Fascinating history meets pristine landscapes
Discover the stunning landscapes, bold cuisine and colourful culture that lie behind the enduring popularity of vibrant Vietnam.
Travel to Vietnam and you’ll soon realise why the locals are so warm and welcoming. In the country’s stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage there’s lots to be proud of, and the same goes for the exquisite local cuisine.
Trek through the terraced rice fields of Sapa and you'll witness a rural way of life that's changed little with the passing of the years. The H'mong and the Red Dzao are among the colourful hilltribes who call Vietnam's highest mountains home, and they're the friendly faces you'll encounter when you journey through the misty mountainsides of this peaceful valley.
Sauntering along Hanoi's sweeping, tree-lined boulevards, you'll feel the presence of the city's colonial history. Dig deeper and you'll discover that Vietnam's capital actually spans a millennium, as testified by religious landmarks such as the Confucian Temple of Literature. In the network of alleys that make up the maze-like Old Quarter, witness a classic Vietnamese scene as conical-hatted locals sell their wares.
See the Vietnam of days gone by in the majesty of Hue, its former imperial capital. The Nguyen emperors who once lived here now lie in atmospheric mausoleums, which join the city's palaces, temples and pagodas in giving a fascinating insight into Vietnam's imperial past. Explore the Citadel, walk by the picturesque Perfume River and visit the legendary Thien Mu Pagoda.
Centuries of beautifully preserved architecture give historic Hoi An a deserving place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This former trading port town lives up to the literal meaning of its name, "peaceful meeting place", and the characterful old buildings lining its delightful lanes now house charming galleries, seafood restaurants and French-style cafes.
Whether you're out on a boat in the China Sea or sipping cocktails from a beachside bar, Nha Trang is the perfect spot to unwind. With a picturesque mountain backdrop on one side and sweeping white sand beaches lapped by vivid turquoise sea on the other, this lovely fishing village feels like paradise.
With its crystalline lakes, lush forests and refreshingly cool climate, the former French hill station of Dalat makes a wonderful escape from the coast. More reminiscent of the French Alps than southeast Asia, this charming old colonial enclave retains its European vibe while having ethnic minority hill tribes as neighbours in the nearby villages. You might spot some of them in Dalat itself as you buy fresh flowers in the colourful local market.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Towering skyscrapers are a surprising contrast with ancient traditions in Ho Chi Minh City, still often referred to by its exotic former name, Saigon. Though its futuristic skyscrapers and stylish international restaurants show the modern side to Saigon, it's the smaller moments that reveal a city still true to its past: observe the locals with baskets of produce slung over their shoulders, or the evocative smell of incense burned on the pavement for long-lost ancestors. Discover the city's sometimes turbulent past at historic sites such as the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum, and sample local cuisine in the country's best restaurants.
Over 2000 Islands rise from the bay, studded with caves and grottoes, and soaring jungle-clad cliffs. Cruise on a traditional 'Junk' boat amongst the endless karsts to discover the beauty and serenity of this world-Heritage listed region.
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Cruise Halong Bay
Sharp limestone karsts jut dramatically out of the waters of Halong Bay, best viewed in the soft light of dawn from the deck of a traditional junk boat on a cruise around these iconic rock formations.
Learn a craft in Hue
Take a break from exploring the former imperial capital’s historic treasures by sitting quietly at the Healing the Wounded Heart factory, where deaf and mute workers will share the secrets of their crafts.
Hoi An on foot
Discover Hoi An’s lesser known gems with a walk around its historic streets. From trendy wine bars to artisan tailors, this old port town is full of surprises.
Nha Trang private cruise
The South China Sea provides the perfect backdrop to an indulgent banquet of Thailand’s finest fresh seafood on the deck of your very own private boat.
Try Pho in Saigon
Savour the flavours of authentic Vietnamese noodle soup as you sit back with a steaming bowl of Pho and watch the world go by in one of Saigon’s superb restaurants.
Meet the hilltribes in Sapa
The friendly faces of local hilltribe women greet you as you walk across picturesque rice terraces, feeling the cool mountain breeze against your skin.
Visit a monastery in Dalat
A hundred monks and nuns live in the peaceful monastery in Dalat, a charming colonial hill station in a cooler area that more closely resembles the French Alps than southeast Asia.
Floating market in the Mekong Delta
Colourful merchant boats characterise Cai Rang, the biggest floating market on the Mekong Delta, where you can mingle with the locals, who make an early start to stock up on the market’s array of food.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Sample Vietnamese snacks on a walk through the historic streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where clues to the area’s past lie in the street names, which tell of the shop types that dominated in days gone by.
Sampan Journey in Ninh Binh
Discover hidden valleys and fertile rice paddies by hopping aboard a sampan - a small wooden rowing boat - for a river journey around the area’s distinctive limestone karsts, known as “Dry Halong Bay”.
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