At first Ho Chi Minh City feels suffocating. First time visitors find it difficult to catch their breath amongst the chaos and congestion. The streets are besieged with an army of ruthless motorcyclists who patrol the streets day and night, making a constant racket and making crossing the road potentially fatal.
Hanoi is one of Vietnam's largest and most visited cites and there is a multicultural and traveler-friendly atmosphere. Although communicating can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, many people speak English and there are plenty of Western-style hotels, shops and restaurants available for those who want a taste of home.
There is no shortage of attractions in Saigon, and the main sights are conveniently located in the compact downtown district. This area of the city manages to juxtapose old and new with considerable elegance and taste.
Hanoi is a real paradise for visitors who love to shop until they drop as the city features a large number of both day and night markets, where there are plenty of bargains to be found.
Ho Chi Minh City lacks the heady blend of cultural collection found in Hanoi; however, the city still has plenty to offer on the entertainment front. Aside from day time frolicking in the city's water parks, visitors can hit the town after dark to sample local nightlife.
Diners in Ho Chi Minh City can sample a wide variety dishes from all over Vietnam, as well as an array of international flavors. One of the joys of eating out in Vietnam is finding quality authentic food for a cheap price. Unfortunately, restaurant prices are on the increase in the city, rising 30 percent each year, and as the city becomes more cosmopolitan, finding bargain food is almost impossible.
When it comes to entertainment, Hanoi has plenty to offer. In addition to seeing the sights, visitors can take in a show at the theater, indulge in a spot of shopping or explore the parks. There are also outdoor pursuits available such as golf, swimming and cycling.
Ho Chi Minh City is well equipped for tourists and the locals are very welcoming towards all nationalities. The main danger in the city is the traffic, so pedestrians should be very careful and if possible, shadow a local when crossing a busy road. Travelers who haven't driven in Asian cities should stick to public transport, as traffic is highly undisciplined and many local drivers act ruthlessly on the road.
From high-end off the peg boutique originals to beautiful hand-carved souvenirs, shoppers are well catered for in Ho Chi Minh City.
Visitors to Hanoi will be able to spend several days taking in the sights as there are a wide range of different things to see and do including world famous museums, temples and parks.
The pretty city of Hanoi is located in the north of Vietnam and is one of the main destinations for visitors to the country. Offering a mixture of Eastern, Colonial and French styles, Hanoi is a fascinating place to explore and there are plenty of good places to drink, shop and dine here.
Food and eating are strongly ingrained in the culture of Vietnam, and this is particularly true in Hanoi, where there are a huge number of restaurants, cafés and other eateries to choose from.