Tourist Attractions and Fun in Vietnam

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1 halong-bay

Despite Vietnam’s long history of war and rebellion, the country offers some of the most magnificent views and top tourist attractions. You can visit the ancient city of Hue, experience indigenous hill tribes, view the magic caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang and explore old seacoast towns. You can lodge and travel in Vietnam on a relatively tight budget. Backpacking hostels and budget hotels are usually clean and well-equipped throughout the country.

Great Fun in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay (image above) in northern Vietnam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for its scenic limestone landscape characterized by caves and fissures. A French newspaper reported in the late nineteenth century that Lagredin, a lieutenant captaining the Avalanse, saw a huge snake in the bay. Many members of the crew also witnessed the strange animal. According to the report, the snake looked like a dragon and it could have resulted in the name of Ha Long Bay which means the Bay of Descending Dragons.

Ha Long Bay archipelago consists of almost 1,970 islands. From Hanoi you can travel by mini bus, train, shuttle bus, private car or by open bus to Ha Long Bay. It takes approximately four to six hours to reach the bay. The perfect way to discover the natural wonder, unexploited beaches, grottoes and hidden lagoons is to get on the traditional junk sailing to the far-most corners of the archipelago.

You can explore the area’s must-sees by going on a one or two night cruise. Violet Cruise, Halong Luxury Cruise and Wooden Junk Cruises offer one night cruises. Bhaya Classic Halong Cruise offers a one night and two days cruise including a visit to the caves, a cocktail party, exciting team building games and lots of fun.  When you are back ashore, remember to visit the Halong Bay Casino located on the main road to Bai Chay.

2 traffic-jams-are-a-daily-occurrence-in-hanoi-525815-dsc-1841-9cb94Traffic rules in Vietnam’s cities are extremely difficult to understand. It may take you a while to get used to the traffic and it may even take you longer to learn how to cross a street here.
The best way to cross a road is to stand next to a local and challenge the traffic. You have to confidently step forward and the cars will slow down. You have a fair chance of seeing injured victims lying on the road or witnessing crashes. Travelling by motorcycle or bicycle on the highways and main streets are really risky. Please feel free to watch this video for a better understanding of the traffic in Vietnam and how to cross a street in a quiet area.
About Vietnam
Vietnam is a long, thin country situated on the eastern Indochina Peninsula and is bordered by Laos and Cambodia to the west and China to the north. The northern part of Vietnam consists mostly of the Red River Delta and highlands. Southern Vietnam consists of extensive forests, the Annamite Mountain Range and the coastal lowlands. The country is divided into the regions of Northern Vietnam, Central Coast, Central Highways and Southern Vietnam.
Vietnam Boasts Idyllic Tropical Beaches

3 Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam’s idyllic tropical beaches and turquoise waters have long been a favorite amongst tourists. North of Halong Bay and approximately four hours sail from the mainland will take you to the islands of Bai Tu Long Bay. About six kilometers from the town of Quan Lan is the beautiful beach of Minh Chau. This is an absolute tropical paradise with soft sand, wild pines and a collection of coral coves.
Nha Trang is located in the Khanh Hoa province and is well-known among sun seekers and divers. Nha Trang is home to the Vinpearl Resort and Spa, Louisiane Brewhouse and the luxurious Evason Ana Mandara and Six Senses Spa. The Vinpearl cable car is the longest sea-crossing cable system in the world. Approximately thirty miles from the bustling Nha Trang, you will find the quiet and peaceful beach of Doc Let.
Explore the Capital of Vietnam – Hanoi
Hanoi is the capital and second largest city in Vietnam. The city offers numerous parks, museums, temples and wartime sites for tourists to explore. The Army Museum on Dien Bien Phu Street, opposite the Lenin Statue Park, retells the stories of all the Vietnamese Battles throughout the history.
Hanoi is well-known for its great art performances and fun, colorful Vietnamese shows. Golden Bell Theater on Number 72 Hang Bac Street, Hoan Kiem District, provides different styles of performances and dances from all regions of Vietnam. Ensure to visit the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater on 57 Dinh Tien Hoang Street. The theater is opposite the shores of the Hoan Kiem Lake. Wooden women, men and dragons will tell you the legends from Vietnam accompanied by beautiful Vietnamese songs and dancing. This is a show not to be missed.

4 Market Hanoi

Hanoi is home to some of the most exciting markets in the country. Cho Hom in Pho Hue offers almost everything. The fabric market on the second floor is worth a visit. “Foreigner pricing” is rather common in some places, especially the kiosks at the Night Market in the old quarter. All the prices are negotiable.

Hoan Kiem Lake is situated in the center of the city and is a favorite leisure spot for tourists and locals. You can experience the diversity and liveliness of the city in the Lenin Statue and Park. Ly Thai To Statue and Park feature an integration of tradition and modernity. You will find people practising break dance and hip-hop and not far from there, others appreciating the serenity of the willows.  The Ly Thai To Park is the favorite park among the locals.

Eating Out in Hanoi

For a very different experience, you could visit the suburb of Le Mat with its numerous restaurants. The area is just a short distance across the river from downtown. Most of the restaurants here store live cobras on the premises and if one orders cobra blood wine, the cobra gets killed on the spot and the blood drained into a shot glass. You will also get the snake’s beating heart and rice wine in the same glass to gulp down. The meat is then used for other unique dishes.

Dinner in La Mat, Hanoi

Dinner in La Mat, Hanoi

Another local delicacy in the city is dog meat and it is served in several restaurants in the area of Tay Ho. Food vendors sell the popular boiled duck eggs throughout the city. You can see the head and beak garnished with basil leaf, ginger and chilli sauce while eating. Another unique dish is made with noodles and extract from the giant water bug for aroma.
Sticky rice cakes, called Banh it, are typically served for lunch and dinner and tastes really good. Café 69 opposite Friendly Hotel on 69 Ma May Street in the heart of the Old Quarter serves good western food.
Ensure to visit the Sunset Bar at Hanoi Westlake and enjoy the stunning sunset views over the lake. The Green Lake Bar on 32 Le Tai To offers weekly performances by local singer and can get pretty crowded, especially over weekends. The Long Play Bar is open all night, serves good food, and the owners are really amazing. Seventeen Cowboys on 98 B Tran Hung Dao offers a live band each night and the drinks are served by pretty waitresses. CAMA ATK in the Hai Ba Trung District on 73 Mai Hắc Đế Street is a great bar with amazing cocktails and music. The bar is also the only place in the city that regularly book international acts.
Most of the local young people gather around the cathedral situated in Ly Quoc su and it can get quite crowded after dark. You will find that the young locals love lemon ice tea and sunflower seeds.
Temples and Pagodas in Hanoi

Lang Pagoda, Hanoi

Lang Pagoda, Hanoi

Hanoi is home to impressive pagodas and temples, including the Lang Pagoda, Quan Su Pagoda and Tay Ho Pagoda. The Taoist Quan Thanh Temple is located by the Truc Badh Lake with a massive black bronze statue of the god of the North together with a tortoise and snake. Legend has it that the temple was dedicated to a deity of the North named Tran Vu. The temple was built in four directions to protect Hanoi against evil spirits.
Other remarkable temples include the Phu Dong Temple in Gia Lam District, Chem Temple in Thuy Phuong village and the Thu Le Temple in the city’s botanical garden.
Visa When Visiting Vietnam
Visitors with passports from Russia, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Sweden do not require a visa for stays up to 15 days. If you are from the Philippines you can stay for up to 21 days without a visa. Tourist from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos and Indonesia can stay up to 30 days without a visa. All other nationalities will require a visa in advance to visit Vietnam. The country has international airports at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

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