Hanoi has been the capital of Vietnam for 800 years. It lies on the banks of the Red River, and is home to the first university in Vietnam, which was built in 1076. This city is surrounded by many tiny streets that form the Old Quarter. In this area it is possible to buy and barter for goods. Each street specializes in a certain product. In Hang Gai Street silk clothes are made, books are sold in Trang Tien,and Hang Dao street near the lake sells sunglasses.
To cater for the tourist there is a large choice of boats to take a cruise on the Bay. Some are beautifully appointed and take tourists for overnight trips. Tours include a visit to some of the many caves in the area. Others cruise around the Bay where fishermen have made a permanent home for their families. A boat selling 'supermarket' goods visits the village each day; there is a 'floating ' school to cater for the children from the ten floating villages. Some children have not been on land for years.
Da lat is a favorite spot for honeymoon couples. There are many beautiful big homes with lovely gardens. In the 1930's these were the holiday houses of government officials. Most of these have been turned into hotels. There is a big market where beautiful flowers and delicious fruits, especially strawberries are for sale.
Hue is a beautiful city. It lies on the banks of the Perfume River. It is also the third largest city in Vietnam. The City of Hue is very important, as the last 13 Emperors of Vietnam lived there and the splendid tombs of Tu Duc, and Khai Dinh are a tourist attraction. Hue was badly bombed during the Vietnam war and the walled fort called The Citadel is being rebuilt.
Hoi An is a tourist area where the main streets are very narrow and cars are not allowed. It is a famous spot for artists and a major tourist attraction. Tourists must purchase a 'Tourist Pass" for the day or pay to enter the major attractions such as the Chinese Temple.
HO CHI MINH CITY
Ho Chi Minh City the first port of call for most tourists, has tree lined streets and many fine buildings built by the French in the late 1800's. Notre Dame Cathedral was built out of red brick, and was constructed with two bell towers and a statue of the Virgin Mary at the front. The Opera House which is in the center of the city has recently been rebuilt .The Cuc Lam Pagoda was built in 1744, and is the oldest pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City. Phung Son pagoda was built between 1802 and 1820 on ancient grounds and several tombs lie inside this pagoda. Ho Chi Minh is a very busy and noisy city.
CU CHI TUNNELS
The Cu Chi tunnels were originally used as a military headquarters by the Viet Cong. They consist of hundreds of underground tunnels with dead ends and Punji pits, a form of booby trap to fool and kill intruders.
The Mekong Delta is lush, wet lowland that is home to the majority of Vietnam's rice, vegetable and fruit crops. Many tourists visit the Delta. Boats are available to take tourists to the many islands, such as Pheasant Island and Dragon Island to taste the local produce. Large ferries donated by the Swiss Government transport people and goods across the Mekong River.