Vietnam has established itself as one of the Tiger Economies of the East, and one of the jewels in the crown of Southeast Asian travel. Vietnamese overlanding holidays are the ideal way to see the sites, but what are the best places to visit in Vietnam?
When overlanding in Vietnam, you can explore its provinces and cities, jungles and mountains, deltas and plains. It is the best way to gain a real insight into a compelling yet still lesser-known culture.
Best places to visit in Vietnam
Vietnam is 1650 kilometres long. It’s quite a distance but a journey easily made thanks to a decent network of highways and reliable open-tour bus companies. You can even travel around Vietnam by motorbike.
Here are the top places to visit on Vietnamese overlanding holidays:
Most Vietnam overlanders begin at the southwest tip of the country in the Mekong Delta, the ‘bread basket of Indochina’. 10,000 new species of animal have been discovered in this ancient network of marshy distributaries and paddy land.
During the Vietnam War it was the scene of heavy fighting between Viet Cong guerrillas and the US Army. Today it is patrolled by fishermen in rowboats and distinctive pointed non hats.
A fine Asian metropolis
Colourful, energising and backpacker-friendly, Ho Chi Minh City is five hours east along Highway 847. It’s well worth stopping at the beer hoi (streetside beer stand), crawling through the Vietcong tunnels and exploring the elysian Binh Quoi water village.
A beach to find while overlanding in Vietnam
Just 220 kilometres up the QL 1A you find what is easily the best beach in Vietnam. Mui Ne enjoys a comfy average temperature of 27 degrees, Arabian-style white dunes and a soft, clean khaki beach.
Recharge the batteries with a bit of wakeboarding or kitesurfing in Mui Ne. It is easily one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.
Vietnamese overlanding holidays: War stories
There’s not much point in opting for a tour around Vietnam unless you’re going to learn at least a little about the Vietnam War. Hue, a city that played a key role in the struggle along the 38th Parallel between the old North and South Vietnam.
It is the jumping-off point for intriguing day trips to the civilian tunnels and the former US base Hamburger Hill. There are also several tactically-important bridges to visit.
The capital city, Hanoi, is a 10 and a half hour drive up the Ho Chi Minh Highway. It’s a more timid and restrained cousin to Ho Chi Minh City.
But Hanoi nonetheless has a sophisticated French colonial atmosphere. You’ll find renowned jazz clubs, alluring Buddhist monuments and the leafy Red River. Plus a visit to nearby Halong Bay is a must.
Saving the best place in Vietnam until last
Many travellers Vietnamese overlanding holidays highly rate the rustic northern district, Sa Pa. In many ways this is the ‘authentic Vietnam’.
The Himalayan-linked Hoang Lien Mountains boast miles of rugged trails. Indigenous tribes have farmed the steppes for millennia. Plus there are breathtaking views of Fansipan, the tallest peak in Vietnam at 3143 metres.
Sa Pa is a further 326 kilometres’ drive northwest from Hanoi. But well worth the trip.
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