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Vietnam tailor-made holidays

The largest of the three countries of the Indochina Peninsula, Vietnam wraps around the eastern coast, stretching and bending from north to south as if struggling to contain its great wealth of attractions. Consequently, the country boasts a wealth of reasons to visit and Vietnam holdiays are ideal for a tailor-made trip. [See Vietnam itinerary ideas]

Vietnam holidays allow you to get to grips with this extraordinary, historic destination. From the limestone peaks of Halong Bay, the French boulevards of the capital Hanoi and the thick forests of the north-west, to the charming tea shops of cultural Hoi An, the glorious beaches of Nha Trang and Phu Quoc, and the floating markets of the mighty Mekong River, you'll find cultural diversity and natural wonders around each and every corner.

Having thrown off the shackles of a turbulent 20th century, the country and its people are now looking to the future with eager anticipation, with Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, perhaps the best example of a rapidly modernising city. Yet you'll still sense the the scents of the past in the air during a holiday in Vietnam, be it the aroma of freshly baked baguettes wafting from a Hoi An street stall or the damp staleness of the air in underground tunnels dug during desperate guerrilla conflict in the Vietnam War.

Wexas Travel brochure for Vietnam

Indochina brochure

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

"After the rain, good weather. In the wink of an eye, the universe throws off its muddy clothes."
Ho Chi Minh

With around 2,000 miles between the northern and southern tips of the country Vietnam has a varied climate, with three distinct climatic zones.

The driest time to visit the country as a whole is between December and March. This is by far the best time to visit the south, which will be warm and dry. The north of the country is cool this time of year and can be decidedly chilly in December and January, and although the region tends not to experience heavy rainfall it can vary from damp and misty to clear and sunny on any given day.

If visting both north and south at this time of year you'll therefore need to pack clothing for both warm and cool climates.

The summer monsoon starts in May and carries wet and humid weather right across the country until October.  This prolonged wet weather can make some travel, especially in the south, quite tricky. If you're travelling extensively from north to south at this time of year, you're likely to see rain, so a raincoat is essential, and when heading into the hills of the north, it is a good idea to bring some warmer clothes.

The monsoon arrives later in the central region around Nha Trang, Danang and Hoi An, and is at its heaviest from September to December, with the months of June, July and sometimes even August often clear and sunny.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
 BEST TIME
 GOOD TIME
 SOME LIMITATIONS

Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.


Practical Information

"People say that time goes by; time says that the people go by."
Vietnamese proverb

Capital - Hanoi 

Size - 331,689km2

Language(s) - Vietnamese (official), English, French, Chinese, Khmer, minority languages

Population - 90 million

Religion - Buddhist, Christian, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao religions

Currency - Vietnamese Dong (VND)

Time zone - GMT +7 hours

Flight time - 11½ hours

Festivals

January/February - Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, is the largest and most important annual celebration in Vietnam. The festival runs from the first to the seventh day of the Lunar calendar, with families and communities starting the new year afresh, with a spring clean and a great feast. It's full name, tet nguyen dan, means the 'first morning of the new period'.

March - Taking place on the 6th day of the second lunar month, Ha Ba Trun Day celebrates and honours the two Trung sisters who led a rebellion against the occupying Chinese in 48AD.

August - Trung Nguyen, wandering Souls Day is one of the most important festivals in the Vietnamese calendar. Taking place on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, ceremonies take place in Buddhist temples and homes across Vietnam, as relatives pray to absolve the sins of the dead.

September - Tet Trung Thu, The 'mid-autumn festival' sees children parading the streets with lanterns and gorging on Moon Cakes, celebrating various legends and historical stories including one about a Chinese king who went to the moon.

November - Celebrations are held on the 28th day of the ninth lunar month to mark the birth of Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, whose teachings continue to influence Vietnam society. 

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Your passport must be valid for one month after your visa expires. Entry into Vietnam may be refused if your passport has less than one-month validity from the date your Vietnam visa expires. We recommend six-month validity, in line with the expectations of other Asian countries. 

Money

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnam Dong (VND). Though US dollars are widely accepted, it is preferable to use Dong as often as possible and you may find that this is the only currency accepted in rural areas. As a guideline, exchange rates are as follows: £1 = 33,500d, US$1 = 20,000d, €1 = 27,800d. (Check the current exchange rate at www.xe.com before you travel). Coins come in denominations of 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2000d and 5000d and notes in 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d, 100,000d, 200,000d, 500,000d.

Two things to be aware of: firstly, Vietnamese Dong cannot legally be taken out of the country, so it is best to exchange your Dong to US$ before departure; and secondly, tatty US$ notes are generally refused in Vietnam, so it's a good idea to get your notes from the bank and check each one (especially the larger denominations) before your arrival.

Gone are the days when ATMs were exclusive to a handful of banks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Nowadays you'll find ATMs in most of the major tourist centres. That said, it's always good practice to travel with some spare cash as a backup. ATM withdrawals are limited to 2 million Dong per transaction. Credit cards - typically Visa, MasterCard, JCB and Amex - are also now widely accepted. If you are planning on using your bankcard in Vietnam, remember to notify your bank before you travel.

Allow about US$10-US$35 per day for meals. You can pick up a delicious meal from a street stall for less than US$1, and meals at local restaurants cost between US$2 and US$5. A beer can cost between US$0.20 for a glass of bia hoi, the local favourite, to US$4 for imported bottles. As with anywhere, costs can inflate/deflate dependent on location and season.

Regions [7]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Vietnam, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.


Itinerary ideas [15]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Vietnam. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.

Paradise Peak Cruise

From £495 pp
History & culture Relaxation

An overnight cruise on the sumptuous Paradise Peak Cruise

A river journey through Indochina

From £2,790 pp incl. flights
Escorted tour Exploration cruise History & culture

Combine the villages and culture of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta with the temples of Angkor in Cambodia on this fascinating tour, which includes a seven night …

Vietnam Culinary Journey

From £3,230 pp incl. flights
Food & wine History & culture Luxury travel

Spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet; the five elements that go into each and every dish and ensure that Vietnam's cuisine is rightly recognised as some of the …

Highlights of Vietnam

From £2,475 pp incl. flights
History & culture Honeymoon Luxury travel

Discover the best of Vietnam on this tailor-made adventure taking in the country's vibrant northern capital Hanoi and UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay, …

Mekong Eyes

From £245 pp
History & culture Relaxation River cruise

A two-day river cruise on the Mekong Eyes boat

Highlights of Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

From £4,690 pp incl. flights
Beach History & culture Honeymoon

Vietnam is blessed with such variety from the enchanting Halong Bay to the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi. Laos is a land of laid back …

Victoria Song Xanh Sampan

From £335 pp
Relaxation

A one-night Mekong Delta cruise on the traditional Victoria Song Xanh Sampan

Gecko Eyes Private Cruise

From £370 pp
Beach History & culture River cruise

A two-day private river cruise aboard the Gecko Eyes

Vietnam and Cambodia Highlights

From £3,420 pp incl. flights
Escorted tour History & culture Luxury travel

From the modern city of Saigon to the ancient temples of Angkor, this luxury 12-day tour with APT, including a weeklong river cruise aboard the luxurious RV …

Essential Vietnam & Cambodia: Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap

From £2,715 pp incl. flights
History & culture Relaxation River cruise

Discover the wonders of the Mekong on this two week tour

Places to stay [28]

The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Vietnam. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Vietnam, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.

Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint, Ho Chi Minh City

£££££
City Spa

The Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint is stylish, modern and excellently priced. It's also located in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City just minutes from Le Loi …

Victoria Chau Doc, Chau Doc

£££££
History & culture Relaxation Spa

Victoria Chau Doc is an attractive riverfront property and a great base to continue your journey to Cambodia

Emeralda Resort, Ninh Binh

£££££
Natural world Relaxation Spa

High-end relaxation in the Van Long Nature Reserve

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

£££££££
Beach History & culture Spa

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay is an award-winning luxury resort situated on the Ninh Van Bay amidst the natural surroundings of rock formations set against a backdrop …

Fusion Maia, Danang

£££££
Beach Honeymoon Relaxation

Prepare for a real treat at Fusion Maia Resort - Asia's first all-spa inclusive retreat, located on one of the world's most beautiful beaches, My Khe, near the …

An Lam Ninh Van Bay

£££££
Beach City Spa

This is a rustic Robinson Crusoe style hideaway, with incredible personalised service and a relaxed island setting

Caravelle Hotel, Vietnam

City History & culture Luxury travel

As the leading 5-star hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, still known to most as Saigon, the Caravelle is an excellent venue to stay, with the most prestigious address …

Amanoi, Nha Trang

£££££££
Beach History & culture Villa

The Amanoi Nha Trang is an understated yet luxurious resort overlooking the white-sanded Vinh Hy Bay that offers excellent service

Villa Song, Saigon

£££££
City History & culture Relaxation

Villa Song is a colonial-style house offering an intimate and relaxed riverside retreat within easy access of the city

Six Senses Con Dao, Con Son Island

£££££££
Beach Off-The-Beaten-Track Relaxation

Situated on a private bay in a protected marine park on Con Son island, Six Senses Con Dao is the first 5-star resort in this stunning archipelago just 45 …

Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa, Lao Cai Province

£££££
Natural world Off-The-Beaten-Track

The only luxury hotel in north west Vietnam is the Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa. Located in Sapa in the Hoang Lien Mountains, north west of Hanoi, all seventy …

La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc

£££££
Beach Off-The-Beaten-Track Relaxation

This boutique colonial-style beachside resort is located on one of Vietnam's most picturesque islands, Phu Quoc, and offers an atmosphere of indulgent and …

Mai Chau Lodge, Mai Chau

£££££
History & culture Natural world Relaxation

The Mai Chau Lodge has a picturesque location in the off-the-beaten-track countryside of northern Vietnam. It offers an enticing mix of authentic Vietnamese …

Chen Sea Resort & Spa, Phu Quoc

£££££
Beach Relaxation

Located in a quiet bay, the Chen Sea Resort & Spa is a small and intimate beachside resort that only has 36 villas meaning that it always has a relaxed and …

Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa, Hue

£££££
History & culture Relaxation Romance

This rustic and charming resort is set in Hue's idyllic countryside in a tranquil and relaxing location. The hotel's spa is central to its identity, which …

Ansara Hotel, Vientiane

£££££
City Food & wine History & culture

The Ansara Hotel offers effortless access to Vientiane’s most popular sights and attractions, including Wat Chan, Wat Xienghuen, and Wat Haysoka.

The Nam Hai, Hoi An

£££££££
Beach Relaxation Spa

The age of the Vietnam beach resort has arrived. Visit the stunning all-villa resort, the Nam Hai on Hoi An beach for an amazing, restful experience.

Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

£££££
City History & culture Relaxation

A luxury hotel in the attractive French Quarter of Hanoi

Boutique Hoi An Resort, Hoi An

£££££
City History & culture Relaxation

Boutique Hoi An Resort is a stylish oasis just footsteps from Cu Dai beach and offers fantastic value for money

Princess D'an Nam Resort, Mui Ne

This beachside resort offers you a luxurious retreat, during which you're invited to eat freshly-caught fish from the sea, dive into your private plunge pool, …

Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City

£££££
City Food & wine History & culture

Park Hyatt Saigon is the most luxurious hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, and it combines French colonial sophistication with Indochinese elegance

Hotel De l’Opera, Hanoi

£££££
City History & culture Spa

Hotel De l'Opera is located in the stylish French Quarter of Hanoi, and has a rich history spanning back to 1911. Visit for boutique exclusivity and bohemian …

Intercontinental, Ho Chi Minh City

£££££
City History & culture Relaxation

This award-winning hotel enjoys a prime position in the heart of Ho Chi Minh, is excellent value, and is located just a short stroll from its famous landmarks …

Offers [2]

Wexas negotiates with a wealth of travel companies, airlines, cruise operators, hotels and tour operators to bring you the very best travel offers. For great value or a range of add-on benefits, review the list of offers below.

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