Vietnam can be divided into 5 regions - the northern mountainous terrain with elevations of up to 9840ft; the Red River Delta where the capital Hanoi is seated; the Annamite Mountain Range that connects North to South; the narrow coastal strip between the Annamites and the South China sea and the legendary Mekong Delta in the south. Due to intensive land clearance only 20% of the forest remains, which couple with poaching has plunge the once prolific wildlife into dangerous decline. Fortunately the government has set the wheels in motion to create 87 national parks and nature reserves in thousands of square miles of the remaining forest. Vietnam has two climatic zones - moderate in the north and tropical in the south.
A popular way to see parts of Vietnam is by boat and a fashionable area to do this is in the Mekong Delta, an area consisting of rice paddies, swamps, forests, canals and rivers. Visitors will also encounter upon the unusual floating markets on the Mekong river, where produce is carried on boats or junks. River cruises can also be taken, on the Saigon River, one of the more relaxing ways to see Saigon itself.
Cu Chi Tunnels.
Two hours from Ho Chi Minh City is Cu Chi, a place famous for its network of tunnels, used by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War. These tunnels are just over one meter high and 80 centimetres wide and provided a way to get supplies to the hospitals, kitchens and training facilities. Visitors can even go through a tunnel themselves or take a look at an AK47 rifle! As it's a popular tourist spot, many travel organisations run frequent day trips to the Cu Chi tunnels.
Once called the Presidential Palace (a symbol of the South Vietnamese government), the Reunification Palace was attacked in 1975, when communist tanks stormed through its gates. Today guides offer tours around the Reunification Palace, whose 1960's architecture, created by Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu, is stunning. The tour includes visits to the Presidential Receiving Room, conference rooms, the war room, basement tunnels, the telecommunications centre as well as a terrace complete with heliport! For detailed information, visitors can also see a video presentation of Vietnamese history, which is available in many different languages.
Saigon Water Park.
This is one large water park where visitors can enjoy many water rides including the 'twister' or a raft slide that gets everybody screaming as it throws its passengers up the slide before shooting them back down again afterwards. If speed isn't a visitor's thing though, there's also some slow and easy rides to be had on the 'Lazy River', where visitors can sit in a large doughnut-shaped ring while the 'river' slowly takes them for a ride. For young children there is a shallower pool, where parents can lounge nearby and for anyone getting peckish, there's plenty of places to grab a bite to eat and drink.
Going by hydrofoil from Ho Chi Min City, Vung Tau, popular for its beaches, is just over an hour away. The place is also busy due to its nightlife, especially Back Beach but for more dancing and less karaoke, Mulberry Beach is the one to visit! By day there is many things for visitors to do including walking round large and small mountain trails, visiting a lighthouse or going to see the Giant Jesus! The Petro and Vina Express hydrofoils go to and from Ho Chi Min every two hours with tickets being reasonably priced.