Choosing things to do in Vietnam is almost as confusing as navigating the attractions themselves. Vietnamese attractions in the south take visitors along twisty Mekong river delta cruises and through a maze of underground military tunnels. A web of narrow streets in Ho Chi Minh lead to the War Remnants Museum, and the jumping backpacker district Pham Ngu Lau. Farther north, boat cruises wind through hundreds of majestic islands in Halong Bay and through narrow streams below impressive cliffs in Ninh Binh.
Hanoi's elaborate road system is most fun to explore in the Old Quarter and to follow to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. A winding train ride up the mountains in Sapa lets visitors overlook it all. All of this spills out to the relaxing beaches of Mui Ne or Cat Ba Island or to the historic and unchanging calm of Hoi An. Vietnam's monsoon season is heavy with rain and humidity May through August and northern Vietnam cools down in January.
Da Nang marks the halfway point between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and was the first place to organize its own local communist party committee. The city is fairly featureless, and if you are coming from the tranquil setting of Lang Co, Hoi An, or anywhere for that matter, Da Nang is an extreme disappointment. It is a busy, dusty, colorless city, the fourth largest in Vietnam, and one of the largest business centers.