Senior Citizens Travel to Vietnam

Sep 22nd, 2010 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

The first thing that most people think of when they think of Vietnam is the Vietnam War (known in Vietnam as the American War). Today tourists are advised to “forget the war.” Vietnam is presently a country any serious senior traveler should visit at least once. Its natural settings, its religious monuments, its local markets, its people, its cuisine, and its beaches are among the principal reasons for visiting, but there are many more. I have French friends who have visited the region and they were very impressed with what they saw, all the tours and sights available, and found the entire country to be exciting, spirited and a remarkably beautiful place full of happy, healthy, optimistic people. YouTube  provides a current picture of the environment.

Seniors… before you visit Vietnam, check out Unless you have been there during the past twenty years, your mental picture of Vietnam is probably dead wrong.  While it is the world’s third poorest country, it has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Vietnam’s official currency is the Dong. There are no coins, and the smallest bill is worth about a quarter of a US cent.  Most tourists arrive in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam with a population of around 3.5 million people.

The Vietnam Websites Directory has tours and travel guide suggestions.  The site puts in a plug for Trip Advisor and added 59 suggestions. Virtual Tourist provides a map, climate suggestions, advice for getting around and more.  A Vietnam Travel Guide provides for your needs to help make your visit memorable.

Again, Jim goes to Lonely Planet for valid info on Hanoi. Imagine a city where the medieval and modern co-exist. A city with a blend of Parisian grace and Asian pace, an architectural museum piece evolving in harmony with its history, rather than bulldozing through like many of the region’s capitals. Hanoi is where imagination becomes reality. A mass of motorbikes swarms through the tangled web of streets that is the Old Quarter. If you only have time to do one thing in Hanoi, it is recommended that you take the time to walk through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. After all, the history of Hanoi goes back over 2,000 years, and the Old Quarter in particular retains an ambiance that gives one insight into the past as well as the present.

Hawkers in conical hats ply their wares, locals sip coffee and bia hoi (beer) watching life (and plenty of tourists) pass them by.  Hanoi has it all: the ancient history, a colonial legacy and a modern outlook. There is no better place to untangle the paradox that is modern Vietnam.

Given the political and historical importance of Hanoi and its burgeoning population of over three million, it’s a surprisingly low-key city with a more intimate appeal than brash, young (Saigon) Ho Chi Minh City. At its center lies a tree-fringed lake and shaded avenues of classy French villas dressed up in jaded stucco, but the rest of Hanoi is bursting at the seams and nowhere is this more evident than in the teeming traffic and the vibrant, intoxicating tangle of streets known as the Old Quarter, the city’s commercial heart since the fifteenth century. Doesn’t that sound neat? 

Delving back even further, a handful of Hanoi’s more than six hundred temples and pagodas hail from the original, eleventh-century city, most notably the Temple of Literature. Modern Hanoi has an increasingly confident, “can do” air about it and a buzz that is even beginning to rival Ho Chi Minh City. There’s more money about nowadays and the wealthier Hanoians are prepared to flaunt it in the ever-more sophisticated restaurants, cafés and designer boutiques that have exploded all over the city. Why not join them? Hanoi now boasts glitzy, multistorey shopping malls and wine warehouses; beauty parlours are the latest fad and some seriously expensive cars cruise the streets.

There are plenty sights to keep you busy in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Most are centrally located so you can travel between them on foot although the cyclo drivers will be keenly waiting at every corner to offer their services. Lonely Planet advises seniors to… “Fasten your seatbelts as Ho Chi Minh City is a metropolis on the move – and we’re not just talking about the motorbikes that throng the streets. Saigon, as it’s known to all but city officials, is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the whole country forward with its limitless energy. It is a living organism that breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.”

When you are done visiting Vietnam perhaps…just maybe…you might like to slip into Cambodia and Laos and why not! Expedia is now awaiting your visit to help you find you a seat on the airplane.      jeb

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