A long and narrow country with amazingly diverse terrains, Vietnam encompasses the magnificent and remote valleys of the northwest, the high peaks and plateaus of its mountainous spine, and the pristine beaches and warm tropical waters of the southern coasts. The mighty Red River in the north and Mekong River in the south give rise to two immensely fertile deltas, lush forests, meandering canals, and vast paddy fields. Apart from its scenic wealth, Vietnam is a treasure trove of art and culture, evident in the museums and exquisite French architecture of Hanoi, the royal palaces of ancient Hue, and the elegant restaurants and vibrant nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City. This guide divides Vietnam into six regions; each area is color-coded as shown here.
Sapa, located in a remote part of Northern Vietnam, is known for its breathtaking beauty. Its landscape is marked by rice fields that rise in steep terraces along the flanks of the Hoang Lien Mountains, and has been farmed for centuries by the region’s ethnic minorities.
The Old Quarter is Hanoi’s unique commercial district. Originally known as 36 Streets, this center used to cater to the needs of the palace in the 13th century. Today, this colorful, bustling market is a treasure house of silk, freshly ground coffee, lanterns, and more.
Tra Vinh is a fertile delta town, featuring several narrow canals winding through dense foliage, coconut palm trees, and fruit orchards. Known for its religious diversity, Tra Vinh is home to a large number of Khmer Buddhists and Christians.
Hien Lam Pavilion in the Hue Citadel is also known as the Pavilion of Splendor. This exquisite triple-roofed temple is situated within the Yellow Enclosure of the Imperial City and presides over the massive Nine Dynastic Urns.
The Po Nagar Cham Towers were built in the 8th century and are among the most important Cham sites in Vietnam. Located in Nha Trang, these magnificent ruins provide an excellent insight into the architectural styles of the once mighty Cham Empire.
Mui Ne Beach stretches for 12 miles (20 km) and is one of the best beaches south of Nha Trang. Its windy weather between October and February is ideal for surfing. Mui Ne Village comes to life in the morning when the fish merchants are in action.
The Rooftop Garden of the Rex Hotel is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most popular restaurants, offering spectacular views across the bustling and atmospheric streets of the city’s downtown district.