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Home > Vietnam Hotels > Vietnam Intro

Vietnam Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations


Discount Hotels in Vietnam : Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Dalat, Danang, Hoi An, Hue, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, Halong, Hai Phong, Chau Doc, Binh Dinh, Can Tho, Lao Cai, Phan Thiet, Long Hai, Phu Quoc, Ninh Binh, Nghe An (Vinh), Dien Bien


Vietnam is an S-shaped country taking up the easternmost part of Indochina. It is a rugged country of mountains, coastal plains, and river deltas. Cambodia and Laos lie to the west, China to the north and the South China Sea to the east. Hanoi is the nation's capital, and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is Vietnam's largest urban center with many Ho Chi Minh City hotels. The majority of the country's population live in the rural areas of the Red and Mekong river deltas, as well as along the coastal plain. The government is currently attempting to resettle ethnic Vietnamese from high-density areas to less populated highland areas. No stranger to war and conflict in recent decades, Vietnam has witnessed her people fleeing the country in search of better conditions elsewhere. Large immigrant and refugee communities have been established in other countries such as the United States and France. Continued political and economic changes may motivate some of these people to return. For the visitor, Vietnam offers an incredibly diverse array of cultural experiences, fantastic Vietnam beaches, cool mountain retreats and Vietnam hotels and all at prices that are hard to beat.

Vietnam Map
Vietnam Map


Elephant trekking in Vietnam
Elephant trekking in Vietnam

Hanoi became a capital in the 11th century and remained a major administrative center until the 17th century. The city only became known as Hanoi when the French annexed the city in 1883. In 1897, it became the seat of the government of Indochina. After gaining independence from the French in 1954, and following the division of the country between north and south, Hanoi assumed the title of capital of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). Hanoi became the capital of Vietnam once again when the country was reunited in 1976. Points of interest include One Pillar Pagoda, built in the 11th century. This unusual pagoda sits on a stone pillar in the middle of a pond. Lenin Park (Thong Nhat Park) surrounds a large lake containing a statue of Lenin and is a pleasant retreat from the city streets. Near the center of the city is scenic Hõ Hoàn Kiẽm Lake, which contains two islands, on one of which stands the Mountain of Jade Pagoda. National Preserve of Cuc Phuong, located approximately 62 miles (100 km.) southwest of Hanoi, is a national park that contains bizarre and fascinating species of animals. The park's 61,000 acres is one of the last tropical primordial forest reserves on the planet. Important artefacts have been discovered, in caves located in the mountains within the park.

Ho Chi Minh City

Busy stands at the Saigon Central Market, Vietnam
Busy stands at the Saigon Central Market, Vietnam

This sprawling metropolis became the chief port of French Cochin China and later the capital of South Vietnam when the country was divided in 1954. Ho Chi Minh City was stripped of its political status in 1976, when the country was reunified, with Hanoi as the capital. Many Vietnamese still refer to the city by its former name, Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City has undergone tumultuous change since its founding in the 17th century. It was captured by the French in 1861, occupied by the Japanese in 1940, handed back to the French by British troops after World War II, and taken over by Communist North Vietnamese troops in 1975 after the US withdrawal. Decades of foreign occupation have influenced the ambiance of this bustling Asian city. French colonial architecture, rock music and western-style dress contrast with pagodas, Tai Chi, and three-wheeled carts. Museums and war paraphernalia such as tanks and helicopters serve to remind visitors of Vietnam War conflict.

As trade barriers drop and a limited market economy emerges, many Vietnamese who fled the city when it fell to North Vietnam are returning. A few sights to consider: The War Crime Museum for a look at atrocities committed by American and French soldiers against the Vietnamese citizens. The Historical Museum displays artefacts from Vietnam's distant past. The Reunification Palace presents a glimpse of French colonial rule. The Ben Thanh Market, formerly the main railway terminal, is the largest of the markets scattered throughout the city. Notre Dame Cathedral was constructed in 1883 and is located near the Tu Do (Dong Khoi) Street, the former red-light district. Cholon is Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown where sights include the Binh Tay Market, the An Quang Pagoda and the scenic Thien Hau Temple. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, a modern Japanese-style Buddhist temple, is easily one of the largest and most impressive in Ho Chi Minh City. The suburb of Tay Ninh, 24 miles (39km) northwest of central Ho Chi Minh City, is where you can see the Cu Chi Tunnels. This is an extensive network of nearly 200 miles (322mi) of Viet Cong tunnels used in the French Indochina war and American war.

Danang City

Paper shop
Paper shop

Known as Tourane under French rule, Danang was the site of one of the first US landings, and where an immense military complex grew during the Vietnam War. Today Danang maintains its military heritage serving as an important air and naval base for the Vietnamese armed forces. It is located midway between Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Fabulous beaches stretch out along this section of the coast. This is also the centre of the Champa Kingdom which prospered in the area around the 2nd century. Appealing stone sculptures of Vishnu, Shiva and other Gods can be seen in the Cham museum located in the center of the city. South of Danang, along the coast are five large hills known as the Marble Mountains. Mysterious caves within the mountains shelter altars dedicated to Buddha, Bodhisattvas and other deities. With its own international and domestic airport, Danang provides an ideal base for excursions to the ancient town of Hoi An, the imperial city of Hue and My Son, site of the ruins from the Cham civilization.


Known as the imperial city of Nguyen Dynasty, Hue was founded about the 3rd century BC. Today, Hue is a small quiet city and one of Vietnam's most popular tourist destinations. Notable attractions include the tombs of Nguyen emperors, pagodas such Thien Mu Pagoda and the Citadel. A moonlight riverboat ride on the Perfume River is a traditional outing not to be missed.

Hoi An

A short hop south of Danang lays the ancient town of Hoi An. The Champa Kingdom established Hoi An as a seaport and centre of trade for merchants from China and Japan. The Tran dynasty of the 15th century helped the town become an important cultural center. Hoi An's ancient past is superbly preserved in its fascinating temples, pagodas, and shop houses which make up the old quarter. Walking along the streets, one can observe the differing influences of decorative styles from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture.

Vung Tau Beach

Located at the mouth of the Saigon River is the popular Vung Tau beach with its villas and generally tranquil atmosphere. The temples are a definite must-see. The Niet Ban Tinh Xa is the largest temple in Vietnam.

Nha Trang

The central region near Nha Trang features some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. The ocean is clear, and the sand immaculate. Nha Trang is attracting more and more visitors each year. Tours in the area include the Cham Ponagar complex and the ruins of the long-deceased Champa kingdom.


This mountain resort area among the Central Highlands has wonderful panoramas and scenic remnants of the French colonial era. The Ethnic Minority Museum is worth visiting for those interested in the costumes, gongs, ornaments and other artefacts collected by locals from the Lam Dong province. Another point of interest, is an old abandoned nuclear power plant.


Haiphong provides access to the Cat Ba National Park archipelago, one of the premier Vietnam beach destinations in Southeast Asia. This region has beautiful beaches and pristine waters. Within the nearby mountains are caves and grottos. The park is located 36 miles (58km) east of Haiphong.

Halong Bay

One of Vietnam's most beautiful areas, Halong Bay has fascinating limestone formations, coves for nighttime excursions, sheer cliffs, grottoes, arches and scores of small islets.

Phu Quoc

A unique getaway island, Phu Quoc is situated in the Gulf of Thailand just west of the Cambodia / Vietnam border. Rolling hills and tranquil beaches are the main feature of this small island.

Non Nuoc Beach

China Beach, one the most wonderful beaches of Vietnam , was once a rest and recreation centre for the US military during the Vietnam War.

For more facts about Vietnam, Wired Destinations has availed Vietnam Travel Info with Vietnam Travel tips on Vietnam Sightseeing, Vietnam Dining and Vietnam Transport. You can also find our recommended Vietnam hotels, Hanoi hotels, Ho Chi Minh City hotels, Hoi An hotels, Hue hotels and Phu Quoc hotels.

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