Go back twenty years and Vietnam was on the bucket list of only the most seasoned travellers. Today, however, it’s way more tourist-friendly. The country has opened up in a big way and is now cashing in on its burgeoning tourist trade.
Vietnam is a magnet for visitors, but not just any kind. It is most popular among those looking for genuine adventure. The country may have opened up since the days of communism, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a sanitised experience: far from it.
People in Vietnam are smart. They want to get from A to B using motorised transport, just like everyone else, but they also know that cars are expensive. Remember, this is a country where twenty years ago, the average person earned less than two dollars per day! Thus, practically everyone in the country rides around on either a motorbike or moped – it’s much cheaper.
It also happens to be an excellent way to get around the country. You can start in Ho Chi Minh city and then follow the road all of the way down the coast to Hanoi. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can head into the country’s interior. Just remember, a lot of the roads are unpaved, so you’re best going off the beaten track in the dry season. Don’t get stuck in the mud!
Cruises Along The Mekong Delta
Many Vietnam tours take people on cruises of the Mekong Delta – one of the most impressive waterways in the entire country. The Mekong Delta isn’t just famous for being a beautiful geological landmark: it’s also home to monuments of profound historical importance, including numerous temples that you’re free to explore on foot.
The Mekong Delta is also a major trading hub. All along the banks, you’ll find merchants on floating vessels, selling their wares to passers-by. You’ll also find numerous fishing villages that make an income by exploiting the local water resources.
The Ancient Streets Of Hoi An
If you’re a keen photographer, then you’ll quickly fall in love with Hoi An in Central Vietnam – one of the least explored regions of the country. The town is replete with a mix of colours and styles and features some of the most beautiful landmarks you’ll find anywhere in the country, including a stunning covered bridge that connects the two sides of the town separated by a canal.
The Ruins Of Angkor Wat
If you’re in the town of Hoi An, make sure that you pay a visit to the nearby temple of Angkor Wat, perhaps the most impressive monument in the whole of the country. Angkor Wat is a complex of numerous towers and UNESCO world heritage site.
The site was much larger in the past, but part of it was destroyed in the Vietnam war during an American attack.
The Cycling Tours
Finally, Vietnam offers a range of cycling tours where you can explore the rice paddies and fields by bicycle. Be warned, though, the terrain in Vietnam can be unforgiving. Make sure that you hire a good off-road bike.