Take a trip to Vietnam
Your trip to Vietnam will take you on a multifaceted journey. Start in the north and the mountains of Sapa, where ethnic minorities live in groups of farmers around the high rice fields. Then descend to the capital, Hanoi, not far from the legendary Along Bay, surrounded by thousands of rocky sugar loaves emerging from the clear water. In the center of the country, Hue, the city of ancient dynasties, will welcome you in its sumptuous palaces. Continue your journey and stop for a few days in the charming town of Hoi An. Here, time seems to have stopped. To the south, you will arrive at the bustling megalopolis of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), gateway to the Mekong Delta. Vietnam will offer you a complete change of scenery, thanks to the meeting of a welcoming people: the inhabitants will appreciate to exchange and to make you know their culture and their tasty gastronomy. Do not miss the emblematic dish of the country, the Phô soup with its thousand flavors.
Tour guides in Vietnam
Five ideas for guided tours in Vietnam
Nestled between the mountains of northern Vietnam, the city of Sapa, located in the province of Lao Cai, and the surrounding region are worth a few days trip. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful. One will venture on infinite spaces for the discoveries of temples, waterfalls, suspended bridges, rice terraces…
Accompanied by a tourist guide, you will be able to make exceptional hikes. The most famous is the one that will lead you to the top of the mount Fan Si Pan, 3143 meters, the highest point of the Hoang Lien Son mountains and of the whole country. The Muong Hoa valley offers the most photogenic panoramas of the whole country. While trekking from hamlet to hamlet, you can meet minorities who have kept their traditions, such as the Dao, Tayou and Hmong, easily recognizable by their traditional blue clothes. The ethnic markets of Bac Ha or Can Cau are the places to go at the end of the week to see the populations gather and sell their specific handicrafts.
Just next to the famous seaside resort of Da Nang, we are in the town of Hoi Ann. It presents a great architectural diversity because it was in the heart of the maritime silk routes. It presents at the same time Japanese, Chinese and French style houses, to admire with the liking of our walks. The old city has a splendid covered bridge in the shape of a pagoda spanning the Hoai River, a tributary of the Thu Bon River, which is illuminated at night with multicolored lanterns. The pedestrian streets are surrounded by old houses, stores and religious temples made entirely of wood and dating back centuries. It is very easy to move around on foot or by bicycle, even outside the city, for example on the island of Cam Kim which you will reach by crossing the bridge. You will go along rice fields and cross buffalos until you reach Tra Nhieu, a small fishing village. To rest on beautiful sandy beaches, nothing could be easier: direction Cua Dai or An Bang, less than four kilometers away.
The bay of Ha Long on land
In the province of Ninh Binh, 100 kilometers south of Hanoi, appears the terrestrial Ha Long Bay, so called because it is located inland. It has however large stretches of water on which one navigates thanks to small rowing boats operated by women. One passes under caves dug in the rock and one can observe sublime landscapes with rocky peaks resembling sugar loaves. The region can be visited from Tam Coc or Trang An, where other river trips are proposed, each offering a different charm. To better explore the area and meet the locals, opt for a bike ride. You’ll crisscross the countryside, pass through villages and reach sights like Hang Mua Cave or the jade pagodas of Bích Động.
The former capital of Vietnam is located right in the middle of the country, on the east coast. It is crossed by the “Perfume River” (Sông Hương) which flows into the China Sea. Because of its historical heritage, it has a considerable number of imperial buildings.
Don’t miss the three interlocking infrastructures that are the Royal Citadel, which housed the entire stewardship, the Imperial City and its pilgrimage sites, and the Forbidden Purple City (Cam Thanh), the residence of the monarchs. All of these sites are extremely refined. If you have time, explore the area around Hue by bicycle. Just a few kilometers away, you will reach small villages in the countryside where you will be warmly welcomed by the population, such as the picturesque Thuy Bieu where grapefruit is grown, or original hamlets that have preserved particular handicrafts: paper flowers in Thanh Tien, precious objects foundries in Phuong Duc or incense sticks in Thuy Xuan.
Hô Chi Minh city
Saigon, as it was called until the end of the war in 1975, has known dark hours, which you can remember with emotion at the War Museum. Today it has become a bustling city full of energy. The metropolis is a real anthill that scooters invade by thousands night and day. Ho Chi Minh City, resolutely turned towards modernity, has nevertheless kept vestiges of the old times. Numerous temples are available to visit. The Jade Emperor’s Pagoda, in district number 1, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful monuments. There are also superb pagodas in the Chinese district of Cholon Pagoda Quan Am, or the Taoist temple of Bà Thiên Hậu. To find the remnants of French colonization, head to Dong Khoi Street, not far from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Saigon. Built in the 19th century, it looks smaller than the one in Paris. The central post office, built by Gustave Eiffel, is only a few meters away. The Saigon Opera House is also the work of a French architect. To do your shopping and above all to take your dose of colors and scents, make a tour in the old covered markets of Binh Tay or Ben Thanh. And if you prefer to enjoy a little peace and quiet in this megalopolis sometimes a little too noisy, head for the sumptuous botanical garden and zoo (Thao Câm Viên Saigon).