The Vietnamese people are justifiably proud of their country; Vietnam is beautiful, intriguing and exciting by turns. Evidence of Vietnam's rich, and sometimes turbulent, history remains in cities such as Hanoi where buildings from the French colonial period stand alongside traditional temples and pagodas.
The ancient Imperial city of Hue, on the east coast, was virtually destroyed in the Vietnam War. Following painstaking restoration work, a testimony to the Vietnamese spirit of indomitability and optimism, much of Hue's stunning ancient architecture has been restored and today the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond its cities, Vietnam is imbued with startling natural beauty. From the terraced paddy-fields of rural hillsides where ox-drawn ploughs still work the land, to the dramatic and densely-forested mountains of the Highlands and to the miles of talcum-white, palm-fringed beaches this is a country of stunning landscapes. Most unforgettable of all is the haunting Ha Long Bay, whose countless naturally formed limestone columns, islands and caves are magical to explore by boat.