Living Vivaciously in Vietnam

The country of Vietnam is long and narrow, yet contains a huge range of landscapes, including mountains ranges, a lush delta, rice terraces and beautiful beaches. Visitors can get a taste for fresh local foods, live it up in the bustling cities, or meet locals in traditional villages. Vietnam is an easy country to travel around, as it has something for everyone. Here are a few of the best locations to whet your taste buds! The best landscape: Ha Long Bay Ha Long Bay, just east of Hanoi city, looks out of this world, with its calm green waters and limestone cliffs jutting out of the sea. The area is famous for over 2,000 islands, each with grottos, caves and lakes to be explored. The landscape was formed naturally over centuries of wear on the rocks, creating dramatic views that go on for miles. The best city: Hanoi The booming city of Hanoi has emerged victorious from a devastating history during the Indochina and Vietnam wars. The Old Quarter in the centre is like an open air museum of colonial Asian and French architecture. Most of the buildings have survived, in spite of the heavy bombings during the Vietnam War. Wander along tree-lined boulevards, shop in busy markets or sip coffee in the numerous cafes. There are many sights to see, including the Grand Opera House, the Presidential Palace, and St Joseph Cathedral. The best for local traditions: Sapa Sapa is a quiet town, most frequently visited by people wanting to trek in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains. Many different hill tribes live here, and rice terraces are abundant. Tourists can book trips to hike in the mountains, visit stunning waterfalls, and view the rice fields. It is also possible to visit remote villages to meet the people, observe local customs and try their traditional food. The best for history: My Son My Son is the top archaeological site for Vietnam, and one of the most notable of Southeast Asia. It was once a Hindu religious centre, and there are multiple temples here devoted to the god Shiva. These were built by the Champa kings between the 4th and 14th centuries. Now ancient ruins, the place still has the calm majesty it enjoyed as the top religious site of the time. The best beach: Nha Trang A popular seaside resort city, Nha Trang is located on the South Central Vietnam coast. Mountains, beaches and islands create a mix of beautiful surroundings for this buzzing little town. People visit for the scuba diving and water sports, amusements and water parks, or for the calm palm tree lined promenade and relaxing beach.

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