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Top attractions and activities in Vietnam

Sightseeing in Vietnam

Every destination in the world has a list of must-see attractions that tourists wouldn't dare miss, and Vietnam is no exception. This spectacular country possesses a veritable smorgasbord of incredible places to sample, making sightseeing a treat. Ha Long Bay perhaps tops the list of unforgettable locations.

Situated near the Chinese border, it is dotted with limestone islands and islets that look more than ripe for exploration. Borrow a boat and sail across this UNESCO World Heritage Site, taking in the surreal shapes carved by Mother Nature.

Also well worth a visit is the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, located in Hanoi. The ancient site remained the political centre of the country for 13 consecutive centuries, and it contains many relics from the past.

Finally, as far as individual sightseeing opportunities go, you can't pass up the chance to see My Son Sanctuary. Located in the southern part of Vietnam, these magnificent Hindu ruins are an awe-inspiring sight to behold, with uncountable stone sculptures, temples and towers being steadily taken over by tropical plants.

Each of these places has been recognised by UNESCO and granted the status of World Heritage Site. In fact, the country is home to eight of these incredible monuments and it can be quite fun to try and visit them all.

Enjoy bustling metropolises

Culturally, you can't get more exciting than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Between them, they share a plethora of exotic temples, markets, fortresses and places where you can simply sit and watch local life go by. It is perhaps in the cities where the scars suffered by the recent American war are at their most obvious. A visit to places like the Cu Chi Tunnels - a crucial half-day excursion from Ho Chi Minh City - and the Demilitarised Zone near Hue provides a life-changing experience that will completely alter your perspective.

Although the excitement of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is undoubtedly worth witnessing, don't underestimate the beauty and uniqueness of the smaller settlements, such as Hoi An Ancient Town. These places are a world away from the metropolises and feel as though they have been almost left behind by everyone else.

Taste incredible cuisine

Vietnam's cuisine scene ranks among the best in the world, with people treating food with an extraordinary level of respect. And wherever you go in the country, you will experience slightly different combinations of all meals, which makes travelling around all the more enjoyable.

Wander the streets of Hanoi in search of intricately rolled spring rolls, containing salad, just right for dunking into sweet tangy nu?c ch?m sauce, of course. Or sit down in an intimate restaurant over a bowl of Ca Kho To, caramelized fish cooked in a clay pot with a sauce so sticky, you'll swear your insides have been glued together. Then there are the little Banh Chung rice cakes eaten around the Tet celebration, Ca Phe coffee that often resembles a dessert on its own and, of course, the legendary noodle soup that is Pho.

A brief meander through any of the food markets will reveal dishes weird and wonderful, and by the time you've finished, you won't be able to look at rice in the same way ever again.

Get to grips with nature at her wildest

Vietnam is blessed with incredible landscapes, with some areas having an almost otherworldly feel to them. Ha Long Bay in particular looks as though Mother Nature was having a very good day indeed when she sat down to sculpt the world. To the north, dramatic mountains rise, challenging mountaineers and trekkers to uncover their secrets. In the south, meanwhile, you're more likely to come across beautiful beaches and tropical forests, with the permanently warm climate making some places a hotspot for beach lovers.

In short, it doesn't matter if you opt for north or south, beach or mountain, countryside or city, there is an abundance of activity in Vietnam. You won't want to leave.

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