Vietnam, seen by many as a far-off land, has joined Thailand as an exotic destination in SouthEast Asia. Vietnam travel has caught the imagination of bargain seeking vacationers from everywhere in the world. Hanoi competes with its better known counterpart, Ho Chi Minh City (still referred to as Saigon by the locals), for the attention of travelers drawn by the mix of old and new.

More forward-looking than different Vietnamese cities, Saigon has also kept its French colonial charms. Its energy is kept alive by the native individuals who have adopted the current government financial reforms (doi moi). Young and old have been swept up by the reborn free market after years of austerity. Saigon streets are packed with motor scooters, typically carrying entire families. The open-air markets, such as the Binh Tay within the Cholon District, attract local shoppers; as well as curious, discount seeking tourists.

All over the place, the views are fantastic. Enjoy the floating markets of the Mekong Delta, the place fresh picked fruit and vegetables are sold at the break of day. Luscious green rice paddies in the lowlands tended by farmers give a look at a centuries old way of life.

Misty mountains stretch from the south’s central highlands to the China border northwest of Hanoi. Coffee plantations, terraced vegetable farms and water falls provide awesome photographic opportunities. Small villages of minority individuals (montanyards or hill people) in traditional costumes give vacationers a look at mountain life.

On the central coast, Nha Trang, Hoian and Hue are common destinations for people who enjoy beaches, delicious seafood dinners, and relaxing tropical evenings. The Cham ruins inland from the coast and the imperial capital, Hue, take visitors to historical occasions in Vietnam. Everywhere tourists are welcomed by friendly hotel staffs and native shop owners eager to please their guests.

On the China Sea, east of Hanoi, is likely one of the wonders of the natural world. Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must see destination for any traveler to Vietnam. Cut price vacationers are urged to take a day / one night cruise of this geologic attraction. Halong Bay is a photographer’s dream with over 2000 limestone islands, some with mysterious caves and darting wildlife.

Cheap off season airfares make a Vietnam tour a viable different in your next abroad vacation. The bargains when you get on the ground will make it well well worth the trip. Give Vietnam a look!