BA RIA VUNG TAU
LONG HAI BEACH RESORT Ba Ria Vung Tau
CAN THO (regional info)
CHAU DOC (regional info)
DA LAT (regional info)
DA NANG (regional info)
Dien Bien Phu
HA LONG (regional info)
HAI PHONG (regional info)
Ham Tien - Mui Ne Beach
HANOI (regional info)
HO CHI MINH (regional info)
HOI AN (regional info)
HUE (regional info)
NHA TRANG (regional info)
PHAN THIET (regional info)
PHU QUOC (regional info)
LIFE RESORT QUINHON QUINHON
QUY NHON (regional info)
Seagull Hotel Quy Nhon
Saigon Quy Nhon Hotel Quy Nhon City
SA PA (regional info)
VUNG TAU (regional info)
History weighs heavily on Vietnam . For more than a decade, reportage of the war that racked the country portrayed
it as a savage netherworld, yet, only twenty-odd years after the war's end, this incredibly resilient nation is beginning
to emerge from the shadows.
As the number of tourists finding their way here soars, the word is out that this is a land not of bomb craters and army
ordnance, but of shimmering paddy fields and sugar-white beaches, full-tilt cities and venerable pagodas. The speed
with which Vietnam's population of 77 million has been able to transcend the recent past comes as a surprise to visitors
who are generally met with warmth and curiosity rather than shell-shocked resentment and war fatigue.
Inevitably, that's not the whole story. The adoption of a market economy has polarized the gap between rich and poor:
average monthly incomes for city dwellers remain at about $50, but drops to $15 in the poorest provinces.
For the majority of visitors, the furiously commercial southern city of Ho Chi Minh City provides a head-spinning introduction
to Vietnam, so a trip out into the rice fields and orchards of the nearby Mekong Delta makes a welcome next stop -
best explored by boat from My Tho, Vinh Long or Can Tho . Heading north, the quaint hill-station of Da Lat provides a
good place to cool down, but some travellers eschew this for the beaches of Vung Tau and Phan Thiet . A few hours' ride
further up the coast, the city of Nha Trang has become a crucial stepping stone on the Ho Chi Minh-Hanoi run. Next up
comes the enticing little town of Hoi An , full of wooden shop-houses and close to Vietnam's greatest Cham temple ruins
at My Son . The temples, palaces and imperial mausoleums of aristocratic Hué should also not be missed. One hundred
kilometres north, war-sites litter the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) , which cleaved the country in two from 1954 to 1975.
Hanoi has served as Vietnam's capital for close on a thousand years and is a small, absorbing city of pagodas and dynastic
temples, where life proceeds at a gentler pace than in Ho Chi Minh. From here most visitors strike out east to the labyrinth
of limestone outcrops in Ha Long Bay , usually visited from the resort town of Bai Chay , but more interestingly approached
from tiny Cat Ba Island . The little market-town of Sa Pa , set in spectacular uplands close to the Chinese border in the far
northwest, makes a good base for exploring nearby ethnic minority villages.
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate , dominated by the south or southwesterly monsoon from May to September and
the northeast monsoon from October to April. Overall, late September to December and March and April are the best times
if you're covering the whole country, but there are distinct regional variations. In southern Vietnam and the central highlands
the dry season lasts from December through April, and daytime temperatures rarely drop below 20°C in the lowlands,
averaging 30°C during March, April and May. Along the central coast the wet season runs from September through February,
though even the dry season brings a fair quantity of rain; temperatures average 30°C from June to August. Typhoons can hit
the coast around Hué in April and May and the northern coast from July to November, when flooding is a regular occurence.
Hanoi and Northern Vietnam are generally hot (30°C) and very wet during the summer, warm and sunny from October to
December, then cold and misty until March.
OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS IN ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST