What to do and Where to stay in
Southern Vietnam

The southern portion of Vietnam is bursting with tropical delights, from the bright lights of Saigon to the verdant, laid-back bounty of the Mekong Delta. The jungle island of Phu Quoc serves up white sands and cobalt seas and can be a wonderful final flourish to a stay in this region.

Experiences in Southern Vietnam

With its futuristic skyline and energetic atmosphere, Ho Chi Minh City – still known as Saigon to locals – is the country’s biggest metropolis and where most industry is based. Yet there’s still plenty of culture to soak up; from incense-infused temples to French colonial boulevards. City highlights include the Vietnam History Museum, the beautiful Botanical Gardens and Notre-Dame de Saigon, which was built with stone slabs from Marseille.

North-west of the city centre lie the Chu Chi tunnels – a subterranean labyrinth that once hid members of the Viet Cong. A guided tour will see you crawl through the small, dark passages (this is not one for claustrophobes) gaining a fascinating insight into the Vietnam War. A more sobering experience awaits in the city itself at the War Remnants Museum, which traces what happened to Vietnam during its turbulent 20th century. Please note, the visit is harrowing at times so probably best for teens.

Leave behind the bustle of Saigon for the gentle world of the lush Mekong Delta, nicknamed ‘the rice bowl of Vietnam’. A boat cruise takes you through the iridescent green sea of paddy fields and mangrove forests. Floating upon countless rivers, canals and streams, you’ll pass boats, houses and floating markets, including the Cai Rang Floating Market, the largest in the Mekong Delta. Munching on exquisite pineapple, deftly served up on a stick while watching local life unfold is a life-affirming treat. Alternatively, it’s a lovely area for a cycle, meander along the waterways and through the lush countryside stopping for lunch at a local homestead where the smiling locals serve up delicious delicacies.

Beyond the bountiful Delta, exquisite beaches and idyllic islands lie in store, ideal for anyone who wants to simply kick back and relax. Try the palm-lined powder- soft sands of Phu Quoc or Con Dao, where adventurous broods can do everything from jungle trekking to diving and kayaking. Further beach splendour is found on the Cam Ranh peninsula, on the southern east coast. For now, this area remains largely under the tourist radar but is not likely to stay this way for long thanks to its dramatic tropical headlands, cerulean waters, pristine beaches and near perfect climate. A sparkly new international airport ensures the doors are very much open, so get here before the rest of the world discovers it!

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