Halong Bay, Vietnam


The other-worldly beauty that is Vietnam is something you have to see to believe. From the ancient ruins of Ho Chi Minh to the natural beauty of Halong Bay, experience the vibrant culture that has endured years of war and political upheaval to become what it is today.

Where to Go

Halong Bay

Sail through this natural wonder located in the Gulf of Tonkin for a sight of truly awe-inspiring beauty. Translated as 'where the dragon descends into the sea', legend has it the islands of Halong Bay were created from a great dragon charging toward the coast. Take a cruise to explore the island caves or visit the bustling mecca that is Halong City.

Cat Ba National Park

View all the natural wonders Vietnam has to offer in one incredible location when you visit Cat Ba National Park. The grounds are home to 32 types of mammal species and 70 types of bird species. See wild boar, deer, languor and macaques among the animals here. Try a challenging 18 kilometre hike through the park which leads up to the summit of a mark mountain.

Cu Chi Tunnels

Appreciate the gruelling life of Viet Cong-era soldiers when you traverse 120 kilometres of tunnels in Ho Chi Minh. Work on these tunnels began in 1948, and today they are a popular tourist attraction. Nestled under the city, see the meeting rooms, hospitals, accommodations, operating theatres and mess halls that are all a part of this real-life underground city.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

This modern-day World Heritage Site was once the seat of power in Vietnam – in fact it was the political centre of the country for 13 centuries. History comes to life in the ancient sites around the citadel. See as excavations begin to uncover the foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, and past relics.


Vietnam’s weather stays relatively similar year-round. If you are planning to visit the country, you really can’t go wrong any time of year. The country’s high season is from July to August, when prices rise substantially, and the low season is April to June and September to November. If you wish to visit the North Coast of Vietnam, be sure to steer clear of potential typhoons by not booking travel from September to November.

Travel Tips

Australian citizens do need to apply for visas in advance. Tourist visas are valid for a 30- or 90-day stay (single or multiple entry). Vietnam has somewhat infamous scrutiny upon arrival – multiple sources report that looking ‘respectable’ in dress is important to a smooth check-in process at customs. Here are a few other Vietnamese quirks to be aware of when visiting the country:

  • The sewer system of Vietnam leaves much to be desired and, in general, is not equipped to handle toilet tissue. Often restrooms will have bins next to the toilet, where you are meant to dispose of your toilet tissue. It may also be a good idea to bring a small pack of tissues with you, as some public restrooms will not provide toilet paper.
  • Heroin, marijuana and opium are readily available on the streets of Vietnam. While it is common sense to stay away from illicit drugs, this is especially important here. Plain clothes police officers often walk the streets, and laws are usually flexibly-interpreted. Police corruption is expected by many locals, so steer clear of illegal activities unless you are ready to pay hefty cash settlements.
  • UXOs, or unexploded ordnances, plague some areas of the country. These are landmine devices left by American soldiers during the Viet Nam War. Since 1975, more than 40,000 Vietnamese have been maimed or killed by these. While these are virtually non-existent in cities, rural areas are riskier. Never touch any rockets, mortars or artillery shells you come across in Vietnam.

Vietnam is a relatively safe country, on the whole. By using common sense, and avoiding relics of war, you will likely remain safe here. In the off-chance you experience problems with flights, visas, theft, or anything else, it is important to have a travel insurance policy from Cover-More. Don’t let little travel hassles become big travel expenses. Tailor your cover and pay for exactly what you need for your next Asian getaway.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Steven Cypher.