Leisure in Vietnam
If you are looking for an affordable destination with beautiful landscapes and a culture to match, Vietnam is definitely a country worth exploring. An adventure in this land will allow you to dive into an integral part of the history of ancient South-east Asia.
With activities ranging from visiting its World Heritage listed sites, natural parks, and beautiful beaches to traditional locations preserving traces of the past, Vietnam caters to every type of traveller.
Heritage in Vietnam
To date, Vietnam has eight World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO, and all of these are accessible by tourists. Each site charges a nominal fee which contributes toward their preservation and upkeep. Two natural and five cultural sites exist, plus one mixed complex, namely:
- Ho Dynasty Citadel in Thanh Ho
- Hue monuments in Thua Thien- Hue
- Mi-son sanctuary in Quang Nam
- Imperial Citadel of Thang Long Hanoi
- The old Hoi An town in Quang Nam
- Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh
- Nha- Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Phong
- Trang An Landscape Complex
Parks in Vietnam
The country has approximately thirty national parks where you can admire the diverse fauna and flora. You can enjoy a stroll through the national parks of Ba Vi, Ba Be, Cat Ba Hoang Lien, and Nui Chua to name a few.
Tip: Research and prepare beforehand if you plan to take food into one of these nature reserves, as this is usually recommended.
Amusement parks in Vietnam
If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, you can enjoy a day out at Suoi Tien Park. This historical park depicts Vietnamese history through its sculptures of legendary dragons and Buddha statues. In addition, there is a zoo, artificial beach, and a variety of other attractions on offer. A little further, in Binh Duaong, you can visit the Dau Nam Van Hien amusement park with merry-go-rounds, swimming pools, a zoo, theatres, restaurants, and a pagoda.
If in Hue, you must visit its abandoned water park which, although not functional, is every photographer’s and historian’s dream!
Beaches in Vietnam
Although its neighbouring countries might be better-known for their beaches, Vietnam has many beaches as well and offers enjoyable resorts and budget accommodation along its twisting coast. The most popular beaches are those of Bao Ninh situated in the province of Quang Binh, Da Nhay and Nhat Le, situated on the South China Sea coast, and Mui Ne.
The Sam Son beach which is located in the Thanh Hoa province, covering some 6 kilometres from the Lach Hoi estuary till the foot of the Truong Le mountain, is another exotic place to visit.
Trips in Vietnam
Ha Long Bay is popular for visiting the caves and neighbouring islands on a boat trip; an accessible drive by car from Hanoi. The islands of the Mekong Delta are popular for river trips, along which you will access floating markets, Khmer pagodas, and even villages amongst vast rice paddies. In Mui Ne, you will find white-sand beaches, as well as orange sand dunes which are especially popular for sunrise visits.
Traditional visits in Vietnam
To better understand the Vietnamese culture and traditions, you can stroll through the numerous markets in the different cities. You will discover the paradoxical noisy peace of Vietnamese cities, as well as food products and handicrafts. You will be able to purchase local food, clothing, souvenirs and jewellery at competitive prices.
For a truly authentic traditional visit, it is recommended that you visit Sa Pa in the very North of the country. This cooler town is amongst smaller villages in a very mountainous region. Traditional Khmer villagers live here, and offer either day-treks through the mountains, or homestays for the more adventurous traveller, in which you will eat and live with a local family in a village for an agreed-upon number of days.
Good to know:
Amazingly, the Khmer are mostly fluent in English; much more so than even those living in the cities. What is equally interesting, most of them are illiterate and cannot read nor write in English, Vietnamese, or any other language.