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Good Morning Vietnam

Vietnam.
If I were to ask you the first thing that comes to mind when I mention it, sovaldi sale I can assume, store with almost unequivocal certainty, clinic that you didn’t think of a rich cultural tapestry, white sandy beaches and the most delectable fare. However these are the reasons Vietnam is now one of the jewels in the Asian tourism crown and only growing in stature. If you are indeed lucky enough to be venturing to this exotic paradise, or are as yet undecided on a holiday destination, here are a few things to see and do, just to whet the appetite.

Hanoi

Hanoi is a very exciting, energetic and vibrant city, yet strikes the right balance with the traditional. Dotted around Hoan Kiem Lake, there is no greater example of this. You will find elderly gents mulling over their next move on the chess board, in the shadow of a high end shopping centre and standing opposite a bustling KFC,is the traditional Thang Long Water Puppet theatre, an insight into Vietnamese culture and daily life, through puppets. This is definitely an experience not to be missed, well worth the admission of around 65 cent. Did I mention that? Vietnam is exceptionally cheap, your euro will certainly stretch that little further than in other Asian capitals.

Eat from a street vendor

No doubt you will have been warned off eating any street food by worried parents and concerned friends, none of whom have travelled further afield than Valleymount, never mind Vietnam. Were you to apply that rationale here, you would be missing out on the most authentic Vietnamese experience you could hope for. Imagine standing in the intense humidity, the din of the boisterous hawkers and stall owners, the warm air filled with the powerful aroma of exceptional dishes, and quite literally, a thousand mopeds, with three or four aboard, whizzing by, all whilst you tuck into your heavenly dish. Street food doesn’t come much better than that.

Take a train

A great way to travel through Vietnam is by taking a train. This isn’t the DART by any means. An overnight sleeper train is certainly something different and maybe only those who have tried their hand at inter-railing will understand. There are varying classes ranging from shared wooden seating to four bed cabins. Taking up to 18 hours to get from Hanoi to DaNang, you’ll be eternally glad of the bed when you eventually arrive. There are spectacular views of the coastline and those phenomenal beaches as you meander along the coastline so have your camera to hand.

Hoi An

A beautiful little town and UNESCO world heritage site minutes from the coast, this is the place to load up on exceptionally well made, tailored clothing. Reams of fabrics, an abundance of tailors and a healthy competition to get your business, mean you can take home a custom made suit, a la Conor McGregor, for the price of a pair of jeans at home.  If shopping isn’t your thing, you can take a stroll around the narrow, pedestrianized streets, or dine al fresca  by the river and sample the slower pace of life in this gem of a town.

Nha Trang

For those of you that still enjoy all that a holiday to the Costa Del Sol brings, Nha Trang is ideal. Not only are the waters crystal clear, the the beaches pristine and the nightlife hopping, it’s also the ideal place to go scuba diving. Home to the Vinpearl Amusement Park, you can unleash your inner child again on the rollercoasters and cable car ride which offers sublime views over Nha Trang itself.

Cu chi tunnels

Well I almost made it through the article without mentioning the elephant in the room. We are all aware of the war so I won’t dwell on it too much. The Cu Chi tunnels in the South of Vietnam are probably one of the most popular tourist spots in this spectacular country. Whilst it is quite a sombre and sobering experience, along with the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh, the effort to bring history to life through the experiences on offer is remarkable. You can navigate the tunnels, observe the strategy rooms or eat a typical meal that the soldiers would have eaten at the time.

Halong Bay

Situated 120 kms east of Hanoi, Halong Bay is as close to heaven on earth as you can conceivably get. Around 2000 Limestone islands and islets poke their weary heads above water in the Gulf of Tonkin and nestled cosily among them are floating villages. A guided tour in a junker boat is the best and only way to see this bewitching sight. Stopping off at one of these floating villages to rent a kayak, you are free to explore the various inlets and cavernous openings in the islands that are taller than they are wide. You may even be offered refreshments from one of the various rowing boats, mid sea, manned by elderly ladies laden down with a bountiful supply of alcohol and snacks! Navigating through these islands is unlike anything you will ever experience and aesthetically it is in a league of its own.

Slowly the shackles of the past have been shaken off and tourism in Vietnam is going from strength. The people are wonderfully warm and friendly, it’s more accessible now than ever and has something for everyone…so what’s stopping you?

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