Vietnam is a wonderful but often overlooked destination. It’s one of those places that really does have it all. From the bright lights of Saigon to the ancient alleys of Hội An, the rice paddies of Sapa to the waterways of the mighty Mekong Delta – there is somewhere here for everyone.
We love Vietnam for its contradictions. Some parts are noisy and outrageous, others are calm and reserved. Some parts are centuries old, others are almost brand-new. Because of this, you never really know what to expect from a trip here – there’s a surprise around every corner.
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History and Culture
Vietnamese history is long and complex and is heavily influenced by the Chinese, Buddhism, French colonialism and more. However, it’s impossible to discuss this country without mentioning the impact of the Vietnam War. The Americans devastated entire regions, leaving very few communities behind. You can learn more about this in local museums across the country.
The speed at which the country has rallied post-war is nothing short of incredible. The locals in major cities such as Saigon (officially Ho Chi Minh City) and Hanoi have embraced a new modern lifestyle that’s far from the rice paddies in the countryside, and created new buzzing hubs for tourists and residents alike.
Nature and wildlife
Vietnam scores highly when it comes to biodiversity, offering lots of places to get up close and personal with nature.
You can spot Chinese pangolins, macaques and reptiles at Ba Be National Park, or see the Delacour langur, one of the rarest primates on earth, at Cuc Phuong National Park. And the opportunities for trekking, cycling and walking among lush jungle forests, cave systems and limestone mountains are virtually endless.
Food and drink
If you’re going to Vietnam, set aside some serious time to try the food. First on your list is delicious Vietnamese street food, including Pho noodle soup, banh xeo crispy crepes and one of the locals’ favourites – ca phe trung. This is Vietnamese egg coffee, which is far, far tastier than it sounds!
Adventure and experiences
You absolutely must visit Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi during your trip. At times, the streets are so busy you can wait up to 10 minutes at a crossing (if you can find one!). A trip here might seem a little overwhelming, but it’s worth experiencing the hustle and bustle, and soaking up its history, before you head out to the countryside. This way you can truly appreciate the contrast between the two areas.
A must-do for many is to experience Halong Bay from the deck of a junk ship, the traditional way to travel. This trip will help you understand more about Vietnamese culture, as well as the glittering limestone islands that surround you. For those looking to steer clear of the tourist masses, we know a few operators who take a slightly alternative, but no less spectacular, route… (We’re not giving it away here!)
With over 3200km of coastline, Vietnam is a haven for beach lovers. Our favourite places to lay down our towels include Phu Quoc Island, Quy Nhon & Mui Ne. If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the caves and the hills of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and sleep overnight in a cave, surrounded by nothing but nature – a once in a lifetime experience for cavers and hikers alike.
During your stay, indulge in the hedonistic, rebellious, modern way of life in the city, then retreat to the calm shoreline or tranquil farmlands and embrace the simple life. Not many other places offer such diversity, so make the most of it during your stay.
- Capital city: Hanoi
- Language: Vietnamese
- Currency: Vietnamese Dong
- Time Difference: UTC + 7
- Flight Time: 12h30m to Hanoi via London Heathrow
- Visa: Stamp on arrival (UK passport holders)
- Peak Season: November to March
Did you know?
Vietnam is the world’s largest cashew nuts exporter producing almost 30% of all cashew nuts on the world
Vietnam Climate Guide
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