Once a war-torn nation and even non-existent on tourist radars, Vietnam today is a country in constant transformation, and luckily for the traveler, towards the new, fun, and enchanting: with so much openness towards market-oriented economics, the government is a mecca for businesses, which of course entails being a magnet for tourist services, amongst them cafes some of which rival the posh establishments in Bangkok and Singapore, shops of all kinds and tastes, green parks; and above all, a unique natural beauty found in the heartland and nowhere else.
Visiting this city allows you to discover traditional Vietnamese food, experience the locals' way of life, and be inspired by stories of the city's culture, history, and cuisine. Vietnam's capital city is rich in history, with the streets of its sprawling Old Quarter dating back to the 14th century. However, today's Hanoi is about much more than the past. The ancient city is being refreshed with modern cafes, world-class restaurants, and great art galleries. A few days in the city don't get fairness, but fortunately, most attractions are within walking range of one another. Between the great activities are the Hanoi Old Quarter, the Dong Xuan Market, Hoan Kiem Lake, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Ba Vi National Park, Hanoi Opera House, and the Temple of Literature.
This area is Vietnam's business and financial powerhouse. Since the drastic economic changes of 1986, this vibrant city has changed from being an icon of a war-torn slum to one of a booming metropolis, rivaling the most cosmopolitan cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, or Kuala Lumpur. Ho Chi Minh is packed with fine restaurants, stylish hotels, swanky bars and clubs, shops crammed with imported luxury goods, and of course, the inevitable landscape of past colonials and indigenous greatness, like French-era buildings juxtaposed with golden pagodas.
In its interior, Vietnam hides some of Asia's most spectacular mountain ranges to the north. The central highlands are a marvelous beauty teeming with wildlife, thundering waterfalls, and towering mountains canopied by mist, all rising above a sea of greenery. This is the budget, virgin eco-tourist spot for the adventurous.