Great family holiday in the summer of 2017
If you are still looking for a great family holiday in the summer of 2017, here are some things Vietnam has to offer. Besides the beaches and local culture, Vietnam has quite a few atractions for young and old.
1) Cultural Highlights :
Hanoi : A cyclo tour of Hanoi is an excellent introduction to bustling inner-city Vietnam, and the novelty of travelling on these three-wheeled wonders is a thrill for all ages. By dining at KOTO in Hanoi, you’ll not only feast on dellicious northern specialties, you’ll be supporting an excellent cause that helps connect street kids with careers in hospitality. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is worth a thorough visit, for those who are keen to learn about the multiculturality of Vietnam and for those who would appreciate some green space. There are both indoors and outdoors section. While the in-housed exhibition is particularly informative, the outdoors display and activities make the museum stand out from the rest. There are a number of houses modeling after the traditional architecture of ethnic minorities, especially those who live in Northern and Central highlands. You will be blown away by the elaboration of these architectures, at the same time being thoroughly engaged in traditional games and activities such as water puppet show, calligraphy, stone game (O An Quan). The museum is especially a great choice for those who cannot find time to visit all remote areas where live the majority of Vietnam ethnic minorities.
Hue : Famous for the poetic and charming beauty, Hue was chosen to be the capital of the Southern kingdom under Nguyen Lords’ dynasty long time ago. Additionally, Nguyen Lords decided to build a citadel complex where normal residents and royal families can live. Therefore, this grandeur architecture was planned to be built in 1803 by Gia Long and completed during 27 years from 1805 to 1832, under the reign of Minh Mang. It situated in the Northern bank of Perfume River, covered an area of 520 ha with three circles of ramparts, Hue capital citadel, Royal citadel and Forbidden citadel. At that time, Hue imperial citadel became the most massive structure being built in modern history of Vietnam involving thousands of workers, millions cubic meters of rock and huge burden of workload. The Ngu Binh Mountain in the South is used as a front screening elevation. The Con Hen and Con Da Vien (both are sand dunes) on the Perfume River are chosen as geomancy condition “dragon on the left, tiger on the right” to protect the capital city.
The first stop-over is the exterior circle, the Hue capital citadel, which started to be constructed in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long and was completed in 1832 under the sovereignty of Emperor Ming Mang. With a square shape, it is almost 10km in circumference, 6m high, 21m thick, with 10 entrances. On the top of the walls, 24 bastions are established for defensive purposes. Besides, the Citadel has an ancillary gate connecting the Tran Binh Bastion called the Tran Binh Mon (Peaceful protector Gate).
Hoi An : has been through a few centuries of history, but still remains as in the very first days of its being born. Its two main historical landmarks are the occupying of the Japanese & Chinese, and the Western (Dutch and Spanish) during the 16th and 17th centuries. During the period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Sea Town) in Vietnamese. Originally Hai Pho was a divided town, because across the “Japanese Bridge”, it used to be the Japanese settlement (16th-17th century). Then it was known to the French and Spanish as Faifo, a major international port city. Thanks to these days, the foreign comprehensively possitive and special pastimes and culture had made deep influences on the today’s Hoi An. Coming here, tourists can see a series of old-architectured lanes and houses with nearly 100% cristinely left from their initial buildings with mossgrown walls, deeply plain roofs, old furniture in their cristine past arrangment etc. Hoi An is fortunate to be a cultural crossroads of the Cham culture in the very first southward expansion of Dai Viet (the Vietnamese nation more than 5 centuries ago encroaching on the Indianized Kingdom of Champa, which covered much of what is now central Vietnam), the Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Indian), and the Western ones during their trading here in the 16th century. These diverse cultural influences remain visible today. Colourful guildhalls, founded by ethnic Chinese from Guangdong and Fujian provinces, stand quietly, a testament to the town’s trading roots.
My Son sanctuary. It comprises many Champa temples, in a valley roughly two kilometers wide, surrounded by two mountain ranges. It was the site of religious ceremony of kings of the Champa dynasty, and was also a burial place of Champa royals and national heroes. The My Son temple complex is one of the foremost temple complexes of Hinduism in South East Asia and is the foremost heritage site of this nature in Vietnam. Though the complex has been destroyed over time, we still see many majestic ancient ruins of temples in the area. We also spend time to visit a silk handicraft village along the Thu Bon River on the way back to Hoi An.
2) Nature and other highlights : Vietnam offers 3300km coastline, and that is even without the beaches … But it has much other to offer as well :
– Sapa : A Travel Mate’s Sapa tours, the best choice for you to experience Sapa realistically, where the majority of the town’s population is ethnic minorities who live in nearby villages around Sapa coming to town mainly to buy and sell their products. Sapa owns many beautiful sights that will captivate you immediately. The terraced rice fields in Sapa were ranked as the world’s most beautiful terraces by USA Travel and Leisure Magazine. The Fansipan Mount is the highest mountain peak in Vietnam and Indochina which can be seen easily from Sapa town. Engaging in any Sapa tour, you all have time to admire the beauty of terrace rice fields and the majestic of Fansipan Mountain. Sapa also the only place where you can see snow in winter and snow tour to Sapa is quite popular among the young.
– Halong Bay : A Travel Mate has offered both Ninh Binh tour packages and customized tours at reasonable price. Ninh Binh is a wedge-shaped province south of Hanoi, which stretches from Cuc Phuong National Park to the Gulf of Tonkin. It is the land surrounded by a stunning landscape of lush green paddy fields and striking limestone outcrops in main sights including Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Trang An, Bai Dinh pagoda, Hoa Lu ancient capital, Van Long and Cuc Phuong National Park.
The islands in HaLong Bay are mainly limestone and schist islands most lying in the two main areas: the southeastern part of Bái Tử Long Bay and southwestern part of HaLong Bay. These islands represent the most ancient images of a geographical site having a tectonic age of from 250 million to 280 million years. They are the result of many times of rising and lowering processes of the continent to form a karst. The process of nearly full erosion and weathering of the karst created the unique Hạ Long Bay in the world. In a not very large area, thousands of islands with different forms look like glittering emeralds attached to the blue scarf of a virgin. The area where many stone islands concentrate has spectacular scenes and world-famous caves and is the center of Ha Long Bay Natural Heritage, including HaLong Bay and a part of Bái Tu Long Bay.
The area is recognized as the World Natural Heritage that is the area of 434 sq. km with 775 islands. It looks like a giant triangle with Ðầu Gỗ Island (in the west), Ba Hầm Lake (in the south) and Cống Tây Island (in the east) as its three angle points. The nearby area is the buffer area and areas classified as national beauty spots in 1962 by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
– Cham Islands : A breathtaking cluster of granite islands, set in aquamarine seas, around 15km directly offshore from Hoi An, the Cham Islands make a wonderful excursion. The islands were once closed to visitors and under close military supervision, but now day trips, diving or snorkelling the reefs, and overnight stays are possible. A rich underwater environment features 135 species of soft and hard coral and varied macrolife. The islands are officially protected as a marine park. Fishing and the collection of birds’ nests (for soup) are the two key industries here.
– Paradise Cave: the cave was discovered by a local man in 2005 and 5 first km of this cave was explored by explorers from British Cave Research Association in 2005, the whole 31 km was explored and publicly announced by the British cave explorers. This cave is 31 km long, longer than Phong Nha Cave which had been considered the longest cave in this national park.
– Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia, formed approximately 400 million years ago. Riddled with hundreds of cave systems – many of extraordinary scale and length – and spectacular underground rivers, Phong Nha is a speleologists’ heaven on earth.
The Phong Nha region is changing fast. Son Trach village (population 3000) is the main centre, with an ATM, a growing range of accommodation and eating options, and improving transport links with other parts of central Vietnam.
– The beach town of Mui Ne, located a few hours away from Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), is a very relaxed place to relax and forget about the world for a couple of days. However, there are many amazing landscapes for those who are looking for some adventure in their lives.
The white Mui Ne sand dunes might not compare to the ones in Jordan’s Wadi Rum or any other desert but they are a very interesting sight to behold. The majestic sunrise over them will make that 4 am wake up call totally worth it in my humble opinion. The red Mui Ne sand dunes are a very interesting place for people watching as you see local women renting sleds for you to sand board from the sand dunes.
– Cu Chi Tunnels : The tunnels were dug with simple tools and bare hands during the French occupation in the 1940s, and further expanded during the Vietnam War in the 1960s to provide refuge and a defensive advantage over the American soldiers. Despite all the bombings in their town, the Cu Chi people were able to continue their lives beneath the soil, where they slept, ate, planned attacks, healed their sick, and taught their young. Some even wed and gave birth underground, but over 10,000 lost their lives here.
– Mekong Delta area is the largest rice basket in Vietnam which always covered with green rice paddies as well as lush orchads coconuts, mangos, pineapples, bananas and oranges. It is also the only region in Vietnam where riverboats and sampans are the main means of transportation due to low-lying, soft soil condition and condensed system of rivers and canals. Travelling with A Travel Mate’s Mekong delta deluxe tours, you will have a great opportunity to visit floating markets, directly experience the daily life of local people, participate in activities in bee farm, noodle factory, coconut candy factory, taste local foods and fruits or leisurely enjoy traditional folk music in Southern Vietnam in best conditions. A Travel Mate offers Deluxe Group Tours and Private Tours which concentrate on delivering best quality of tours for guests. With our deluxe tours, you will no longer worry about the crowded car situation, bad experiences and bad meals on tours. We bring you all the best as below to make your trip in Mekong Delta be a worth-spending and interesting trip ever that help you relaxing your mind after whole tired week working.
3) With over 3300km of coastline, Vietnam has plenty of secluded coves with white sands and waters fit for snorkelling. For days spent sunbathing and evenings watching stunning sunsets, these are the best beaches in Vietnam:
Long Beach, Phu Quoc
Long Beach (Bai Trong), spanning the west coast of Phu Quoc Island, is a 20km stretch of largely deserted soft yellow sand and swaying coconut palms. Ideal for sunbathing, sunset watching and swimming, this beach is great for classic tropical beach views and is undoubtedly the best Phu Quoc has to offer.
Star Beach, Phu Quoc
The largely undeveloped east coast of Phu Quoc is less frequented than, but just as beautiful as, the more popular west. A strong contender for the most beautiful beach on the island, Star Beach (Bai Sao) has dazzling white sands and mesmerizing, often calm waters. A few beach restaurants line the pale blue waters, and in season there are kayaks for rent and half-day snorkelling trips by boat.
Mui Ne, Phan Thiet
- Mui Ne is a beach resort town along the South China Sea in Southeast Vietnam. With a long, palm-lined stretch of sand, it has steady wind conditions (in the dry season) that makes it a top destination for windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing and other water sports. It’s also a popular weekend getaway from Ho Chi Minh City, with a busy strip of hotels, restaurants and shops.
- Po Sha Inutower is a derelict remainder of the ancient Cham culture that was built in the 8th century.
- Fish Sauce Plants, where the famous nuoc mam(fish sauce) is produced. Big jars harbour the concoction that, after months in the blazing sun, is sold all over Vietnam to add some spice to the food.
- The famous Sand Dunes(Doi Cat), on the main coastal road a short distance north of the fishing town at the north end of Mui Ne bay, about 10 km from the main resort strip. The whole region is fairly sandy, with orange sand threatening to blow onto the coastal road in some spots. The red sand dunes that visitors visit are about 50ha (1/2km²) of open sand on a hillside with ten-meter undulations, staffed by dusty children with plastic slides who will offer instruction and assistance if you want to slide on the sand. There are also white sand dunes located a further 24km away which have different surroundings & can be worthwhile to visit in one day trip together with the red sand dunes. At the white sand dunes, you can rent a jeep or quad car with driver for a short drive around the dunes but you can just as easily walk around in your own time.
- Mui Ne market and fishing harbor (Lang chai Mui Ne). Don’t miss out on an excursion to this quiet little village, at the north end of Mui Ne bay. The coastal road leads straight into the town (with a left turn required to continue up the coast). At the entrance to town is an overlook with a splendid view of hundreds of colorful fishing boats moored in the bay. Further along into town, just off the main road, there is a small but colorful market. Walking along the beach, you’ll pass by fishermen sorting out their catch, ship-wharfs and, at the southern end of town, a section where clams have been stripped of their shells for many years, so the sand on the beach is by now substituted with littered shells.
- The Fairy Stream(Suoi Tien) is a little river that winds its way through bamboo forests, boulders and the dunes behind the village, in parts resembling a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. Local kids will want to accompany you to show you the way (and of course earn a dollar or so), but since you’re just following the stream, there’s little need. For the most part, the stream is about ankle-deep and no more than knee-deep even at its deepest. It is sandy with few stones and can be walked comfortably barefooted.
City Beach, Nha Trang
Nha Trang, a delightful south coast city, is generally recognised as Vietnam’s premier beach destination. Six kilometres of sand joins the sea to the city, with rolling waves on one side and fringed on the other by cafes, restaurants, and some unusual modern sculptures. Watersports, day trips by boat and of course fresh pineapple are all readily available, but bear in mind the more choppy waters of November and December mean the beach loses much of its appeal.
Hon Chong Beach, Nha Trang
Just north of Nha Trang lies the secluded Hon Chong Beach – less refined than its central counterpart but worth the trip for the night-time views across the bay to the city centre. Cheap seafood restaurants abound at its far end.
Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An
It’s a popular bike (or motorbike taxi) ride from Hoi An to the clean, white sands of Cua Dai Beach. The best way to enjoy this stretch is to take an umbrella and deck chair at one of the many beachfront café-restaurants – you’ll be expected to at least buy a drink – to minimise hassle both from hawkers and other visitors.
Cam An Beach, Hoi An
Cam An Beach, just north of its more popular counterpart, Cua Dai Beach, is a pleasantly scruffy alternative to the tourist focused Cua Dai. Ramshackle bars dot the far less visited beach, seen as the local expats’ beach of choice.
Con Son Island, Con Dao Archipelago
Con Son is ringed with pleasant beaches – Lo Voi and An Hai are nearest Con Son town, but Dam Trau to the north and Bat Dat Doc to the east are less frequented and just as nice.
Ca Na, southern coast
Numerous parked coracles (round boats) line the beach at Ca Na, with its invitingly clear water and healthy, but razor sharp, coral. It’s easily accessible and, if wanting a little more solitude, just 2km to the south lies another good stretch of sand.
Non Nuoc Beach, Da Nang
Non Nuoc is a dusty, unkempt village, inhabited since the fifteenth century by stone carvers. Follow the paved road east from the village and you reach Non Nuoc Beach, a pleasant and stretch of beach that competes for business with its northern neighbour, My Khe.