Vietnam is undoubtedly among the best destinations you can visit in South East Asia. The country is undoubtedly heaven for budget travellers. It offers beautiful architecture, amazing natural views and the best of city experiences. Couple that with its food, and Vietnam is where you’d want to be! Here’s your travel guide to Vietnam and the best places to visit there on your first (or next) trip. By Anushka Goel
Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia, bordered by China, Laos and Cambodia. The country is among the most popular international destinations for those looking for an enriching experience. It is also the best country for expats to settle down in. This is because of its affordability (INR 1 equals VND 305, roughly), and the amazing experiences it has to offer.
Ever since the world started opening up for travel, Indians have been among the groups of people travelling the most. To attract more crowds, Vietnam has been rebranding itself as the place to travel to, and all in good measure. The scenic beaches, mountains and places make it a lucrative destination, and easy connectivity with India is only an added bonus. Combine this with the delectable cuisine that the country has, and you’ve got a winner in all senses.
Best places to visit in Vietnam
While there are enough places to visit in Vietnam, here are some of them that you must visit.
The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is also its second largest city. The place is among the best to visit in the country, and boasts of unique experiences such as dining alongside a railway track. Hanoi is home to several lakes and ample architectural marvels such as those in the Old Quarters to make for a fulfilling experience.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam. The destination is among the most popular places to visit in the country. It has several French and Colonial era memorials and buildings, reminding one of Vietnam’s history and culture. Memorabilia relating to the Vietnamese war can also be found here. Be sure to explore the temples and pagodas here for a more immersive experience.
Ha Long Bay
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit if you love azure waters. Ho Long Bay is characterised by its limestone formations and the clear water, making it a traveller’s tranquil delight. Be sure to have experiences such as boating here to be able to experience the best of the place.
Sapa is located atop a deep valley, which is complete with rice terraces. The rice here is farmed the way it was for over several centuries, and the backdrop is pretty as a picture. Spend some time here climbing Mount Fansipan, watching the water rush through these terraced fields and soaking in the lush greenery that’s around you – till as far as the eye can reach!
In the past, Hue served as the feudal capital of the Nyugey Dynasty kings. No wonder that the city comes packed full of stories! When it comes to travel, what makes it among the best places to visit in Vietnam is the fact that it has fertile riverbanks and forested hill views, providing you with the calm, natural oasis you need to unwind. Couple that with the refined cuisine of the region, green streets, vibrant markets and Perfume River, for a truly wholesome experience.
Best time to explore Vietnam
Spring season, i.e. March to April, is the best time to visit Vietnam. Rainfall is low, and the temperatures are milder, which is a welcoming climate for travellers from most countries.
What to eat
A must-have in Vietnam, pho is actually a reference to the flat rice noodles that are used to make the dish. It consists of these noodles, medium rare beef or pieces of chicken and beef stock, often dressed with greens such as spring onion, lemon and bird’s eye chillies. The two popular versions of the dish are Pho Hanoi and Pho Nam.
If you love a good sandwich, you have to try your hands at Banh Mi. The quintessential dish is actually a fusion of French-meets-Vietnam, thanks to the bread. Pate and margarine are used as the spread for this sandwich, which is then topped with an assortment of ingredients such as pickled veggies, fresh cilantro, pork belly and pork floss, and cucumber. Each bite is a textural delight, and makes for the most amazing, flavourful experience.
Banh Xeo is a popular dish across the country. Essentially a crispy crepe that is savoury in nature, the dish makes for an audio-sensory experience as much as it is a flavourful treat. The batter crackles when it hits the hot pan, and the edges curl in as they form a crispy, curly edge. And while it may look like an omelette/egg batter, the reality is far from that. It’s made with rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric, and is filled with boiled pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and minced pork.
What to shop
There are many things you can buy from Vietnam, but among the top of the list is Vietnamese Silk, lanterns, pottery and Ao Dai, one of the many traditional costumes of the country.
Hero and Featured Image: Courtesy of Roméo A./Unsplash
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: 10 days is enough to make the most of your visit to Vietnam.
Answer: Among other things, what you must pick from Vietnam is Vietnamese Silk, Ao Dai, pottery and lanterns.
Answer: Explore temples and pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City and soak in the magnificent views at Sapa.
Answer: Vietnam is a relatively cheaper country to live in. Even though Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are the most expensive places to live at in Vietnam, the average cost of living for a couple leading a middle class life is INR 1,05,558 per month, approx.
Answer: Banh Mi, Banh Xeo, Pho, Banh Cuoc are some of the dishes you must eat in Vietnam.