Arriving in Danang, you may want to leave as soon as you get to Hoian with the lush beautiful green countryside you’ve passed to get there. You get some lovely beach time on its shores.
Beyond the famous, there are the more picturesque beaches of Mui Ne and Phan Thiet or those on the island of Phu Quoc or Condao. But as with any country far away from home, while you might have come for tropical beach paradise, you’ll benefit from sampling the cultural and historical delights of the place. You might not want to miss the opportunity to see what else the country has to offer, unless of course you plan to return over and over. Nha Trang is the most famous of Vietnam’s beaches. The town is slightly overcrowded as a result but the beach is mighty fine.
One of the great yet slightly morbid adventures you can have here is to go and visit the body of Ho Chi Minh, who was held in such high regard the name of Saigon was changed to Ho Chi Minh City in 1976. Ho Chi Minh was Prime Minister and leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from the mid 1940s until his death in the late 1960s. He led the Viet Cong during the American War. Ho Chi Minh requested in his Will that he be cremated after his death but it seems his people loved him so much that they were unable to honour this request – wanting instead to have him with them forever more. A mausoleum was built in Hanoi to house the embalmed body of the revered leader. The mausoleum looks out over Ba Dinh Square, a green space in a city with few.
The body of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il has much more recently been embalmed and may also end up on display permanently. His Dad’s body is already on permanent display in the mausoleum he is for the minute temporarily resting in. Chairman Mao is also permanently embalmed, as is Lenin – whose tomb Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is based on. It seems all the big time communist leaders are up to it, in a bizarre allusion to the ‘long live the…’ phrase. The Russians perfected their process of embalming to the point it was rumoured Ho Chi Minh was flown to Russia once a year to be re-embalmed. Bodies are usually embalmed so that they’ll look presentable to families before they are buried but the embalming lasts only for the time before the burial. In the case of bodies that are embalmed for a longer period, they need regular maintenance. Lenin even gets new clothes every few years. Ho Chi Minh is looking pretty good at the moment. If you get to the mausoleum early enough you’ll queue for about two hours before being allowed to file silently around the glass case which he rests in. To learn more www.luxuryprivatetour.com