I have had the privilege of visiting four different parts of southern Vietnam (admittedly, all of them are quite a ways back): Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Dalat, Ho Chi Minh City. When taken as a whole, southern Vietnam has quite the interesting scope, making it a wonderfully fun and exciting place to visit.
Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by its residents, is the largest city in Vietnam – the commercial hub which has the openness and vibrancy of any modern southeast Asian city. It’s a city on the move, driven by entrepreneurs and a pop-cultural movement that sets the pace for the growing and quickly modernizing nation. From Ho Chi Minh City, head west to Cu Chi and visit the former free-fire zone and the maze of tunnels used by the Viet Cong to wreck havoc on American bases in the region during the war years. Or you can head south into the Mekong River Delta and experience one of the planets most fertile and productive rice regions.
Da Lat is the quaint mountain-top town several hours drive out of HCM City. Dalat is known for its quaint French villas, a year-round wonderfully cool climate, and beautiful serene scenery.
If beaches are more your thing, head over to Nha Trang and enjoy the wonderful seafood and restaurants along the beautiful white sandy beach that stretches the length of the city. I spent 10 days in Nha Trang enjoying the surf and sand – one of my favorite family vacations I’ve ever been on.
If you want to explore further north, you can hit the other beach town of Quy Nhon, or head up into the wild mountainous regions and indulging in places like Ban Me Thuot to see the booming coffee plantations.
Southern Vietnam is full of exciting and memorable places to visit, easily notching an important slot in my top ten favorite places in Asia.
Review so far:
10. Malacca, Malaysia
9. Chiang Mai, Thailand
7. Hong Kong
6. southern Vietnam