Buddhism and colonial architecture
Just like most cities in Vietnam, Saigon’s cityscape displays a blend of Buddhist influences and French colonial-style architecture. The city’s main landmarks include its Hindu temples and Saigon’s Notre-Dame Cathedral. In architectural terms, the coastal town of Hội An is one of Vietnam’s most important cities. Unlike any other town in Vietnam, the buildings in the old town of Hội An survived the 1960s Vietnam War completely unscathed. ;;;
Da Nang, the fourth-largest city in the country, is situated at the delta of the Hàn River. It is famous for its interesting bridges and for China Beach, which is considered a surfer’s paradise.
Miles of sandy beaches and picturesque mountains
Some of the nicest beaches in Vietnam are located in Phan Thiet. Offering miles of sandy beaches, a large number of offshore islands and coral reefs, Nha Trang is a popular tourist destination and the perfect choice for a beach holiday. Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island, is a slice or paradise for nature lovers and home to the Phu Quoc National Park with beautiful scenery and unspoilt nature. ;;;
Dalat in the Central Highlands region is also rich in nature and surrounded by lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests. The city of Hue, by contrast, is set in a picturesque mountain landscape with peaks as high as 4900 feet (1500 m). Formerly a centre of Buddhist monk culture, one of its major attractions is a citadel that includes the “Forbidden Purple City”.
Food ranging from croissants to insects
Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s most impressive natural wonders. The bay features close to 2000 limestone karsts and uninhabited islands. The Mekong Delta is a further major attraction. Its fertile soil provides for the cultivation of extensive rice plantations. By and large, the inhabitants of the delta’s mangrove swamps live and work on the water. A large variety of boat tours are on offer to tourists, including culture, food and eco tours.
A special feature of Vietnam is its cuisine with rice and rice noodles as staple ingredients. The Vietnamese love to wrap or roll their food (vegetables, fish, meat) - in salad leaves for instance. The French having also left their culinary mark in Vietnam, baguettes, croissants and coffee are available almost everywhere. But the fact is, when it comes to food, there are hardly any taboos in Vietnam: many restaurants serve insects, snake and even dog meat!
Swiss citizens can enter Vietnam with a visa obtained from the Vietnamese Embassy. The best time to travel is between November and April.