Things to do, places to live and things to eat

It was confirmed yesterday that Vietnam will host the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in April 2020. The 5.5-kilometer race, which includes 22 corners, will take place on the streets of the capital, Hanoi. This global focus always means a surge of interest in the Southeast Asian country, so we’ve broken down some essentials for those planning to visit this historic country before the oil heads arrive.

history and culture

Ngoc Son Temple (also known as Ngoc Son Temple) in Hanoi may be the most popular temple in Vietnam, but there are many more temples to admire. The well-preserved Confucian Temple, a Confucian temple, was built in 1070 on the site of China’s first university. The temple honors scholars and is often visited by students hoping for good grades.

As for sleep, the luxurious setting of Sofitel Legend Metropolitan Hanoi is the former residence of the Governor of Northern France (the historical name for Northern Vietnam). Enjoying a great central location, the hotel features a spa, gym, three restaurants and four bars. Rates start from £195 per room, including breakfast.

Away from Hanoi, near Xining, lies the Holy See of Gao Dai, which is also the location of the Great Temple of Gao Dai. Cao Dai is the ultimate fusion religion, combining elements of Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism and Islam. Before visiting this incredible complex, it’s worth reading up on this fascinating practice to make the most of your visit.

Bright lights in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (pixabay)

With more than 2 million Vietnamese civilians killed and another 5 million injured during the Vietnam War, there is no escaping the tragic history of this beautiful country. The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City commemorates these losses and features sobering accounts from victims of the atrocities that occurred. While it may not have been an easy visit, it was an important one.

Those looking for a mid-range hotel in Ho Chi Minh City will find The Cinnamon Hotel is centrally located and reasonably priced, with rooms from £44.


A bowl of pho is the ultimate healthy, delicious comfort food and can be found all over Vietnam (pixabay)
A bowl of pho is the ultimate healthy, delicious comfort food and can be found all over Vietnam (pixabay)

It would be remiss not to award Vietnam a category dedicated to food and drink just because Vietnam is so good. One of the joys of dining around Vietnam is discovering nondescript backstreet huts with plastic chairs and tables where you can dine like a king for very little money.

Hanoi’s exciting street food scene is an unforgettable experience where the sights, smells and tastes are guaranteed to ignite your senses. Pho, Phở Cuốn, xôi, and bánh mì are just a few dishes you may have enjoyed elsewhere in the world, but there’s nothing like tasting them in their country of origin.

Hoi An, on Vietnam’s central coast, combines Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and French influences. Foodies won’t regret exploring this port town, where you can sample rice quail, grass lo mein and banh mi. Central Market food courts on Nguyen Hue Street and Tran Phu Street are a great first stop for the hungry.

Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer after Brazil and plays a central role in the lives of many Vietnamese. From iced coffee to “weasel” coffee, you can find a cup of the black stuff just about anywhere. Cà phê trúng (egg coffee), a sweet drink made from egg yolks mixed with condensed milk, is a popular specialty. Café Giang at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan and Dinh Café at 13 Dinh Tien Hoang are widely regarded as serving the best coffee in the country.

sea ​​and sand

Pure white sand at Phu Quoc Beach, Vietnam (Flickr)
Pure white sand at Phu Quoc Beach, Vietnam (Flickr)

Ha Long Bay has long been a bucket list destination for Vietnamese tourists, and it’s not hard to understand why. With towering limestone cliffs and rock mounds emerging from jade water, and tropical rainforest at the top, it’s an irresistible combination and it’s easy to see why this area has become such a popular tourist attraction. Be warned though, this is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Vietnam, so ditch any thoughts of loneliness and join in the fun.

With more than 2,000 miles of coastline, Vietnam has plenty of options for sun and sand seekers. There are sandy beaches for sunbathing and swimming on both the east and west coasts of Phu Quoc, while Nha Trang is an ideal destination for water sports, snorkeling and diving. Mango Bay Resort Phu Quoc is a beachfront boutique hotel committed to sustainability and the environment, while those seeking relaxation will benefit from complimentary yoga and tai chi classes. Prices start from £80 per night including breakfast. Travelers to Nha Trang on a budget should head to Tabalo Hostel, where dorm beds start at £5 per night.

Don’t wait until 2020 to explore this amazing destination.

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