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41ºC / 106ºF

Vietnam

Regardless of whether you find yourself in the south or the north of the country, or indeed if you’re travelling across this elongated country, you’re guaranteed to find something that will entice your interest around every traversed corner. In the north you can explore the mountainous beauty of Sapa or head to the coast to see the UNESCO Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay. A place of true natural wonder, boat trips will let you get up close to the monolithic cliffs that rise out of the sea, as well as the quaint coves that inhabit the coastline. While in the north, you should also pay a visit to the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. Here old pagodas stand next to beautiful French-colonial buildings, interspersed with modern architecture, and visitors will find a city of friendly locals and full of interesting sites. Visit the Vietnamese Women’s Museum for an alternative perspective on the nation’s history, see the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Mausoleum, where the freedom fighter and first president of Vietnam is buried, before heading to the Museum of Vietnamese History and the Hoa Lo Prison, which American POWs nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton. If after this heavy dose of history, you feel like escaping to something less bellicose, then catch a classic performance of water puppets or stroll along the banks of the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake. Further south from Hanoi, pay a visit to the old imperial capital of Hue. Once the seat of power for the Nguyen Dynasty the Forbidden Purple Palace, the surrounding citadel and the majestic Tombs of the Emperors serve as perfect glimpses into Vietnam’s magnificent past.  Finally we come to the south of the country. A place where the mighty Mekong River flows into the sea, where the great Ho Chi Minh City remains constantly awake, and where the gigantic network of the Cu Chi tunnels run underground as a stark reminder of the resilience and ingenuity of the Viet Cong during the war. In Ho Chi Minh City visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the opera house, or tuck into a delicious portion of pho or a banh mi sandwich, before going on a boat tour to explore the Mekong Delta. Vietnam is a delightful and friendly myriad of sights and you’ll never to find yourself short of things to do here.

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