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Vietnam

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Ideally located at the crossroads of Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a travel destination that has remained authentic while undergoing a tremendous economic and cultural transformation over the past 20 years

A great asset for tourism and for those who wish to discover this beautiful country, especially since the new Asian dragon benefits from an extraordinary variety of landscapes and a precious historical heritage, a melting pot of civilizations and multiple influences whether in northern Vietnam or southern Vietnam. You can then enjoy them during your stay in Vietnam by going off the beaten track and making different tours in the country by choosing the best time for it (and a good tourist guide). Terraced rice fields, bamboo forests, heavenly white sandy beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, marble mountains, majestic temples, colourful markets like Muong Khuong, Vietnam knows how to receive, all packed under a bright sun and in a lush tropical vegetation. Whether you are going to Vietnam for your honeymoon, a family trip or a luxury trip, there are many must-see sites to discover with your Vietnamese tour guide: from baie d'Hạlong the Mekong Delta, Hanoi, the millenary capital, to Hồ Chí Minh-Ville (ex-Saigon), the economic lung of the South, the imperial city of Huê listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the remains of the Champah kingdoms, the river of perfumes to the Cham Islands. Vietnam is committed to ecotourism and will dazzle you beyond its traditional cuisine, which is also very diverse from one region to another and illustrated by the many Vietnamese culinary specialities. One thing is for sure, you will come back delighted by your trip to Vietnam

What to see, what to do Vietnam?

When to go Vietnam ?

The best time to go to Vietnam is globally when the monsoon does not occur. These heavy rains, which can lead to landslides and, consequently, temporary cuts in roads or railways, generally affect the Red River basin in the north during the summer and, until November, the central provinces of Vietnam and the Mekong Delta in the south of the country. During the high season (July, August and September, and during the Têt period, the Vietnamese New Year, in January-February), prices increase in some establishments and given the narrowness of the country, you may feel like you are following a tourist highway. During the Têt, it is often difficult to travel from abroad to Vietnam because the means of transport are taken by storm by overseas Vietnamese returning home.

You may also need to adapt your departure if you are thinking of doing a tour in Vietnam including excursions to Cambodia, to discover Angkor, and Laos.

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Covid-19 : current situation Vietnam

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, entry and travel restrictions may apply Vietnam. Remember to visit the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave for the latest information
Practical information for travel Vietnam

How to go Vietnam

How to go alone

There are direct flights to Vietnam and in particular to Ho Chi Minh City. Most of the tourists who decide to go to Vietnam go back from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. We advise you to start your trip in Hanoi, so you will go against the flow. The variation in airfare prices for Vietnam depends on the airline used but, above all, on the time required to book. To obtain attractive rates, it is essential to do so well in advance. Remember to buy your tickets six months before departure and take your Vietnamese guide with you!

How to go on a tour

There is no shortage of tour operators and offers to go to Vietnam. Tailor-made trips or tailor-made tours to travel the country from North to South via Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, cruises in Halong Bay or along the Mekong, seaside stays on the beautiful beaches of Phu Quoc feet in the sand and under the coconut trees, trekking and hiking on the borders of Tonkin... Many agencies also offer combined trips with Cambodia to discover the splendours of the Angkor site, or even with Laos.

How to get around

The car is the fastest and most convenient way to get around Vietnam: rentals are made with a driver but if you have a taste for adventure you can drive provided you have an international permit. Scooter and motorcycle rentals are also possible in Vietnam, but be careful with traffic, which can be anarchic in the city. The road network is in good condition. Buses, a cheap solution, connect mainly the outskirts of cities but are a good way to discover the country. If the main lines are served by comfortable and modern buses, this will be less the case for reaching small towns. The "Open tour" buses, which are very popular with passengers, will offer you considerable flexibility in your various journeys by allowing you to make several stops at different stages of your journey, but there are few opportunities to meet the local populations on board. As for air travel, about 20 cities are served by domestic airlines at affordable prices and it is also possible to take the train from north to south at a low price but at an average speed of 45 km/h.

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Discover Vietnam

Vietnam... It is a very old country, which from 1946 to 1975, experienced the longest war of the 20th century. These tragic events often overshadow the long history and rich cultural and spiritual legacies that have shaped the land of the Dragon. In this chapter we will lay down some historical milestones that will bring out the kingdoms engulfed by time and many historical events, such as those of Champa, now disappeared. Geography will also be discussed. The landscapes in Vietnam are renowned for their sumptuous beauty, but as elsewhere, natural resources are threatened by rapid economic growth combined with the effects of climate change. Demographic and social issues will also be addressed... A little vade-mecum for the happy traveller who sets out to discover this country, sometimes confusing, but absolutely fascinating.

Pictures and images Vietnam

Pagode Doi. Author's Image
Balade sur l'eau, Tràng An. posztos - Shutterstock.com
Femmes transportant du bois. Yukiko Yamanote  - Iconotec
Rizière de la région de Tinh Biên. Author's Image

The 12 keywords Vietnam

1. Banyan (Cây da)

"A vegetal Hercules" (Paul Claudel). It can be found at the entrance of every village, market, in the courtyards of pagodas or even in the cities, at the bend in the street where it has not let itself be beaten down and where it has imposed its presence on the layout of new constructions. In the interlacing of its roots nests a small altar dedicated to the genius of the tree.

2. Conical cap

12 Chapeaux coniques © hadynyah - iStockphoto.com.jpg

Traditional headgear of the peasants, it is made with latanier leaves. Its frame is composed of bamboo hoops on which are sewn, with nylon threads, the three layers of latanier that ensure greater resistance. The motorcycle helmet is now much more widespread than the iconic conical hat...

3. Diên Biên Phu

If one remembers Waterloo as a dull plain, one evokes Diên Biên Phu as "the bowl". 300 km west of Hanoi, Diên Biên Phu is the name of a valley at the crossroads of the roads to Laos. On 7 May 1954, after 55 days of fighting, the French expeditionary force suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of General Giap's troops.

4. Lotus

What could be more beautiful than the lotus flower? Symbol of purity, white or pink in colour, it rises above the muddy water. The flowers have a delicious fragrance. The successive metamorphoses of the leaf and the flower at different stages of growth make the lotus an inexhaustible source of philosophical and artistic inspiration.

5. Eastern Sea

15 Baie d'Ha long © Connors Bros. - shutterstock.com.jpg

The "East Sea" (Biển Đông), is the hot spot of the moment and... don't say China Sea! Vietnam is seeking to develop its maritime space: transport and communications, fishing and aquaculture, oil and gas exploitation... But it is up against the ambitions of its powerful northern neighbour and its growing fleet.

6. Nuoc mâm

16 Fabrication de Nuoc mam ©  Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin - shutterstock.com.jpg

Indispensable condiment for any Vietnamese table. It is a brine obtained from fish that marinate for six months to a year, covered with salt, in large wooden vats. The best, obtained from anchovies (ca com), comes from the island of Phu Quôc. The Romans were already producing a similar mixture called "garum".

7. Water pipe

It is made of a 30-40 cm tube of bamboo containing a bottom of water. At a third of the height, a small stove receives a pinch of tobacco (thuôc lao). The smoker, with a long and unique aspiration accompanied by a characteristic gurgling sound, inhales the smoke cooled by its passage over the layer of water. It's one of those familiar street scenes.

8. Catfish

Catfish (ca basa) play an important role in Vietnamese exports. They are mainly bred in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta. This activity provides a livelihood for many families. These live on large floating barges under which the breeding traps are stored.

9. Warming

According to the United Nations, Vietnam is one of the countries in the world that will be most affected by the consequences of global warming and rising sea levels. For the Mekong Delta, the country's rice granary, the forecasts are particularly alarming. Harvests are threatened by flooding and saltwater upwelling.

10. Rice

Riz sur un marché à Nha Trang © tbradford - iStockphoto.com.jpg

In Vietnamese, eating is called an com, meaning "eating rice". There are more than 2,000 varieties and sub-varieties of rice, including three subspecies: hard rice, sticky rice and floating rice. Behind India and Thailand, Vietnam is the world's 3rd largest exporter of rice (and 5th largest in terms of production).

11. Start-up

This is the new economic mantra of the Vietnamese authorities. The objective is the creation of a pro-innovation system in Vietnam, faced with the exhaustion of a growth model based on exports of low value-added products. The emergence of start-ups is far from assured and they will face many obstacles.

12. Cell phone

Thanks to the investments made by Samsung, Vietnam has become a heavyweight in the sector. In 2014, the South Korean giant invested US$2 billion to establish its largest manufacturing plant, located in Thai Nguyen province, 70 kilometres north of Hanoi. Another plant is located in Bac Ninh, also in the North.

You are from here, if...

You keep an imperturbable phlegm when you cross the street, despite the intense, chaotic, Dantesque traffic and the motorcycles and cars that graze you.

You prefer egg coffee (ca phê trung) to coffee with milk. The drink was invented by a cook at the Hotel Métropole, who, during the 1940s, a period of scarcity, was looking for a substitute for milk to make cappuccino. To be enjoyed hot or iced.

You've mastered the tricks of the haggling trade. You should be familiar with the price range and try to reach the lowest limit. If your range is wrong, you will either lose out by paying too much or you will offend the person you are talking to by offering too low a price. He will then leave the game immediately. If you use patience and humor, you'll win

The setbacks, disappointments, misunderstandings and small conflicts of everyday life do not get you off track.

You are walking a dog in the passenger seat of your motorcycle.

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