If you are looking for an exotic destination, far away from the familiarity of Europe, where the local culture is fascinating and so very different, and the natural features are breath-taking, why not consider Vietnam? Once you have acquired your online Vietnam visa, it’s a great choice to visit between December and April, when the climate is relatively dry and not too humid. Evenings in the north, staying in Hanoi for example, can be quite cool, although the south has a tropical feel, building to the monsoons from late April. From 31 December you can join the Tet celebrations, the Lunar New Year festival where traditional music, dancing and entertainment takes place. These showcase the best in Vietnamese culture, have a great atmosphere and are wonderful fun.
Travelling from the UK to Vietnam is long journey, however the delights that await you cannot be under-estimated and it will be a trip from which memories are created. Begin your exploration of this awesome country stress-free with a Vietnam e-visa.
With a coastline of over 3,000 kilometres, small islands aplenty such as Phu Quoc or Con Dao (perfect for romantic getaways), extensive northern and southern deltas, riddled with waterways, and the highest mountain, Fansipan, in Indochina, Vietnam has a lush countryside and exceptional beaches, try glorious Nha Tang, certain to tempt any nature lover. You can take a leisurely cycle ride around the flat paddy fields of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s ‘rice bowl’; join in a cookery class in a rural village to make the national dish, ‘pho’, a broth to which noodles, vegetables and meat or fish are added or take a sampan tour along one of the many Mekong tributaries, visiting the floating markets, such as Cái Răng, packed full of exotic fruit and stunning flowers, including the Lotus, which symbolises this country. Or maybe take one of the trails through Cuc Phuong National Park, a massive natural museum, and proud example of eco-tourism, where the trees are reputedly 1,000 years old. It is particularly spectacular in April/May, when thousands of butterflies fill the forest in a magical sight.
Perhaps the most extraordinary natural phenomena of Vietnam are to be found at Halong Bay – the 1,600 limestone karsts, which jut like towers out of the water, are covered in vegetation, home to a range of wildlife, although uninhabited by humans and are over 300 million years old. Known as a garden of islands, this seascape, with its natural coves, caves and tunnels is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The thronging cities are a real contrast and complement to these natural beauties. Landing at Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, with your Vietnam e-visa already to hand ensures a straightforward airport exit experience, taking you to straight to cities teeming with life and vitality. The French quarter of Hanoi is replete with architecture reminding the visitor of former colonial times, whilst the Old Quarter is filled with streams of people, market stalls selling everything from ’designer’ sunglasses to medicinal herbs and busy bars to suit all tastes. HCMC is the home of street food: try the Ben Thanh Market for local delicacies such as the fabulously named ‘bun mam’ fermented fish soup or ‘banh trang nuong’ which is pizza, Vietnamese style. Su Van Hanh Street has a well-deserved excellent reputation of delicious street food, although wherever you are across the city, there will something to taste and try. It’s rather like being in a giant open – air restaurant that’s open all hours! Try coconut juice, sugar cane juice or artichoke tea as an accompaniment, or go for the hard stuff with a glass of sticky rice wine.
The imperial city of Hue, in the country’s centre, on the banks of the Perfume River, was the capital until 1945, and retains all the magnificent buildings associated with the Emperor’s Forbidden Purple City, pagodas and royal tombs. Unsurprisingly, it is a stronghold of Buddhism and the monastic Zen tradition continues here today.
Whatever your personal holiday favourite, country, coast or city, or a combination of the three, Vietnam offers its visitors many unique opportunities. Preparing for your trip by arranging a visa for Vietnam before you leave home, will make the start of your trip very easy and smooth.