Vietnam holidays are certainly an option worth considering, with the Far East nation offering visitors spectacular landscapes, a fascinating culture and a friendly population. A nation that has successfully emerged from the ravages of war, Vietnam is being explored by an increasing number of travellers, all of whom are keen to experience this most unique of destinations. While its recent history is inescapable, so too is its soaring mountains, stunning coastline and iconic rice fields.
With so much to take in, travellers arriving in Vietnam will want to arrange their transport as early as possible. Trains are perhaps the most comfortable way of travelling around the country, although there is only one major line; that linking Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, a journey that takes around 30 hours to complete.
Buses are a cheaper option, with intercity services tending to depart at the crack of dawn in order to beat the morning rush. Services take a while, however, so be prepared to give up a day or two here and there for travelling. Once you've arrived at your chosen destination, you will certainly want to get out and explore your surroundings; in which case, car rental might be an option worth considering.
While hiring your own car is only possible in Vietnam's main cities, you can hire a vehicle with a driver elsewhere. So, not only will you avoid having to negotiate the country's often hectic road network, you will be able to take advantage of local knowledge, possibly discovering places a little off the beaten track and learning a bit of Vietnamese along the way.
The Far East is a long way to travel, so there's no reason to limit your trip to a single country. Neighbouring Cambodia is another nation that has fully embraced tourism. Fortunately, then, there are a number of Vietnam and Cambodia tours for travellers to take advantage of.
Angkor Wat is arguably the jewel in Cambodia's crown. The huge temple complex, one of the finest examples of classical Khmer architecture, has become the nation's symbol. Dating back to the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the World's largest religious building and has pride of place on Cambodia's flag.
While Cambodia is awash with culture and historical artefacts, travellers will inevitably want some downtime during their Far Eastern adventure. Sihanoukville, known among tourists as Snookyville, is a popular seaside town and home to the country's best beaches. Seemingly becoming more popular as each year passes, Sihanoukville was recently referred to by the New York Times as "Asia's next trendsetting beach".
Seemingly a million miles away, Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, is referred to as one of the Far East's remaining undiscovered destinations. Despite being deeply affected by war and revolution, Phnom Penh is a city of optimism and colour; a place of Buddhists, spice markets and a burgeoning economy. It's likely you'll visit the city during your Cambodian adventure, and while the inevitable assault on the senses may exhaust you, it's certainly worth spending a day or two here.
No visit to the eastern corner of Asia can be complete without seeing some of the region's wildlife, so a visit to the 1,581 sq km Bokor National Park comes highly recommended. Home to green peafowl, chestnut-headed partridge and even tigers, the park is well worth a visit, even if it's just to see the deserted French hill station, Bokor, that it contains.
Vietnam and Cambodia are two nations opening their arms to tourism. Why not discover each country next year before everyone else does?