Anchored by three of Asia’s immortal cities — and blessed with breathtaking beaches, bays and islands — Vietnam has morphed from its war-torn days into a vacation paradise that runs a gamut from fun in the sun to fabulous food.
Hanoi preserves a fascinating Old Quarter, antique shophouses set around a lake with an island temple reached by a bright-red wooden bridge. From its Romanesque-style Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Saigon Opera House and the old city hall, Ho Chi Minh City is more a French creation. Yet with its restored Imperial City and flamboyant Royal Tombs, Hue is the most spectacular of all.
Nha Trang and Danang are the top beach resorts, although awesome sand can be found along much of Vietnam’s coast. Toured by boat, Ha Long Bay and the Trang An area of the Red River Delta boast the most extravagant scenery. The Northern Highlands are the home of colorful hill tribes, while the ancient town of Hoi An offers an amazingly well-preserved historic seaport.