Vietnam stretches from China to Cambodia
Vietnam is located at the crossroads of Southern and Eastern Asia on the trade routes between Europe and the Far East. It stretches from China to Cambodia hugging the coastline of the South China Sea like a long winding snake. From North to South is a distance of 1650 km while at its narrowest point at Danang it is only 50kms. Its coastline covers over 3260 kms.
Time Difference: GMT +7 hours
Currency: Vietnamese Dong
Vietnam experiences a tropical and sub tropical climate and is exposed to the monsoons of South East Asia, which means high rates of rainfall and copious amounts of sunshine. Hanoi, the capital, enjoys an average yearly temperature of 23 degrees Celsius with summer highs of 35 degrees, while winter lows of 11 degrees are quite common. Ho Chi Minh City in the South of the country is usually around 26 degrees Celsius. Average annual rainfall in Hanoi is 1.67mm. The driest month is December and August is the wettest. Ho Chi Minh City has an average annual rainfall 1.95mm, with the driest month being February the wettest is June. The central region is hot and dry from mid January to August, October to November sees increased rainfall.
Hanoi is a compact city so the most interesting places for tourists to visit are quite close to each other. The North end of Hoan Kiem lake is where most of the hotels are situated. It is the oldest part of the city and the most interesting. It is also known as the “Old Quarter” or “36 Streets”, an area dating back to the 11th century. The 36 streets were each named after the commodity sold by the local business’s, ie medicine, copper, horsehair, chickens and coffins to name but a few. Probably the best way to explore this area is by cyclo, a very cheap way to get around or you can of course walk.
Halong Bay is a beautiful area in North East of Vietnam. Made up of 969 islets rising up out of the jade coloured waters of the bay, of which 980 have names. It was designated a World heritage Site in 1994. The distance from Hanoi is approximately 3 hours by road, so a day trip is a possibility. You can sail around the bay on a traditional junk with lunch included, while marvelling at the scenery as it unfolds.
Lovers of history will be in their element in Hue. Step inside this majestic Citadel. It still bears the scars of successive wars. Built in 1805, during the reign of Emperor Gia Long, the citadel is comprised of a series of central enclosures, within which stands the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City. Surrounded by a moat and a 10km long brick wall it covers 52ha. You will need to take a whole day to visit the whole site, however, you can wander around at your leisure or take a Cyclo ride if you prefer.