Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of vivid colors, honking horns, chaotic traffic, friendly faces, intricate history, rich culture and a foodies fantasy.
This gem of Asia is intoxicating in every sense. It is a paradox if ever there was one with a communist government and a capitalist economy that has been one of the world’s fastest growing.
Our travels take us on a geographical triangle of Vietnam.
We have started in the hustle of the country’s capital Hanoi. It is easy to say that the VRP crew are having a love affair with this exotic city full of quixotic lanes, street kitchens and never ending traffic. Everything about this city appeals to the savvy traveller. Its history is evident and it is often described as “Parisian grace at an Asian pace”.
Next we are onto the World Heritage site of Halong Bay. A majestic region with over 2000 islands rising from the emerald waters that words do not do justice.
Finally, we are going to the rural city of Ninh Binh, often referred to as the ‘real’ Vietnam. Often overlooked by many travelers it offers idyllic countryside, green rice paddies, fresh air, limestone formations, winding rivers and traditional farming.
Even just a few days in Vietnam is a traveller’s delight.
Quick Facts about Vietnam:
Population: 89.3 million
Head of State: President HE Mr Truong Tan Sang
Head of Government: Prime Minister HE Mr Nguyen Tan Dung
Australian Exports to Vietnam (2011-2012): A $2 037 000
Imports from Vietnam (2011-2012): A $2 842 000
- Cross the road in a busy city like a local. Try not to squeal as you run across the road and motorbikes dart around you.
- Do as the locals do and eat street food. It is cheap, fresh, vibrant and delicious.
- Delve into the bustling markets, the life blood of every community.
- Haggle with a cyclo driver about the price and enjoy a unique view of the chaos.
- Meet the minority groups in the mountains.
- Wander through the emerald-green paddy fields to discover rural Vietnam.
- Before travelling overseas register your travel and contact details online at smarttraveller.gov.au or the local Australian embassy. Also, always check the latest travel advice to ensure that you are fully prepared for your destination.
- Travel insurance is essential. Vietnam is relatively safe however when travelling anywhere, the unexpected can always happen. Ensure it covers you for everywhere you go and everything you intend to do to avoid any surprises.
- Make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.
- Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
- Check with health professionals for information on recommended vaccinations and other health precautions.
- Obey the laws and don’t give in to the stereotype that some in Asia have of Australians.
To help Australians avoid difficulties overseas, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has important travel advice for most of its destinations at www.smarttraveller.gov.au .