Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat July 11 2015

Opinion Home | Suitcase Stories' Luxe Life Travel Tales and Tips

  • Nicole Connolly | July 11, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Cultural Immersion in Vietnam

    Cultural Immersion in Vietnam

    Photo of Ha Long Bay courtesy of Thinkstock

    Vietnam is fast becoming a thriving center of industry and trade. In fact, some economists say it will easily dethrone China and become the next Tiger nation: the region’s trade export leader. To that end, there are so many things to see and do in Vietnam that you could spend quite a while being enchanted by the people, food, and sites. Following are some of the best things to see and do when you plan a vacation to this Southeast Asia hotspot.

    Cruise the River

    You can take an old Chinese junk and meander around Ha Long Bay, which means for “Bay of Descending Dragons.” This is a famous World Heritage Site known for its natural limestone structures and islands. It is most serene and captivating at dusk.

    Nothing Beats Pho

    There are literally hundreds of pop-up cafés peppered throughout the streets of any Vietnamese town. Try your hand at creating your own special little combination. It's really easy to do. All you do is point to what you would like and they added to your noodle bowl. The resulting creations are absolutely delicious.

    Get Close to the Mekong

    If you've ever wondered what it was like to farm a rice paddy, then a cruise down the Mekong will give you a taste. You will see many farmers taking their crops to the floating markets. Purchase your own vegetables to prepare an evening meal that is about as fresh as you can get!

    Play Hide and Seek

    During the war, Vietcong guerrillas would navigate themselves through tight spaces known as Cu Chi Tunnels. These were used to ambush troops. At the tunnels you can also view what is left of bomb craters and even try your hand at handling an AK-47.

    Pine for Snake Wine

    You won't find this during the day, but once the sun sets it seems like bars literally pop up all over the place. In fact, that's exactly what is happening. Many of them serve snake wine which is thought to improve one’s vitality and health. Find some and see if it works for you. You will know it when you see it because the snake is still in the bottle.

    Find Silk in Hoi An

    This coastal village was once known as a bustling international port. Its chief trade was ceramics and silk. Now you can visit and see hints of the past showing through in the brilliant colors of cloth and find artisan designer fabrics produced by the people of Hoi An. The material here is absolutely beautiful.

    Visit the Opera

    Vietnam is home to a couple of significant opera houses. The Hanoi and Saigon opera houses both feature amazing performances, and even have a bit of French influence. Here, you can also take a cooking class to brush up on your culinary skills. That would certainly be something to showcase for friends and family once you return.

    These wonderful activities and unique experiences are what really encompass the heart of Vietnam. But mere descriptions and a photo won’t do, visit and see it with your own eyes. Some of the best food, and the most amazing people on the planet can be found in this fair country. You will leave with a full camera memory card, a satisfied appetite, and a yearning to return, because as you will soon discover, there are many new experiences to be found in Vietnam — one visit simply will not do.

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Nicole Connolly Suitcase Stories' Luxe Life Travel Tales and Tips

Nicole Connolly Nicole, along with her husband Michael, left her ordinary life behind for a life of extraordinary travel. The couple left Australia in March 2012 and have been traveling ever since. Nicole has a penchant for all things luxury and this shows in their lifestyle. They may live the life of a gypsy but they certainly know how to do it in style. Their goal is to share their experiences and show others how a life of luxury is possible without the big bank account. Follow their adventures at
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