A place where the people are as diverse as the landscape, and where tradition and family are above all other things.
An Eye Popping Experience : Vietnam is a land of contrasts. In the north you can cruise Halong Bay and pass by hundreds of rocky islands that jut out of the sea. In the capital city of Hanoi, witness the organized chaos that is motorbike transportation. Gape at the mountains that line the central coast and watch as they tuck themselves west back into the highland landscape. Get lost in the maze of waterways that trickle through the Mekong Delta.
History & Culture: The Vietnamese have a long and complicated history and cultural traditions that differ greatly in each region. They are much more like the Confucian Chinese that the Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia. This is due in part to the 1000 year Chinese reign in Vietnam. Even today, the country shares holidays with China, such as lunar new year and the mid-autumn festival. The country also falls into different climate zones and encompasses different ethnic groups, which creates a greater melting pot of diversity.
A Nation of Foodies: Vietnamese people are, in their own right, food lovers. The local gastronomy is chock full of mouth watering favorites, which pull from it’s French and Chinese influence. The art of coffee drinking and cafe munchers is truly Vietnamese. Here they eat bread and meat sandwiches and milk coffee, or banh mi and cafe sua, with the same regularity that the Japanese eat rice and green tea. You can find pho ( beef noodles soup ) everywhere, and any time of day. The story goes, that this dish originates from the French Pot-au-feu. There is no typical day of eating for the Vietnamese, as their choice for lunch is dependent on what sounds good on a given day. Each region displays distinct culinary specialties and preferences, and the freshness of ingredients is as important as the dishes themselves.
Fun and Sun: If you’re on the adventurous side, you can buy a second hand motorbike and set out along the coast of Vietnam, either north or southbound, to see the country at your own pace. Kite surfing in Mui Ne or hike up the rice terraced hills of Sapa in the far north. Finish it all off with a relaxing massage and spa treatment at any of thousands of independent Vietnamese spas.