The Hidden Gem of the Grand Canyon: Horseshoe Bend

Jess Valentine

After it being near the top of our USA bucket list for years, we finally got to experience how grand the Grand Canyon really is. After our visit many people asked us, “Which rim of the Grand Canyon is best?”

Even with the tumultuous history that Cambodia has, the infectious smiles of its residents will leave you with a sense of the optimism and unbreakable spirit that pervades the entire country.

As a UNESCO site, Hue is full of tombs and palaces, rich history to be explored. The days can be long and hot and though you may have come to learn about the history of the formal capital city, you may find that your tired limbs are aching for a relaxing day at the beach.

It isn’t often an entire city makes it on to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, but Hue is one such exception. UNESCO’s mission is to encourage international cooperation for the conservation of the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Hue made the list in 1993 and has since brought an endless flow of tourists to the small city where history buffs and curious tourists can see pieces of what imperial Vietnam used to look like.

Planning a holiday is all about living your daydreams. After all, you’ve been thinking about what you’ll do in Vietnam for a while; you’ve done the research on the attractions and accommodations and flights. There is likely one part of the trip that you haven’t yet considered, though: how to get around Vietnam once you land from Australia.

Hue (pronounced “hway”) is located on the banks of the Song Huong-Perfume River where it serves as the capital of the Thien Hue province in central Vietnam. Here, you will find palaces, pagodas, tombs, temples, history and much more to explore and enjoy. While this city doesn’t have the same “big city”-esque vibe as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, Hue has its own charm and draw for tourists and locals alike. Perhaps the most impressive accolade of the city is its UNESCO World Heritage site status. While many of the finest buildings from imperial Vietnam were destroyed during the Vietnam War, there are still plenty of artefacts and history to sate the most voracious of history lovers.

Right in the heart of Hanoi is a public park where you can get your fix of nature. It’s called Ho Hoan Kiem Lake, and the strip of park meets multiple needs for the cities inhabitants—from a space to practice your sport of choice, to a prime picnicking spot, and much more. While the lake itself is on the smaller side, Ho Hoan Kiem Lake is Hanoi’s cultural and historic heart, which explains why the park is always busy from the first break of sunlight all the way through twilight.

The social scene in Hanoi, Vietnam is slightly different from those you find in other major cities around the world. Instead of microbreweries and craft beers and wine bars, Hanoi has a specialty that, if you love beer, will surely enjoy. Bia hoi refers to Hanoi’s drink of choice—loosely translated, it means “fresh beer.” It is a very light, refreshing and cold draught beer that locals and tourists love equally. In fact, the bia hoi scene is so popular that it makes up 30% of Vietnam’s beer market, which makes a lot of sense because it is dirt cheap. It will be a mere $0.50AUD for each glass of the straw-coloured beverage.

The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi was once the most important political centre of Vietnam. At the beginning of the 20th century it consisted of around 36 streets, all of which now make up the Old Quarter. It used to be crowded with silk traders and jewellery sellers and in more modern times, tradition has been upheld.

Ask anyone about their holiday in Vietnam and chances are you’ll hear heaps and heaps of praise about this friendly, generous and giving country. Everyone welcomes you with open arms, they share their history and cultural experiences willingly, their food is divine and the major cities of this country are upcoming social hotspots. If you decide to holiday in Vietnam, you’ll be able to take advantage of all these perks and more. For all that a vast majority of the people you meet and interact with will be friendly, there are a number of scams that have become popular, and as you may expect, tourists are often the targets of these schemes. Get to know the five most common scams in Vietnam so you can be ahead of the curve before your plane even touches down.

Hanoi is a classically old-world city working at a modern-day pace. Once considered one of Asia’s most inhospitable destinations, Hanoi has worked hard to overcome this stereotype, becoming a city on the rise. Get in on the ground floor of this up-and-coming tourist mecca with our list of must-see destinations in Hanoi.

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