"Vietnam" Top 5 Page for this destination Vietnam by iwys

Vietnam Travel Guide: 12,656 reviews and 31,927 photos

Vietnam is a poor country, but a great one. Factory workers earn no more than $50 per month, waitresses $40. Yet, people still keep on smiling: all 80 million of them.

The country has a turbulent history and reminders of war are everywhere. The Chinese invaded and occupied Vietnam for a thousand years. They were finally driven out by Vietnamese forces in 1426, who repelled several more attempted Chinese invasions over the next four centuries.

The French launched their first attacks against Vietnam as far back as 1847 and by 1887 they had taken control of the entire country. Then came invading Japanese forces, who ruled Vietnam from 1940 to 1945. The French soon took control of the south again, but in the northern half of the country Ho Chi Minh established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Fighting broke out between the Vietnamese and the French in 1946, reaching its climax at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. It was then agreed to partition the country along the 17th parallel into North and South Vietnam.

In 1956 the first American military advisors arrived to train the South Vietnamese army. More and more Vietcong infiltrated the South throughout the late 50s and early 60s and soon large areas of countryside were controlled by the communists. By 1963 the number of American military advisors in the South had increased to 16,000. In 1964 the first attack on the North was made by American bombers and in March 1965 US troops landed at Danang. More than 2,700,000 Americans served in Vietnam and 58,148 died there. President Nixon withdrew all American forces in 1973 and Saigon finally fell to the communists on April 30, 1975, leading to the reunification of the country.

The Vietnam War sites are big business, so much so, that some places, like Cu Chi, are in danger of being turned into war theme parks.

Many people think that travelling around Vietnam will be difficult, but the country has a fantastic support network for backpack travelling. The Sinh Cafe and Kim Cafe agencies are especially helpful. Their open bus tickets, which enable you to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, stopping off at all of the major cities along the way, are great value at under $20. Accommodation is amazingly cheap too. I stayed at a really nice, brand new hotel in Hue, with airconditioning, en-suite bathroom and satellite TV for $7 a night.

Vietnam is warm all the year round, has green mountains, great beaches and friendly people.

  • Last visit to Vietnam: Feb 2005
  • Intro Updated May 12, 2005
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Reviews (50)

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Comments (21)

  • NYTim's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2009 at 8:04 AM

    Fantastic tips. I shall use them for my trip next year. Cheers

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2008 at 1:57 AM

    Fine insightful tips! I spent a year in Vietnam in the 1960s and went back 30 years later with my older son for a re-visit. (Liked it even the first time, if only there hadn't been a war going on.) Cu Chi was not as touristy when we were there in 1995.

  • pure1942's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2008 at 9:39 AM

    Hi Ian - Great tips and info. I can't wait to visit Vietnam. Congrats on the great page. Thanks for sharing - Brian

  • magor65's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2007 at 11:40 AM

    Great page on Vietnam. Thanks also for the book list - I'm going to read at least some of them before I visit Vietnam in February.

  • gezbelle's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2007 at 5:49 PM

    wow! i didn't know coffee was grown in vietnam. another movie featuring vietnam you might like to look at is a french one called "indochine" :)

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2007 at 1:37 AM

    wow what great pics. Ver nice

  • Jun 17, 2006 at 12:42 PM

    Thanks for the great tips, Ian. I will be in VN next month and will take the Sinh Cafe Open Tour although I have no idea what to expect or where we should stop and stay. Clueless, that's me. -- Nathalie

  • Apr 16, 2006 at 10:50 PM

    A bloody good site on Vietnam. I will be there by the end of the month. I am going to have to get accustomed to digital technology , so i can put something on my travel pages. Most of my past travels are on slides or film. Text, i can do. Cheers.

  • ellielou's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2006 at 1:45 PM

    even with my recent repeat visit to Vietnam, it never really ceases to amaze.....! I'll have to take some closer look at your pages....they seem great!

  • canadiantravelgirl's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2006 at 9:57 AM

    Your travel tips and pictures provide great insight about the culture and history of Vietnam!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

iwys

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