In the north, discover Hanoi’s atmospheric temples and the World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. In the south, see the French influence in Ho Chi Minh City and the Cu Chi tunnels. Most of our customers stay in Vietnam as part of a multi-centre package.
Where to stay in Vietnam
Fascinating history at every turn and the gateway to Halong Bay and the mountains of Sapa – Hanoi is the best place to start your adventures of this diverse country.
Danang, boasts one of the country’s best beaches which stretches from Red Beach in the north, where the US marines came ashore, through China Beach to Hoi An in the south. Traditional Vietnam at its very best, Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to tailors’ shops, galleries and riverside eateries.
Stunning beaches with iconic rocky outcrops and outlying islands boast amazing snorkelling and dive sites. Although Nha Trang offers more than just beaches – stylish bars and restaurants line the coulourful streets in the town’s southern areas offering great shopping and nightlife.
Less developed and more peaceful than some of their northern neighbours, the outstanding beaches here still offer luxurious hotels but against a backdrop of traditional Vietnamese fishing villages.
The gateway to the south, take in the history of the American Vietnamese War, visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum before cruising the waterways of the Mekong Delta.
Con Dao is now an uncrowded island with quiet beaches, rugged national parks and a fascinating history.
Hotels in Vietnam
Essential information for Vietnam
The best time for touring the whole country is Spring (Apr-Jun) and Autumn (Sep-Nov). The north of the country becomes cold in the winter months between Dec-Mar while the south remains warm and clear. The summer months bring the monsoon rains and are hot and humid.
We say this about all our holiday destinations, but Vietnam is one of the greatest places on earth. Really. So, if you’ve still not booked that holiday to Vietnam you’ve been thinking about for years and years, we’re making it our mission to get you to take the leap.
Vietnam holidays never last long enough; it’s the kind of place you want to explore forever. Whether you’re travelling solo or with family, our Vietnam holiday packages have something for everyone, from tranquil all-inclusive beach resorts to cross-country trips uncovering Vietnam’s towns, cities and villages. Here’s our lowdown on where to go and what to do in this incredible country.
If you want to visit more than one destination in Northern Vietnam, it’s best to treat Hanoi, the country’s vibrant capital, as a kind of basecamp, as it’s well connected. Bonus: it’s also a remarkable place to explore.
City lovers: you’ve never encountered anything quite like Hanoi, that’s for sure. Those less fond of big cities need not fret, though, because it’s as friendly as it is busy. The city has its own rhythm; everyone — drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians alike — has their place. It’s the best, most exhilarating kind of organised chaos.
Where to stay
Residing on the banks of the River Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is Vietnam’s largest city. Though you might plan on only visiting one big city on your Vietnam holiday, Saigon and Hanoi could not be more different. From the food to the weather to the people, the cities are almost polar opposites, with their own individual characteristics and charm. Give them both a shot, if you can.
Where to stay
With its breath-taking coastlines and close proximity to city shops, restaurants and nightlife, Danang and Hoi An are perfect locations for beach resorts, ideal for families, couples and other groups. Take in the ocean and mountain views at The Hyatt Regency Hotel, where you can relax by the beachfront pool, while the little ones enjoy the Kids Club facilities. Make full use of the complimentary spa facilities and relish a high tea by the beach at Naman Retreat.
A short taxi ride away, Hoi An’s beach is lined with restaurants and bars offering the freshest seafood and local beers to wash it down with.
Hanoi’s night market runs from P Hang Giay to P Hang Dao in the Old Quarter, and it’s one of the best places to go for Vietnamese street food. Tip: pick something up from whatever stalls catch your eye — or nose — and head back to the lake to tuck in.
If the night market stalls don’t fill you, pull up a chair outside one of the many restaurants along Ma May in the Old Quarter. For cook-it-yourself Vietnamese delights, try:
Of course, Vietnam holidays would be incomplete without sampling some of the country’s world-renowned coffee. Cong Cafe, a wartime-themed cafe franchise with more than a dozen branches across Hanoi, offers incredible affogato-style coconut shaved ice coffee. Or what about coffee with condensed milk (cà phê nâu) at Café Pho Co on Hàng Gai?
For egg coffee (cà phê trứng), a popular choice in the capital is Giang Café on Lý Thái Tổ. If you’re looking for somewhere a bit less tourist-y, though, try Cafe Dinh, a small cafe above an outdoor clothing shop at the top of Hoan Kiem Lake. It’s one of the locals’ favourite haunts, and you’ll soon see why.
While near Hoi An, and after a day of walking, biking or even lazing on the beach, enjoy a sunset cocktail or three in one of the many rooftop bars in the town’s Old Quarter before heading back to your hotel for another round.
Don your chef hat in Ho Chi Minh and brush up on your culinary skills with a cooking class at The Saigon Culinary Arts Centre or Saigon Cooking Class, where you’ll learn to cook a variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes.
Sample the incredible street food offered by vendors on every street in Ho Chi Minh, from corn stir fry (bắp xào) to Vietnamese pizza (bánh tráng nướng) and mini rice pancakes with shrimp (bánh khọt). The street food in Saigon is unforgettably delicious. Otherwise, enjoy Pho (noodle soup) at Pho 2000, where Bill Clinton tried his first bowl of this traditional Vietnamese dish.
The Hoan Kiem District in Hanoi is where most of the action is. Take a stroll along the lake, where you’ll find everything from locals practicing some lakeside T’ai Chi to portrait artists and buskers. It’s always buzzing with activity. Explore the opulent Presidential Palace and famous Ho Chi Minh stilt house, and wander the winding streets of the Old Quarter, grabbing some souvenirs as you go.
Be sure to make room in your itinerary to tour Sapa. With its fascinating culture, hill-tribe villages and phenomenal cascading rice field landscapes, Sapa is a small ex-hill station township in northern Vietnam. Incredibly easy to get to from Hanoi, take an overnight trip and let the friendly locals show you around this colourful market town, which overlooks a vast valley.
Wander around Hoi An’s Old Quarter and take in the town’s pastel-painted merchant buildings, tea warehouses and temples. This area of Vietnam is delightfully unique, and even more stunning when night falls and the whole area is illuminated with colourful lanterns. Old Town is the perfect place for picking up souvenirs, as many shops specialise in tailor-made clothing and leather accessories. Be sure to visit the beautiful Japanese covered bridge, built in the 1590s by the Japanese.
In Saigon, visit the main district of Dong Khoi, with its stylish boutiques and chic cafes, or cool down at the Dam Sen Water Park just on the outskirts of the city. Get lost between the many food, clothing and craft stalls at the huge indoor Bình Tây Market, too; it’s an unmissable experience.
Holidays to Vietnam simply have to include a cruise-tour excursion to Halong Bay, the other-worldly UNESCO World Heritage site scattered with 1,600 islands formed from limestone. Kayak around the islands and caves, take part in a Vietnamese cooking class, and, if you like, hike around one of the bigger islands. After all that adventuring, you’ll be well ready to devour some local delicacies and fresh seafood. There’s plenty of time to ogle the view from top deck as you sail, too.
Meanwhile, back on dry land, Sapa is the perfect trekking basecamp. Don your hiking gear and follow one of the many well-trodden-but-beautiful routes the surrounding area has to offer. Less challenging walks are easily doable, too.
Hire a bicycle in Hoi An. There are places to lock your bikes all around the Old Town and it’s the best way to get around. The beach is a short cycle away, and the scenery on the outskirts of town is phenomenal.
Take a boat tour along the River Saigon and discover the villages along the riverbanks, hidden canals, the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Around at the end of January? The Tet Festival and Water Puppet Festival is the biggest festival of the year, so be sure to get in on the action, wherever you are in the country.
One of the most spectacular events in Vietnam, the Lantern Festival in Hoi An occurs every month on the night of the full moon. The city turns off its florescent lights as locals pay respects to their ancestors by releasing thousands of coloured lanterns into the sky. Soak up the atmosphere with games, traditional foods and music with the locals.