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Explore wonderful Vietnam

Vietnam, What images spring to mind? Conical hats emerging from lizard green rice paddies? Grainy black and white colonial era photographs of slender, dark-haired women in flowing white ao dai tunics? Stunning white-sand beaches fringed with coconut palms? Luxurious resorts and golf courses?

Vietnam is all these things and more, a country with a past as rich as the soil in the blazing green deltas. This past reads like a romantic legend, full of heroic struggles and astounding victories, whereby this small country retained its culture, absorbing and adapting the strengths of its foes but never losing its traditions or its sense of history. In Vietnam, traditions carry real meaning.

Ancient heroes are still venerated at colorful temple festivals, people honor their ancestors, and village elders teach values of hard work, hospitality, and filial loyalty. With 54 ethnic groups, most of who live in remote areas and follow age-old customs, Vietnam offers unparalleled opportunities for cultural exploration.

Vietnam's fascinating culture comes in a stunning package. It is a beautiful country - a long, hourglass of land, stretching 1,600km up the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Vietnamese people describe their country as a bamboo shoulder pole slung with two baskets of rice - the fertile southern Mekong Delta and the northern Red River Delta. From these lowland paddy fields stretch vast rubber plantations, rolling hills covered with thick jungle, and jagged mountains rising more than 3,000 metres in height. Over 3,200km of coastline features endless stretches of empty, white sand beaches.

Vietnam's varied topography allows for an incredibly varied travel experience. The country offers everything from tropical coastal lowlands to temperate zones above 2,000 metres. In the south, the rainy season lasts from May to November, but the showers are usually limited to brief bursts in the late afternoons. Along the central coast, the driest season runs from June to October. Visitors to the north are often surprised by the region's distinct seasons; summers are hot and humid while winters are invigoratingly cool.

As well as fine weather, spectacular natural scenery and historic sites, Vietnam's greatest resource is its friendly, welcoming people. Long closed to the outside world, Vietnam retains a charming innocence that more touristed regions lack. Yet in the decade since the country opened its doors to visitors, the country has built world-class hotels and tourism facilities. With international-standard lodgings and traditional Vietnamese hospitality, Vietnam is ready to take you on an unforgettable adventure. Join us and explore wonderful Vietnam.

- (17/10/2003)

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