Destinations in Indochina:
This section of the web site contains an overview of the many attractions of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, collectively known as Indochina. It’s a large database of Vietnam information and an excellent source for planning your Vietnam holiday package.Where comments and opinions are expressed, they are a combination of our subjective views and feedback from former customers.
In general, the best way to travel Vietnam is to fly or take an overnight train between urban centers and use them as a base to explore the areas in and around them. Long distances and the country’s limited transport infrastructure makes road travel impractical if visitors want to experience more than one or two of Vietnam’s regions and have limited time.
Destinations in the North of Vietnam
Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi, is just over half the size of its southern counterpart. Like Ho Chi Minh City, it is expanding. It’s more stately and calmer than its boisterous offspring, with tree-lined boulevards and large colonial villas, many of which are now embassies or government buildings, and its prices are more reasonable. It is surrounded by many ‘craft villages’, each specializing in a specific traditional craft.
Vietnam’s third city is Haiphong, with just under two million people. Also in the north, about a hundred kilometers from Hanoi, it is the country’s main seaport. Hai Phong is close to Cat Ba Island and is an entry point to Ha Long Bay.
Halong City has a population of about 200,000. It is a comparatively recent amalgamation of a major tourist area with a heavy industrial mining town: initially uneasy bedfellows, the two elements are now fusing. Apart from being the main access point for Halong Bay, it is also a center for Quang Ninh Province and the northeast.
Dien Bien Phu and Sapa
These two small towns are the main centers for the northwest mountains.
Destinations in the Centre of Vietnam
Da Nang, in central Vietnam, is an expanding port and industrial area: its population is now well over a million. It is an attractive center for three World Heritage areas: Hue Imperial City, Hoi An Ancient Town and the My Son Sanctuary, as well as being very close to some excellent coastal resorts.
Hue is relatively small – less than a third of a million – but enjoys the status of being the ancient Imperial City (and the income from armies of tourists!). It is also a centre for visits to Quang Tri Province and the Demilitarized Zone.
Nha Trang, Vietnam’s premier resort with a population of about 320,000, is an attractive destination for beach lovers and divers. It is also the main access point to the Central Highlands from the coast.
On the southern end of the central highland plateau, the temperate climate of Da Lat attracts many Vietnamese tourists to swell its 150,000 population. Other small towns further north, such as Buon Ma Thuot, are also important centers for visitors to the Central Highlands.
Destinations in the South of Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, is by far the largest urban center in Vietnam. It has a population of around five and a half million, a figure that is expanding rapidly as poor people migrate to the wealth of the metropolis. Saigon is the country’s main commercial area: brash, noisy and, in Vietnamese terms, expensive. People seldom seem to be indifferent about it – they either love or hate the place.
Can Tho is a city of about 300,000 people and is regarded as the ‘capital’ of the Mekong Delta area.