Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri September 25 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | September 25, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    4 Reasons Why Visiting Vietnam Should Be On Your Bucket List

    4 Reasons Why Visiting Vietnam Should Be On Your Bucket List

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock. All other photos by A Cruising Couple.

    I don’t remember why we decided cycling the length of Vietnam would be a good idea. We had never been to the country, never taken a cross-country biking trip, and certainly never entertained the idea of traveling across Vietnam via two wheels and manpower alone. But like most memorable adventures, our spontaneous choice to cycle solo through Vietnam was one of the best decisions we ever made.

    Cycling Vietnam A Cruising Couple

    Unfortunately, Vietnam has a bit of a bad reputation. We’ve heard too many stories of tourists visiting the country and vowing never to return again. Personally, we can’t understand it. Vietnam is hands-down one of the most entrancing places we’ve ever been to — and after cycling over 1,000 miles of the country by ourselves, we feel like we have the experience to back up our claim. That said, the key to traveling to Vietnam and loving it is to get off the beaten path, take time to meet the locals, and allow plenty of time for the country to seduce you.

    Tour de Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Trail Lake

    Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why Vietnam should definitely be on your bucket list:

    The Food

    If you’re not familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, then you’re missing out. Best described as fresh and light, Vietnam manages to create a variety of innovative and delicious recipes out of mostly similar ingredients.

    Grilled pork, rice noodles, a heaping pile of fresh greens, and tangy dipping sauce or broth comprise the memorable components in Bún ch?. Wide rice noodles, thinly sliced pork, fresh lettuce and herbs, crispy deep-fried dough and fresh squeezed lime comprise the key elements of Hoi An’s famous cao l?u. And, of course, no trip to Vietnam is complete without sampling ph?. Vietnam’s most famous dish, ph? consists of flat rice noodles, steaming broth, shaved pieces of beef, and a handful of herbs. 

    Cao Lau

    If your stomach’s not growling yet, this list of top ten dishes to try in Vietnam will surely do the trick.

    The Diverse Nature

    Whether you prefer the mountains, the beach or the countryside, Vietnam surely has the experience you seek. Cycling through the country provided us with jaw-dropping vistas around every bend, but you don’t have to commit to a biking trip to experience the stunning natural beauty of the country. Don’t miss Halong Bay, some 1,600 islands and islets that combine to form a stunning seascape of limestone pillars. It’s arguably Vietnam’s most popular attraction, and for good reason. The mountains of the north, the delta of the south, and the beaches in between all make worthy stops on any trip through the country as well.

    Halong Bay Boat

    The Small Town Charm

    If you really want to fall in love with Vietnam, you have to leave the chaos of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city behind. Venture to any small town, and you’ll be rewarded with warm and welcoming locals who want to ensure your visit to Vietnam is an excellent, one-of-a-kind experience. If you’re not ready to leave the tourist trail completely, then at least be sure to visit Hue and Hoi An. Though these small cities are popular with tourists, they still manage to ooze old-world charm.

    Hue was the capital of Vietnam through the 19th and early 20th century under the Nguyen Empire. The city is lovely, boasting a quaint position on the banks of the Perfume River. Here you’ll find The Citadel, the palace complex of the Nguyen Empire, modeled after China’s Forbidden City.

    Cidadel Hue Vietnam Doorway

    Hoi An is famed for its talented tailors who can craft any high-quality suit or dress your heart desires; however, if you don’t have room in your bags for additional garments, the city still offers plenty to see and do. Don’t miss the 17th-century architecture, the Thu Bon River, or the romantic lantern shops that line the narrow alleys.

    The Price Tag

    If you’re looking for an affordable travel destination, then you can’t go wrong with Vietnam. Though the country boasts stunning landscapes, mouth-watering food, ample culture and lovely people, you’ll find you can still travel very well for under $50 a day. Many tourists complain that the locals try to charge foreigners exorbitant prices. While this can be true (and we always recommend checking the price before you buy anything — including meals), remember that you’re often arguing over only a few dollars.

    Our experience traveling through Vietnam was extremely rewarding, and definitely one that we would recommend to others! Have you been to Vietnam before? What did you think?

More Vietnam


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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