A country of arresting beauty and proud traditions, Vietnam is both the hustle and bustle of modern life and the tranquility of a bygone time. Its landscapes range from the Red River Delta in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south, with stretches of unspoiled beaches, verdant forests and soaring peaks in between. Add a delightfully complex cuisine - a fusion of French-colonial influences and local staples - and incredible cultural diversity, and you have a recipe for the trip of a lifetime.
Ho Chi Minh City - formerly Saigon - is a bustling metropolis in the south with rich cultural attractions that looks as much to the past as it does to the future. By day, absorb the sights and sounds of Cholon, the city's vibrant Chinatown, and descend into the Cu Chi Tunnels, the subterranean network used by the Vietcong. Then in the evenings, get a taste of modern Vietnam by wining and dining in trendy luxury restaurants and lounges.
Head north for the slower pace of life in Hanoi, the country's cultural heart that still bears traces of centuries of change. Take a luxury tour of this genteel city of wide Parisian boulevards and Chinese temples via cyclo, especially arranged by Asia Senses Travel & Tours, and delve into traditional culture by attending a water puppet show and meandering through the One Pillar Pagoda. Hanoi also serves as the perfect jumping off point for discovering the many traditional tribal regions of northern Vietnam, including Sapa, where buffalo paths and rice fields unfold upon an ancient landscape that is still home to hill tribe villages.
Between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City lies tiny Hoi An, a village set on the pristine South China Beach. Here, catch a glimpse at yet another face of this fascinating travel destination - total peace and tranquility.