From 2000 years of Chinese domination to the more contemporary influences of French colonialism and the turbulent independence movement of the mid 20th century, Viet Nam is now enthusiastically embraced by travellers for its atmospheric cities, magnificent natural beauty, friendly inquisitive people and delicious food. Narrow borders seem to bulge against the surging bustle of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, two modern metropolises leavened with colonial heritage architecture and tree-lined boulevards. In between, tranquility exists in the crumbling temples, wood-panelled pagodas and verdant valleys of rural Viet Nam. Throughout all regions the enterprising Vietnamese have developed a trail of highly regarded worthwhile attractions, many UNESCO World Heritage listed. All this is supplemented by the positive attitude of the Vietnamese people themselves, creating an inspiring and captivating atmosphere for travellers. One of Southeast Asia’s most resilient peoples, echoes of the Vietnam War (known here as the American War) still resonate, but for the most part Viet Nam is far too busy looking forward than dwelling on the past.