Ho Chi Minh City formerly called as Saigon, was the capital city of Vietnam during the French colonisation and later during independent republic of South Vietnam from 1955–75. This historic city has a lot to offer from tourism point of view; for instance the History Museum and Presidential Palace or the Palace of Reunification which was also a former residence of the French governor and President of the Republic of South Vietnam. From here we head to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a red brick building with neoclassical style, architecture was built between 1877 and 1883. Next up is the Main Post building of the city. A taste of western consumerism is the best way to define the wide and clean Dong Khoi Street (also known as Rue Catinat), it is aligned with some the high end fashion brand stores. There is so much to do and visit in this city; the Continental Hotel, Opera and old town hall, is without doubt one of the most unique buildings in the city. Built in 1908 it currently houses the City People’s Committee.
Cu Chi Tunnels built during the freedom struggle today make up for some adventures tourist spot. The Viet Minh dug a network of tunnels in the 50’s that was expanded later by Vietcong up to 12 meters below ground. This network of over 250 km was in the late 60’s a real multi-level underground city, with dormitories, hospitals, factories and warehouses of weapons, command centres and kitchens. A section of 50 meters of this tunnel is open for visitors, which have been enlarged, measuring 70-80 cm wide and 1.20 m high.
Cao Dai Temple is a relatively modern syncretistic, monotheistic religion, officially established in the city of Tây Ninh, southern Vietnam in 1926. Cao means “high” and Đài means “dais”. The Caodismo is one of the original religions practiced today. His doctrine is a combination of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity and Islam and its temple architecture is a real mix of all these religions.
On the fourth day of this trip board the first flight to Hue, originally called Phu Xuan. Located in the province of Thua Thien Hue, and with a population of 200,000 Hue was founded in 1802 by the tenth Lord Nguyen after suppressing the rebellion of the Tay Son, proclaimed himself emperor and made Phu Xuan, renamed Hue. In 1885, after 143 years of pleasant rule the French captured this capital and in 1945, the city was occupied by the Japanese. In Hue the main attractions are; Perfume River, in the autumn, flowers from orchards fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma, hence the name. The river offers sightseeing and boat rides. The Imperial Citadel, 21 meters high Thien Mu Pagoda, built in 1601, mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc and the local Dong Ba Market.
Day 5 is reserved for a new city; Hoi An. This city was declared a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site. On the way one must stop by the mountain pass known as Hai Van that translates to Cloudy Pass, where we see the remains of the anti bombers.Cham Museum of Art, in Danang houses one of the largest collections of Cham art. The Centre of Hoi An town resonates a traditional home. Next on the itinerary is the 400 years old ‘Japanese covered bridge’ lined by several clothing and fashion stores to shop from.
Even the hardcore travellers need to relax every once in a while. Enjoy a relaxing free day on the beaches of Hoi or go diving in the Cham Island to rejuvenate yourself. Swim with the tropical marine life, sinking into the deep blue colours of ocean. A Cham island is a blissful haven for tropical beauty of nature.
On the 7th day we move to the capital of the country, Hanoi is located on the right bank of Red River. The City Centre has hardly changed since 1955, with its old temples and pagodas, parks, lakes and French colonial-style buildings. Hanoi has some interesting destinations to visit like the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. A cycling expedition through the Old Quarter is nice exercise for both body and mind. After this be prepare to see one of its kind and strangely unique puppets on water show.
Halong Bay is probably the strongest visual depiction of Vietnam. The lime stone caves, huge rocks in the middle of vast blue waters and the fallen clouds all create the most surreal painting ever. The Bay borders China and is the eighth wonder of the world. It occupies an area of 1.550 km. Sq and has about 3,000 islands and islets covered with vegetation that emerge from the sea and shapes of strange sculptures. Glide onboard of a cruising boat and enjoy this wonderful place with lunch, dinner and overnight on board.
On the last day of this 10 day trip things have not yet come to an end. Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple, two of the most visited in Hanoi. Don’t forget to collect memorable souvenirs from this exotic fairyland before you board off to your homeland.
- Cao City Great Temple – Visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels
- Hue – Imperial Citadel, Tu Duc Tomb and Dong Ba Market
- Danang – Cham Museum
- Hoi An – Japaness Cover Bridge
- Tan Ky House and Phuoc Kien Pagada – Shopping
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One pilar pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple, Hoan Kiem lake
- One hour cycle to the Old Quarter
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