If intrepid journeys are your thing, then Vietnam is ready for you to explore.
Over the last few years Vietnam has really embraced tourism, with many five-star hotels and resorts opening across the country, along with event centres, stadiums and growing infrastructure to cope for the influx of eager visitors.
However, this development is still in its early stages, and Vietnam is still the bustling South East Asian locale, steeped in culture and proffering temples, monuments, beaches, towns, markets and other places to explore without being overwhelmingly ‘touristy’.
Starting your Vietnam tour in Saigon is simple now that Air New Zealand flies direct to Ho Chi Minh City. Travel tip: you’ll need to get yourself a visa well in advance of your departure date. Leaving this to the last minute could mean late fees are added. Make sure you obtain a pre-approval letter (printed out), before completing the visa process upon arrival.
Formally known as Ho Chi Minh City, this area of Vietnam is rich in its history, and is most commonly known for its use as a base for the Americans during the Vietnam war.
Motorbikes and street food vendors litter the sidewalks under the neon lights, against the constant ‘beep-beep’ of the crazy traffic.
If you prefer your holidays a little quieter, Saigon is home to a number of museums, monuments and historical places that are definitely worth the visit. We recommend hiring a city guide to show you around and explain the history of every incredible landmark.
Jump on a boat and head up the river to the Cu Chi Tunnels to learn about the guerrilla war tactics the communists used during the war. History buffs will soak up the communist propaganda videos (which are somewhat amusing despite the extremely poor quality).
If you’re a foodie at best, we highly recommend grabbing your chopsticks and heading off on a street food tour. Saigon is known for its fantastic local street food. For around $40 you’ll get a private guide that walks you through the local foodie districts and takes you on a delicious journey you never would have found otherwise.
Da Nang & Hoi An
Want to escape the hustle and bustle of the inner city? Jump on a domestic flight to Da Nang. This seaside town is on the rise with a large number of resorts being developed along the expansive white sand coastline. The five-star resorts here are great value and are the perfect place for a bit of rest and relaxation.
Hoi An is a mere 20-minute cab ride away and is a must-see. An ancient port town with beautiful narrow streets, Hoi An is filled with shops and restaurants, cafes, produce markets, and more. Gain a deeper understanding of Vietnamese cuisine by joining in one of the many cooking classes. When you’ve wined and dined til your hearts’ content and are ready for something a little different, jump back on another street food tour. These are worth doing in every city as each area has its own unique twist to traditional Vietnamese hawker-style food.
Getting to Vietnam
Air New Zealand offers a seasonal non-stop service from Auckland to Ho Chi Minh City with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, flying two times a week from 24 June 2017 to 25 October 2017. One-way Economy fares start from $759 one way.