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Archive for vietnam

A New Year in Vietnam

By Linda Tancs

The Vietnamese lunar New Year, also known as Tet Festival, is the most important festival of the year in Vietnam. Its name, Tet, is an abbreviation for Tet Nguyen Dan, and it commences tomorrow with the Year of the Cow. Although many tourist spots will be closed for the holiday, it’s still a good time to visit to soak in celebrations with parades, fireworks and dancing. The streets are vibrantly decorated, particularly with striking floral displays. February also offers great weather. You’ll find some of the biggest displays and store openings in cities like Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Vietnam’s Premier Nature Reserve

By Linda Tancs

Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest national park in Vietnam and is its premier nature reserve. Located on two limestone mountain ranges about 75 miles southwest of Hanoi, its rich ecosystem includes a fossilized sea reptile hundreds of millions of years old. Here you’ll also find over 2,234 vascular and non-vascular plants, 122 species of reptiles and amphibians and 135 species of mammals, such as the critically endangered primate Delacour’s langur. Trekking is a popular activity, and popular trails will lead you to several ancient trees, caves and villages of the minority Muong people.

The Roof of Indochina

By Linda Tancs

A trekkers’ paradise, Sapa is a small, Vietnamese mountain town close to the Chinese border abounding in iconic rice paddies. It’s where you’ll find the nation’s largest mountain peak, Fansipan. At over 10,000 feet, it’s commonly referred to as the “roof of Indochina.” It’s easier than ever to reach the “roof” thanks to the cable car, but intrepid trekkers might enjoy the multiday tours from Hanoi anyway.

Asia’s Largest Transnational Waterfall

By Linda Tancs

Spanning China and Vietnam, Detian is purportedly Asia’s largest transnational waterfall.   Surrounded by karst mountain peaks, the three-tiered cascade reaches its most rapid pace in June and July.  On the Chinese side, a walking path through tropical foliage lands you great views; just bring lots of mosquito repellent.  To get there, go to Nanning and then take the coach at North Passenger Transportation Center to Daxin County.  Upon arrival at Daxin, you should transfer to the bus route Daxin – Qilong – Detian.

The World’s Largest Cave

By Linda Tancs

Spelunkers, take note.  Beginning this year, there’s a new cave to explore in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province.  Known as the Son Doong, it was fully explored for the first time in 2009 despite being discovered in 1991.  Over five miles long and nearly 500 feet high at its peak, the passage is the world’s largest known cavern, a title previously held by Deer Cave in the Malaysian section of the island of Borneo.

Paris of the Orient

By Linda Tancs

Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) is Vietnam’s Paris of the Orient.  It was, after all, a French colony.  French inspiration is everywhere.  Consider the Opera House–reminiscent of Petit Palais–or the Notre Dame Basilica, its building
materials imported from France.  The area is not only a treasure trove of French colonial architecture but also a biological haven, hosting an increasing number of newly discovered species in the nearby Mekong Delta.

Sculpted by Nature

By Linda Tancs

In northeast Vietnam lies Ha Long Bay, an expansive area of over 1600 largely uninhabited islands and islets.  Thanks to its exceptional abundance of limestone cliffs, caves and arches sculpted by nature, this popular tourist destination is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Reachable from Hanoi (about a four-hour drive each way), consider a two-day excursion, complete with junk boat accommodations.  You won’t want to miss the dark sands of Scorched Beach or the picturesque formations of Heavenly Palace Cave.  Visit by month’s end while the weather is best.

A Cultural Hue

By Linda Tancs

Located in central Vietnam on the banks of the Perfume River, Huế is the country’s cultural heart, its complex of monuments earning recognition from UNESCO.  Once the seat of a feudal dynasty, that status is preserved at the Citadel, a walled forbidden city reserved for emperors, concubines and loyal attendants.  The ancient emperors’ tombs are scattered along the river’s banks.  Nearby is Thien Mu Pagoda, the tallest in Vietnam and a testimonial to the city’s imperial past.

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