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  • The northern coast Guide | Vietnam Travel | Rough Guides
    boasts one of the country s foremost attractions and one of the most vaunted spots in all of Southeast Asia the mystical scenery of Ha Long Bay where jagged emerald islands jut out of the sea in their thousands Heading in by boat you approach wave after wave of hidden bays needle sharp ridges and cliffs of ribbed limestone The waters here are patrolled by squadrons of attractive old fashioned tourist junks on which you ll be able to spend a night at sea wonderful Cat Ba island is another great place to stay You ll find similar karst scenery inland around the small city of Ninh Binh while other notable sights in the area are the colonial buildings of Hai Phong and the caves around Dong Hoi The northern coast stretches all the way from the DMZ to the Chinese border Heading north from the DMZ the Demilitarized Zone the first stretch is hemmed in by the jagged Truong Son Mountains which separate Vietnam from Laos Here Vietnam shrinks to a mere 50km wide and is edged with sand dunes up to 80m high marching inland at a rate of 10m per year despite efforts to stabilize them with screw pine and cactus The first place of note on this stretch is Dong Hoi a largely uninteresting city but one that serves as a jump off point for the spectacular cave of Phong Nha This was regarded as the largest cave in the land until another was discovered nearby Son Doong cave yet to be fully charted but already held to be the largest in the world The area north of Dong Hoi is one of the poorest in Vietnam and has little to detain the traveller however the mountains brushing the Lao border are home to a number of unique animal species including the elusive saola ox and the more numerous giant muntjac deer The only place that sees travellers in any number is Vinh another rather dull place but a logical stopover on this long stretch you may care to track down Ho Chi Minh s birthplace in the nearby village of Kim Lien Despite the presence of these attractions the vast majority of tourists make a bee line from Hué to Ninh Binh This is yet another unattractive northern city but such is the wealth of nearby sights that visitors tend to stay for at least a couple of days said attractions include majestic karst scenery underground rivers that can be paddled through by boat an ancient capital city and Vietnam s largest temple complex From Ninh Binh most travellers push straight on north to Hanoi However it s quite possible to head directly from here towards Ha Long Bay via the buzzing city of Hai Phong one of the largest in Vietnam and infinitely more appealing than most northern cities thanks to great colonial era architecture and a young friendly populace Then of course there s Ha Long Bay itself A doyen of local tourist

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/vietnam/the-northern-coast/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Hanoi and around Guide | Vietnam Travel | Rough Guides
    their temples and palaces according to the laws of geomancy They built protective dykes established a town of artisans and merchants alongside the Imperial City s eastern wall and set up the nation s first university in the process laying the foundations of modern Hanoi From 1407 the country was again under Chinese occupation but this time only briefly before the great hero Le Loi retook the capital in 1428 The Le Dynasty kings drained lakes and marshes to accommodate their new palaces as well as a growing civilian population and towards the end of the fifteenth century Thang Long was enjoying a golden era under the great reformer King Le Thanh Thong Shortly after his death in 1497 however the country dissolved into anarchy while the city slowly declined until finally Emperor Gia Long moved the royal court to Hué in 1802 International intervention By the 1830s Thang Long had been relegated to a provincial capital known merely as Ha Noi or City within the River s Bend and in 1882 its reduced defences offered little resistance to attacking French forces led by Captain Rivière Initially capital of the French Protectorate of Tonkin a name derived from Dong Kinh meaning Eastern Capital after 1887 Hanoi became the centre of government for the entire Union of Indochina Royal palaces and ancient monuments made way for grand residences administrative offices tree lined boulevards and all the trappings of a colonial city more European than Asian However the Vietnamese community lived a largely separate often impoverished existence creating a seedbed of insurrection During the 1945 August Revolution thousands of local nationalist sympathizers spilled onto the streets of Hanoi and later took part in its defence against returning French troops though they had to wait until 1954 for their city finally to become the capital of an independent Vietnam Hanoi sustained more serious damage during the air raids of the American War particularly the infamous Christmas Bombing campaign of 1972 The subsequent political isolation together with lack of resources preserved what was essentially the city of the 1950s somewhat faded a bit battered and very overcrowded These characteristics are still in evidence today even as Hanoi is reinventing itself as a dynamic international capital New market freedoms combined with an influx of tourists since the early 1990s have led to a huge growth in privately run hotels and restaurants several of international standard and in boutiques craft shops and tour agencies As ancient and antiquated buildings give way to glittering high rises and as traffic congestion increases the big question is how much of this historic and charming city will survive the onslaught of modernization Read More More about Vietnam Itineraries Features Where Next Check out The southern coast Book a hostel in Vietnam Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Hoan Kiem District The Old Quarter The French Quarter Ba Dinh District West Lake Around Hanoi Find out more When to visit When to visit The best time to

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  • The far north Guide | Vietnam Travel | Rough Guides
    Mai Chau The little travelled provinces east of the Red River Valley also deserve attention especially the stunning scenery and mountain people in the border area of Ha Giang and Cao Bang provinces The northeast region also features Ba Be National Park where Vietnam s largest natural lake hides among forested limestone crags and impenetrable jungle Not surprisingly infrastructure throughout the northern mountains is poor facilities tend to be thin on the ground and some roads are in terrible condition However this area is becoming increasingly popular with tourists as Hanoi s tour agents organize new tours and independent travellers venture into uncharted terrain by jeep or motorbike Whether you travel by public transport or with your own vehicle you need to allow around six days actual travelling time to cover the northwestern region Touring the entire northeast also requires at least six days including Ha Giang Province but more if you want to spend time on Ba Be Lake or visit Pac Bo Cave or Ban Gioc Waterfall near Cao Bang Combining the northwest and northeast loops gives you an unforgettable two weeks of exploration but bear in mind that travelling these roads is unpredictable becoming downright hazardous during the rains see When to go and it s advisable to allow some flexibility in your programme If you ve got only limited time Sa Pa Mai Chau and Ba Be National Park make rewarding two or three day excursions out of Hanoi either by public transport or hired vehicle The other alternative is to join an organized tour with one of Hanoi s tour agencies Brief history There is little recorded history of this region of the country prior to the French establishing a hill station at Sa Pa in the 1920s and even then their tenure was brief Remote uplands dense vegetation and rugged terrain suited to guerrilla activities plus a safe haven across the border made this region the perfect place from which to orchestrate Vietnam s independence movement For a short while in 1941 Ho Chi Minh hid in the Pac Bo Cave on the Chinese frontier later moving south to Tuyen Quang Province from where the Viet Minh launched their August Revolution in 1945 These northern provinces were the first to be liberated from French rule but over in the northwest some minority groups notably from among the Thai Hmong and Muong supported the colonial authorities and it took the Viet Minh until 1952 to gain control of the area Two years later they staged their great victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu close to the Laos border During the late 1970s Sino Vietnamese relations became increasingly sour for various reasons not least Vietnam s invasion of Cambodia Things came to a head on February 17 1979 when the Chinese sent two hundred thousand troops into northern Vietnam destroying most of the border towns seventeen days later however the invasion force was on its way home some twenty thousand short Though much of

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  • Map of Vietnam | Vietnam Regions | Rough Guides | Rough Guides
    and modern busy cities Vietnam is a truly fascinating place Whether you re planning on cruising Ha Long Bay squeezing through guerrilla tunnels in the DMZ or mixing with locals at a bia hoi bar in Ho Chi Minh City use our map of Vietnam to start planning your trip This vibrant destination has emerged from its past at an astonishing pace Spend time soaking up some traditional Vietnamese culture enjoy vibrant ethnic markets in Bac Ha and Can Cau explore the palaces and hardens of Hue s citadel the former Imperial City and feast on luscious food in beautiful Hoi An the culinary capital Take a snorkelling or dive trip out of Nha Trang or float through the Mekong Delta and take in the serene Vietnamese scenery Find out more about Vietnam Interactive Vietnam Map Regions of Vietnam Click the links below to find out about your chosen region 1 Ho Chi Minh City and around 2 The Mekong Delta 3 The central highlands 4 The southern coast 5 The central coast 6 The northern coast 7 Hanoi and around 8 The far north Related Ebooks The Rough Guide to Vietnam View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Vietnam Ho Chi

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/maps/asia/vietnam/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Places to Visit in Vietnam | Where to go in Vietnam | Rough Guides
    gives way to a socialist market economy As the number of tourists visiting the country soars their talk is not of bomb craters and army ordnance but of shimmering paddy fields and sugar white beaches full tilt cities and venerable pagodas Vietnam is a veritable phoenix arisen from the ashes The speed with which Vietnam s population has been able to put the bitter events of its recent past behind it and focus its gaze so steadfastly on the future often surprises visitors expecting to encounter shell shocked resentment of the West It wasn t always like this however The reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1975 ending twenty years of bloody civil war was followed by a decade or so of hardline centralist economic rule from which only the shake up of doi moi Vietnam s equivalent of perestroika beginning in 1986 could awaken the country This signalled a renaissance for Vietnam and today a high fever of commerce grips the nation from the flash new shopping malls and designer boutiques to the hustle and bustle of street markets and the booming cross border trade with China From a tourist s point of view this is a great time to visit not only to soak up the intoxicating sense of vitality and optimism but also the chance to witness a country in profound flux Inevitably that s not the whole story Doi moi is an economic policy not a magic spell and life for much of the population remains hard Indeed the move towards a market economy has predictably polarized the gap between rich and poor Average monthly incomes for city dwellers are around US 100 while in the poorest provinces workers may scrape by on as little as US 30 a month a difference that amply illustrates the growing gulf between urban and rural Vietnam There is an equally marked difference between north and south a deep psychological divide that was around long before the American War and is engrained in Vietnamese culture Northerners are considered reticent thrifty law abiding and lacking the dynamism and entrepreneurial know how of their more worldly wise southern compatriots Not surprisingly this is mirrored in the broader economy the south is Vietnam s growth engine it boasts lower unemployment and higher average wages and the increasingly glitzy Ho Chi Minh City looks more to Bangkok and Singapore than Hanoi Many visitors find a vast number of places to visit that intrigue and excite them in Hanoi Ho Chi Minh City and the other major centres but despite the cities allure it s the country s striking landscape that most impresses Vietnam occupies a narrow strip of land that hugs the eastern borders of Cambodia and Laos hemmed in by rugged mountains to the west and by the South China Sea or the East Sea as the Vietnamese call it To the north and south of its narrow waist it fantails out into the splendid deltas of the Red River and the

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  • The Silk Road | About The Northwest | Rough Guides
    of two routes across the deserts to Kashgar the southern route ran through Dunhuang Miran Niya Khotan and Yarkand the northern route through Hami Turpan Kuqa and Aksu Beyond Kashgar merchants traded their goods with middlemen who carried them south to Kashmir and Bactria or north to Ferghana and Samarkand Then laden with Western goods the Chinese merchants would turn around for the 3000km journey home Oases along the route prospered as caravanserai becoming wealthy in their own right When Chinese domination periodically declined many of these cities turned into self sufficient statelets or khanates The foundations of this road to the West which was to become one of the most important arteries of trade and culture in world history were laid over two millennia ago In 139 BC the imperial court at Chang an dispatched a man called Zhang Qian to investigate the world to the west and to seek possible allies in the struggle against nomadic marauders from the north Zhang set out with a party of a hundred men thirteen years later he returned with only one member of his original expedition and no alliances Nevertheless the news he brought of the lands to the west set Emperor Wu Di and his court aflame Further expeditions purchased horses for military purposes and from these beginnings trade developed By 100 BC a dozen immense caravans were heading into the desert each year From China emerged silk of course along with jade porcelain peaches roses cast iron gunpowder and paper the West sent back cucumbers figs sesame walnuts grapes and wine making wool ivory and religion including Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism The first Buddhist missionaries appeared in China in the first century AD and by the fourth century Buddhism had become the official religion of much of northern China

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  • The Mekong River | About The Mekong Delta | Rough Guides
    Ben Tre Province Cao Lanh and around Vinh Long Tra Vinh Sa Dec Can Tho Soc Trang Bac Lieu Ca Mau Long Xuyen Chau Doc Ha Tien Hon Chong Peninsula Rach Gia Phu Quoc Island See all destinations The Mekong River Show Related Guides Hide Related Guides The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia On A Budget View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City View Guide The Rough Guide to Vietnam View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Vietnam Hanoi View Guide The Rough Guide to Bangkok View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Malaysia Kuala Lumpur View Guide The Rough Guide to First Time Around The World View Guide The Rough Guide to Singapore View Guide The Rough Guide to Bali Lombok View Guide Kansai Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide Vietnam The Mekong Delta The Mekong River By the time it reaches Vietnam the Mekong River has already covered more than four thousand kilometres from its source high on the Tibetan Plateau en route it traverses southern China skirts Burma Myanmar then hugs the Laos Thailand border before cutting down through Cambodia and into Vietnam a journey that ranks it as Asia s third longest river after the Yangtse and Yellow rivers Flooding has always blighted the delta ever since Indian traders imported their advanced methods of irrigation more than eighteen centuries ago networks of canals have been used to channel the excess water but the rainy season still claims lives from time to time It s difficult to overstate the influence of the river the lifeblood of the rice and fruit crops grown in the delta it also teems with craft that range in size from delicate rowing boats to hulking sampans all painted with distinctive eyes on the prow These continue an ancient tradition and were originally intended

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  • Continent & Country Cambodia Travel Features | Rough Guides
    National parks reserves Nature Nightlife Novelty Off the beaten track People Photography Railway journeys Relaxation Road trips Romance Shopping Structures Surfing Tourist Trail Tradition Transport Walking trekking Wildlife Winter sports Features Cambodia Sort by Date Popularity 11 gorgeous pictures of Cambodia This beguiling country in Southeast Asia has captured the hearts and imaginations of travellers from all over the world Travel photographer Fiona Campbell is one of many entranced by its magic here she shares 11 of her favourite photos What makes Cambodia extraordinary is its cheerful smiling people Despite the fragility of this country these are broadly Fiona Campbell 11 01 2016 How to see Angkor Wat without the crowds The sky is lightening Squint and you can just about make out a change in the colour of it a shift from inky black to blue black As the sun rises further it changes more until it pales enough behind the stonework that you can begin to make out a hulk on the horizon You breathe in Helen Ochyra 03 06 2015 Video 13 things not to miss in Cambodia It s not just temples and tuk tuks Cambodia has so much to offer travellers From the delicious cuisine to floating villages here are the top things not to miss on your trip to Cambodia For more inspirational travel videos subscribe to the Rough Guides Youtube channel Site Editor 12 02 2015 7 reasons to visit Battambang Cambodia Olivia Rawes tells us why the city of Battambang Cambodia should be an essential stop on any southeast Asian itinerary Battambang is often overlooked It lacks the obvious Cambodian trump cards no golden beaches no capital city buzz no Angkor Wat But then neither does it suffer from congested traffic coach loads of tourists or Olivia Rawes 22 01 2015 20 places to get utterly lost Gallery Keith Drew 23 10 2014 The friendliest countries in the world Whether it s a smile exchanged with a stranger a quick chat with a tuk tuk driver or a night out on the town with a group of newly made friends interactions with local people often shape our view of a whole country So which places offer tourists the warmest welcome This list counts down the friendliest countries Site Editor 30 09 2014 In pictures the world s most photogenic countries Rough Guides photographer Tim Draper reveals his top ten most photogenic countries in the world From his home country England to the depths of Vietnam and Slovenia Tim Draper has shot images for 24 Rough Guides throughout his career as a professional travel photographer After starting out on the Rough Guide to England he went Lottie Gross 13 08 2014 One year on Picfair s best travel photography If you re a keen travel photographer amateur or professional and you ve not heard of Picfair you re missing a trick As a platform for professional photographers it s revolutionary allowing them to sell their pictures at a price they want Travellers with

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