Jade Emperor Pagoda Ho Chi Minh City Shrine with Incense

Jade Emperor Pagoda

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – Nestled in a quiet, hidden little enclave in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the Jade Emperor Pagoda offers a calming sanctuary from the bustle of the busy streets outside.

Reunification Palace Tank Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Ho Chi Minh City’s Reunification Palace

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — What is now known as Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City served as the home and office of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Museum of Revolution Statue and Artillery

Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution

HANOI, Vietnam – Unsurprisingly, Vietnam takes its revolutionary foundations very much to heart. They’re shown off and commemorated in the national Revolution Museum in central Hanoi.

Ho Chi Minh City Hall in Saigon at Night

Ho Chi Minh City Hall

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – Modeled on the Hotel de Ville in Paris, Ho Chi Minh City Hall is the seat of Saigon’s city government.

Imperial City Hue Vietnam Ngo Mon Gate and Bridge

The Citadel in the Imperial City of Hue

HUE, Vietnam — Inside the Citadel walls was once lavish and opulent, with ornate gardens and intricate pagodas. But the Vietnam War was not kind to the Imperial City. Large parts of it are now nothing more than rubble.

Cho Dong Ba in Hue Vietnam Shallots

Dong Ba Market (Cho Dong Ba)

HUE, Vietnam – Hue’s Dong Ba market (Cho Dong Ba)–like so many of the markets around the world in places people rely on markets for their day-to-day food and merchandise needs–is a bustling, crowded affair with things for sale crammed into every available space.

Vietnam Military History Museum Tank Exhibit

Hanoi’s Vietnam Military History Museum

HANOI, Vietnam – The Vietnam Military History Museum in central Hanoi celebrates the Vietnamese victories of the 20th century, first over the French and then the United States. And, of course, it presents a version sanctioned by the Vietnamese Communist Government.

Quan Thanh Temple Hanoi Elephant Statue

Quan Thanh Temple

HANOI, Vietnam — Quan Thanh Temple in the Ba Dinh district of Hanoi next to the southeastern corner of West Lake is a Taoist temple that dates back to the 11th century.

Photo of Cu Chi Tunnels Tourists in Tunnel Hole

Cu Chi Tunnels

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — I don’t usually have issues with claustrophobia, but this isn’t fun anymore. How people could live down here is beyond me.

Hanoi's Turtle Tower and Island on Hoan Kiem Lake Reflection

Hoan Kiem Lake, Home of Hanoi’s Giant Turtle

HANOI, Vietnam — Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Sword Lake, Ho Guom, or Lake of the Returned Sword) is at the very heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and a cultural heart of the city. And it’s rather beautiful.

Hanoi One Pillar Pagoda Branches 327-0535413038

Hanoi’s One Pillar Pagoda

HANOI, Vietnam — Despite it being a replica of what was once a thousand-year-old pagoda, the One Pillar Pagoda is today considered one of Vietnam’s most iconic Buddhist temples.

Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Monk Praying

Hanoi’s Oldest Pagoda

HANOI, Vietnam — At 1400 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda, in a picturesque spot on a small island in Hanoi’s West Lake, is the city’s oldest temple. And while small, it’s quite beautiful.

Photo of Shells on display at War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Vietnam’s War Remnants Museum

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — The War Remnants Museum presents an important but one-sided history of the appalling legacy of the decades of war that have ravaged Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Guards at entrance

Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum

HANOI, Vietnam — Even Uncle Ho needs a holiday. Even while he’s away on his annual autumn sojourn in Moscow, his mausoleum in downtown Hanoi still gets the royal treatment.

Photo of West Lake (Ho Tay) Fisherman on Floating Platform

The Lakes of Hanoi

HANOI, Vietnam — Hanoi has many lakes. They provide a respite from the crushing traffic and incessant bustle in other parts of the city.

Hoa Lo Prison Hanoi Hilton Conditions

The Hanoi Hilton

HANOI, Vietnam — This is not a place of sweetness and light. Hoa Lo Prison, better known in the west as “the Hanoi Hilton,” was first a French colonial jail for Vietnamese political prisoners and later used during the Vietnam War for American pilots held as prisoners of war. And it’s a place with an especially grim history.

Vietnam’s Perfume River

HUE, Vietnam — I’m standing right above the middle of the river, 25 feet above the water surface. And I don’t smell a thing. The Perfume River, it turns out, is only fragrant at a specific time of the year, in the autumn, when the flowers in the orchards up river lose their blossoms into the water.