This once turbulent land is steeped in history and culture making it one of Asia's most compelling destinations. Vietnam's wonderful diversity and exceptional beauty are key to the appeal be it the verdant landscapes of green paddy fields and soaring limestone peaks; attractive coastal resorts and tranquil rivers; fascinating hill tribe villages and vibrant cities; or the fragrant food and colourful local traditions.
Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, may be relatively small but it oozes energy and charm. Home to elaborate temples and pagodas, elegant tree-lined boulevards, inner city lakes and French colonial buildings, it’s an ideal starting point for a journey through this compelling nation.
Straddling the Perfume River, Hue is Vietnam’s former imperial capital and today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Perfectly picturesque with palaces and pagodas the old city is one of Vietnam’s most important cultural and historical sites.
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam at its most dizzying. Whilst the number of gleaming skyscrapers within this fast-mover may be growing, time-honoured traditions remain intact and there’s a variety of delightful districts to explore. A tour to the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels is highly recommended.
When you’ve had your fill of engaging cities but aren’t quite ready to hit the beach, head north to Sa Pa for stunning vistas, colourful markets and intriguing ethnic hill tribes. Perhaps take a memorable cruise around the surreal UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay or soak up the Mekong Delta’s scenic watery landscapes.
As beaches go, Vietnam pretty much has it covered with over 2,000 miles of coastline sprinkled with secluded coves, sublime islands, sun-baked white sands and clear waters. Resorts on the central coast include Hue, Danang and the ancient trading town of Hoi An, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and has glorious beaches just 10 minutes drive away. The alluring south eastern coast is home to Nha Trang, Ninh Van Bay, Phan Thiet and Ho Tram, while close to the Cambodian border are the idyllic islands of Con Dao and Phu Quoc.
GMT +7 hours
Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi are approximately 11.5 hours from the UK.
Travel to Vietnam is possible all year, although the seasons do vary across the country and you may encounter some rain, whatever the time of year. Northern Vietnam (eg Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sa Pa) is perhaps at its best between September-December when the weather is generally warm and sunny. March to August is ideal for the central region (Hue, Hoi An, Danang) and to avoid the heaviest rains in Southern Vietnam December to April is best.
A visa may be required. Please ask for details.Find out more
What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of Vietnam than through its cuisine. You will begin with a visit to a local market, accompanied by the chef, where you’ll learn about traditional ingredients. After the class, the dishes will be served for lunch and everyone can sample the various dishes prepared by the chef and students. Available daily in cities and some beach resorts across Vietnam.
Enjoy a light breakfast on the boat as you travel to the amazing Cu Chi Tunnels. This labyrinth of narrow passages were used as hideouts during the war and you will explore sections of the extensive network that served as an underground city. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Available daily from Ho Chi Minh City.
Hop on the back of a vintage Vespa scooter and experience city life the way locals do. It’s chaotic, noisy and fascinating! Explore the side streets and back alleys where people congregate after work and stop by street food restaurants to try some Vietnamese cuisine (included). Return back to your hotel at about 10.30pm. Available daily in Ho Chi Minh City and can also be booked in Hanoi or Hoi An. Daytime tours are also available.
On this short but sweet overnight cruise from Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll stay aboard the Bassac riverboat and cruise the mighty Mekong. The boat also slips into smaller canals allowing a glimpse of the very varied life on the banks and water itself. You’ll also get to step ashore for a walking tour which includes a stop at a farm for fruit and tea. Before returning the next day, you’ll also pass colourful and bustling floating markets. Price includes full board and overnight accommodation in a cabin with bathroom. Available daily.