About this photo: For me, this photo captures the essence of Ha Long Bay. The limestone outcroppings in the background are what Ha Long Bay is famous for but Ha Long Bay is about more than a beautiful natural wonder. It is also about the people living and working on the bay.

Vietnam is one of the countries that I have spent the most time visiting. I think that there is a lot more things to see and do than most people realize. Vietnam has modern cities, lush mountains, natural wonders, golden sand beaches, an abundance of wildlife and a vibrant culture.

The major cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang offer an urban experience where you can see the mixture of the old culture and the new modern lifestyle. When you visit the major cities you will be able to see historical sites, visit temples and churches, experience the flavor of local street food or dine in nice restaurants, and take day excursions to see nature and some of the countries historical relics.

About this photo: This photo represents the modern features of Vietnam. Tall skyscrapers along the banks of the Saigon River at dusk makes for a beautiful setting.

Vietnamese food is has different styles between the north and south. The food in the north is influenced by its nearness to China, is milder and is tailored more to the cooler climate. The food in the south uses more spices and sauces, such as fish sauce. Vietnamese food is relatively cheap and there are literally places to eat everywhere you look. Some of my favorite Vietnamese foods are:

• Banh Mi – Sandwich with pate
• Pho – noodle soup (chicken or beef)
• Banh Cuon – made from rice flour minced pork and chopped mushrooms and always made fresh, right in front of you.
• Bun Rieu – soup with tomato based broth
• Bun thit nuong – rice-vermicelli noodle dish topped with grilled pork, fresh salad and herbs
• Cha Gio – Vietnamese egg rolls

About this photo: Food is an important part of the Vietnamese culture. The street food market in Ho Chi Minh City is a popular place for tourist to eat Vietnamese street food in a comfortable setting. The portable blue table on the right of the photo is how most Vietnamese eat street food.

If you want to escape from the bustling city life to experience some of the countries slower changing culture and beautiful nature then there are plenty of things to see. Vietnam has beautiful beaches, waterfalls and natural wonders (Ha Long Bay) and there are still places where you can see life as it was before our modern lifestyle took over.

About this photo: I love this photo. The background show how beautiful the country is and the woman paddling her boat to the market shows that there are places where things are still done the old way.

Vietnam’s terrain consists of mountains, forests, wetlands, and long coastline contain many different habitats that support approximately 270 types of animals and 800 bird species. Vietnam has set up 30 parks and reserves to protect its wildlife. I always make an effort to get out of the cities and see as much wild life as I can when I have been in Vietnam.

I have made 5 trips to Vietnam for a total of about 5 months within the country. I have seen most of the tourist sites and many places that are unknown to most tourist.

Where I’ve been in Vietnam
Buon Ma Thuot
Cao Bang
Da Lat
Da Nang
Ha Long Bay
Ha Noi
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Hoi An
Me Kong Delta
Mui Ne
Nha Trang
Ninh Binh
Sa Pa

Note: click on the link above to see my posts on archived topics from each city.

The posts about Vietnam in this blog will feature many of the interesting sites within Vietnam and as many of the wildlife species that I could photograph. I hope that you will join me as I reveal all of the wonderful things that Vietnam has to offer.