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.
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 the scents of the past are still carried in the air, 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.
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.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Dry all year except for the monsoon season (May-October).
Most regions tend to have their own traditional festivals involving music, dance and opera. Tet Nguyen Dan is the Lunar New Year celebrated nationwide in December with offerings to the ancestors and is a very important calender date welcoming in the new year. The Children's Moon Festival (Tet-Trung-Thu) on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month celebrates and promotes education, culture, music, sports and arts and crafts. Celebrations begin at noon and end at midnight with processions, displays, performances and delicacies on offer.
Based on a mixture of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions. Breakfast is generally noodle soup, and noodles or rice provide the basis of most meals. Fish sauce (nuoc mam) is an essential accompaniment. Specialities include nem (pork mixed with noodles, eggs and mushrooms, wrapped in rice paper and fried), banh chung (glutinous rice, pork and onions), and Pho (beef noodle soup with rice). Refreshing green tea is available throughout the country, while coffee is served rich and fresh, as well as iced. Local draught beer, Bia Hoi, is additive free and costs little. Rice wine and snake wine are also popular.
A handshake and vocal greeting is normal. Be careful to dress appropriately: only in the larger cities might the dress ethic be relaxed. Avoid shorts if possible, do not wear singlets, short dresses or skirts, or tops with low neck lines, especially if visiting temples or pagodas. Remove your shoes when entering someone's house and always ask permission to take a photograph of someone. Vietnamese people should not be touched on the head.
Noi Bai (HAN) is 45 km from Hanoi. Tan Son Nhat (SGN) is 7 km from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
Good roads and good but limited railway. Buses are overcrowded, tourists can use mini-buses, or hire chauffeur-driven cars.
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.
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.
The types of holiday listed below are just a flavour of the experiences available in Vietnam. We can also suggest and plan alternative types of holiday to take into account your individual interests. To start planning what to do whilst away, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Gemma Mortimer - Asia Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0613