Pat a Chou
French-style bakery treats.
French-style bakery treats.
From the vibrant cityscape of Bangkok to Halong Bay's magnificent limestone karsts, this trip encompasses the highlights of Indochina. Marvel at the wonders of Angkor Wat, sail the Mekong and savour noodles in Chiang Mai. Shop for souvenirs in Ho Chi Minh City and join the locals sipping coffee at a lakeside café in Hanoi.
Home to the Cao Dai Great Temple (Thanh That Cao Dai), the Cao Dai Holy See, founded in 1926, is 4km east of Tay Ninh, in the village of Long Hoa. As well as the Great Temple, the complex houses administrative offices, residences for officials and adepts, and a hospital of traditional Vietnamese herbal medicine that attracts people from all over the south for its treatments.
The main sights on Con Son Island include a museum, several French and American-era prisons and a sombre cemetery.
From chaotic Ho Chi Minh City to charming Hoi An, the imperial capital of Hue, vibrant Hanoi and the stunning natural beauty of Halong Bay, this trip has something for everyone. Journey up the coast in this jam-packed introduction to the country's highlights and nightlife with other travellers your own age—so you can be sure to get down with others that’ll keep up.
Founded in the 1820s to house a statue that’s become the subject of a popular cult, this large temple faces Sam Mountain, on the same road as Tay An Pagoda.
This accessible national park is home to 32 types of mammal and 70 bird species. To reach the park headquarters at Trung Trang, take a green QH public bus from the docks at Cat Ba Town (20,000d, 20 minutes). Buses leave at 8am and 11am.
Fifteen kilometres northeast of Tay Ninh, Nui Ba Den rises 850m above the rice paddies, corn, cassava (manioc) and rubber plantations of the surrounding countryside.
This tomb, constructed between 1864 and 1867, is the most popular, and certainly one of the most impressive of the royal mausoleums. Emperor Tu Duc designed it himself, for use both before and after his death.
Famed as the repository of a sacred relic of the Buddha, this large 1956 building is most notable for its dramatic history.
The site of the most famous siege of the American War, the USA’s Khe Sanh Combat Base was never overrun, but saw the bloodiest battle of the war. About 500 Americans, 10,000 North Vietnamese troops and uncounted civilian bystanders died around this remote highland base.
Built around the turn of the 19th century, this decaying light-caramel painted church exudes a sleepy, tropical feel.
Po Ro Me is one of the most atmospheric of Vietnam’s Cham towers, thanks in part to its isolated setting on top of a craggy hill with sweeping views over the cactus-strewn landscape.
For overnight stays in villages and longer treks into the mountains, it’s important to hook up with someone who knows the terrain and culture and speaks the language. We recommend using minority guides, as this offers them a means of making a living. Note it's illegal to stay overnight in villages that are not officially recognised as homestays.
Surrounding Sapa are the Hoang Lien Mountains, dubbed the Tonkinese Alps by the French. These mountains include the often cloud-obscured Fansipan (3143m), Vietnam’s highest peak. Fansipan is accessible year round to sensibly equipped travellers in good shape, but don’t underestimate the challenge. It is very wet, and can be perilously slippery and generally cold.
The main kalan (sanctuary), B1 , was dedicated to Bhadresvara, which is a contraction of the name of King Bhadravarman, who built the first temple at My Son, combined with ‘-esvara’, which means Shiva. The first building on this site was erected in the 4th century, destroyed in the 6th century and rebuilt in the 7th century.