Vietnam is a land of contrasts and complexities from hill-tribe villages to dynamic cities, it is exciting and chaotic yet relaxing and everywhere you travel all your senses will be constantly challenged.
Vietnam is an ancient country with a diverse culture that has been influenced by invasions and occupation from the Chinese to the French and Americans. You can see this in the French colonial architecture of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the ancient temples that show Chinese influence in the north and Hindu origins in the south and the evidence of the Vietnam war in the tunnels and the museums and monuments that celebrate their heroic struggle.
Understanding the Vietnamese passion for food is key to understanding their culture, it is subtle in its flavours and as diverse as the country itself. The street food is incomparable, tasty, exotic and inexpensive and sampling local dishes with villagers and ethnic people is an unforgettable experience.
Food markets are an eye opening experience seeing new vegetables, exotic fruits and spices and a myriad of fish especially in the coastal regions.
Vietnam is a long narrow country bordered by Laos, Cambodia and the South China sea and contains 54 different ethnic groups all with different languages, culture and traditions.
The country has a tropical monsoon climate but there are regional variations with the north being driest in the Spring and Autumn and the south driest between December – April. It is cold in the north in the winter and hot and sticky in the south in the summer.