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Vietnam can be described in one simple word: exotic.
For more than 1,000 years, Vietnam was considered to be part of China. Since then 10th century, it has seen Japanese, French, and other European influences fuse themselves into their culture.
It is a nation that is completely compelling for every visitor. Built for rural adventures, the attitude of the culture here is that every day should be enjoyed for what it can provide. You’ll find that in the simplicity of simple, but fresh seafood dishes or the calm and quiet of an agricultural tour. You can have a trekking adventure in the mountains or enjoy the sunshine of a tropical beach.
There are classic vistas that should not be missed with a trip to Vietnam. This includes the majesty of Halong Bay, the natural beauty of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, and the numerous opportunities to explore and have fun in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam does have a unique rule for entry that requires a passport to be valid for six months upon arrival. Approved stays are typically 15-30 days in length, but the regulations are very fluid in this area. Stays under 15 days may not always require an advance visa, so any visit must take this into account.
Many of the coastal regions in Vietnam are highly developed, with millions invested into them within the last decade. Whether you prefer the caves of Ha Long Bay, exploring the Marble Mountains, or just relaxing by the beach, this nation has something warm and wonderful to offer you.
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Expect enchanting coastlines and sapphire waters pierced by stunning limestone islands in the foreground of the enchanting country of Vietnam. From the lush green mountains of Sapa that stack through the inland to the dazzling cities; Vietnam holidays are a melting pot of incredible cuisine and fascinating history to discover. Find relaxation in this gorgeous country, but also find a rich cultural background that has survived hardships unimaginable. Vietnam has been through wars and kept its pride intact; tourists are welcomed with excitement by the Vietnamese people and shown a way of life that is hard to leave behind.
Stay in the south on your holiday to Vietnam and enjoy a region that is heavily influence by Indian and Hindu culture. Visit the Cham temples and taste the spicy regional cuisine. Head to Ho Chi Minh City and experience the motivated vibe that drives the county’s improving economy.
Not far southwest from Ho Chi Minh City is the Mekong Delta, a spectacular scene that should be experienced by anyone travelling in these areas.
Find Chinese cultural influences in Vietnam’s northern regions. Visit the city of Hanoi, Vietnam’s more traditional city, and stroll through the graceful boulevards amongst the French inspired architecture.
Explore a country with rich cultural history and amazing national cuisine. Meander through gorgeous rivers, relax on sunny beaches and take in the culture in the French colonial inspired cities. Venture into the mountains and discover tribal villages amongst lush green jungles.
The weather varies greatly across Vietnam. When it is balmy in the south it can be frosty in the north. Two monsoons come through each year so it can be tricky to avoid the rain for a lot of the year. The best time to travel and have beautiful temperatures across the north and the south is during April and May or October.
When you arrive on your holiday to Vietnam the likely first move you will make is to hit the beach and by all means enjoy it. The coast of Vietnam is enchanting, dotted with postcard perfect beaches and views of limestone islands piercing majestically through the deep blue waters. If you can possible get tired of the beach, head inland to the lush green mountains that are filled with national parks and over 50 tribal villages.
Find Vietnam’s grand old lady, Hanoi city, in the northern regions of Vietnam. Combining seductive Parisian charm with the energy and pace of Asia, you will enjoy time spent strolling the graceful boulevards and soaking up the culture of the city. Vietnam’s north is characterised by strong Chinese cultural connections, especially in their flavour packed cuisine.
Find more French colonial inspired architecture in the south when you make the trip to Ho Chi Minh City. This vibrant city is the beating heart of Vietnam’s economy and the buzz of the people makes no secret about it. Filled with stately museums and coffee shop culture this beautiful city has an interesting mix of French, Indian and Hindu culture. You are just as likely to find a baguette on sale on a street corner as you are to be served a super spicy chilli and coconut curry in one of the cities many restaurants. While you are in the south of Vietnam be sure to visit the picturesque Mekong Delta and lay eyes on one of Vietnam’s prized natural attractions.
Regions in Northern Vietnam.
With vast, dense neon jungles, thousand year old wonders and the majestic Halong Bay there is a countless number of good reasons to visit North Vietnam. Rich in history but attracting fewer visitors than the steaming metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, North Vietnam is also home to the capital, Hanoi. For a diverse holiday of mountain trekking, heart-stopping beauty and powerfully emotive historical landmarks Northern Vietnam has everything you need.
Northern Vietnam is steeped in history, beauty and art that demands to be explored. Visit Ha Long Bay for a once in a lifetime experience. Trek the waterfalls and jungles that make up a large part of Northern Vietnam. Learn the history of the country with a visit to the cultural landmarks and temples.
Northern Vietnam is quieter than the south of the country, with a large percentage of the population still living in the hill tribe communities. This makes for eye-opening treks into the jungles and mountains of the region to see the way the indigenous tribes live. The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, is a lake city where you are never far, even in the city centre, from Hoan Kiem Lake – this makes for great walking tours of the city and photo opportunities.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is Hanoi’s number one attraction. The vast complex houses the chamber that holds the body of Ho Chi Minh, the first president of the international republic of North Vietnam. The mausoleum is based in a huge complex offering wide open parks to relax in, free of the noise of traffic.
Ha Long Bay is visually one of the most jaw-dropping places you will ever visit. With over 3,000 islands that look like something out of the Avatar movie this will possibly be the most beautiful place you will ever have the privilege to lay your eyes on. For a full day of striking visual aesthetics join a boat tour to see the World Heritage site up close. Visit the cave of Marvels or Hang Dau Go, a huge cave where stalactites drop from an impressive height – it’s not surprising that it is widely considered the most beautiful of the caves in Ha Long Bay.
Sapa is a truly spectacular town, with scenery that will make you gasp. Gaze on the perfect serene vistas of the national parks with a highland trek. This is a part of Vietnam you cannot enjoy in the sweltering cities and trekking through the lush vegetation is a favourite activity for many visitors.
Visit Vietnam’s ancient capital, the city of Hoa Lu which was the capital city of Vietnam in the years 968-980AD until 1009AD. Perfect for day tours Hoa Lu offers awesome views of majestic cliff faces and rice paddies with plenty of informative stories so you can learn the history of this mountain citadel.
Go temple touring with a visit to the famous temples of Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh. These culturally important temples celebrate the dynasties of previous ruling powers and Emperors of Northern Thailand – a cultural experience you will never forget.
There is a special type of puppetry native to Vietnam, called water puppetry. This original and creative art form is a must for those visiting Northern Vietnam. See the action at the Municipal Water Puppet Theatre in the Old Quarter.
Regions in Central Vietnam.
Central Vietnam is a region of contrast and a great place to spend your next Asian holiday. It has everything from UNESCO World Heritage sites with ancient ruins, beautiful old cities and pristine beaches. If you want to party then spend a night in Da Nang, Vietnam’s third largest city. Recuperate the next morning at the city’s famous beaches. Shop in Hoi An, one of the best shopping spots in Asia and a great place for visiting foodies.
You can do anything in Central Vietnam from lazing on the beach to shopping from dawn to dusk. Visitors come from all over the world to explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites and rich history. Travel around the area and be amazed at the huge range of activities on offer. Vietnam is known around the globe for its food, so make sure you have a taste of everything.
Become a master of Vietnamese food and join a cooking class. A good class will take you to the local markets and explain how Vietnamese produce is used. Your teacher will then take you back to their kitchen studio and show you how to cook an authentic Vietnamese meal. Share your feast with other students and enjoy your delicious creation.
Feel like royalty and head to the ancient Imperial City in Hue. The city was bombed during the French and American wars but is slowly being restored. Many buildings still stand and the city is a mix of beautifully repaired buildings and atmospheric ruins. The Imperial City is surrounded by temples and shrines- it is worth spending a whole day on this important cultural landmark.
The Old Town of Hoi An is UNESCO listed and oozes old-world charm. The town is an eclectic mix of cultures due to Hindus, Muslims and Chinese who fled the Ming Dynasty armies and settled in the area. Get lost exploring the winding lanes and ancient buildings. One of the best times to visit is when the sun slowly sets and the night comes alive.
If you want to socialise, visit Da Nang for its pumping night-life. Here you can try Vietnam’s only liquid-nitrogen cocktails and see how good your karaoke skills are. Start the night at the beach with excellent seafood and cheap drinks. Keep the party alive at one of the city’s numerous discos or stay up late at a hole-in-the-wall beer bar.
If all the partying is wearing you out, escape to the Central Highlands for a swim in a mountain stream or some peace and quiet in the rainforest. With barely a tourist in sight, the highlands will give you a fresh perspective on Vietnam. Stay in a traditional village setting and check out the region’s spectacular waterfalls.
Regions in Southern Vietnam.
Dominated by the sprawling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, Southern Vietnam has plenty to offer every visitor. More densely populated than the north and with a warmer climate, the south has parts of serene beauty just waiting to be explored. The lush area of the south borders Cambodia and Laos and has a whole coastline of glorious beaches and a smattering of stunning islands that make it the favourite location for many travellers in Asia. The myriad of national parks, perfect beaches and bustling cities means you can choose any type of holiday you desire.
Experience the wonderful variety of activities and landscapes just waiting to be enjoyed and savoured in Southern Vietnam. See the history of the Vietnam War with a trip to Saigon’s War Remnants Museum. Chill on the beaches of Nha Trang, and take the kids to Vinpearl Amusement Park.
The area that Southern Vietnam covers is one of the warmest climates, with the best weather conditions for surfers and kite-surfers all year round. The immediate proximity to Cambodia and Laos means that many travellers use Southern Vietnam as a base from which to begin a tour of the rest of Asia.
Mui Ne is an extremely popular resort with loyal visitors continuously booking into plush hotels and dining at the many fine restaurants that frequently spring up. The area is full of avid surfers taking advantage of the excellent conditions on the water, and there are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at windsurfing lessons or rent a nippy Jet Ski and enjoy a day speeding along the ocean.
Visit the Co Chi Tunnels on a day trip in Saigon for a lesson in history. See the clever tactics used by the Vietcong to hide the existence on the tunnel system, and see the horrible traps set to await those that found the tunnels. This is a must-see place that retells the story of the Vietnam War in a vivid way.
Stop by Ho Chi Minh City for a whirlwind tour of the museums, historical places, amazing restaurants that make this teeming city so incredible to spend time in.
Take it easy in Nha Trang, vast stretches of sand await the tan-hungry while the party people can also be satisfied with the great stretch of bars and nightclubs, some settled right on the beach. If you are travelling with kids, make sure you catch the cable car to Vinpearl Amusement Park, with great views along the way and thrilling rides when you arrive.
Embrace the island lifestyle with a visit to the most attractive beach island of Phu Quoc, one of Vietnam’s most popular islands where the white sands, authentic markets and beach huts ensure a more peaceful way of life. Go snorkelling, fishing or just top up your tan, there is always something to be done here.