Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) has an interesting history. As a strategic location for trade it became a city by the 1700’s. In the mid 19th century it was invaded by the French who ruled it until 1954. It retains its air of a French influence despite its very large population. The city is very active at night with late night restaurants, pubs and pavement cafés. The Tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting tunnels which are part of a much larger network which lie under much of the country. These were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war as hiding spots, supply routes, hospitals and living quarters.
Danang (or Da Nang) and Hoi An are part of Vietnam’s Golf Coast.
Danang dates from the early 14th century and became part of South Vietnam when the country was divided in 1954. It is now home to one of Asia’s best beaches, many world class resorts and some of Vietnam’s best golf courses.
Hoi An is more traditional with its history of Vietnamese international trade from the 16th century. It was revived in the 20th century to commemorate this and has a protected Old Town which with its wooden shop houses gives a sense of when this was Vietnam’s most important trading port.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is on the banks of the Red River and is its second largest city. As one of the most ancient capitals of the world it is known for its historical architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. It has many colonial buildings, ancient pagodas and unique museums in the city centre. It also has an Old Centre with narrow streets, varied cuisine, silks and handicrafts and a multicultural community with a busy nightlife.