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Vietnam

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

China, Japan & South East Asia

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 [34]

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.

Best of Vietnam

From £2555 pp incl. flights
History & culture Natural world City

Vietnam is a fascinating country whose friendliness and openness belies its traumatic recent past. No longer held back by its past or politics, the country is …

Highlights of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos

From £4435 pp incl. flights
Beach History & culture Natural world

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 …

Vietnam culinary journey

From £2795 pp incl. flights
Food & wine History & culture Spa

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 …

Best of Vietnam & the Central Highlands

History & culture Natural world

The Central Highlands region is known as the backbone of Vietnam. Home to a large number of ethnic minority groups, it is sparsely populated, with small …

Cambodia & Vietnam Explorer

Small group History & culture City

This escorted small group tour (max.15 travellers) through two of Asia’s most fascinating destinations - Cambodia and Vietnam - will be an experience that …

Vietnam & the Mekong

From £2449 pp incl. flights
History & culture City

The Mekong Delta is often referred to as 'Vietnam's rice bowl'. The rich agricultural land supports a thriving population of farmers, who make their living …

Vietnam Revealed

City History & culture Activity & adventure

Vietnam has long been one of our favourite destinations. With beautiful beaches, dramatic landscapes, ancient culture, a fascinating history and mouth-watering …

Indochina Explorer

City History & culture

Another small group tour, the Indochina Explorer is an epic adventure. From the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor and the magic of the Mekong Delta to the history …

Highlights of Indochina

History & culture City

The three countries in the Far East that make up Indochina - Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - prove highly captivating. Vietnam is home to the enchanting Halong Bay …

Indochina Cycle

Many visitors to Southeast Asia spend much of their time rushing around clogged city streets. Break free and see the region from a bicycle seat on this 12-day …

Best of Vietnam

From the intensity of Ho Chi Minh City's streets to spectacular rice terraces, travel the length of Vietnam and savour its natural, cultural and historical …

Classic Vietnam Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

Sail through limestone karsts aboard a traditional junk boat and walk the streets of imperial capitals. From vibrant Hanoi, the natural beauty of Halong Bay, …

Cambodia Experience

Stand in awe of the architectural achievement of Angkor Wat and contemplate the horrors of the Killing Fields at Phnom Penh. This 9-day trip is ideal for the …

Essential Vietnam & Cambodia

A wide-ranging adventure showcasing the region’s natural wonders and fascinating cultures, this 17-day trip offers a combination of guided excursions and free …

Hanoi to Hong Kong

Looking to mix a little rural living with your adventures in Asia’s big cities? This 15-day trip across China and Vietnam fits the bill and then some, getting …

Best of Vietnam

From the intensity of Ho Chi Minh City's streets to spectacular rice terraces, travel the length of Vietnam and savour its natural, cultural and historical …

Classic Vietnam Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

Sail through limestone karsts aboard a traditional junk boat and walk the streets of imperial capitals. From vibrant Hanoi, the natural beauty of Halong Bay, …

Cambodia Experience

Stand in awe of the architectural achievement of Angkor Wat and contemplate the horrors of the Killing Fields at Phnom Penh. This 9-day trip is ideal for the …

Essential Vietnam & Cambodia

A wide-ranging adventure showcasing the region’s natural wonders and fascinating cultures, this 17-day trip offers a combination of guided excursions and free …

Hanoi & Halong Bay Experience

A city of Parisian charm and grace with an Asian edge, Hanoi is an enthralling blend of East and West and a rising star in Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s capital …

Hanoi & Halong Bay Experience

A city of Parisian charm and grace with an Asian edge, Hanoi is an enthralling blend of East and West and a rising star in Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s capital …

Vietnam Hike, Bike & Kayak

Perfect for the active adventurer, this trip will have you hiking, biking, and paddling through the best of Vietnam. Kayak through Halong Bay’s towering …

Vietnam on a Shoestring

From chaotic Ho Chi Minh City to charming Hoi An, the imperial capital of Hue, vibrant Hanoi and the stunning natural beauty of Halong Bay, this trip has …

Vietnam, Laos & Thailand on a Shoestring

From the fast-paced nightlife of Bangkok to a slow boat along the Mekong, this trip brings you the best of Southeast Asia on a shoestring. You'll party along …

Timeless Vietnam

For those who want the complete experience but prefer a more comfortable option, this adventure explores the best of Vietnam’s history, culture and cuisine. …

Timeless Vietnam

For those who want the complete experience but prefer a more comfortable option, this adventure explores the best of Vietnam’s history, culture and cuisine. …

Vietnam Family Adventure

Gifted with a staggering abundance of flavourful food, fascinating culture, untouched nature, and disarmingly friendly people, Vietnam has more than earned its …

Cycle Vietnam

Are you bored of spin classes and biking the same old trails at home? The cure is Vietnam. This 13-day trip is one of Asia's classic cycling journeys, riding …

Laos & Thailand on a Shoestring

Wander the tranquil monasteries of Luang Prabang and experience the French colonial influence while sipping coffee at a café. Take 12 days to uncover this …

Places to stay [15]

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.

Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam

Special offer Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

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WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Beach Relaxation Spa

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 …

The Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa, Vietnam

Superior

What does Superior mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).

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 …

The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).

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.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Vietnam

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is the place to stay in the capital of Vietnam. An old-school 5-star hotel, harking back to the French colonial days of the …

Fusion Maia Resort, Danang, Vietnam

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).

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 …

Caravelle Hotel, Vietnam

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 …

Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort, Vietnam

Peace and tranquility reign in the lush highlands of Dalat in Central Vietnam where the Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort and Spa nestles.

Victoria Can Tho Resort, Vietnam

There is something truly special about the natural beauty of the Mekong Delta where the luxury Victoria Can Tho Resort resides, away from the buzz of the nearby …

Victoria Phan Thiet Beach Resort,Vietnam

With the idyllic scenery of palm-fringed white sand beaches on the South China Sea, the Victoria Phan Thiet Beach Resort and Spa is the ideal place to recharge …

La Residence Hotel and Spa, Hue, Vietnam

Take a generous helping of colonial Indochina tradition, add a slice of ancient Vietnamese heritage and add all the luxury you can imagine. The result is La …

Victoria Chau Doc Hotel, Vietnam

For riverside luxury combined with colonial charm, the Victoria Chau Hotel on the banks of the Bassac River deep in the Mekong Delta is for you.

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers

Towering above the city centre just around the corner from the fabled Opera House, the Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers is a modern landmark now well etched into …

Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort

The Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa is situated 30km from Danang International Airport and only 5km from the ancient town of Hoi An, along a private beach of …

Evason Ana Mandara Resort, Vietnam

Award-winning Evason Ana Mandara Resort is Nha Trang’s only luxury beachfront resort surrounded by private tropical gardens with spectacular views of Nha …

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam

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 …

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