Holla readers. Those who have been following my stories know my love for heritage. I don’t leave any opportunity of indulging in history, especially if it is a world heritage site. From the past six months, I had been planning our vacation to Vietnam but not even once the heritage sites had crossed my mind. I had limited ourselves to Golden Bridge (the bridge on those mammoth hands) and Chu chi tunnels (the tunnels in Ho Chi Minh city used during Vietnam war) and Vung Tau. However, when Vietnam recently got recognition as the world’s leading heritage destination, I was compelled to check out all.
Since we land in Ho Chi Minh city, our first stop over would be the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon. Initially named as L'eglise de Saïgon, the cathedral was established by French colonists between 1863 and 1880. What makes this church unique is its French architecture. Its construction material was imported from France. For instance the red bricks of the exteriors walls retain their bright and vibrant red hue till date. I don’t think I can miss this beauty on my Vietnam tour.
|Notre Dam Cathedral|
The next day I have a flight to Da Nang that connects to HoiAn, a UNESCO heritage site. The well- preserved ancient town literally translates to a "peaceful meeting place". The covered Japanese bridge, the small wooden houses, the museums showcasing Hoi An’s history and the calm waters against the glittering backdrop are few things to watch out for. This Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th century, with buildings that display a blend of local and foreign influences are undoubtedly the must sees of Vietnam.
|The heritage city of Hoi An|
Indians never skip destinations that are connected to India, which is why I am quite eager to visit My Son sanctuary. No, its not a wildlife sanctuary. 20 kms from Hoi An, My Son is a site of partially ruined Shiva Temples. Imagine experiencing your own culture on a foreign land! The remarkable architectural ensemble developed over a period of ten centuries, presents a vivid picture of spiritual and political life of the history of South-East Asia. Such places have always attracted me and the mere sight of imagining myself over there is something I can’t express in words.
|My Son Sanctuary|
Vietnam tour is never complete without a visit to Halong Bay. A gathering more than 1,600 limestone islets in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is an iconic seascape of verticals cliffs and jungle spread across the sea. The scenic beauty has served as a backdrop for several movies. Cruising on the turquoise waters would be magical experience. I have goosebumps while writing this.
In between Halong Bay and Hoi An, there lies the serene town of Hue. Among the popular destinations, the Imperial Cathdral stands out the most. This was the place which the emperors used as their residence and business center. A part of this Citadel was referred as the Forbidden Purple City which much like China's Forbidden City was reserved for the key people in Vietnam. The 7-tiered tower Mu Pagoda is another landmark worth visiting. What’s more exciting is the vibrant landscapes I would cross from Ho Chi Minh to Hue. That’s the flavor of real Vietnam. I think I will take an open bus to commute. Solo travel never felt so exciting!
I have planned my last few days stay in Ho Chi Minh. The Mekong Delta tour is definitely on my list. I mean who wouldn’t want to experience mangroves on the river expecting the sight of wild animals? And ya, don’t miss the crocodile breeding farm in the delta region which houses tens of thousands of these reptiles. You can feed them and watch them jump in the air to catch their bait. It’s a scary but adventurous experience.
|Mekong Delta tour|
You must be thinking why does my itinerary has south-north-south visit? Well, that’s because my friend Dianna would be back to Ho Chi Minh and we would catch-up thereafter. Anything for friends you see.
My trip begins on 7th February and I can’t contain my excitement. Once back, I would compare my pictures from the ones above and of course write more. Just keep few things in mind before booking your trip. Vietnam usually experiences a warm climate with dry season running from February to August. Pack your clothes accordingly. If you are making your visa booking, do it through BLS international. It’s a trusted name in the visa industry. Lastly, when I booked flight tickets six months ago, Air Asia had the cheapest rates. Now Indigo operations have started and is offering tickets at more economical rates. Keep an eye on the web-updates to save money.
More when I am back. See you soon guys!