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Vietnam offers a rich array of scenic and cultural highlights, from the colourful hill tribes of Sapa in the north to the vast canal network of the Mekong Delta in the south. It has World Heritage Sites at Halong Bay, with its towering limestone islands, and at Hoi An, a traditional fishing village of cobbled streets, artisan workshops, vibrant floating markets and excellent cuisine. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) are both beguiling cities of French colonial elegance that provide excellent bases for exploring and sightseeing.
For the beach lover there are sweeping stretches of sand along the central coast where the clear turquoise water is perfect for snorkelling or scuba diving, and the old colonial hill station of Dalat provides a cool retreat amongst spectacular mountain scenery. Vietnam offers outstanding luxury hotels, spa resorts and villas, and are easily accessed by short flights from Bangkok.
Located in the Central Highlands is the former hill station of Dalat. Dalat is a temperate region, set around a picturesque lake and dotted with waterfalls, evergreen gardens and forests. A great place to relax, good food and opportunities to walk and explore the countryside.
Visit the limestone karsts islands and crystal clear waters of Halong Bay. Private day trips operate daily from Hanoi to Halong Bay or board a cruise of this extraordinary beautiful area.
Hoi An is often considered the highlight of any trip to Vietnam. This ancient fishing town has been occupied by the Chinese, Japanese and Portugese, which is reflected in it architecture. Today this UNESCO World Heritage listed town has some of the country’s best dining, shopping and hotels. Wander the lanes to explore galleries, tailor shops and the array of French style cafes and riverfront seafood restaurants.
Vietnam’s third largest city was once its capital. The Citadel is Hue’s most famous attraction, which houses the Forbidden Purple City, once the Emperor’s private residence. Cycle around this historical town and stop to enjoy the slow-moving waters of the Perfume River.
Ho Chi Minh City
Formerly Saigon, this thriving city is a mix of modern life and French colonial grandeur and traditional Chinese mystique. Ho Chi Minh city itself, the heart and soul of Vietnam, is the starting point for trips to the colourful floating markets of the Mekong Delta. Also visit the Cu Chi tunnels abandoned by the Viet Cong; the former President’s Palace (Reunification Palace) and the War Remnants Museum. The Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral are examples of French influence, while Ben Thanh Market is the centre of daily life.
Originally a fishing village, Nha Trang is now home to some of the most deluxe boutique resorts in Vietnam. The clear waters and stretch of sandy beaches make for excellent fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
When to go
Vietnam is a year round destination with a complex weather system influenced by two monsoons, so visitors are likely to encounter both sunshine and rain. The winter monsoon travels from the north east between October and March bringing wet and cool temperatures to all areas north of Nha Trang and dry warm temperatures to the south. From April to October the south western monsoon brings warm, humid weather to most regions. For the best balance, the months of April, May and October are recommended whilst offers are available year round.
GMT +7 hours
Passports & Visas
British passport holders must obtain a visa prior to arrival.
The ideal way to discover Vietnam’s highlights is with a multi-centre itinerary, although the beach resorts can also be enjoyed as single centre destinations.