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Last Updated Saturday January 21 2017 02:30 PM IST

10 reasons why Vietnam should be on your bucket list

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vietnam lake

Imposing mountains, a long coastline, intriguing cave systems, temples and pagodas make Vietnam one of the must visit destinations. As you travel by, you can see the visible changes taking place in this country, which has had a long dark history of colonialism, war and poverty.

1)Wander in the mountains

vietnam farm

You can go trekking in rice terraces of SaPa or try and conquer the Mount Fansipan. Enjoy a scenic drive through Ha Giang. Explore Ba Be National Park northeast of Hanoi and trek in the mountains. On the border with China is Ban Gioc Waterfall, one of the most spectacular falls in the area. If you want more adventure, go to Da Lat.

2)The pristine beaches

Vietnam has a long coastline, beautiful beaches and countless spas. Head out to Ha Long Bay, the most popular beach in the country. Check out the beaches at Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Phu Quoc, Hoi An. You can escape to Doc Let beach while everyone else is catching the surf and the sun at Nha Trang.

3) The markets

vietnam city

A visit to the markets – especially the traditional ones is a must. It is in these busy shopping places that you get to interact directly with the local crowd. The conical hats, the long traditional dress called ao dai, silk materials, wooden clogs are some of the souvenirs that you should pick up while in Vietnam.

4) Mekong Delta

vietnam boats

A trip along the Mekong river will take you through the intricate life of the people of Vietnam. From the floating markets to boat rides into the remains of the VietCong bunkers, it is an unforgettable experience.

5) A boat trip on Ha Long Bay

vietnam boating

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must visit attraction. The bay is dotted with thousands of limestone karsts and islands of various shapes and sizes. If you are not on a budget, you can spend the night on a luxury liner, cruising through the bay. If you are on a budget, you can always bargain with an operator and get a day tour.

6) Train ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh

vietnam train

The Reunification Express links Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. Commissioned by the French in 1936, the line has been bombed during the wars, abandoned and rebuilt again. It will take you 36 hours to travel between stations and naturally, give you a glimpse at the life around.

7) Street food

vietnam food

In one word, it is yum, especially if you like non-vegetarian food. Goi Cuon, translucent spring rolls packed with greens and a combination of minced meat is tasty. And Pho, the national dish is a noodle soup containing beef or chicken broth. For the vegetarians try the Nom Hua Chuoi, a banana flower salad with lime and chili.

8) Art and culture

Head off to My Son, a set of ruins of the Champa rulers. Go for a dance show in Ho Chi Minh. Visit the Chu Chi tunnels if you are not claustrophobic. But make sure that you do not get ripped off. Tourism is one of the major money earner for the country.

vietnam temple

9) The exchange rates

One Indian rupee is equivalent to 333 Vietnamese Dong, the local currency. So make a wise choice.

10) Tet

vitenam

Tet Nguyen Dan or Tet marks the Vietnamese New year. A colorful festival Tet celebrates the arrival of spring and is based on the Chinese calendar. It is usually in late January or early February.

So why not plan a trip to Vietnam for the New Year vacation?

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