Can Thou Visit Can Tho?

As promised, the five places you must visit when in Vietnam. In 2019, my visit spanned North and South alike. It comprised a visit to Hanoi (the capital), the ethereal stalagmites of Ha Long Bay, the Southern simplicity of Can Tho, and the unreal waters of Tra Su forest.

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam is situated in the midst of a tourist-friendly destination. It is replete with lakes, scintillating towers, and a tinge of the nativity that Vietnamese are impervious to. I didn’t do too much traveling when in Hanoi, but the lakes: West Lake and Ho Kiem are centered by a Pagoda-like structure. You can even explore the Pagoda in Ho Kiem by a bridge. The street along the lake brightens up at night, with the street becoming a walking only zone, and street music and live magic performers becoming the main attractions. If your stomach is strong enough, you must eat street-side delicacies, that the locals devour. Shopping is one of the major incentives for tourists from all parts of the world. Most of our branded clothes are manufactured in Vietnam, and you must take advantage of being there. Another surprising yet completely relaxing exercise is getting a foot massage in one of the innumerable massage parlors, they will serve you in a way that you will see the tiredness leaving your body.

Just three hours away from Hanoi, you’ll be greeted by the splendid Ha-Long Bay. People who are planning a day trip to Ha-Long are missing out on a lot. I spent three days staying in the Bay area, and I have not regretted even a minute. Several hotels will get you close enough to the Bay area to enjoy it in all its entirety, but La Paz is the hotel you should think about. There are several activities to undertake in the Bay Area: VinPearl Amusement Park, Sun World Park, and the frolicking on the empty white-sand beaches aside, the bay has too much to be explored in a single day.

A frenzied drive back to Hanoi airport and a two-hour flight down South, and you arrive at the unassuming yet beautiful city of Can Tho. Unassuming because most travel guides will refer to in passing as the town with the ‘Early Morning Floating Market’ or the city based on a river delta. But, the city is bereft of much tourism, and you can see Vietnam free of pseudo-glazed over extravagance. Living at a hotel, where we were one of the three families, we had a plethora of services at our beck and call. Renting cycles, we explored the town the whole day, while laid-back men and women lounging around the streets cheered for us. The delta and the floating markets are sights you must not miss, along with more options to shop at throw-away prices. While there aren’t many places to see, the hotel, shopping, and the overall experience overshadowed any hint of boredom.

A 121 km ride away from Can Tho, lies the majestic Tra-Su forest. The scenery, hillocks, and the different varieties of trees and birds become an after-thought when you board your boat and ride on the green waters. The 4-hour long boat ride takes you to several exotic places that make the hearts of adrenaline junkies and unassuming bird watchers thump alike. With several bird-watching towers, small cafes nestled away in the middle of thrush, nettled with creepers and hidden away by streams; the Tra-Su forest is a must-visit for every person who visits Vietnam.

I had a wonderful 9 days in Vietnam, I only regret missing out on Phu-Quoc island, which is a location you must try to fit in, and try spending a few days in. In any case, I hope my animated travels and weird experiences motivate you to travel safely once we are free of a life-threatening pandemic.

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