If you've managed to make this far without falling asleep, congratulations. Vietnam has been the most intense visit I've ever had to a place. The longest previous vacation in my life was three weeks, and I spent three months in Vietnam. I think I could easily have spent a few more months there without really getting tired of it. I completely missed out on seeing the hill tribes of the Central Highlands, and lots of other places. I think it's a great place to visit, whether for a week or a month. If you would like to visit, here are a few suggestions:
In closing, let me give you a bit of Vietnamese poetry. I'm not usually a poetry kind of guy, but I liked these verses I found in a history book.
In the 16th century, Nguyen Binh Khiem left this one:
Harrying others will bring you
Better abstain and sleep soundly.
The harder you clench your fist, the less easily you will open it,
Whoever laughs too much one day may choke.
As a rule, cats hunt mice,
Let some misfortune happen, and oxen are eaten by ants.
Win or lose: either will bring repentance,
Having nothing to worry about is best.
In the 15th century Nguyen Trai, was one of the first to write poetry in the national language that survived:
Happiness and misfortune do not
come in a single day,
All through the centuries great men have left us their tragedies.
Of the universe, of the past and present, where does the meaning lie?
In that mist, yonder over the trees at the edge of the water?
And my favorite by the same author:
Monkeys wail at the setting sun,
On the empty hillslopes the shadows of the bamboo lengthen.
Is a heart beating in all these things?
I could give an answer if I had not forgotten it.
Next - Australia