With a coastline that stretches for more than 2,000 miles from the borders of China to the Gulf of Thailand, Vietnam is a spectacular country full of diversity.
Tailor-Made & Luxury Holidays to Vietnam
In many respects, Vietnam is divided into three parts: the North, the Centre and the South. In the north, you will discover glorious mountains ideal for trekking, including the highest peak in mainland Southeast Asia. While southern Vietnam has the sweltering Mekong delta, with a myriad of tiny tributaries flowing into the sea. In between lie some of the most glorious white sand beaches you could ever imaging, including the famous China Beach.
Rightly, Vietnamese street food has established a strong reputation around the globe. There is nowhere better to try this than in Hanoi, where phở noodle soup originates. Indeed, food is a key part of Vietnamese culture. When Vietnamese greet you they ask you whether you have eaten already, rather than comment upon the weather.
The country has a rich culture. Experience this on your Vietnam touring holiday in the capital Hanoi, with its wonderful Old Quarter, or venture into the centre of the country to the ancient capital of Hue with its own forbidden city. In the south, Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon, is a more modern metropolis to compete with other major cities in Southeast Asia, including Bangkok.
Vietnam War buffs can visit the DMZ near Hue, or perhaps scramble through the Cu Chi tunnels, close to Ho Chi Minh City.
As for natural beauty, nothing in the world compares with the mystical Halong Bay and its imperious rocks rising out of the waters, like dragon’s tears, as the legend goes. Vietnam is a country rich with potential for any traveller.
Our favourite Vietnam Tours
Here is a selection of our most popular Vietnam touring holidays. These tours are to get your creative juices flowing, but if you already have a tour in mind, we would love to help tailor-make your dream holiday.
Vietnam Cycling Tour
On this Vietnam cycling tour you’ll pedal past ancient pagodas and through the charming old town streets of Hanoi. Cruise among the dramatic karst outcrops of Halong bay and then cycle to imperial tombs and the living Buddhist temples around hue. You’ll explore the Mekong delta by bike and boat, discover the French colonial charm of Saigon and visit the Cu Chi tunnels, fueled by delicious home-cooked Vietnamese cuisine.
Classic Vietnam Tour
Experience the best of classic Vietnam on this tailor made Vietnam tour. Take a tasty street food tour in colonial Hanoi, cruise through the dramatic karsts of Halong Bay and shop at Hoi An’s colourful markets. You’ll also learn to make delicious local dishes, ride around Ho Chi Minh City at night on the back of a vintage Vespa and meet a Vietnam War veteran to hear about life in the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Vietnam Real Food Adventure
Chop, slice and eat your way through Vietnam, experiencing one of the freshest and most fragrant cuisines on the planet. From pho and ancient buildings in Hanoi, banh khoai and imperial citadels in Hue, banh xeo and lantern-lit streets in Hoi An and banh canh and pulsating markets in Ho Chi Minh City, experience Vietnam’s cuisine on this tasty adventure.
The war with America is part of the Vietnam collective cultural consciousness, sure. Before that there was a thousand-year occupation by China. Later came French colonisation. Remnants of all this is still here to be experienced. Hanoi is full of the ghosts of a colonial past mixed with a vibrant, modern street scene. Ho Chi Minh City is the buzzing commercial centre. Hoi An is a stately port – a UNESCO World Heritage city. Mai Chau is pure peace personified.
Spirit of Vietnam
Discover the varied sights, sounds and flavours of this enchanting country, touring the fascinating cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the Vietnam war-era Cu Chi tunnels, and the historic pearls of Hué and Hoi An. A day cruise through the Mekong delta and an overnight cruise amid the magical landscapes of Halong Bay are both included.
Places to visit in Vietnam
Most people on their Vietnam touring holiday either start in the north and make their way down, or travel vice versa.
In the far north, the town of Sapa nestles in the foothills of Mount Fansipan, at more than 3,000 metres, the highest point in Southeast Asia. Here you can buy goods from the local Hmong ethnic group at the market.
Sapa is a wonderful overnight train ride from the capital Hanoi, one of the jewels of Asia. Any trip here should include the Old Quarter and nearby Hoan Kiem Lake with its ancient Turtle Tower. Perhaps the mythical turtle that resides in the lake will make an unexpected appearance for you. A short drive from Hanoi, is the Unesco-listed Halong Bay and neighbouring Bai Tu Long Bay with their awe-inspiring limestone rocks and islets rising from the peaceful waters.
In Central Vietnam, the ancient capital of Hue and beautiful Hoi An are a must for anyone to include in their Vietnam tours. You can even have a suit tailored for you in Hoi An, or perhaps a traditional Áo Dài dress. Both are easily combined with a stay on the beach or visit to the coffee plantations in the Central Highlands.
Further south are the beach resorts Nha Trang and Mui Ne, while bustling, metropolitan Ho Chi Minh City, makes an ideal base for your trip to the Mekong Delta, or flight to the beautiful, unspoilt islands to the south, Phu Quoc and Con Dao.
Vietnamese Food Culture
Vietnamese Food Culture
If you were to try one thing on your Vietnam touring holiday, it has to be a cookery class. Vietnamese culture is all about food. You will see people eating on every street corner at all hours of the day and night. Much of Vietnamese cuisine such as phở and spring rolls (nem) has become familiar in the west but there are some classic Vietnamese dishes such as bún chả and bánh xèo, you really should try. You can try cookery classes in any of the main cities, as well as many resorts. It really is great fun, and something you can perfect back home, now that Vietnamese ingredients are increasingly available in the UK or online.
Stunning coastlines and islands
Incredible Boat Trips
Another unmissable Vietnam touring holiday experience is to take a trip on Halong Bay or better still neighbouring, and less crowded, Bai Tu Long Bay. Ensure you include an over-night stay on one of the beautifully elegant Chinese Junk Boats which are iconic to this area, there is no better way to watch the sunset as you sip cocktails on deck. Over-nighting allows you to travel further away from the day-trippers and enjoy the bay as it should be, in solitude. Kayaking in and around the rocks is a Vietnamese travel experience to savour.
Vietnam cycling tours
Modes of Transport
The north of the country is great for trekking, but one of the best ways to get around the country is by bike. Much of the country is relatively flat which allows you to cycle through the paddy fields while burning off the calories to make room for some more of that incredible Vietnamese food.
Vietnam city tours
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon is the vibrant hub of Southern Vietnam. Once devastated by war, this modern metropolis is chaotically organised and full of life. Grab a local dish, ride on the back of a vintage Vespa or meet with a local war veteran… anything goes!
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital is a great place to sample traditional cuisine, delve into its colonial past and embrace the ambience and daily life as elderly fisherman transport their daily catch on scooters with buckets wedged between their legs whilst the younger generation weave unpredictably around them.
Vietnam culture tours
Narrow Streets and Old-World Charm
Hoi An with its narrow streets, old-world charm and traditional houses, is one of the most evocative destinations in Vietnam.
Steeped in history backdating to the 15th century, Hoi An was once a lucrative stop for merchants, making it a major port on the Silk Route. Renowned for its high-quality and low-cost fabric which was easily available to the local tailors, and to this day the town is still well-known for its quality tailors and the place to go for custom-made dresses, suits and more. Make sure you allow a few days for your item to be made as your tailor will be exemplary in his work and will carry out numerous fittings to get the your garment just right.
Vietnam hill tours
Head to the Hills
If you find the heat of the lowlands too much, then you can always head up to the hills. The town of Dalat in south-central Vietnam was built by the French as a retreat from the heat of Saigon. Set in picturesque hills, come here if only to play a round of golf at the St Andrews of Vietnam or perhaps sample the wonderful strawberries, yet another example of the wonderful food on offer in Vietnam.
Vietnam history tours
The history of Vietnam is one steeped in human conflict. Those interested in the Vietnam War, or American War as it is called in the Southeast Asian country, should go on an ANZ tour from Hue, which will take you into the demilitarised zone. Alternatively, if in Hanoi you can always visit the infamous Hanoi Hilton, where prisoners including Senator John McCain were held, or, while in Ho Chi Minh City scramble your way through the Cu Chi tunnels. For a different historical war experience you could always visit Dien Bien Phu, the town where the Vietnamese defeated the French, bringing to an end their colonial rule of the country.