Vietnam is teeming with culture and traditions. It has also become increasingly popular for tourists these days. The best part is that there are several cities that you can visit and they are all incredibly amazing. Whether you want to experience the modern life in Vietnam or a more traditional rural experience, the country has a lot to offer.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are two of the most popular cities in the country. They are visited for various reasons. If you are not certain which place to visit on your limited time, here are some things to take into consideration.
A great cultural experience
Both cities are filled with museums, temples and colonial architecture. The relics of French occupation are still visible. However, if you are into theme parks and other adventures, Ho Chi Minh has more to offer. Hanoi on the other hand is perfect for various genres of arts. If you want to experience the more traditional side of Vietnam, Hanoi is better. They also have more traditional values and more formal manners. Ho Chi Minh has become more influenced by Western culture. Businesses and tech industries have flourished in Ho Chi Minh.
Vietnamese dishes are popular all over the world. Not only will you find tasty dishes in both cities, they are also very cheap. If you are into street foods, both cities have a lot to offer. The only difference is the taste. Hanoi’s dishes tend to be less sweet compared with Ho Chi Minh. The latter also has sweeter coffees and are fond of desserts. If you are staying longer and you are already tired of the local dishes, Ho Chi Minh offers more international restaurants.
Vietnam doesn’t usually have establishments opening after midnight due to strict government rules. However, Ho Chi Minh has managed to have a few bars that stay up late. There are areas that are totally perfect for tourists who want to hang out without being limited in terms of time. However, Hanoi also has the Old Quarter where locals and tourists come for cheap drinks and snacks while seated on the sides of the streets.
Hanoi has far superior options when it comes to crafts and silk accessories. They also have great handmade goods. These products are also way cheaper when bought in Hanoi, though available in other parts of the country. Ho Chi Minh on the other hand are notorious for their cheap markets and upmarket boutiques. They also offer more comfortable shopping areas that are air-conditioned.
In short, both cities are unique. Though a lot of things are available in both cities, there are things that are better done in one city over the other. Generally speaking, Hanoi is the more conservative and culturally rich city. Ho Chi Minh is the more modern city but still has a touch of Vietnam if that’s what you are looking for. In the end, why choose if you can visit both?
Featured and 1st image by User: Bgabel at wikivoyage shared [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd image by Jael from Ho Chi Minh City (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons