Vietnam is one of the top travel destination in the world located in the easternmost on the Indochina Peninsula, 11 degrees north to the equator, boarding China to the north, Laos to the northwest and Cambodia to the southwest. It covers approximately 331,210 square km in total, including 310,070 square km mainland and 21,140 square km ocean, with a narrow coastline stretching over 3,000km from South China sea to the Gulf of Tonkin.
Vietnam is a long, thin, S-shaped country, just a bit smaller than Japan (377,944 sq km), and approximately 35% larger than the United Kingdom (243,610 sq km). The most narrowed part of the country is about 50km wide which is in Quang Binh province and the wildest part of the country is in the north, about 600km in diameter.
There are around 2,800 islands and reefs in the country. There about 40% of the country are hills, mountains, and highlands while 42% are covered with tropical forests. The flat area is a small part of the area. Mekong Delta and Red River Delta are considered the precious land and called the "rice bowl" in Vietnam as they are the primary places producing rice. There are also some places along the low-level coastline produce rice, however, due to tropical monsoon climate, the north and the central of Vietnam's coasts are usually damaged by typhoons.
From the north to the south, Vietnam is affected by different monsoon frequently. In the North, it is affected by dry and cold northeast monsoon in the winter; hot, dry southwest monsoon and humid southwest monsoon in the summer. In the south, there is the northeast monsoon in the dry season and affected by southwest monsoon in the rainy season. The Eastern Sea also brings plenty of humidity to the land area during winter and dry season. The average humidity is around 84% all year round. The rainy season starts from April to November and the rain is from light rain to heavy rain because of the typhoon which always happens around the rainy season. There are about 5-10 typhoons each year and the north coast provinces and the central part of Vietnam are always suffered severely as these areas are in the path of the typhoon. The amount of rainfall is around 1,200-1,300 mm.
In north of Vietnam, the four seasons are more distinct than those in the south, where only has wet and dry seasons. Snowfall is rare seen in Vietnam; the most famous place to see snow is Sapa in the north of Vietnam but it just happened for a short period in winter and every few decades. Due to the whole world becoming warmer, the snow is ever harder to be seen.
There are 1,500-3,000 hours of sunlight in Vietnam, and temperature varies from 5°C to 37°C depends on different places.
Vietnam is an affordable tourist destinations attracting millions of visitors from all over the world every year. The amazing culture of the country, the archaeological sites, the beautiful beaches, historic towns and the Vietnamese food are very popular.
Vietnam has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 32 national parks and 21 national tourists' areas and the country usually divided into three parts: the mountainous north, the long central coastal plains and highlands, and the southern delta area of the Mekong River. The most popular cities are Hanoi in the north, Hue and Hoi An in the middle, and Ho Chi Minh City or formerly Saigon in the south.
Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and famous for cultural and historic sites as well as modern comforts, while Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city, the commercial center and the old capital of the country famous in the Western world because of the Vietnam War. Hoi An and Hue are enchanting historical sites, having been nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The North: Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay
Hanoi is usually the first stop for most visitors to Vietnam. Normally, visitors spend two days here. The Old Quarter and the French Quarter are the most popular places for the visitors.
The Old Quarter is famous for being an open-air museum for Asian and French architecture which survived from the Vietnam War. The city also famous for its cafes and French patisseries, so take a break during your exploration by having a cup of local coffee at a street café will be a very pleasant thing to do.
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After a visiting in Hanoi, many visitors will take a journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay for a 2-day 1-night cruise to see enjoy a magnificent view of the limestone pinnacles and take some adventure tours on the sea such as canoeing, kayaking and cave exploring.
Some of the visitors will go to Sapa. It is a miracle place for foreigners where you can meet with the ethnic minority who live in their traditional way, wear their traditional clothes, do business in their traditional markets where there is always something special. Sapa is also a perfect place for trekking in the cascading rice terraces.
The Central: Hoi An, Hue, Da Nang
The central part of Vietnam is famous for its amazing beaches and world heritage sites. Many visitors will fly from Hanoi to Da Nang, an excellent hub for exploring the surrounding world heritage sites of Hoi An, Hue Citadel and My Son. In Da Nang, visitor can enjoy the beautiful beach and take some activities such as scuba diving on the sea but Da Nang is not a popular travel destination, instead, it is a very well connecting city with other places in Vietnam.
So if you want to visit Hoi An, you can fly to Da Nang first, then take a car to Hoi An. Normally, visitors spend two days here. From Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary is a must. It takes about one hour by car to go there. My Son was once the most important religious center of Charm culture. The rest of time in Hoi An, people like to strolling around the old quarter to observe the community halls, the historic buildings and discover the mouthwatering street food and delightful shops. Visitors also like to take some cooking classes in Hoi An to learn how to roll up a spring roll. Some people would like to take a relaxed cycling tour to the idyllic countryside in Hoi An.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hue is another charming place attracting lots of visitors every year which is filled with ruins and historic structures that make it a must-visit in Vietnam. Visitors usually spend one day to explore the city. You can find Citadel – a complex of palaces, gates, walls and ornate temples. The Thien Mu Pagoda, the tallest pagoda in Vietnam, an iconic structure of Hue, featuring 7 stories with a wonderful view of Perfume River is another must-see attraction in Hue.
The South: Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta
Ho Chi Minh City former Saigon is another charming place. Exploring the city is a very interesting thing. The liveliest and most famous area of the city is around Dong Khoi Street, boasting French colonial architecture, where you can find the Continental Hotel, General Post Office, elegant boutiques, and relaxing cafes. Due to its vibrancy, Dong Khoil Street is also called Paris of the Orient.
A half day to Cu Chi tunnels from HCMC is a popular thing to do among the visitors. Driving about 2 hours northwest of the city, through urbanized areas and quintessential Vietnamese countryside to the famous Cu Chi tunnels. In order to against the French colonial rule and invasion, the tunnel complex was initially constructed in 1948 to protect forces from the French air and ground sweeps. The tunnels served as communication routes, weapon caches and storage facilities for food as well as hospitals and living quarters for Viet Cong fighters throughout the American war. You will learn more about the tunnels' history, understand the hardship of life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese resilience during combat after visiting the tunnel.
An excursion to Mekong Delta will help you to experience an old-world river life of the Mekong Delta. Starting your journey at dawn, observe the floating markets from several sampans slowly gather into big market spots, where local people sell an impressive array of goods. Then you will take your sampan to enjoy a lesser-seen glimpse into rural Vietnam as it trundles along a slow tempo, as it has done for centuries.
Visit Vietnam with UME Travel
Millions of visitors come to Vietnam every year. They are attracted by its exotic culture, French-colonial building, mouthwatering cuisine, boutique café, and lively local markets.
Most of the them spend 9 days in exploring the country. Usually they start in Hanoi, and end in Ho Chi Minh City. During their stay, they also visit Halong Bay, Hoi An, and Mekong Delta.
UME Travel would cherish the opportunity to help you design your unique trip to Vietnam. Our professional trip advisors know Vietnam very well and they will assist you in selecting assist you in selecting destinations, activities and accommodations that suit you best.
Essence of Vietnam: 9 days Hanoi - Halong Bay - Da Nang - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh
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