Looking for someplace beautiful to visit this year? If you’re looking for a vacation that is not just relaxing and luxurious but also enriching and memorable, Vietnam absolutely must be on your shortlist for 2015.
Travel to Vietnam is relatively affordable, and once you’re in the country, you can expect excellent accommodations, food, and tours at unbeatable prices. Not to mention, Vietnam has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. For history buffs, there is plenty to learn and see firsthand from the era of the Vietnam War as well as Vietnam’s history as a French colony. Here are just a few reasons why you should visit Vietnam this year:
1. You can see the whole country in two weeks.
We know what you’re thinking. By American standards, two weeks is an extremely long vacation. But by European standards, it’s actually quite short. Two weeks is probably the minimum for doing Vietnam justice, and three weeks would be preferable if you want to truly immerse yourself in the culture and scenery of this lush country.
But even if you only have one week, that’s still enough time to see Vietnam’s most vibrant and historic cities. Wherever you choose to go, make sure to take time for Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. In both these cities you’ll find exciting nightlife, fascinating history, and friendly people. Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest city and is situated at the southern end of the country. In Hanoi, you’ll find French colonial architecture, the Presidential Palace, the Grand Opera House, tree-lined streets, and busy marketplaces. Both cities are simply must see.
2. Everyone should see Ha Long Bay.
Ha Long Bay is a UN world heritage site and one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see. Situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay overlooks about 2,000 islands which jut up from the water, making for a breathtaking scene. Tourists flock here to enjoy the beach and tour between the many diverse islands speckled throughout the bay.
3. Vietnam is a jumping off point for all of Southeast Asia.
Most people who visit Europe don’t go just to see one country. They take their time and hop between at least two or three small countries, and the same approach should be taken in Southeast Asia. One of the greatest things about visiting Vietnam is that it sets you up to also visit Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Of course, if you don’t have much time, you should focus your energy on the beautiful landscapes and history of Vietnam. But if you have a few weeks to spare, taking the time to immerse yourself in the highly varied cultures and historical remnants of this cluster of countries is likely to be a life-changing experience. We simply can’t recommend it enough.
Just remember before you go that you’ll need a Vietnam visa in order to enter the country. Vietnam visas are easy to obtain and the Swift team is here to help you with the entire process should you need assistance.
If you’ve been to Vietnam (or anywhere else for that matter) we’d like to hear about it. Please share your favorite highlights from Vietnam in the comments to give inspiration to other travelers like you.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.