Destinations in Indochina:
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.
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 centres 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
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 specialising in a specific traditional
Vietnam’s third city is Haiphong, with just under two million
people. Also in the north, about a hundred kilometres 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.
Ha Long 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 Ha Long Bay, it is also a centre for Quang
Ninh Province and the northeast.
Bien Phu and Sapa
These two small towns are the main centres for the northwest
in the Centre of Vietnam
Danang, in central Vietnam, is an expanding port and industrial
area: its population is now well over a million. It is an
attractive centre 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
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 Dalat attracts many Vietnamese tourists
to swell its 150,000 population. Other small towns further
north, such as Buon Ma Thuot, are also important centres
for visitors to the Central Highlands.
in the South of Vietnam
Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, is by far the largest
urban centre 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.
Cambodia's capital is at the eastern end of Ton Le Sap,
a large lake linked to the Mekong River. Its main attraction
is the Silver Pagoda, one of the few heritage buildings
to escape the ravages of the Khmer Rouge madness.
Although the town is usually regarded as merely a service
centre for the Angkor complex, it is also of interest in
its own right, notably for its wooden stilt buildings and
One of Indochina's natural wonders, Ton Le Sap is a natural
reservoir linked to the Mekong.
The magnificent Angkor Temple Complex is easily Indochina's
leading attraction, and one of the finest UNESCO World Heritage
Areas. To describe it in a few sentences is impossible –
words alone cannot do it justice.
Although comparatively few of its heritage buildings survived
a series of wars, the capital of Laos has attractive colonial
architecture and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, with
enough to make a few days a pleasant, relaxing experience.
Plain of Jars
Phonsavanh is the centre for the mysterious 'Plain of Jars',
but has little else to commend it. The Plain itself is worth
a stop en-route to Luang Prabang.
The excellent World Heritage area of Luang Prabang can be
reached direct by air, and fully compensates for Vientiane's
lack of historical attractions. It is generally regarded
as the best example of a historic town complex in Indochina.