Vietnam is still opening up to tourists on an almost daily basis. I have listed some of the more popular local attractions throughout Vietnam below, which will then give you some idea as to how to plan your holiday in this fascinating country.
Cantho is the political, economic, cultural and transportation centre of the Mekong Delta. Rice husking mills provide the main source of income and the area is linked to most other main centers in the Mekong Delta via the waterways and road/rail systems.
Boat Trips are available that take you across the water or through the local canals on many interesting sightseeing excursions that definitely require a camera. Larger boats venture up the Mekong River and this is a definite MUST DO if you are in the area.
Cantonese Congregation Pagoda was built on a different site originally but now stands where it is today. The pagoda occupies a splendid location facing the Cantho River.
Central Market is where you should go to stock up on fresh produce either direct from the farms or the fishing grounds nearby.
Floating markets are the Delta's prime attractions. Unlike those found in Bangkok, these markets aren't for the benefit of camcorder-toting tourists. Early each morning the Bassac River and its tributaries swell with vendors in sampans, houseboats and longtails jammed with fresh Delta produce: jackfruit, mangosteen, durian, papaya, mango, bananas, pineapple, guava, fresh vegetables and smuggled sundries from cigarettes to shampoo. The best market to visit is about 30 km south of Can Tho in Phung Hiep.
Ho Chi Minh Museum is the only museum in the Mekong Delta devoted to this ruler. It is a large museum, if you haven't been to a similar one elsewhere, is worth a visit.
Chau Doc is a riverine commercial centre and is not that far from the Cambodian border. Once known for it's dug-out canoe races it is now better known for it's Cham and Khmer temples in its environs.
Chau Doc Church was constructed in 1920 and although small is interesting and for those of the Christian faith they hold mass here seven days a week.
Chau Phu Temple was built in 1926 and is decorated with both Vietnamese and Chinese motifs. Inside are funeral tablets with the names and biographical information on the dead.
Floating Houses, are well worth a few photos and it's worth it to hire a boat to see them better.
Mosques in the area consist of the Chau Giang Mosque and the Murbank Mosque. There are others in the area but those mentioned are the largest,. Visitors are permitted but please respect the faith and do not enter them during 'calls of prayer' which occur 5 times a day unless you are of the Islamic faith.
Sam Mountain is the place to go if you want to see dozens of temples, pagodas and the like and is well worth visiting. Located about 6 km from the city. Not only do temples abound but the trek to the top of the mountain is also popular though one can go by motorised vehicle if you so desire.
Tay Anh Pagoda is renowned for its fine carvings of hundreds of religious figures most of which are wooden. The building reflects both Hindu and Islamic influences and outside stand a black elephant (with 2 tusks) and a white elephant (with 6 tusks) as well as various monks tombs etc.
Temple of Lady Chua Xu faces Sam Mountain not far from the Tay An Pagoda and was founded in the 1820's. The original was built of bamboo, but this has been replaced over the years and the last reconstruction took place in 1972.
Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau who was a high ranking officer that served the Ngyen lords and later the Nguyen Dynasty is buried here. Nearby are several other tombs of similar officials serving under Thoai Ngoc Hau.
Cavern Pagoda also known as Phuoc Dien Tu is about halfway up Sam Mountain and is well worth a visit.
The city of Dalat is the main centre of the Southern Highlands region. In the past it was renowned as a cool, green city with a park-like environment. This is changing fast, as the economy booms and life speeds up. Still, Dalat is definitely worth a visit and it's a good base for trips into the surrounding highlands, which remain tranquil. In Dalat, make sure you visit the Hang Nga Guesthouse & Art Gallery, nicknamed by locals the Crazy House. It's created by artist and architect Mrs Dang Viet Nga (known as Hang Nga).
Dalat is famous for its coffee shops, and is extremely popular with domestic tourists and honeymooners. You can fly to Dalat from Ho Chi Minh City. The airport is 30km from town; express buses also link the two cities.
The Emperor Bao Dai's Summer Palace is stuffed with interesting art and everyday objects, and is well worth a look. It's also interesting to stroll around the old French Quarter.
The Valley of Love, 5km north of the city centre, is a bizarre place where you can hire a paddle boat on the lake or a horse from one of the Dalat Cowboys (no relation to the Dallas Cowboys), who are, indeed, dressed as cowboys. There are some pleasant walks or rides (on horseback or bike) in the countryside around the city, but be aware that areas signposted with a C-sign are off-limits to foreigners.
Prenn Falls are worth a visit and are located at the foot of Prenn Mountain Pass. The 10km long pass is on the route from Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City.
Further out, you can visit the villages of some of the hill tribes, such as Lat Village and the Chicken Village (with a huge statue of a chicken).