Tunnels, citadels, lakes and pagodas – great Vietnamese tourist attractions for people taking advantage of the UK’s first direct flights to this wonderful country.
December 9th is a date which every adventurous UK traveller should put in their diary; it’s the date when the first direct flight from the UK to Vietnam takes off.
And, thankfully, it’s not a one-off flight – Vietnam Airlines will be providing four flights per week from Gatwick to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Before the long-haul flight it is always worth checking out Gatwick airport parking so that you can relax on your long-haul flight knowing that your car awaits you when you return. BOOKFHR.com offer thousands of deals on Airport Parking to help you save money and make the experience of long-haul flying less stressful.
Vietnam neighbours other popular tourist destinations such as Cambodia and Laos but is so much more than just a stopping-off point.
The fact that 90,000 UK holidaymakers journey to Vietnam each year is proof of the area’s popularity; how many more will sample the country’s delights when the direct flights launch!
So what should the intrepid traveller expect when they set foot in this beautiful country? Well, in terms of size, Vietnam is slightly larger than the UK and Ireland. It also has an extremely thin waistline – it’s only 40km wide in the centre.
Things to see in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam; it was known as Saigon until 1976.
The place has a rich and fascinating history reflected in the number of museums it boasts. No visit to Ho Chi is complete without a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels; a 75-mile network of connecting tunnels which were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots while they resisted the American forces’ military presence.
The tunnels were a well-kept secret during the Vietnam War but not anymore – tourists are invited to crawl around the safer parts of the tunnels, reassured by the knowledge that booby traps have been clearly marked! The tunnels’ conference rooms – once used to draw up war strategies – have been restored and many of the tunnels have been enlarged to accommodate the larger size of Western tourists.
Perhaps, these tourists have been eating too many delicious Vietnamese delicacies such as sticky rice, dumplings and fermented fish hot pots.
Things to see in Hanoi
Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital and is the country’s second-largest city – it had its 1,000th birthday last year. The place is often referred to as the “city of lakes” – many of which have small boats for hire and floating restaurants. Hanoi could just as easily be called “city of temples and pagodas” – it has over 600. Booking a visit to the Temple of Literature should be put on every Vietnam visitor’s itinerary – any landmark which features on the back of Vietnamese banknotes has to be an important one!
Hanoi Citadel is another important and beautiful landmark; in 2010 it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Constructed by the Ly dynasty in 1010, some structures, such as the Flag Tower and Princess’s Palace, still remain.
Author: James Christie
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