Around three-quarters of Vietnam’s territory consists of mountains and hills. Vietnam has two major deltas, the Red River Delta and the Mekong Delta, as well as four mountainous zones. They are the North-East, the North West, the Truong Son Mountain Range, and the Central Highlands. Each of them possesses its own unique feature.

 

People: The Vietnamese population exceeded 85 million in 2012 and consists of 54 ethnic group. The largest ethic group is the Viet (Kinh), concentrated mainly in the delta regions. Most of minority groups live in the highlands and mountainous areas.

 

History: Vietnam is a nation with thousand years of history. Archaeological artifacts of the Phung Nguyen, Dong Dau, Go Mun and Dong Son cultures, especially discoveries of bronze drums of Ngoc Lu have proved that Vietnam was a cradle of the developed civilizations before Christ. Vestiges of the historic period of the Hung Kings have revealed that Vietnam is one of the oldest countries in Southeast Asia.

 

Language: Vietnamese. Don’t ask the local people do they understand Chinese naturally. Vietnamese is a tonal language using Roman letters together with tone markers – main problems of foreign students. English is the most popular foreign language and French, Chinese, Japanese are expected to speak at service points. Literacy rate is 88%.

 

Religion:Figures are different. Estimated 60% ? 70% of population believe in Buddhist tenets with strong Confucian and Taoist influences. Catholic account for perhaps 8% ? 10% of the population. Cao Dai and Hoa Hao, local sects of Buddhism, are strong in the Mekong Delta. Small group ( of about 50,000 people ) are Islamic followers living in the central part of the central coast of Vietnam.

 

Government: Sole-party Socialist Republic under the leadership of the Communist Party. Important persons to name are the Party’s General Secretary (Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong), the country’s president (Mr. Truong Tan Sang), the Prime Minister (Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung). The leading offices are Politburo and National Assembly.

 

Economy: Market-based economy. Second world leading rice exporter and coffee exporter. Other exported goods are rubber, timber, garment, shoes, seafood, tea, crude oil, coal, and electricity.

 

Festival: New moon and full moon days are main anniversaries at temples. Main Festival of the year is the Lunar Calendar New Year (“Tet”) which often falls in mid-Feb. For 5 days to a week most of businesses closed except tourist points. Flower markets every where before the Eve. Temples and shrines are exciting with traditional anniversaries and pilgrims before and after Tet.

Vietnam Travel Tips

Before leaving for your Vietnam tours, we suggest you make two copies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home with friends or relatives. Bring the other one with you with a passport-size photo, but keep it in a separate place from your passport. Leave a copy of your tour itinerary and contact information with family or friends at home so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

 

Visa and Passport: All foreign nationals traveling to Vietnam must obtain a valid Vietnam tourist visa prior to entering. All visitors must have passports valid at least six months after exiting Vietnam and/or the Orient.Individuals entitled to visa exemptions:Not more than 15 days:+ Citizen of Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Brunei DarussalamNot more than 30 days:+ Citizens of Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Laos+ Diplomatic and official passports holders from Myamar and China.+ Diplomatic passport holders from Iran.+ Officials of the ASIAN SecretariatNot more than 90 days:+ Diplomatic and official passport holders from Argentine, Algeria, India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Republic of Korea, Hungary, Iraq, Mexico, Morocco, Moldova, Mongolia, Japan, Montenegro, Russia, Panama, Peru, France and Czech Republic, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Venezuela, Slovakia, Ecuador, Dominica, Cambodia and Romania+ Vietnamese residing overseas and foreigners who are spouses and offspring of Vietnamese citizens or Vietnamese residing overseas are entitled to visa exemption, so long as they meet the following requirements:a. Foreign passports or passport-equivalent documents (referred to hereafter as passports) are valid for at least six months after the date of entry.In lieu of a passport, Vietnamese residing overseas may have residence permit issued by foreign authorities and valid for at least six months after the date of entry;b. Visa exemption document is issued by a Vietnamese agency.No limit for temporarily residence+ Diplomatic and official passport holders from Albania, Afghanistan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Japan (holding valid diplomatic or official passports for the purpose of diplomatic or consular missions or official Government tasks) Nicaragua, DPG of Korea, and Turkey.+ Citizens of China, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, DPG of Korea traveling on official missions.Individuals not entitled to visa exemption : All others wishing to enter Viet Nam must obtain a visa.

+ Visa applications:Visa applications must include a printed application filled in completely and accurately ; two 4cm * 6cm photos, a passport and visa fee. Visas are issued at Vietnamese diplomatic offices and consulates in foreign countries. Visas may be issued at the border gates to those who have written invitations from Vietnamese agencies or tourists participating in tours organized by Vietnamese travel companies. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days. Visa extensions are available at all travel agencies.

 

Customs:Customs procedures in Viet Nam are quick and simple. To enter and exit Viet Nam, visitors are required to complete form, available in Vietnamese and English. A reasonable amount of clothing and personal belongings for the purpose of the trip may be brought into Viet Nam. Items listed below must be declared on entry.+ Luggage exceeding duty free concessions;+ Luggage sent before or after the traveler;+ Professional equipment temporarily imported and re-exported or vice versa;+ Addictive medication;+ Foreign currency exceeding 7,000USD (seven thousand US dollars) or its equivalent in other foreign currency, or more than 15.000.000VND (fifteen millions Vietnam Dong) in cash.+ Goods prohibited for import : weapons, ammunition, explosives, military equipment, drugs, toxic chemicals, immoral and reactionary products, firecrackers of all kinds, toys with a negative impact on education, and social security, cigarettes beyond the quantity stipulated,+ Goods prohibited for export : weapons, ammunition, explosives, military equipment, antiques, drugs, toxic chemicals, wild animals, endangered animals and plants, documents related to national security. Gold exceeding 300g must be declared by the State Bank.

Duty free concessions for arriving passengers:+ Liquor : 1.5 liters of liquor at above 22% kacigik: 2.0 liters of liquor below 22%: 3.0 liters of alcoholic beverages.+ Cigarettes : 400 pieces ; Cigars : 100 pieces ; Tobacco : 500g+ Tea and coffee : 5kg of tea ; 3 kg of coffee+ A reasonable quantity of clothes and personal belongings related to the purpose of the trip.+ Articles other than those mentioned above (excluding the list of goods banned for import or subject to conditional import) with total a value not exceeding VND 5.000.000

 

Money: It is wise to carry your currency in different forms of cash, and credit cards. Use credit cards whenever you shop in tourist stores especially when making big purchases. Use local currency wherever credit cards are not accepted. Pay in small bills or exact change for bargains from street vendors. When receiving change from vendors, never accept ripped currency.The currency of Viet Nam is the Dong (VND). Notes are available in paper denominations of 500.000; 100.000; 50.000; 20.000; 10.000; 5000; 1000; 500VND. No coins in circulation any moreThroughout the country, American dollars are widely accepted. Several major cities also accept Euros (EUR). Traveler’s checks may be easily exchanged at banks. Credit cards (MasterCard, Visa) are becoming more popular, especially at major hotels and restaurants in Ha Noi, Hue, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh.You can change money at hotels, Vietnam arrival and departure airports, and at VietCom Bank branches. The official exchange rate is adopted in most places so it is unnecessary to shop around for a better deal. For the sake of convenience and safety we suggest you exchange your money in your hotel. The exchange rate fluctuates daily. Please check and confirm the current Currency Exchange Rate before exchanging your money at hotels, airports, banks and other shopping areas.

 

ATMs (Automated Teller Machine): Although they are commonly used in almost modern countries, do not rely on ATMs in Vietnam. ATMs can be found in growing cities but are still limited in terms of numbers. In addition, many of the ATM instructions are in Vietnamese only so you may have a difficult time using the ATM and there is a chance you may lose your card in the machine.

 

Telephone, Fax, Internet, Email: The international direct dial country code for Vietnam is +84. It is possible to make international calls and send faxes from post-offices and major hotels. E-mail and internet access is available in most urban areas throughout the country. The mobile phones network in Viet Nam is highly developed with various subscription plans available including prepaid telephone cards.

 

Best Time For Travel: In the North, the climate is divided into four seasons: Spring, summer, autumn, and winter, so it influences to the tourism activities. Period from October to April is suitable for travel and enjoy festivals because 70% festivals are organized in spring. The lunar New Year festival (Tet ) in Ha Noi allows tourists to enjoy the bustling atmosphere at food vendors and flower markets. Tourists visiting Viet Nam from November to April are advised to bring warm clothes. May to October is suitable for those who like swimming and sunbathing. Or mountaineering. In the South, the temperature is warm throughout the year, so tourism activities can operate all year round. The period from April to October the average temperature is approximately 27°C sometimes it rains. There are cultural, ecological and aquatic tours available in the Southern provinces.

 

Time: Viet Nam time : GMT plus 7 hours

 

Business Hours: All government offices are open from 7.30 to 16.30 (with a one hour lunch break) from Monday to Friday.Banks are open from 7.30 to 17.30. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Shops typically open and close late.

 

Holidays: There are nine public holidays in a year:+ January 1 : Ner Year’s Day, One-day holiday.+ 10 of the 3rd lunar month: an ancestor’s death anniversary of Hung Kings, one-day holiday.+ April 30 : Saigon Liberation Day, one-day holiday.+ May 1 : International Labor Day, one-day holiday.+ Sep 2 : National Day of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, one – day holiday.+ Viet Nam Traditional Lunar New Year Festival (Tet Nguyen Dan) : four-day holiday. This holiday falls at the end of January or middle of February by solar calendar. The holiday begins on the eve of the lunar New Year and lasts through the first three days of the first lunar month.

 

Electricity:Vietnamese electricity is rated 220 volt. Plugs and Outlets come in a variety of shapes. You are advised to bring along adapters and converters for your appliances. Travelers can borrow adapters and converters from housekeeping at most hotels. Hair dryer and iron are also available, simply contact hotel housekeeping when you need them.

 

Water: Do not drink tap water anywhere while traveling, it is not considered safe to drink in Vietnam and most of South East Asia despite the fact that water is commonly chlorinated and processed. Drink only bottled water or boiled water. Bottled purified water and soft drinks can be easily obtained at reasonable prices.

 

Accommodation: There are wide varieties of accommodation for visitors to choose. Most of the hotels in larger cities meet international standards.

 

Transportation: The extensive transport system allows visitors to conveniently cover the country by air, water, railway and road. Car, motorbike and bicycle rentals are widely available in tourist areas. Cyclos, or bicycle taxi, are also available for city tour. Taxis services are available 24 hours a day.

 

Airport: + International airports : Noi Bai (Ha Noi), Phu Bai (Hue), Danang (Da Nang City), and Tan Son Nhat (Ho Chi Minh City)+ Domestic airports : Gia Lam (Ha Noi), Cat Bi (Hai Phong), Dien Bien (Dien Bien), Na San (Son La), Vinh (Nghe An), Pleiku (Gia Lai), Phu Cat (Qui Nhon), Nha Trang, Cam Ranh (Khanh Hoa)Tuy Hoa (Phu Yen), Buon Ma Thuot (Dak Lak), Lien Khuong (Da Lat), Con Son (Ba Ria Vung Tau), Phu Quoc, Rach Gia (Kien Gang), Can Tho (Can Tho), and Ca Mau (Ca Mau).

 

Air Flights: Please double check if your name on the ticket is exactly the same as in your passport and if the departure dates are correct. Contact the airline concerned prior to leaving for the airport to confirm the flight number and any possible schedule changes. Connecting passengers should verify, at the time of check-in, that luggage can be checked through to their travel destination. For international flights, you must check in at least two (2) hours prior to the scheduled departure time. For domestic flights, you must check in at least one (1) hours prior to departure time.For international flights, you must check-in two (2) hours ahead of departure time. It takes at least one (1) hour to clear customs and claim your checked baggage. Should you lose or misplace your tickets while traveling, notify the airline or your guide immediately.

 

Baggage Allowance: Baggage allowance for transpacific flights is two pieces of checked baggage per person. Total dimensions (Length + Width + Height) of the two pieces must not exceed 107 inches (273 cm); maximum dimensions of single piece shall not exceed 62 inches (158 cm). Maximum weight per piece is 50 lbs (23 kg). Each passenger may carry one standard article and one personal article, the combined dimensions of each item shall not exceed 46 inches (115 cm). The maximum weight per item is 22 lbs (10 kg). The carry-on items must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat.Vietnam domestic flights have stringent luggage restrictions allowing one piece of checked baggage that must not exceed 44 lbs per person, plus one carry-on bag not to exceed 11 lbs (5 kg). Baggage in excess of allowances will incur excess baggage charges payable on site by the passenger. Always remember, “He who would travel happily must travel light.” We strongly recommend you limit your baggage to one (1) piece of checked luggage and one (1) carry-on bag per person. The Vietnam airport security check is very strict; passengers are not allowed to bring any drinks including wine, milk, can and bottled water as carry-on. All drinks must be put in check-in luggage.

 

Dress:  Vietnam is a country with few dress taboos. Dress for comfort. Sandals, shorts, and jeans are widely accepted. Coordinate your outfits for multi-tasking. Dress in layers to suit various weather/temperature changes. No formal dress is required. Travel in Vietnam involves a lot of walking. Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Make sure to check current weather before you decide what clothes to pack.

 

Shopping: Shopping is always a part of the travel experience. Vietnam is known as bargain shopper’s paradise, offering a marvelous selection of arts and crafts such as jade, silk, rugs, cloisonné, ceramics, antiques, paintings, furniture and more. Purchasing an item in the area where it is “noted for” has proven to be the best value. Your local guides will be glad to assist you with detailed shopping information.It is wise to use credit cards for large purchases. Retain all receipts. Purchase insurance for items that you have shipped. A supply of small bills is very handy when shopping with street vendors. Always keep in mind that a purchase is between the buyer and the seller. We do not recommend you purchase medicines or medicinal herbs unless prescribed by your own physician. Even in Vietnam there are no miracle cures.

Vietnam Trip Ideas

What makes a trip to Vietnam worthwhile is the genuine warmth and the sincere hospitality of the Vietnamese, something the rest of the world can only emulate. Our general ideas on Vietnam holidays below will tell you all you need to know about the best of amazing Vietnam travel. If you would like your Vietnam trip to be tailored by a local and professional tour operator in Vietnam, please contact us at sales@vietholidaytravel.com or click here to let our local travel experts guide you through our exotic country with our local suggestions.

The diverse beauty and charm of Vietnam rarely disappoints first-time visitors or those who return for more. There are so many things to see and do that it is hard to pick out only a few – what you choose really depends on what kind of trip you want. Perhaps the country’s single most unmissable sight is the majestic beauty of Halong Bay described, amongst many others as one of the wonders of the world, and it hasn’t changed since then. The scenery is best admired by taking a boat out into the azure waters of the bay, but you can also enjoy it from the comfort of the beach.

For simple beach pleasures visit Nha Trang, Vietnam’s most-developed resort; it still has a pleasant town and with its fresh coconut and seafood vendors strolling along the beach it has a lot to recommend it. Those interested in the arenas of the American war, and those keen on vast beaches of white sand and smashing rollers alike, may prefer to visit Non Nuoc Beach near Danang. There are many such sites of historical interest worth visiting, from the American bases in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to Viet Cong (VC) headquarters in the Mekong Delta.

The Mekong Delta is certainly worth an excursion to experience the delights of gliding through small fertile waterways amidst the daily life of the Vietnamese and other ethnic groups who live there. Sapa in the north is the perfect springboard to see the brightly-colored dress and traditional way of life of many montagnard ethnic tribes, as well as being a beautiful mountain holiday location. Of all the cities in Vietnam the one-time capital Hue, with its beautifully-preserved tombs of emperors, draws many en route between charming lake-filled Hanoi and the cosmopolitan city of pleasures Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon, also known as HCMC).

But to see all these sights without being in a permanent lather you need to spend at least a month in Vietnam. If you are lucky enough to have more time than this you can take in the additional day tours and short excursions detailed in http://www.holidayinvietnam.com or have the chance for a real adventure, such as living on a boat and exploring the thousands of islands and caves in Halong Bay, or trying to climb Vietnam’s highest mountain, Fansipan. If your time is more limited you might consider focusing on one area, so cutting down traveling time which is significant unless you fly. A two – to three-week trip starting in the south could have you spending a few days in HCMC, visiting the Mekong Delta for three days, traveling to Nha Trang and spending a few days at its great waterfront and on nearby beaches , then continuing up to Danang and catching a glimpse of real Vietnamese city life before stopping at Hoi An-a cultural world heritage which was listed by UNESCO for a few days of oriental and Cham culture and buying silk clothes and then taking flight back to Sai Gon (or to Hanoi).

On the other hand, a two – to three-week trip starting in the north Vietnam could help you spend a few days in and around Hanoi sampling Vietnamese life, visit the Perfume Pagoda and travel to Halong Bay.The Bay is famous for its stunning scenery of limestone islands dotted in the emerald water of the northern sea and beaches, then making your way to the mountainous north-western area and spending some time at Sapa before returning down to HCMC stopping for a day or two to see Hue-the first cultural heritage site was recognized by UNESCO in 1992.It is really famous with the Imperial Citadel and the royal Tombs or the DMZ. A great one-week trip would be to visit Saigon and the Mekong with an excursion up to Nha Trang if you felt ambitious, or a week in the north would be perfectly spent between Hanoi and Halong Bay with the option of the return to Hanoi. Wherever you choose to go in this fascinating country you can expect to come across delicious food and delightful people. ‘The paddy fields are as green as any in South-east Asia, but the friendliness of the people – that’s something unique.

Vietnam Culture

There are 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam. Together they have built the country and fought for national freedom and independence against invaders Many minorities have their own language, script and distinctive cultural identity. The cultural identity of each ethnic group is manifested through their communal life and the social-economic activities. Still, the ethnic groups of Vietnam share some common virtues, including a strong work, ethnic kind-heartedness, altruist, resilience, and bravery.

 

Religions and Rituals: Located near two major centers of culture, India and China, Viet Nam has absorbed a number of regions over time. Although imported from different countries, religions in practice in Viet Nam have demonstrated no signs of conflict, and exist in harmony, striving for mutual development, and good secular and religious life. The Vietnamese Law ensures the sovereignty and freedom of religion and ritual. For thousands of years, different religious practices have played major roles in the lives of the Vietnamese people including worshing ancestors, village Spirit, and national heroes. Each ethnic group has traditionally paid special attention to the worship of ancestors. These customs and habits remain today.

 

Festivals: Festivals are a popular Vietnamese cultural activity. A festival, whether organized by a group living in the lowlands or highlands, is a chance for everyone to remember their origins and show their gratitude to those who had great merits for the nation. A festival is also a chance for people to exchange ideas, customs and habits to express their noble desire to love their country. Most Vietnamese festivals are organized in spring or autumn, the most pleasant times of the year when the harvests have been completed. Among these festivals, Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New year) and the National Day (September 2) are the most important.

 

Craft Villages: In many villages, in addition to cultivating rice, vegetable and other crops, villagers produce traditional handicrafts. The skills to create these crafts are handed down from generation to genaration, with diligent artisans creating high-quality products. Traditional Vietnamese handicrafts are rich and diverse, including ceramic and porcelain making, silver engraving wood carving, silk weaving, brocade production, and bamboo and rattan weaving. Tourists visiting these craft villagers are able to witness the expertise of Vietnamese craftsmen, and take home remarkable souvenirs.

 

Traditional Costumes: The traditional attire of Viet Nam is another part of its unique cultural identity. Each ethnic group has its own costume designs, typically employing bright and contrasting colors such as black and white, black and red, green and red, or green and white. Almost all traditional costumes are made from flax, cotton, or sillk. These are different types of costumes for people of different age and gender and for different occasions, such as meetings, festivals, wedding, and funerals. However, nowadays, Vietnamese people typically wear western clothes. The most important article of traditional dress is ao dai (traditional long dress), which has been designed and stylized to the tastes of young girls. The present-day ao dai clings to the body helping to highlight the charming curves of its wearer. When wearing the ao dai, women often put on a conical bamboo hat than makes them look both graceful and gentle.

 

Gastronomy: Viet Nam is an agricultural society known for wet rice civilization, thus, most Vietnamese dishes are characterized by rice and other products of local agriculture.

World Heritages Sites in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country of tourism and world heritage sites. Traveling from the North to the South, each province has its own charming beauty and prominent features to attract visitors all over the world. Among thousands of interesting places in Vietnam, there are 8 following properties inscribed on natural and cultural heritage list of the world recognized by UNESCO, and these wonders much help Vietnam in catching the tourists attention through years and years.

 

Complex of Hue Monuments (1993): Established as the capital of unified Viet Nam in 1802, Hué was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. Complex of Hue Monuments lies along the Perfume River in Hue City. The main enceinte, the Capital City, is square in plan, each side measuring 2,235 m. The Imperial City is surrounded by 4 walls with about 600m long each and 4 gates, one of which is Ngo Mon (Noon Gate), considered the symbol of the Citadel.

 

Ha Long Bay (1994): Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site’s outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest. Halong Bay has twice been recognized as world natural heritage by UNESCO. The first time is for Halong bay’s beauty landscapes. The second time is for Halong bay’s geology formation. Magnificent Halong bay Vietnam is One of 7 must-visit places on the earth. Ha Long Bay is a complex of offshore islands being one of the most typical examples of marine-invaded tower karsts. The Bay consists of more than 1.600 islands and islets hiding inside many spectacular caves and grottoes with stalactites and stalagmites. The bay’s sublime & magnificent beauty sets it apart from other sites and is drawing millions of cruisers every year.

 

Hoi An Ancient Town (1999): Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. Among the heritage architecture stand Chinese temples, a Japanese-designed bridge, pagodas, wooden shop-houses, French- colonial houses and old canals. Though large-scale trading had long moved elsewhere Hoi An has been successful in preserving and restoring its charming roots and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in December 1999. Hoi An is known for its great food, fun shopping, skilled tailors, friendly people and cosy atmosphere – all key characteristics that draw people to this picturesque town.

 

My Son Sanctuary (1999): My Son Sanctuary is set in a small valley belonging to Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Quang Nam Province, about 70km southwest of Danang City and 40km from Hoi An City. Of the 225 Cham vestiges that are founded in Vietnam, My Son possesses 71 monuments and 32 epitaphs, the content of which is still being studied. Between the 4th and 13th centuries a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Viet Nam. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in a dramatic site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence.

 

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (2003): The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Palaeozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely complex with many geomorphic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers. In 2009, a group of British cave explorers, led by Howard Limbert discovered Son Doong cave (Vietnamese: Hang Son Doong) which was recognized as the world’s largest cave.

 

Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi (2010): The Thang Long Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet. It was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi. It was the centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption. The Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains in the 18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads between influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south. The 14th -century Ho Dynasty citadel, built according to the feng shui principles, testifies to the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Viet Nam and its spread to other parts of east Asia. According to these principles it was sited in a landscape of great scenic beauty on an axis joining the Tuong Son and Don Son mountains in a plain between the Ma and Buoi rivers. The citadel buildings represent an outstanding example of a new style of south-east Asian imperial city.

 

Trang An Landscape Complex (2014): Situated on the southern shore of the Red River Delta, Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. Exploration of some of the highest altitude caves dotted across the landscape has revealed archaeological traces of human activity dating back almost 30,000 years. They illustrate the occupation of these mountains by hunter-gatherers and how they adapted to climatic and environmental changes. The property also includes Hoa Lu, the old capital of Viet Nam in the 10th and 11th centuries AD, as well as temples, pagodas, paddy-field landscapes, with villages and sacred sites.

Vietnam National Parks

Vietnam is located in the area of tropical and monsoon climates, boasting a great deal of natural landscapes and rich ecosystem which contains a wide big variety of fauna and flora, wild and endangered animals; and is named as a country of 4-green-seasons. With 31 national parks, 6 world biosphere Reserve Areas and dozens of nature conservation areas and dozens of nature conservation areas, Vietnam is always an attractive destination to Eco-tourists from all over the world. Each forest, mountain, river, or stream here contains a hidden wealth of resources and even its legendary stories. Blue, clear and sunny beaches here are filled with abundant ecological diversities. It appears that each ample green field or quiet mangrove forest before dusk, are featuring different beauties ò their ơn and luring to tourists.

 

Ba Be National Park: Located at the altitude of 145 meters above the sea level, Ba Be National Park is within the area of Bac Kan Province. This national park is the home and in habitats of many species of fauna and flora, wil and endangered animals such as : Stripped Civet, Leopard or ironwood, bamboo, ect..Visiting Ba Be National Park, tourists will have a chance to immerse themselves in the green nature, spreading to over 7.610 hectares. The deeply green Ba Be lake hare is surrounded by a range of Lime Mountains whereby having many caves and streams flowing under the ground, Dau Dang waterfall flowing endlessly, legendary Puong cave and romantic Nang river, etc.. All of them draw themselves into a lovely natural picture. Ba Be National Park is recognized as the World Natural Heritage of ASEAN. Not only is appealed by excellent natural scene, but tourists are also experiencing with rural cuisine such as : “com lam”, “tom chua”,, corn wine, plum jam or warm hospitality of the ethnic Tay, Nung, Dao, Mong. The unique spring festivals here will remain strong impression in tourists’memories.

 

Cat Ba National Park: Located on Cat Ba Island and within the boundary of Cat Hai District, Hai Phong city, Cat Ba national Park with the area of 15.200 hectares has extremely abundance of sea eco-system, ie. Marine life, land forest and brackish mangrove forest. The topography is mainly formed by lime mountains and amazing caves interposing with blue beaches and smooth sand. Cat Ba national Park has a plentiful system of fauna and flora, especially; “vooc dau trang” always lives in the high and dangerous rock near the sea. Visiting Cat Ba , tourists can enjoy the romantic scenery of great mountains, ocean and forests. Take a view from the top of Cao Vong, tourists will be able to capture the imposing scenery of the sea, mountains and high sky. Nature has awarded Cat Ba with a treasure of beautiful landscapes, forest and marine resources, group of islets and grottoes. Cat Ba National Park was recognized as Biosphere Reserves of the World by UNESCO in 2004.

 

Cuc Phuong National Park: Not the biggest park but Cuc Phuong National Park is as the first discovered one in Vietnam. With the area of 22.200 hectares covering 3 provinces : Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, Cuc Phuong is rich in faunas and floras of tropical rain forest.Visiting Cuc Phuong Nationa Park, tourists have a chance to not only discover plentiful system of fauna and flora or gaze with beautiful national scenery, vut they also experience fantastic feelings when participating in tour programs i.e leisure, venture cultural historical or educational. Cuc Phuong National Park has a lot of species of plants and animals such as Pygathrix, leopard, parashrea and parashrea stellata. Among that thre has many specialty of Vietnam and Indochina. Therefore, it attracts not only tourists but also scientists to come to study in this area.

 

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park: Lying in between Bo Trach and Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh Province, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park contains itself great values both natural and human. The salient character of this national park of 200.000 hectares is the limestone formed karst that has existed millions of years, different types of caves, river under ground and rare system of fauna and flora. There are 876 species of plants, 525 specials of animals, among that some specials are recognized in Red Book of Vietnam as well as the World. Phong Nha Cave has interesting stalactites, the system of 13.969 meters river flowing under the ground. This is the cave which achieves the most number of records : cave with the longest river, cave with the highest and widest door, cave with the most beautiful and widest sand and rock, cave with the most beautiful lake under the ground, cave with the most splendid and mysterious stalactites, cave with the most beautiful river under the ground, and the nicest and widest dry cave. Phong Nha-Ke Bang was recognized as World Natural Heritage by UNESCO in 2003.

 

Bach Ma National Park: Bach Ma National Park has an area of 22.031 hectares belonging to Phu Loc and Nam Dong districts. Thua Thien Hue province. It is 40 kilometers far away from Hue city. Bach Ma is the splendid and romantic natural picture that is created by the range of mountains and huge forest. This is the only portoplast forest that still exits in Vietnam and spreads from East Ocean to Viet – Lao border. The splendid scenery here attracts tourists. The climate is quite cool every year because of 1.450 meters height where has the biggest average amount of rain level in Vietnam: 8000mm/year. From first years of 20th century, many beautiful villas and hotels were built at Bach Ma. Here is also living of many species of rare plants and wild animals : tiger, red face monkey, white crown pheasant, “vooc ngu sac”, etc . Visiting Bach Ma at the beginning or end of the rainy season, tourists might have a chance to experience beauty of the forest as a colorful natural picture with every type of flowers are showing their charms.

 

Yok Don National Park: Yok Don National Park is one of the most special – used forest of Vietnam with the area of 115.545 hectares in Dak Lak province. This is also the unique park reserves the type of Khop forest. There have 63 types of mammals, 196 types of birds, 40 species of reptiles, especially, wild elephants, wild buffalo and giant gaurs. In the dry season, Yok Dong is cool with orchid perfumes while the Central Highland is full of sunshine and wind. Visiting here, you have an opportunity to travel by elephants under fresh and huge range of trees or cross the Srepok River with them. On the other hand, you can experience traditional cuisines such as : rice cooked in bamboo tube, grilled chickens, and gather around Can Wine to hear Village patriarch tell the stories about their own legends and epics. Coming to the forest in the winter time, you will have an opportunity to see each herd of birds migrating to avoid the cold from the South. It creates a spendid picture of the nature.

 

Cat Tien National Park: Cat Tien National Park belongs to 3 provinces : Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc, its area is 71.920 hectares. The characteristic of this forest is low and wet land. Cat Tien National Park has set the record that there are 1.362 high standard, among that 34 species are named in Vietnam Red Book and many high valued species such as : Afzeliaxylocarpe, Dalbergia oliveri, Pterocarpus macro carpus; 77 species of animals, 318 species of birds, 58 species are at risk of extinction such as : Elephas maximus, Rhinocerossondaicus, Sussctofa, Rhinoceros sondaicus, Sus scrofa, Bos gaurus, Pygathrix nigipes, Hilobates gabriellae, Cat Tien has 3 typical species of birds : Arborophila davidi, Polyplectron germaini, Macronous kelley, many types of rare water birds : white winged goose .. In the past, Crocodylus siamensis also lived here but this type has been extinct in the natural environment. The park is restored to reserve this rare type.

 

Can Gio Biosphere Reserves: Can Gio Biosphere Reserves and Mangrove Forest (Sac forest) has an area of 75.740 hectares. It is the ecology of onland and amphibian fauna and flora , animals which have been formed on the vast Deltas of Dong Nai, Sai Gon, Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay’s estuaries. There are a lot of specialties : long – tailed monkey, varan, harmless boa, Indian cobra, ect ..Sac Forest becomes the lung of the areas around for a long time , and now, it attracts a lot of tourists. From the year of 2000, Vam Sat eco tourism area was developed at in this park. And many tourism activities are in place : boating on river, visiting yard bird. At Can Gio’s South, fresh and blue beaches, smooth sand, natural environment create the interesting destination for festival of holiday.

 

Tram Chim National Park: Tram Chim National Park is of Dong Thap province with the area of 7.588 hectares. This park is the habitat of many rare species of birds: expecially red-head cranes. Visiting Tram Chim National Park, tourists will have a chance to experience fresh air when going for a walk in range of huge Melaleuca Forest, take a view of vast green fields. In the swamp, lotus are showing ther color and perfume, birds are looking for their meals bisurely. That romantic scenery brings tourists comfortable and pleasant feelings. When being invited grilled fish dishes,, rice wine, an (Da Co hoai Lang) Sounthern folk songs, tourists will never want to leave this beautiful land.

 

Phu Quoc National Park: Phu Quoc is the biggest island of Vietnam which is enclosed by the Gulf of Thai Lan. This area of 31.422 hectares is under Kien Gang province. Phu Quoc has appealed a huge number of tourists by wild beaches, green and fresh water and huge forests. Phu Quoc National Park has more than 530 species of plants, 150 species of animals including 120 lines, 69 descebts, 365 types of birds, among that a lot of rare species are named in Vietnam Red Book. Visiting Phu Quoc, tourists have chance to not only discover various corals, but they also observed many fishes, living in the coral : “ca mu”, “ca buom”. Presidents here are coming from different islands that create the plentiful cultures of this land.

 

Con Dao National Park: Con Dao National Park is a protected area which is located in the North of Con Dao province (Ba Ria Vung Tau) with the area of 31.422 hectares. The system of specific fauna and flora here are aquatic, expecially, the system of corals and marine turtles. Besides, there has a lot of rare types of plants : “lat hoa”, “gang neo” or rare animals : monkey, weasel, squirrel, chicken; rare birds such as : blue eye birds, sea shallow. Moreover, 20.500 hectares area contains ecology of aquatic such as corals. More 1300 types of marine have been identified here. Con Dao becomes a sole place that has the wild and endangered species existing such as dugong in Vietnam.

Vietnam Beaches

With over 3000 kilometers of coastline, Vietnam has plenty of secluded coves with white sands and waters fit for snorkeling and diving. For days spent sunbathing and evenings watching stunning sunsets, these are the best beaches in Vietnam. Verdant rice fields, blindingly-white beaches and a landscape as dramatic as its history. Once blanketed under the covers of communism, Vietnam long ago drew back the curtains to invite the world in for a snuggle. Some of the friendliest locals on earth are happy to have you to share their sand, in one of the most enriching and exotic countries in Asia.

 

Ha Long Bay, Northeast Coast: Whilst not technically a beach, kayaking across tranquil waters and swimming midst twinkles of phosphorescent plankton are both possible in spectacular Halong Bay. From November to March there can be chilly days of drizzly weather when the splendor and romance of the bay are harder to appreciate, but the gorgeous caves and beautiful scenery make up for this in the summer months.

 

Lan Ha Bay, Halong Bay, Northeast Coast: The archipelago of Halong Bay, with its iconic limestone karsts – the towering natural sculptures that rise out of the below to define its landscape – is the stuff that Southeast Asian dreams are made of. Saying that, decent beaches are far from plentiful. But nestled in the surrounding Cat Ba National Park and a half-hour boat-ride from its main, eponymous island is little Lan Ha Bay. More than 130 beaches dust the island, most of them too tiny to be weighed down by an official name. So take a kayak and paddle your way from one nameless speck of sand to the next, and claim each one as your own.

 

Cat Co Beach, Cat Ba, Northeast Coast: Three small, sandy beaches lie to the east of Cat Ba Town on the Island of Cat Ba, just to the west of Ha Long Bay. Romantically named Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2 and Cat Co 3, One and Three are linked by a cliffside path that’s a joy to walk anytime, day or night, and Two is a quieter retreat.

 

Minh Chau Beach, Quan Lan Island, Northeast Coast: North of Halong Bay and a four hour sail from the mainland (or a two-hour speedboat ride if you like to live in the fast lane) brings you to the cluster of islands of Bai Tu Long Bay, and it’s every bit as beautiful as its big sis. Unpolluted and undeveloped, think amazing karst formations, 11th-century Buddhist pagodas and, when it comes to little sliver of Quan Lan Island, secluded, silky beaches. Our favorite, just 6km from the Quan Lan’s major (but in reality, very minor) town, is Minh Chau. It’s all a tropical paradise should be – chalky-soft sand fringed by wild pines, views of rocky outcrops protruding from the shallows and a collection of coral coves that can’t be missed.

 

Thuan An Beach Near Huế, Central Coast: They say that the original is usually the best, and in the case of Thuan An beach, near the UNESCO-hailed city of Huế, they were right. A strong storm more than a decade ago, left a section of Thuan An wiped out and the locals thinking that it was a particularly unlucky spot of sand – so they decamped further down the coast. Frankly their loss is our gain, and this virtually empty beach is well worth seeking out. Ask the locals to point the way, and then stretch out on the smooth, neighbor-free sand.

 

Lang Co Beach Near Hue, Central Coast: Located 70km south of Hue and Da Nang 20km north of Lang has long been renowned as a beach with the natural conditions and the most beautiful scenery in Vietnam. With white sand more than 10km long, blue sea water, Lang Co Bay meets the conditions for the development of many forms of tourism such as sea resorts, diving, ecotourism lagoon, sports, hiking, golf, jungle expedition …

 

Non Nuoc Beach, Danang, Central Coast: Stretching to the foot of the majestic Marble Mountains and touching the shade of an age-old forest is Non Nuoc beach, one of the most stunning in the Danang coastline. It’s a stretch of gently sloping sand where you can spend all day and night, safely sleeping beneath the jade branches of the native shrubbery once the sun sets. Amongst Non Nuoc’s claims to fame is its rare seaweeds. Perhaps you can make a nice face mask while you’re there.

 

My Khê Beach Near Danang, East Coast: Just south of the city of Danang, China beach found infamy when hordes of US Marines set down their GI boots here, stomping history, and their entrance in the Vietnam War, into its white sands. Almost 50 years on and free from the shadows of one of Vietnam’s darkest periods, China Beach is a place for glistening green waves and postcard-perfect soft sands. If you want to do a tad more than top up your tan, bring your board – the waves here pull surfers from around the world.Spend your nights in the lap of luxury resorts with villas boasting private pools and a choice of unlimited spa treatments, the only thing that would make your experience complete is an array of mouth-watering Asian foods and breath taking views of the beach. Oh hang on. They’ve got that as well.

 

Cua Dai Beach Near Hoi An, Central Coast: The literal translation of Cua Dai means ‘Big Sea Mouth’ – the Big part being particularly relevant (so is Sea, admittedly. Mouth, not so much). The sheer, sweeping breadth of Cua Dai, and its 20 miles of sweet, silky sand, means that this is a beach where personal space comes as part of the package. It starts at the ancient, romantic, lantern-lined town of Hoi An and threads along the coast to the city of Da Nang. Kick back, fresh pineapple in hand, taking in the awesome panorama of white sand and tranquil waters.

 

City Beach, Nha Trang, South Coast: Nha Trang, a delightful south coast city, is generally recognised as Vietnam’s premier beach destination. Six kilometers of sand joins the sea to the city, with rolling waves on one side and fringed on the other by cafes, restaurants, and some unusual modern sculptures. Watersports, day trips by boat and of course fresh pineapple are all readily available, but bear in mind the more choppy waters of November and December mean the beach loses much of its appeal.

 

Ca Na Beach, South of Nha Trang, South Central CoastAh, the lovely Ca Na beach. So good they named it twice. Well, three times actually. Legend has it that an ancient kind and queen came here to bathe in its crystal-clear waters, and believed the place to be so magical, they christened it ‘Fairy Fish’. Nowadays it more commonly goes by the nickname ‘Sleeping Princess’, awarded because of the sheer grace and beauty of the place. Its 10km of white sand slopes into the glimmering green waters, and flanked by the mighty Truong Son Mountains, come spring its undulating backdrop is out in full apricot-blossom bloom.

 

Ninh Chu Beach, Ninh Chu: Five kilometers north of busy Phan Rang lies the pleasant, wide crescent of Ninh Chu beach. Less popular with tourists than Mui Ne or Nha Trang, the beach still provides a quiet midweek stop, good for swimming, sunbathing and beach games in general.

 

Ong Dia Beach, Mui Ne, South Central Coast: Tipped as Southeast Asia’s next big beach spot, the palm-lined stretch of Ong Dia beach, takes the suitably-sparkly crown in this Mui Ne parade of local beach beauties. In an area that sees some of the lowest rainfall in Vietnam, the Mui Ne coastline is famed for its rolling red and gold dunes – take a jeep ride over them, take a sand-sledge down them (avoid the temptation to smile or you’ll get a mouthful) or simply stand on top of one, sea-breeze sweeping your face as the coconut palms sway and the sun sets.

 

Star Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Southwest Coast: Ringed by bright white sands, the triangular island of Phu Quoc down in the Gulf of Thailand, is home to some of Southeast Asia’s best beach beauties. Bai Sao on the south of the island might be tricky to get to – ask an ever-friendly local – but the isolation of this tropical treat is exactly what makes it worth the trip. Add to the island’s blindingly beautiful beaches some of its stonking seafood – with Phu Quoc’s famed fermented fish sauce – and you have a seriously scrumptious beach break.