From North to South: A Vietnamese Adventure - Handpicked Itineraries
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From North to South: A Vietnamese Adventure

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Vietnam is a destination of spectacular scenery with a lot to offer those who venture there. It is a diverse and unique country brimming with opportunities and delicious food. From the majestic scattered islands of Halong Bay to the slow paced life in quiet Phong Nha, Vietnam really is a place of variety and natural beauty. Here are some of the highlights of Vietnam and what to do in each location…
BY
Luxtripper Travel Editor
Hanoi

Start your adventure off in Vietnam’s bustling capital, Hanoi. This busy city is home to a number of museums, which allows visitors to educate themselves on the history of Vietnam before embarking on their journey through this beautiful country. The French influence is visible throughout the city and is demonstrated best by the colonial architecture dotted throughout. 

The Old Quarter is a great place to delve into the culture of Vietnam; explore the back lanes and enjoy the street food and vibrant stalls on offer here. To really get to know Vietnam, have a stroll around the Hoan Kiem Lake and take in the sights around you. Hanoi is also a great place to base yourself if you want to explore Sapa or Halong Bay (see below).

Sapa

Just slightly north of Hanoi you’ll find the stunning town of Sapa. Once disturbed by the French invasion, Sapa was once a small hillside station. However, nowadays it is a tourist hot spot. Where epic scenery surrounds you and vibrant green mountains tower high up into the misty sky, Sapa is a breath-taking reminder of the natural beauty of Vietnam

Rice paddies create unique shapes and patterns for long stretches of landscape and locals are always friendly and welcoming. Take a visit to the local museum where you can learn about the history and culture of Sapa and embark on a trek to take in the serene panoramic views around you whilst breathing in the freshest countryside air.

Halong Bay

A short trip away from the lively capital Hanoi, you will find the exquisite Halong Bay. Made up of 1,600 little islands and islets, this UNESCO world heritage site is a popular travel location. Thousands flock here every year to experience the truly remarkable beauty of the seascape of lush green limestone mountains and infamous turquoise ocean.

Be sure to spend a couple of days sailing around this natural wonder and explore some of the scenic island on foot. Soak up the sunshine on Monkey Beach and enjoy a fresh seafood beach BBQ in the evening. 

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park sits tucked away closer to the south of Vietnam. Encased by mountains and tropical forests, this location is famed for its number of distinct caves as well as being renowned all around the world for housing one of the world's largest caves, Son Doong Cave. 

Hire bicycles or mopeds in the day and explore the scenic surroundings in Phong Nha. Cycle down the river and get to know the locals that live along the water, they are always happy to say hello.

Hué

The sleepy town of Hué is a pleasant place to wander and explore the beautiful imperial city, which has been through seven centuries of changes and establishment surrounding it. Stroll down the Perfume River and visit the Citadel, a peaceful area littered with unique buildings.

The main reason for visiting Hué is to act as a base for riding over the Hai Van Pass by motorbike. This particular route was made famous by Top Gear; the three presenters bought cars and travelled down the coast of Vietnam, using the Hai Van Pass. You can arrange a tour easily and get the option to ride on the back of a guide's bike and take in the scenic views around you or ride your own bike for the ultimate thrill. this truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For a guaranteed day of adrenaline and stunning views, the Hai Van Bike tour is not to be missed.

Hoi An

Hoi An is famed for being a unique, eccentric riverside town. The mixture of Vietnamese, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese influences make for an interesting destination to stop off at and immerse yourself in the romantic ambience of this quaint town. 

Hoi An is renowned for its delicious and diverse cuisines available throughout. Taste the local delicacies along the riverfront stalls or even take part in one of the many cooking classes on offer here. Submerge yourself in traditional Vietnamese civilisation and learn to cook some of the best dishes in Asia.

The many beautiful, multi-coloured lanterns dotted around the town create the perfect romantic ambience. Dine in one of the many impressive riverside restaurants and take in your surroundings whilst lanterns littered along the water illuminate as they float down stream.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a built up city with beautiful beaches and over the years has become a popular resort destination. It is an ideal place to take a holiday within your holiday and detatch from your hectic Vietnam schedule for some much needed down time. 

Nha Trang also houses one of Vietnam's best theme parks, Vinpearl. To get to Vinpearl you have to take the world’s longest cable car across the sea from one island to another. At 3km long the journey across is just as exciting as the theme park itself. Take in the twelve minutes of views stretched far across Nha Trang before you arrive at an island of waterslides, roller coasters, fountains, restaurants and private beaches with beautiful white sand.

Da Lat

Da Lat is a pretty city located more south of Vietnam. There are so many quirky cafés and bars littered around the province and the coffee sold everywhere is to die for. If your sweet tooth is nagging at you, opt for a coffee with condensed milk, you won’t be disappointed. Da Lat is the heart and soul of Vietnamese coffee and there are plantations scattered all around the outskirts, green stems freckled with sweet beans. Even if you aren’t an avid coffee drinker, it’s got to be tried at least once.

Da Lat is most famous for its canyon waterfall tours. Challenge your adventurous side and abseil down a number of waterfalls at different heights; you may even have the chance to scale a 65-meter waterfall, the biggest in Da Lat! Discover your adventurous side here and simply enjoy walking through the different streets, eating delicious Vietnamese food and taking in the culture around you.

Mui Ne

Mui Ne is a beautiful beach town with a number of luxury resorts popping up more and more frequently. One thing that makes this location particularly special is the original fishing village that floats seamlessly on the sea. 

If you do visit Mui Ne, a trip to the sand dunes is a must. You can hire out a quad bike or a 4X4 for a small fee and whizz around the beautiful dunes finishing off to watch the peaceful sunset over the red dunes. You can also combine a visit to the sand dunes with a trip to the Fairy Stream, where you wander down stream barefoot in-between beautiful layers of red sand cliffs.

Mui Ne is basically just one long stretch of coast and it houses some of the nicest beaches in Vietnam. Therefore it is necessary to spend some time basking in the sunshine on one of the powder-white beaches. Enjoy fresh coconuts or cocktails on the beachfront to rejuvenate your body and mind ready for your next destination, hectic Ho Chi Minh.

Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh is another busy city located in southern Vietnam. It is the ideal place to base yourself to learn about the war-torn history of Vietnam. Visit the many museums and the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, where you can experience and empathise with how the Vietnamese survived. Learn about how they lasted the war in such volatile conditions and how their techniques differed to the Americans.

Take a trip to Lam Son Square where some of the cities most affluent residents are based. It is the perfect place to go for a dressed-up night out or a wander around the shops. You will also find the Muncipal Theatre here too, a 100-year-old theatre that hosts performances, opera and dances; it certainly makes for a fun night out.

Spend your time eating even more mouth-watering Vietnamese food at some of the many stalls and restaurants, practise bargaining at the markets and learn all about the important and interesting history of Vietnam.

Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is an up and coming island just off of northern Vietnam. It is cheap and easy to reach via plane and is packed with beautiful resorts along the beach front. It is the perfect location to come to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Spend your days exploring the waterfalls and beautiful scenery on the island by taxi or moped and enjoy the many lively beach bars dotted along the beachfront in the evening. A visit to Sao Beach is an absolute must, the dazzling crystal waters teamed with the fine, white sand make this beach one of the most picturesque in Vietnam.

Overall Phu Quoc offers the ideal location to soak up the Asian sunshine, catch up on much needed relaxation time and eat good quality fresh seafood along the coast.

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