Chủ Nhật, ngày 01 tháng 3 năm 2015

Vietnam Heritage Tour 12 Days

From charming Hanoi with its fading colonial architecture and national monuments, to the spellbinding scenery of Halong Bay and Phong Nha cave in Quang Binh province. From amazing scenery of Hue & charming of Hoi An ancient town to the steamy city of Saigon on the edge of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is as colorful as it is diverse. Experience the very best of vibrant Vietnam, in 12 captivating days with Asianway Travel! Outlined itinerary: Day 1: Arrive Hanoi (D) Day 2: Hanoi City Tour, drive to Halong bay (B/L) Day 3: Half day Halong Bay Cruise , Hanoi water puppet show ( B/L) Day 4: Flight to Hue, drive to Quang Binh – home of Phong Nha Caves (B/L) Day 5: Full day explore the complex of Phong Nha caves (B/L) Day 6: Full day visit Hue ancient capital (B/L) Day 7: Transfer to visit Danang beach city & Hoian ancient town (B/L) Day 8: Half day My Son Heritage, Half Day Saigon City Tour (B/L) Day 9: Full day visit Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh & explore Cu Chi Tunnels (B/L) Day 10: Transfer to Vinh Long & Can Tho, discover the Mekong Delta (B/L) Day 11: Cai Rang floating market, drive back Saigon (B/L) Day 12: Depart Saigon (B) Detail Itinerary: Day 1: Arrive Hanoi (D) Hanoi, the country's capital has just celebrated its 1000 year anniversary. The city owns a long history, cultural richness and hospitality, which can be seen plenty charming facade, temples, pagodas and street insights. Hanoi is without doubt, one of Asia's most beautiful cities. Upon your arrival at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, we will meet you with the Welcoming Board and then escort you to your hotel. We leave the rest of the day to you to relax from a long flight. Evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner with traditional Vietnamese music will give you a first taste of Vietnamese cuisine and their culture. Stay overnight in Hanoi. Day 2: Hanoi City Tour, drive to Halong bay (B/L) In the morning, we start our day tour by visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum. The mausoleum is the last resting place of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s great revolutionist. It is a symbol of gratitude and respect of Vietnamese people for president Ho Chi Minh. The Ho Chi Minh Museum is the preserver of everything memorable related to Ho Chi Minh. The Museum consists of five extensive floors and was inaugurated on 2nd September, 1990, celebrating the 100th birthday occasion of the beloved President. Closed by, the famous One Pillar Pagoda which is built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter. It is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity, since a lotus blossoms in a muddy pond. After that, continue to visit the Temple of Literature (Vietnamese name is Quoc Tu Giam) – The Vietnam’s first University, which was built in 1070 in honor of Confucius, his followers and Chu Van An, a moral figure in Vietnamese education. In the afternoon, take a coach trip to Halong. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, and legend claims the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon from the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally plunged into the sea, the area filled with water, leaving only the pinnacles visible. Check in hotel. Stay overnight in Halong. Day 3: Half day Halong Bay Cruise , Hanoi water puppet show ( B/L) We will board our private junk and begin the cruise in the Halong bay. On this tour, witness the tranquil beauty and breathtaking scenery from the decks of a traditional junk, complete with bat-winged sails. Gliding through the gin-clear waters of the bay, absorb one of the most magnificent natural splendors of the Far East. See tiny islands dotted with rock arches, sheer cliffs, innumerable white sand beaches and peaceful coves. Like sculpted cartoon characters, these limestone islands have fanciful names: Incense Burner, Stone Dog and Fighting Chickens (the symbol of Halong Bay). Stopping for the most beautiful cave named Sung Sot (Amazing cave). Climbing steep stairs to explore huge chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds. Continue to enjoy this relaxing cruise through the fairyland-like landscape. Then we head back to Ha Long harbor and our waiting vehicle will transfer us back to Hanoi. On arrival, visit Ngoc Son Temple which is located at the northern end of Sword Lake. Enjoy a water puppet show. Water puppetry - " puppets that dance on water"- is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. Today's Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition. Check in hotel. Stay overnight in Hanoi. Day 4: Flight to Hue, drive to Quang Binh – home of Phong Nha Caves (B/L) Transfer to the airport for a flight to Hue, an Unesco World Heritage site. Upon arrival, we take a coach trip to Dong Hoi, the capital city of Quang Binh province in the north central coast of Vietnam. It is the closest city to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage Site, which located 50 km north of the city. On the way, stop by to visit the historic Hien Luong Bridge over the Ben Hai River, which served as a border (the 17th parallel) between North and South Viet Nam between 1954 and 1975. Hien Luong Bridge (also known as the "Peace Bridge"), is a beam bridge built from steel by the French in 1950. After the partition, the northern portion of the bridge was painted red and the southern portion yellow. The bridge was damaged by American bombardment during the Vietnam War in 1967. After the Paris Peace Accords, a modern bridge was built next to the old bridge. Check in hotel. Stay overnight in Dong Hoi city. Day 5: Full day explore the complex of Phong Nha caves (B/L) In the morning, transfer straight to Son River where we take a boat trip to the park and famed caves at Phong Nha – Ke Bang, one of the newest UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites in Vietnam. Upon arrival, explore the two famous caves Phong Nha cave includes 14 chambers, connected by an underwater river that runs for 1.5 kilometer. The Outer Cave and some of the Inner Caves have roofs that tower between 25 and 40 meters above the water level. Continue toTien Son cave which was discovered by a local inhabitant by accident in 1935. The entry mouth of Tien Son is 1 km from Phong Nha cave, at an altitude of 200 meter. This cave is 980 meter in length and like Phong Nha cave, this cave features spectacular stalactites and stalagmites shaped like several fairy-tales. Afternoon we drive back to Hue. Check in hotel. Stay overnight in Hue. Day 6: Full day visit Hue ancient capital (B/L) This morning, transfer to visit the Imperial Citadel which has three perimeters of rampart, namely from outside to inside: Kinh Thanh (Capital Citadel), Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel). Continue toThien Mu pagoda, an ancient pagoda in Hue city, can’t be missed. Its pagoda has seven stores and is the tallest one in Vietnam. The temple is often the subject of folk rhymes about Hue, such is its iconic status and association with the city. Afternoon, we visit to the two tombs of the Kings of Nguyen Dynasty. King Tu Duc's tomb and King Khai Dinh’s tomb, each tomb has a specific style and architecture, continue to visit Dong Ba market before come back hotel for relax. Stay overnight in Hue. Day 7: Transfer to visit Danang beach city & Hoian ancient town (B/L) In the morning, start our trip to Hoi An Ancient Town, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. On the way, stop by Danang beach city for a city tour visiting Cham Museum and Marble Mountain. Arrive in Hoi An, spending the afternoon for a walking tour around this enchanting port town of Hoi an, follow the narrow lanes lined with centuries-old houses influenced by Chinese, Japanese, French and European architectures and visit its numerous places of interest: the 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Phuc Kien Assembly Halls, the Tan Ky old house, the local market … Around the town you can see numerous art galleries and tailor shops. You are also free to get some made-to-order clothes if you like. Stay overnight in Hoi An. Day 8: Half day My Son Heritage, Half Day Saigon City Tour (B/L) Take a coach trip to My Son holly land, a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu Temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa .The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is "Bhadresvara". From the 4th to the 14th century AD, the valley at My Son was a site of religious ceremony for kings of the ruling dynasties of Champa, as well as a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes. Afternoon, transfer to the airport for a flight to Saigon. Ho Chi Minh (other name: Saigon) is Vietnam's largest and most populated city. On arrival, visitReunification Palace formerly known as Independence Palace, built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Hochiminh City. Next stop is the City Hall, Ho Chi Minh Monument and Central Post Office which was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the early 20th century. Right nearby, you can see Notre Dame Cathedral, a magnificent building located in the heart of the city and was established by French colonists. Stay overnight in Saigon. Day 9: Full day visit Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh & explore Cu Chi Tunnels (B/L) Drive through typical southern Vietnamese countryside to Tay Ninh Province in the west of Vietnam. At Tay Ninh visit the Cao Dai Great Temple which was begun in 1933 in a unique architectural style that reflects its blended traditions. The three principal colors of Cao Dai are yellow (for Buddhism), blue (for Taoism), and red (for Christianity), and these appear in worshippers' robes as well as the temple. In the afternoon, continue our trip to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long struggle for independence. It was an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers. In places, it was housed up to 10,000 people who virtually lived underground for years.... getting married, giving birth. Drive back Saigon for stay overnight. Day 10: Transfer to Vinh Long & Can Tho, discover the Mekong Delta (B/L) Travel to Vinh Long, a province located in the Mekong River Delta of southern Vietnam. Upon arrival, take a boat trip to explore the colorful Cai Be floating market, where you can observe all of busy trading activities of local traders with several kinds of agricultural product from one boat to another. You then continue the cruise to a local factory to visit and learn how pop rice, pop corn, rice paper and coconut candies are made. You also have an opportunity to taste these products served with hot green tea. Returning to the boat for an excursion to Dong Hoa Hiep Island and discover the beautiful and peaceful scenery together with the typical life of the region along the Mekong River. After lunch in local restaurant, enjoy a stroll along the narrow canals before driving to Can Tho. Can Tho is the fifth largest city in Vietnam, and the largest city in the Mekong Delta. It is noted for its floating market, rice paper-making village and picturesque rural canals. In the evening, you can wander around the night market in down town Can Tho. Stay overnight in Can Tho. Day 11: Cai Rang floating market, drive back Saigon (B/L) Early morning, take a boat trip to visit Cai Rang floating market which is one of the three biggest in the Mekong Delta. The shops and stalls at the market are boat of different sizes. Cai Rang Floating Market is open all day but it is busiest from sunrise to about 9am. Along the boat trip, you will also enjoy watching bustling activities along the Can Tho riverbank before back to the shore to visit to Binh Thuy Ancient House, it is a rare and perfect example of the character of the Mekong Delta. It is special thanks not only to an ancient house whose design is a combination of Vietnam and France with interesting involved stories but also a garden with various flowers and fruits, including a wide range of orchids and a record cactus. One more special thing of the house that has so far attracted a lot of local and foreign visitors, it is an exciting address for film directors. The famous French movie L’amant directed by J.J Annaud is an example. Drive back Saigon in the afternoon and check in hotel for the rest. Stay overnight in Saigon. Day 12: Depart Saigon (B) Free time for shopping or optional visit before transfer to the airport for flight back home. It’s time to say goodbye, we thank you for travelling with us and warmly welcome you to come again. Services end. Contact to Company: Asianway Travel Address: 8th Floor, 52 Nguyen Chi Thanh St., Dong Da Dist., Hanoi Tel: Tel: (84-4) 3 7755888. Fax: (84 -4) 37755889 Email: marketing@asianwaytravel.com Website: www.asianwaytravel.com/

Thứ Ba, ngày 02 tháng 7 năm 2013

Asianway Travel opens FAM 2013

A mega FAM tour to Vietnam and Cambodia conducted by Asianway Travel is being launched from July to August 2013. As a special initiative, Asianway 

Travel intends to offer its best selling packages to travel professionals. The trips aim to establish a connection with travel agents and better inform them about Vietnam and Cambodia as a potential market. They are delighted to bring professionals this great opportunity to explore and experience the treasures of Vietnam and Cambodia before offering them to their discerning clients.

Launched between July and August 2013 at the renowned destinations of Hanoi – Halong Bay and Ho Chi Minh City, with an extension to Angkor Wat, Siemreap, Cambodia, this promotion is open to experts who would like to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia without paying fees.

 FAMs, or Familiarization Trips, are being made available only to Travel Agents. Spouses or companions may travel at the same rate, or for a nominal supplement.

Asianway Travel, a Hanoi based company, was founded in early 2006 and possesses an experienced management board, dynamic team and has partners across Asia. It offers luxury tours, and a hotel booking and travel service to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Bringing you award winning services at most competitive price. With a fundamental understanding of the local market, as well as international cooperation experience, they have been a long time partner of many travel agencies and tour operators throughout Asia, Europe, America and Middle East.

For further information about Asianway Travel & their FAM trip program, you might visit www.asianwaytravel.com or contact sales@asianwaytravel.com ( Mr. Nhat – Director of Sale)

Thứ Năm, ngày 28 tháng 2 năm 2013

Wonderful Halong bay

 Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest. Explore more Halong tour through the lens of a foreign tourist.


By: Peter Veng-Pedersen

Thứ Tư, ngày 20 tháng 2 năm 2013

Top 7 places for Vietnam trekking tour

Trekking and Hiking in Vietnam is one of the prime attractions for those looking for active adventure holidays in Vietnam. Apart from the sheer thrill factor of exploring the many untouched territories and marveling at the wonderful beauty herein, these Vietnam treks will also familiarize you with the indigenous flora and fauna of the country. Here is our guide to the top 10 destinations for trekking and hiking in Vietnam:

Sapa: Sapa is one of the most enchanting of the Vietnam popular destinations. It is situated among the greenery of the high Tonkinese Alps. The mountain terrain with magnificent scenery and rich nature, cool climate and colorful cultures of the ethnic minority peoples make Sapa and surrounding area a superb place for trekking.

Pu Luong Nature Reserve: Pu Luong in Thai language is the word for mountain and Pù Luông is not only the highest mountain of this Nature Reserve, but of the entire province Thanh Hoa. A place of outstanding beauty, blessed with rich forest, limestone panoramas, magnificent rice terraces and romantic villages nestled in the landscape.

Mai Chau valley: Located just about 130 km far from Ha Noi, Mai Chau tour is one of good choice for many tourists.

Ha Giang: Ha Giang has many of village where is quite wild and keeping almost intact cultures has not been through away by trade storm such as Tay people Tha, Tien Thang mountain village about 5 km far from Ha Giang city, LoLo people Sang Pang A mountain village in Meo Vac town…Foreign tourists especially like nature beautiful sceneries in Xin Man district and interesting natural forests which has many kinds of valuable woods.

Cat Ba National Park: is converged by forest and sea. Forest and sea are combined together to make the unique beauty.

Cuc Phuong National Park: Typically tropical with an area of 7 hectare. This is a forest of limestone mountainous region with a lot of caves. There are also relics of approving that people had used from 12.500 years ago.

Nam Cat Tien:
is a national forest which located in three provinces Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Thuan, has many rich and attractive botanic and animals, is protected by the most strict methods.NCT has many kinds of millions years trees with more than 30m diameter. Stream, waterfall and mountain system is very gigantic and attracting…

Might you like to see:

Trekking tour tips

Thứ Năm, ngày 07 tháng 2 năm 2013

5 most common family activities during Vietnamese Tet

In Vietnam, there could be no other occasions more special than Tet for all members in a family to unite and enjoy a wide range of hilarious activities during the holiday. Below are the top five most preferable Tet’s activities Vietnamese people often do with family.

1. Watching firework on the New Year’s Eve moment

Firework shooting to announce the arriving of a New Year is a yearly event expected by any Vietnamese on the night. The show of light is organized in big cities of Vietnam like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue or Hoian, on the sky of the the best tourist attractions of the cities in order to provide best view and serve the largest number of viewers.




The sparkling art show on the sky in combination with the booming echoes of every shots seem to make people’s hearts pumping faster and becoming more exciting to welcome the New Year. What would be cozier than members in a family hand in hand enjoying the night under the hilarious atmosphere?

 2. Family parties

Parties with full of delicious traditional dishes is the main theme for the whole holiday of  Tet. From the last day of the year, family’s members all unite to enjoy “Tất Niên” Meal (the last meal of a Lunar New Year) to share all the sadness and happiness and experiences gained through the year. Not only that, the parties are also time to review family’s tradition, show respect to elders and strengthen relationships between members.


 During Tet, family parties can start from nowhere and there is not any exact time table for them besides the three main meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. A party may begin when some relatives or friends come to visit the host’s home at any time since foods and drink are stored at their fullest level during Tet.

3. New Year’s greetings

From the first day of the year, people start going around and greet their relatives and friends with the best wishes. This custom seems to be more common in villages than in big city because villagers live much more close than people in cities; also, they are often relatives of each other living in the same village. The order of people to be greeted is usually relatives first and then friends and colleague.

 Elders’ house would be the first destinations in which parents’ house is the very first one. This custom is not simple exchanging wishes between guests and hosts, it is the chance for brothers and sisters and friends to meet each other after a long separated year.

4. Lucky money for children and elders



This tradition is undoubtedly the most awaited Tet’s activity of all Vietnamese children. The custom is not a meaningless one since it does not only make children feel happier on Tet, it also educates them the value of money and how to save money for good purpose. Like its very definition, lucky money bring luck to children such as healthiness, intelligence and obedient and luck to the givers as well.

 5. Visiting pagoda

The lofty tradition reflexes religious belief of Vietnamese people has been preserved and developed for thousands years. People coming to pagodas and temple to pray for a happy new year with full of wishes may come true and showing respect and appreciation to Buddha and Gods who have been protecting and granting their wishes. Visiting pagodas could also a good way to enjoy Tet’s atmosphere and forget about all the stress and worry of the previous year in the sacred space there. Vietnamese families usually visit pagodas and temples with all of their members as well as going in grand family as a way to show sincerity.

Source: VNO

5 things you should know to travel Vietnam on tet


1. Transportation:

This is one big concern that seems to occur to most holiday travellers. Without doubt, it is quite difficult to plan your trip when air, trains and coach are mostly fully booked. Tet holiday is when domestic travel volume rockets, especially South-North route before Tet and North-South after Tet.

  2. Accommodation:

Vietnamese people have recently trended to travel during Tet because they have a long holiday. Some destinations they usually choose such as: Dalat, Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Danang...So it should be better to book hotel in advance in case your rooms will be fulled.

 3. Sightseeing:



The bad news: many museums, mausoleums, indoors exhibition place and art houses will be closed for at least 4 days, from January 22nd to January 26th.

The good news: beach will be empty, cities will be vacant (on the actual date of Tet) - overall a great time for those who enjoy the tranquility.

 4. Food:

 To many's dismay, most restaurants will be closed during Tet, be it local or foreign-owned. Most will be open until late January 22nd (the last day of old Lunar year) and reopened in the 4th or 5th date of lunar January (or January 26th, 27th of solar calendar). Wet markets will still run though vendors are scanty. Thus Tet may not be the best time for culinary tour fans. But Tet is like no other events in the year - there is a great variety of Vietnamese food that is not available elsewhere or else-when such as Banh Chung, Boiled Chicken, Pickled Onions. If you are invited to a Vietnamese family, that would be the ideal case. Otherwise, a visit to Cho Tet - special wet markets selling New Year stuffs, will surely be an amazing experience, whether you are in a big city or rural mountain province. Get your camera ready!

 5. Shopping:

Like restaurants, many shops will be closed for the first few days of the lunar new year. Some market will still be open, with much fewer vendors than you normally see, even in major trading points like Dong Xuan market or Ben Thanh. To your surprise, many products will be sold at a very reasonable price because most sellers want to start a smooth sales year. Try not to haggle or if you do, do so politely or else it will be considered to bring about bad luck for the whole new year.

Source: VNO

Thứ Hai, ngày 04 tháng 2 năm 2013

Top 7 destinations in Tet holiday 2013

Hanoi

Hanoi, one of the most beautiful of the colonial Indochinese cities, is often the start or end point of a trip to Vietnam, and what a great welcome or farewell it is. Oozing with charm, Hanoi has gone through wholesale changes since Vietnam swung open its doors to tourism, but it remains true to its essential personality and is an amazing city to experience.



Though considerably quieter than big sister Saigon, Hanoi still retains a vibrant atmosphere. From the early hours until late at night, the fig-tree shaded streets swarm with careening motorbikes, often with four, five or even six people aboard. A cyclo is available on most street corners, but unless you are making a particularly long trip, the best way to explore Hanoi is by foot.

Hanoi has a number of lovely parks and museums where you can while away the hours of a warm summer's afternoon - Lenin Park, south of Hoan Kiem district and just north of Bay Mau Lake are among the most popular, especially on holidays, when it's packed with picnickers.

Halong Bay

A cruise on Ha Long Bay - or the Bay of the Descending Dragon - for many represents the pinnacle of their experience in Vietnam. Easily one of the most popular destinations in the country, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay is both mystical and magnificent, an incredible feat of nature that almost never fails to impress.



Last time we counted, UNESCO had picked out 830 World Heritage sites around the world, chosen for their cultural and historical importance, and also for their geological uniqueness. Ha Long Bay offers a little of all three.
Over the ages, Vietnamese fishermen with too much time on their hands began to see shapes in the stone massifs atop many of the islands, and named the islands accordingly - Turtle Island, Human Head Island, Chicken Island and so on.
In what constitutes one of the most fascinating cultural features of the area, some of these fisherman still live on the bay today - on floating fishing villages, where houses are set atop barges year round, the inhabitants catching and cultivating fish throughout. (See: Halong tour)

Hue

The historic capital of Vietnam, Hue, sits astride a truly majestic and beautiful river, the Song Huong (Perfume River). The north-bank is host to its share of hotels and restaurants, but the area is dominated by the old fortified city known as the Citadel, spread across more than 5 square kilometers of ground, crowding out development on that side of the river. As a result, guesthouses, hotels and restaurants have sprung up on the south bank, starting with the river road, Le Loi Street, and stretching further south. The south bank of the river has been developed as park cum promenade, with an eclectic variety of public sculptures on display.

Hoian
 Pale yellow houses draped in bougainvillea, shop fronts lit with the glow of silk lanterns, women in conical hats lifting baskets of slippery fish from their boats -- life in old town Hoi An looks like a picture postcard of a Vietnamese country town. Of course, that didn't happen by accident. In 1999, the riverside town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in an effort to preserve its core of historic architecture, a unique mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and European styles. The listing gave Hoi An resources and impetus to better protect and maintain its wonderful architecture, and to market itself as a tourist destination. It worked, and the town now attracts visitors by the droves.




Nhatrang
The city is indisputably beautiful, bordered by mountains, with the beach tracing an impressive long swoop along a bay dotted with islands. Topiary and modern sculpture dot the immaculately manicured foreshore.
Nha Trang offers plenty to keep tourists occupied from island-hopping boat trips and scuba diving, to mudbaths and historic sites. But the main attraction for most visitors is lounging around on deckchairs at a beachfront bar and drinking cocktails in comfort.


Dalat

Dalat is quite different from anywhere else you’ll visit in Vietnam. You would almost be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into the French Alps in springtime. This was certainly how the former colonists treated it – escaping to their chalets to enjoy the cooler climate.
The French feel is compounded by a radio mast shaped like the Eiffel Tower and the local bohemian artists’ predilection for swanning around in berets. Dalat is small enough to remain charming, and the surrounding countryside is blessed with lakes, waterfalls, evergreen forests and gardens. (Read: Dalat tour)



Hochiminh City
As Ho Chi Minh City's cyclo drivers rest easy below vast neon billboards, the emerging Vietnamese middle class - mobile phones in hand - cruise past draped in haute couture on their imported motorcycles. Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam's largest and most exciting city.
Towering developments now pierce what was once a very low-key skyline. Five-star hotels and international shopping chains have replaced dowdy government guesthouses and empty shelves. Saigon has some of the best cuisine in the country, from cheap street eating to salubrious haute cuisine. A renewed interest in the arts has stimulated the art scene and many galleries and museums are slowly being spruced up. For a tourist there is a lot to do in Saigon.
And once you're done with the city, use it as a base to explore the surrounds - head out to the tunnels at Chu Chi, the Cao Dai temple at Tay Ninh or jet off to the sublime Con Dao. Then there's the entire Mekong Delta to explore. How much time have you got?