Category: Vietnam Cities

Quang Binh

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Quang Binh is a province in Vietnam, about 490km south of Hanoi. The entire area spans 8,037sqkm and serves as home to a population of more than 800,000 people. The city of Dong Hoi is the provincial capital.

Quang Binh has diverse terrain with everything from mountains to lowlands, forests and islands, as well as seas and rivers, making it a great place to visit, as there are many things to see and explore here.

For the past few years, the government had invested in the province in an effort to improve the infrastructure and services so that it will be more tourist-friendly. Transportation has been upgraded, while sites of historical and cultural relevance have been carefully preserved. Indeed, Quang Binh is now ready for tourists.

Ninh Binh

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Ninh Binh is 120km south of Hanoi, famed for its tranquil countryside typical of northern Vietnam. While Halong Bay has karst islands sprouting out of the emerald water, Ninh Binh has karst mountains sprouting out of the sea of green rice fields. On Halong Bay, travelers take luxury junk cruises amid the islands; at Ninh Binh, they embark on rowing boat trips gliding on rivers flanked by towering mountains or take bicycle tours through the villages and rice paddies.

Besides, Hoa Lu District of Ninh Binh was the site of the capital city of Vietnam in the 10th century before it was moved to Thang Long (Hanoi nowadays). There are still two temples dedicated to the Royal Families of Vietnam in the 9th and 10th centuries at Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh.

Other tourist attractions in Ninh Binh include: Tam Coc, Trang An, Thung Nang and Van Long Nature Reserve, all of which are flooded land encircled by sublime karst mountains. For those who love to learn about the Vietnamese spiritual life, then you should visit Bich Dong Pagoda and Bai Dinh Pagoda. Bich Dong is built into a limestone mountain and Bai Dinh is the biggest pagoda in Vietnam nowadays with walls stretching over a kilometer and with thousands of statues of different sizes.

Vinh

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Vinh is in the north of the Central Region of Vietnam. The capital city of Nghe An is Vinh City, 300km south of Hanoi.

Vinh is famous for its harsh weather characterized by red-hot summer, floods, drought and freezing cold winter. Nghe An was known as the “bakery of Indochine” among the French troops. Nghe An is rarely visited by foreign travellers. The province does have some nice beaches like the Lu Beach, Cua Lo Beach which are stuffed with Vietnamese tourists in the summer and cold and empty in the winter.

The area of 1.3 million hectares to the west of Nghe An Province, which belongs to the nine districts of Con Cuong, Anh Son, Tuong Duong, Que Phong, Quy Chau, Quy Hop, Thanh Chuong and Tan Ky and which includes one national park and two nature reserves, was inscribed as a Global Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO on 29th, April 2011. The Global Biosphere Reserve of Nghe An Province has high biodiversity and rich traditional ethnic culture.

Kon Tum

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Kon Tum Province is located in the northernmost area of the Central Highlands of Vietnam with mountains, coffee plantations and hill stations above 1,000m in elevation. The region of Kon Tum is home to many ethnic minorities whose life has been basically untouched by far.

Kon Tum is not on the travel itineraries of most travellers to Vietnam. The region is sometimes visited by adventure travellers who love straying from the tourist track. Also, some war travellers visit Kon Tum, as it was the site of many brutal battles in recent history. Luxury infrastructure for tourism in Kon Tum is simply not available yet, but there are decently clean hotels and restaurants in Kon Tum Town, the capital town of the province.

Pleiku

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The little town of Pleiku, and its surrounds, in southern Vietnam played host to the first conventional battle of the Vietnam War. Today the village stands reconstructed as a quiet, friendly frontier town.

The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) attack on Pleiku in 1965 sparked what became known as the Rolling Thunder campaign. Some 10 years later Pleiku was abandoned – and little of the town was left standing, although since the 1990’s much of it has been recreated.

Be sure to head out on an early morning stroll along Tran Phu and into the town’s colourful markets where you’ll see all kinds of produce (thanks to the clement climate) being hawked.

Buon Ma Thuot

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Buon Ma Thuot may not be as well known as other places in Vietnam such as Hanoi, but it is worth seeing. It is the provincial capital of Dak Lak (or Dac Lac) Province and approximately 360 kilometres from Saigon, deep in the Central Highlands of the country. Despite being one of the biggest towns in the Central Highlands, Buon Ma Thuot is only visited by a few tourists because it is off the beaten track. However, this town can serve as a starting point for those who want to see the attractions in the area.

Buon Ma Thuot is a small but busy place. With a population of about 300,000, it is home to ethnic minorities like the Jarai and Rhade peoples. The place is historically relevant because it was the site of the last major confrontation between the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese armies back in March 1975. These days, however, Buon Ma Thuot is better known for its coffee.

Lai Chau

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Nestled in a valley, this small northern town is surrounded by spectacular mountains and the Da River.

While there has been a recent increase in tourism to the area, these precious dollars unfortunately reach only a few and it is a poor town. Lai Chau has been particularly successful in trading both timber and opium. It’s a good idea to head to Lai Chau from Dien Bien Phu. It’s then possible to travel the 180kms up to Sapa – arguably one of the most beautiful drives in Vietnam.

Oddly enough, despite the fact that Lai Chau is situated in Vietnam’s north – which is generally cooler – is lays claim to some of the country’s hottest weather. Remember it can soar as high as 40 degrees Celsius during the summer months.

Dien Bien Phu

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Best known as the setting for one of the most decisive battles in Vietnam’s recent history, Dien Bien Phu is a remote heart-shaped valley just 35kms from the Lao border.

Son La

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Head east of Dien Bien Phu and you’ll reach paddy and banana plantations nestled amongst limestone hills – entrance to the small town of Son La.

Although small, Son La is an industrious, interesting and welcoming town. Wander round taking in the charm of this isolated provincial capital, and be sure to check out the old French Prision, an underground river system and with channels to nearby minority villages. This area was a hot-bed of anti-French resistence and many famous revolutionaries were imprisioned here, including local hero To Hieu, after whom the main street of Son La has been named.

We explore this interesting little town on our North Unveiled tour.

Mekong Delta

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Vietnam’s most fertile region, the Mekong’s riverine environment is simultaneously unique and beautiful. From Vinh Long, travel by sampan along narrow canals to tropical fruit orchards and bonsai gardens; sample freshly-picked fruits and the local delicacy, fried elephant ear fish; and navigate though the waterborne bustle of the area’s famed floating markets.

Many of our tours through Vietnam take a day trip from Saigon to the province of My Tho, gateway to the Mekong. We then take a boat ride to one of the islands located in the middle of the Mekong River. On the island we visit a fruit orchard and sample some delicious fresh local produce. We take the opportunity to visit a local family’s house, enjoy their hospitality and share with them some tea or rice wine.

Both our Vietnam Grand Adventure and Inside Vietnam and Cambodia tours travel to the scenic little town of Chau Doc.

At Chau Doc, we ply the river again to explore life on the waters, visit floating fish farms and villages of the Cham people, before watching the sunset from Sam Mountain over the vast rice fields stretching over the border and on into Cambodia. The Mekong – one of Asia’s most picturesque regions offers travellers the opportunity to experience rural Vietnam and a way of life little changed over centuries.

Deep in the heart of the Mekong , Chau Doc is an enchanting riverside town – home to the Cham and Khmer cultures, floating markets and houses and numerous beautiful islands.

Chau Doc area oozes cultural richness and beauty – let TUI reveal its natural charm, from the mystic Sam Mountain to the array of colourful Buddhist pagodas.

Once a part of Cambodia, Chau Doc is 285km south-west of Ho Chi Minh City and close to the Cambodian border. A stop at Chau Doc’s frenetic market is a must – though the old colonial covered market has been replaced with a metal and red-tiled version, colonial remnants remain. The narrow alleys of the market lead down to the river where you’ll find myriad bobbing boats and people going about their daily riverside commercial activity.

With TUI, explore the narrow waterways surrounding Chau Doc and nearby Vinh Long visiting floating markets, local farm houses and fruit orchards en route.

Chau Doc is also a great jumping off point for a visit to Cambodia. Thanks to a new boat trip, you can now venture by boat up the Mekong to Phnom Penh. Contact us for more information about the Victoria Sprite boat trip, which features in our Mekong and Temples and Inside Vietnam and Cambodia small group journeys. Crossing the Mekong border is a wonderful way to enter a country, and a Chau Doc visit is sure to be one of your Vietnam highlights.