Thursday, September 13, 2012
A hopeful current is buzzing throughout much of the country, and it's a thrill to watch the chaos and order play out their yin and yang amidst honking horns, noodle stands, crumbling colonial remnants and high-rises. Here is my list of the nine best things to do in
#9 -- Access ethic tribal minorities at villages nestled in the lush hills near Sapa, and share a cup of tea with locals in their rustic mountain homes.
#8 -- Dine at the epicenter of culture at an exclusive dinner at the
Temple of Literature
in . Hanoi
#7 -- Enjoy a private reception at a first-rate art gallery in
. The curator is our longtime friend,
and the crème of Hanoi 's
artists are in attendance. Hanoi
#6 -- Take a private cooking class with a gourmet chef, our friend of two decades who is frequently featured on Vietnamese cooking shows.
#5 -- Visit the collection of antiques and photographs of the "American War" by our friend Cuong, who photographed the fall of
and was later sent to a Marxist re-education camp. His life story has been the
subject of a PBS documentary.
#4 -- Enter a state of blissful oblivion at the breathtaking Six Senses Con Dao beach resort, located on a white sand beach of stunning natural beauty.
#3 -- Navigate the alleyways of the ancient port town of
An by bicycle, to explore the syncretic cultural influences of Southeast Asia's most important port from the 17th
through 19th centuries.
#2 -- Cruise the waterways of the Mekong Delta to glimpse the timeless rural scenes of farmers working the fertile land and fishermen with their nets. Stop in a home to see them making rice paper, one at a time, with a ladle and griddle.
#1 -- Take a private overnight cruise through Halong Bay on a restored junk, a traditional Chinese sailboat. This bay is on anyone's short list for the greatest natural scenery in
From sea kayaking into caves to visiting locals in their fishing villages on
tucked-away islands, Halong Bay is a must on any trip to . Vietnam