Everyone has their favorite Vietnam moment, the moment you realized that Vietnam has its own distinct personality. The moment you end up telling your friends about endlessly when you get home. It might be the overwhelming sight of a thousand motorcycles bearing down on you while you make a mad dash across the streets of Hanoi, the sight of the blood red sun as it dips beneath the sea at Halong Bay, the smell of freshly cooked Pho soup at a street restaurant, or the feeling of warm sand between your toes as you stand on one of Vietnam’s truly endless beaches.
Vietnam, or the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as is it’s official name, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With 4000 km of coastline, miles of dense rainforest and a hill country rich in both natural beauty and culture, Vietnam has something for most travelers.
For a long time, it’s been part of the so-called “Banana Leaf route”, the traditional backpacker route through South-East Asia, where every year thousands of young backpackers follow the coast of Vietnam and into Halong Bay. The trip goes from hectic Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to historic Hanoi. Although Vietnam doesn`t have nearly as many tourists as Thailand, the tourist industry is getting bigger and bigger each year.
Vietnam has a pretty bloody history. It was a part of the big Imperial China until it got its independence in 938 AD. In the mid 19th century Vietnam was colonized by the French, with a brief Japanese occupation in the 1940s. The French got expelled from Vietnam in 1954, and the county was divided politically into two rival states; North and South Vietnam. The conflict intensified, with heavy intervention from the USA (they supported South Vietnam), into what is known as the Vietnam War. The war ended in 1975, with a North Vietnamese victory. After the war, Vietnam was unified under a communist government.
When To Visit Vietnam
Because of differences in latitude and the big variety in topography, the climate tends to vary considerably from place to place. The dry season is November to April when most part of the country is dry.
The temperature varies a lot in the mountains, from 5 c to 37 c, while not so much in the south, between 21 C and 28 C.
We used the Lonely Planet`s Vietnam travel guide on our trip. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below:
Blog posts from Vietnam
After spending some nice, lazy and relaxing days at the White Sands Beach in Mui Ne, Vietnam, we figured we needed some exercise. And what is better than climbing a mountain when you get restless?! We had read in travel blogs about this Tà Cú (or Takou) Mountain with a big Buddha, so we booked a taxi and headed inland for the mountain.
It so happened I had my birthday while we were in Mui Ne together with my brother and his girlfriend. We did not have any plans for the day, except to go out to a nice restaurant for dinner in the evening for a little celebration. The day started at the White Sand Beach, relaxing in the sun beds, when all of a sudden my brother came walking to the beach with a birthday cake! Iiiiihaaa, what a nice surprise! The surprises didn`t stop there, oh no! It turned out that Espen and Christer had arranged for us to take a Kite Surfing course!!! Wooow!!! I have for a long time wanted to learn kite surfing, so I was so happy to finally try it out! It was my best birthday present ever! The kite surfing course was fun, exhausting and challenging....
After Christmas, my brother Christer and his girlfriend, who both live in Oslo, wanted to get away from the cold snowy Norwegian winter, and come and meet us somewhere in South East Asia. All they wanted was a relaxing warm place with a nice beach. First we considered Thailand, but Thailand in the beginning of January which is peak tourist season, turned out to be out of our budget. So after a lot of research we decided on Mui Ne in Vietnam. It would be a trip filled with both ups and downs...
- Population: 90 million
- Capital: Hanoi
- Land Area: 331 210 km²
- Language: Vietnamese
- Religion: Buddhist (85%)
- Currency: Dong (VND)
- Time zone: UTC+7
- Drives on: Left