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Vietnam has a reputation for being a hot, humid country with lush, exotic jungles. Much of the country fits this description, but there are more climates to enjoy. Sprawling, white beaches and frigid mountainous regions offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy any type of activity imaginable in the exotic Asian destination.
Sparkling snow and ice blanket the mountains of the north region of the country. Extreme conditions may be hard to bear for travellers who are looking for a tropical holiday, but the rewards of hiking through the snowy steps are worth bundling up for when lifelong memories are made.
Vietnam is a country of intense contrasts. There are bitterly cold regions and sweltering hot areas. Travellers can visit busy metropolitan areas with luxurious restaurants, hotels and museums or enjoy the lull in peaceful rural settings.
Vietnamese cuisine is not to be missed. Vietnamese chefs have perfected the art of combining spicy, sour, salty, sweet and bitter ingredients for a heavenly taste sensation. Signature dishes include pho, a flavourful soup consisting of meat and rice noodles in a salty broth base, and banh mi, a combination of vegetables, pâté and cold cuts on a French baguette.
The configuration of the long, skinny country means that there are over 3,000 kilometres of beaches in Vietnam. It can be difficult to pick the best beach out of dozens of pristine stretches of sand under clear skies. Nha Trang Beach is set in the middle of the country. The sand is nearly white and lined with luscious palm trees. Mui Ne is another favourite of travellers because of the amenities available right on the beach. Masseurs are available to knead away the stress of life, and outdoor activities ranging from sand dune walks to kite surfing can be enjoyed.
Anyone who wants to experience the authentic culture of Vietnam can start by touring the abundant rice paddies around the Mekong Delta. This unique trip on a main waterway in the south of Vietnam takes travellers past floating markets where a snack or trinket can be purchased from a merchant in a small boat. The sprawling rice fields offer a stunning shock of bright green across the plains of this region.
Pre-war architecture across Vietnam offer visitors a glimpse of the past in a breathtaking package. Imperial palaces in Hue hark back to a time of unrest. The iconic design of the Citadel of Hue has survived over 200 years to remain a relic for travellers from around the world to visit.
Outdoor enthusiasts may get the most out of Vietnam by hiking the mountainous region in Sapa. Rugged hikes led by experienced tour guides make for a thrilling outdoor adventure highlighted by tiered yellow and green hills carved by step farming.
Best Time To Visit:
The best time to visit Vietnam depends on the region. Monsoon season runs from May through October, so travellers who choose to visit the country during these months should be prepared for abundant rain. Rain is scarce from November through April.
The weather in the south of Vietnam is mild and steamy in winter and spring. Ho Chi Minh City tends to see temperatures above 30 degrees year-round. The climate north of Da Nang can reach freezing temperatures in the winter months. Cold nights are common from December through February, and snow falls at higher elevations.
Domestic travellers take a holiday during Tet, a month-long celebration the new year. It is generally advised that foreign travellers avoid Vietnam during this celebration. Roads are clogged with vehicles, hotel rates skyrocket and travellers often find themselves unable to find transportation options when arriving in the country.