From the dramatic landscapes of the north, where jagged mountains and lush rice paddies straddle the Chinese border, to the verdant jungles of the south, where the mighty Mekong flows into the sea, Vietnam is a land of the most enchanting and haunting beauty.
One of nature’s most breathtaking canvases, the country is blessed with an abundance of majestic scenery, from pristine beaches and soaring mountains, cloaked in dense, misty forests, to the towering limestone islands of Halong Bay, a spectacular World Heritage Site.
For more than a decade, reports of the war that wracked the country portrayed it as a savage netherworld, but this is a land of sublime beauty and culture. From the bustling streets of Hanoi and old Saigon, to imperial Hue and the historic backstreets of Hoi An, this is a country whose historical pedigree shines through at every opportunity. Communism has all but disappeared these days, but much of the French colonial influence remains, with exquisite architecture and some Gallic variations on Vietnam's own delicious cuisine. Nearly two decades on, this incredibly resilient nation is beginning to emerge from the shadows of the past, to present visitors with a land, not of bomb craters and army ordnance, but of shimmering paddy fields, sugar-white beaches and cities alive with colour and passion.