Vietnam is full of amazing places to see and wonderful things to do. Here is my Top Five Places to Visit when in the centre of Vietnam, that won’t disappoint.
Danang has world class resorts and beaches right on its doorstep. This bustling city has something for everyone from five star resorts, to boutique hotels and family friendly villas. You can choose to stay in the hustle and bustle of the city, or further out the main beach strip or for a really relaxing time, stay in the further out beaches, where most of the top notch resorts are and white sandy shores.
You can also watch the dragon on the Dragon Bridge breathe fire every weekend at 9pm, which is a favourite past-time for locals and visitors alike. You can choose a nice spot on the river to watch this event, or watch from the comfort of your river-front hotel or from an atmospheric restaurant right on the water.
From Danang there are also some excellent tourist attractions such as Ba Na Hills which hosts the famous Golden Hands bridge, Monkey Mountain and Marble mountain. Danang has something for everyone from night life, food and drink to mountains and temples.
2. Hoi An
The Ancient Town of Hoi An is mostly made from old wooden style houses, all decorated on the outside with beautiful lanterns. These spectacular works of art also hang across the street, from one side to the other, so you can find yourself walking through an avenue or beauty and craftsmanship.
Take a boat ride along the river and buy a candle to place in a beautiful shaped lotus flower and let it float away along the river.
Take a stroll along the water’s edge and buy street food and local crafts along the way.
Rent a bicycle and go for a ride along the rice paddies and lush crop fields.
Go to the beach for the day and enjoy fresh seafood and ice cold beers from a sea front restaurant and bar.
While not quite as popular as Danang and Hoi An, Hue is definitely not to be missed. This ancient historical town is full of rich history and culture. Hue is the old capital of Vietnam and like Halong Bay in the North, it has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has hundreds of well-preserved ancient ruins, monuments, temples and pagodas to be explored which all offer a glimpse into Vietnam’s complicated and fascinating past. There are also many famous local dishes that originated from Hue, one of my favourites being Bun Bo Hue, which is a form of thick-noodle soup with pork. This city is also on the banks of the Perfume River and so offers for a peaceful and tranquil escape from the larger city life of Hanoi and HCM.
4. Phong Nha
This is possibly one of the most beautiful and extraordinary places in Vietnam. It is again a UNESCO listed world heritage site, in the middle of Ke Bang National Park. There are endless trails and roads to be explored (particularly by car or motorbike), with spectacular views of the mountain ranges and rice fields. There are also hundreds of amazing caves and cave systems to be explored. My favourite one is called “Mud Cave” where you actually get to wade through the thick (but clean) mud, go down mudslides and even float in it!
Of course, it is also home of the recently discovered Son Doong cave, believed to be one of the largest caveS in the world! But there’s not just caves to be explored, you can enjoy the limestone cliffs, mountains and waterfalls all perfect for exploring by foot or motorbike.
If you long for cooler temperatures and to be up in the mountains of Vietnam then look no further. For those of you on motorbikes or with a car, the real beauty of Dalat is outside the city in the nearby forest and national parks which overlook Dalat. Here there is opportunity for swimming, camping, walking and fishing.
In the town there are markets and street stalls to be visited and don’t forget to try the famous Dalat strawberries (delicious!) or visit the wonderful Dalat flower gardens. Dalat sells its beautiful flowers all over Vietnam.
In Dalat you can visit the beautiful temples and Pagodas, full of tranquillity and serenity, situated on top of the various neighbouring mountains. How do you get to the top? By cable car of course! This twenty minute cable car will take you right to the peak of the mountain, with spectacular views of waterfalls and forest.
Visit the old train station and take the twenty minute train through Dalat’s wonderful countryside full of children playing, butterflies fluttering and buffalos roaming.
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