Destinations in Indochina:
This section 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.
Where 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 time.
Destinations 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 craft.
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
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.
Dien Bien Phu and Sapa
These two small towns are the main centres for the northwest mountains.
Destinations 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 Zone.
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.
Destinations in the South of Vietnam
Ho 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.
Destinations in Cambodia
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 pleasant ambiance.
Ton Le Sap
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.
Destinations in Laos
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.
The 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.
Luang Prabang - vietnam tours
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.