There’s no escaping history with a Vietnam holiday. Here the ancient and modern collide, creating cities with a clear heritage and strong sense of cultural identity, but which too are also filled with all the amenities and connected-ness of any other major Asian city. The entirety of Vietnam is littered with remnants of its fascinating, and at times turbulent, history – from relics from ancient dynasties to reminders of more recent strife. In Ho Chi Min, it’s just a short journey to Cu Chi to discover the underground world once hand-dug and lived in by the Viet Cong. Then visits to Hanoi are dominated by the impressive Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City.
For visitors, one of the top attractions is Halong Bay. On Vietnam’s northern coast, over 2,000 islands project from the surface of the sea. Legend has it that Halong Bay, or the ‘bay of the descending dragon’ was carved by the tail and feet of a fleeing dragon, creating large valleys and crevasses which filled with water. One of the most impressive ways to explore the bay is to step aboard a traditional wooden junk boat. Let the scarlet sails unfurl as you cruise through emerald green waters, passing trees clinging to towering limestone cliffs and stopping to take a dip. Staying overnight on a junk allows you to explore the bay by kayak and discover hidden caves packed with stalactites and stalagmites before being lulled to sleep by the gentle sway of the boat.