Old meets new in Ho Chi Minh City
In southern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is perhaps most famous for its role in the Vietnam War. Today, the city’s French colonial landmarks, including the Notre-Dame Cathedral, are its most notable feature. However there’s much more to Ho Chi Minh City than just its history. Bustling food stalls can be found throughout the city, serving the unique flavours of Vietnam. Visit Ben Thanh market to pick up traditional wares and souvenirs, and stop for a coffee to keep you going – Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world after Brazil.
Swim in the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay
Even if you’d never considered a cruise to Vietnam before, you will have undoubtedly seen photos of Ha Long Bay. Towering limestone pillars and intimate islets rise up from the turquoise water to create a surreal landscape. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay has starred in many Hollywood blockbusters. During your stopover, it’s highly recommended that you take a dip in the bay’s beautifully blue water.
Discover the flavours of Vietnam
The subtle flavours and overwhelming diversity of Vietnamese cuisine makes this country the perfect trip for foodies. Utilising nature’s pantry, menus often feature fish dishes, and heavily rely on flavours such as lemongrass, ginger, mint, coriander, cinnamon, chilli and lime. Historically, French colonisation has influenced Vietnamese cuisine. The banh mi, a tasty sandwich made with a crusty French baguette, grilled pork or fish, coriander and pickled vegetables is one example. Essential dishes to try during your Vietnam cruise include pho, tasty noodles with a meat broth, bun cha, barbecued pork, noodles and vegetables and goi cuon, also known as ‘summer rolls’, made with salad, meat or fish and a spicy dip.
Floating markets of Cai Be
Visiting a floating market is an essential activity when visiting Vietnam. In Cai Be, the river market starts early at around 6am, with local farmers and food producers selling their goods to passers-by in boats. Although the floating market is geared towards locals seeking to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, this is a unique experience for all travellers, and should be relished.
Catch a glimpse of the Mekong River
Stretching for roughly 2,700 miles through southern Vietnam, the Mekong River is the world’s 12th-largest river, and the seventh-longest in Asia. As well as its colossal length, the Mekong Delta is considered the ‘rice bowl’ of the nation, with lush forests and rice paddies lining the water’s edge. The town of Tan Chau and city of Sa Dec both sit on the Mekong Delta, offering the perfect opportunity to experience the river for yourself. If you love the idea of exploring the Mekong, we offer a selection of river cruises.