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Take a holiday in Vietnam, says travel expert Emma Savage





Vietnam is an intoxicating destination; it’ll open your eyes and change your perspective, writes travel columnist Emma Savage.

It’s a kaleidoscope of beaches, markets, mountain tribes and breathtaking scenery along with a rich history and culture, so while you could be at an incense filled pagoda one moment, you could be learning about its touching war sites the next. I’ve arranged a number of trips to Vietnam and my customers have all told me it was a wonderful country to explore. Recently, some tech-savvy customers uploaded lots of video and pictures of their Vietnam journey to social media - I loved following their adventure through Instagram; the sights and colours brought it all to life.

If this fascinating country is on your wish-list, I’d recommend starting your trip to Vietnam with a visit to the capital, Hanoi. With its hectic Old Quarter, Dong Xuan Market, and lovely temples, this charming North Vietnamese city has a mix of Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences. I recommend a city tour taking you to the must-sees of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, Temple of Literature, and Hoa Lo Prison.

View looking down Long Tail Alley river in Vietnam. Photo: Travel Counsellors
View looking down Long Tail Alley river in Vietnam. Photo: Travel Counsellors

While in Vietnam, you must visit Halong Bay. And the best way of discovering this Northeast Vietnamese UNESCO World Heritage site, with its rainforest-topped, towering limestone islands and wonderful snorkelling, is by small cruise boat, where you can spend a magical night aboard as part of your experience. You can also go kayaking here and visit a fishing farm where you can chat with the fishermen and find out all about their work and daily lives.

Get back to nature in the northwest region about 135km from Hanoi, in the Mai Chau Valley - a lush mountainous landscape, with hiking trails of varying lengths, routes, and levels, through rice fields, jungle areas, and traditional villages that feel lost in time. It’s a great way to appreciate this country’s natural beauty.

Do make time to visit Ho Chi Minh City, if you can. Formerly Saigon, this southern city is one of the most exciting in all Vietnam, with lovely French Colonial architecture, fantastic street food, and an evolving craft beer scene. Among its top sights are the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the War Remnants Museum, and Binh Tay Market.

Vietnam. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Vietnam. Photo: Travel Counsellors

And be sure to include the magical Mekong Delta. Floating markets and Khmer pagodas dot this region of Southern Vietnam, with its maze of rivers, swamps, and islands, surrounded by rice paddies. Bikes are a great way to see all the fascinating trades and activities underway along its waterways, as is cruising on a hand-rowed sampan beneath the shadow of the water coconut trees lining the natural canals.

Vietnam. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Vietnam. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Mekong Delta. Photo: Travel Counsellors
Mekong Delta. Photo: Travel Counsellors

Happy travels!



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