7 MUST DOS: VIETNAM
Despite its violent past, Vietnam shines brighter than ever for backpackers and tourists. With an extensive cuisine and rich cultural tapestry, Vietnam is a great place to visit. With some people finding the abrupt attitude of the locals a little too abrasive, you'll need to enjoy these amazing spots to help you understand the history, people and culture.
HO CHI MINH
The Vietnam war was considered on of the most embarrassing wars for the US which is perhaps why you don't hear much about this. Ho Chi Minh's War Museum has paid a touching homage to both Vietnamese and foreign soldiers through various displays, recounts and memorabilia. Vietnam gets a chance to tell their side of the story as well as acknowledge the effects that still plague the country to this day. A true must see for all travelers.
While it seems a rather broad thing to say it's a must do for everyone travelling through this country. Vietnam is known around the world for it's amazing cuisine and what better way to discover it than from the tiny street food stalls. Whether you like Pho, Iced Coffee or Banh Mi make sure you go for an authentic version.
Hoi An is a UNESCO heritage site for a good reason, it's beautiful and preserved with such authenticity that you really feel like you're living in a different century. With plenty of buildings to explore you can easily spend a day exploring the town by foot or bike. Don't forget to check out the markets and bars along the riverbank for pure Vietnamese bliss.
It might sounds like a bit of an odd 'to do' activity, but when you're backpacking Vietnam and overnight bus is part of the experience. Spending 6-8 hours in a strange seat/bed contraption is both grueling and amusing and worth every moment. Experience authentic backpacking travel at price that will make it worth it.
If you want something a little less touristy than Halong Bay cruises then head to Cat Ba Island. With a peaceful town and amazing recluse beaches, it's worth a visit. Make sure you do a kayaking trip around the nearby limestone masses for some of the most beautiful encounters with mother nature.
Hanoi is equally as crazy as it's southern city Ho Chi Minh but with a lot of the backpacking area down small streets and alleys you have the illusion of feeling safer. Compare the difference of cuisine from the south and enjoy new street side delicacies. Make sure you check out the War Remnants museum for some added history.
Nha Trang is ironically a Russian tourist hot spot and for good reason. Hot sun, clear beaches and some cool beach front bars. With plenty of restaurants, bars and night markets there is plenty to keep you busy. Make sure you check out local restaurant 'Lanterns' for some Vietnamese meals that are worth writing home about.