Vietnam: Exploring the Indochina Peninsula

Where can you find thousands of miles of rocky and densely forested coastline, ornate architecture influenced by centuries-old dynasties and incredibly fresh cuisine that’s both delicious and shockingly inexpensive? If you guessed Vietnam, you’re right. This Southeast Asia country has substantially grown in popularity as a tourist destination since the 1990s, and it’s no wonder. With overwhelming natural beauty and a vibrant culture, your trip to Vietnam will leave an unforgettable imprint on your memory and your appetite.

Hanoi [Vietnam]

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Hanoi | Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, sits in the northern region of the country on the bank of the Red River, inland from the South China Sea. Relatively untouched by the Vietnam War, the city offers a unique look at modern and bygone Vietnam. In the Old Quarter, visitors have a chance to experience old Hanoi, known for its silk shops, street food and artists. Vietnam’s French colonial roots are more apparent in the architecture throughout the city, including the National Museum of Vietnamese History. A trip to Hanoi would be incomplete without trying a bowl of the city’s most well-known street fare, pho. This rice noodle soup is a favorite breakfast food among citizens, and typically comes with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga).

Hue [Vietnam]

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Hue | Moving down the coast you’ll run into Hue – a coastal city that once served as the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty during the 19th and 20th centuries. Its modern structures and many of its longstanding palaces, temples and tombs bear the structural scars of the country past warfare, offering travelers a distinctive look at Vietnam through the decades. Here, you can learn more about the past Nguyen emperors’ way of life and visit their forbidden city now protected as a world heritage site. Hue’s gastronomical landscape differs from many other Vietnam cities in that it offers several all-vegetarian restaurants, as well and smaller serving sizes – a holdover from its royal times.

Ho Chi Minh City [Vietnam]

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Ho Chi Minh City | Formerly Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the pulse of Southern Vietnam – and the country, for that matter. A popular Asian metropolis constantly pushing forward in commerce, cuisine and tourism, Ho Chi Minh City is a must on your trip through the country. A better example of urban Vietnam cityscape and aging vestiges of the Nguyen Dynasty together in harmony would be hard to find. This Saigon River city offers something for every visitor, whether you are in search of traditional temples and market wares of old Saigon or a no-holds-barred experience of the city’s most contemporary hotels, restaurants and nightclubs.


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Lauren Elizondo

Autumn foliage, architectural decay, that feeling you get in your stomach when you speed over a dip in the road – these are just a few of Lauren Elizondo’s favorite things she’s had the chance to experience while traveling. When Lauren’s not writing abo

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