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This is a country of rich history and incredible beauty but what if you desire a more unique experience on your next Vietnam holiday? Whether you’re travelling to Vietnam for only a short time or looking to put together an extensive South East Asia holiday package, take a look at these wonderfully unique destinations that will get you away from the main tourist hubs and into the true culture of Vietnam.
When travelling to Vietnam, a visit to its major cities are a must! One such city is Hoi An, located in Central Vietnam and yet often overlooked in favour of Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi. Hoi An offers tourists a colourful, animated city scene that is incredibly traditional in its roots. In Hoi An, you can take a stroll through the Old Town, walk across the 17th Century Japanese Bridge, explore the Quong Cong Temple or visit the dozens of cultural museums. Ensure that you stick around for Hoi An’s ‘Legendary Night Festival’ too, celebrated monthly on the day of a full moon, with handcrafted silk lanterns, traditional performances, and plenty of food stalls.
Hanoi, capital of Vietnam for more than a thousand years now, saw years of conflict rage across its plains but emerged largely untouched. Instead, marvel at the beautiful symphony of traditional regional culture and French influence.
Lying on the right bank of the Red River, Hanoi is relatively compact and the must-see sites for visitors are not too far from each other.
Stroll through the Old Quarter, whose street names reflect the specialisations of the merchants that they housed in years past, and admire the work of local artisans still working there. Come back on a weekend evening for night market where you can try Vietnamese delicacies and stock up on souvenirs.
Hanoi is known for its many examples of French colonial architecture, remnants of its time under French rule. The Old Quarter is abundant in well-preserve pre-colonial and colonial buildings.
Don’t miss: Hanoi street food, and take it home via a Vietnamese cooking class.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city of Hue was the former imperial capital of the Nguyen emperors and is a wonderful place to truly discover Vietnam’s historical significance. Set closer to the border between north and south Vietnam, visitors to Hue should visit the White Bridge, the Bach Ma National Park and the Temple of Literature. The Thien Mu Pagoda, the official symbol of Hue, can also be found nearby along the Perfume River, along with many tombs of the former Nguyen emperors and a trip up to Vong Canh Hills is a must for some amazing sights. In Hue, certain Vietnam holiday packages also include a day trip to Vietnam’s former Demilitarised Zone, which separated the North from the South during the First Indochina War.
Pa Thom Cave
It may sound a little weird to make a cave visit part of your Vietnam holiday package, but the Pa Thom Cave in northern Vietnam’s Dien Bien Phu region is a unique and incredible experience like no other! Adjoining the border of Vietnam and Laos, the cave is situated high in the mountains, with 12 metre high entrance leading to a 350 metre long cavern featuring gorgeous arches, and incredibly huge stalagmites and stalactites that give off a colourful, luxurious glow, all against the backdrop of waterfalls. The cave is a beautiful sight, with holy significance for the Dien Bien people, who believe it to be a place of happiness and romantic fulfilment.
It’s not often that you associate enormous breathtaking waterfalls, pine forests and tranquil lakes with Vietnam, but in DaLat, visitors can discover just that. This beautiful, mountain-filled region, nestled in the country’s central highlands and dubbed the “City of Eternal Spring”, was once part of the French territory of Cochinchina, which is still evident today in its colonial villas and its Eiffel Tower-like radio mast. A beautifully rich and colourful town, the cooler climate of DaLat is perfect for discovering its natural surrounds, where hiking and lake cruising are common. In the town itself, visitors can wander through the Flower Park, visit the Linh Phuoc Palace and explore the vivid central markets.
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