Golden pagodas, colonial villas, terraced rice fields and junk boats; Vietnam is quintessentially Asian while being surprisingly modern with the skyscrapers of Ho Chi Minh City and the mopeds that zip through Hanoi. The nation snakes along the eastern edge of the Indochina Peninsula bordered by China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. As a result of its unique location in the heart of Southeast Asia, the nation draws hundreds of thousands of visitors in search of stunning natural beauty and fascinating culture.
The best time to visit Vietnam is during spring and winter when the weather is dry and the country is ripe for exploring with a host of festivals aimed at visitors. The Danang International Fireworks Festival is a favourite with families, culture vultures can never get enough of the Hue Festival in April and the Hoi An Lantern Festival is a sight to behold.
Owing to its tropical location, Vietnam experiences rain throughout the year, often ranging from light showers to torrential downpours. We recommend visiting the nation in spring in the months of March and April and in the winter, between September and December when temperatures stay under 30°C and the weather stays relatively dry.
The largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is home to pretty French colonial mansions, somber Vietnam War memorials, palaces and temples. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is popular among tourists for its mix for modernity and old world charm. The city is home to an ornate Hindu Temple as well as a beautiful French style cathedral. The colourful Mariamman Temple was built in the 19th century by Indian traders and is one of the oldest temples in Vietnam while the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, located in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, was built by French colonists in 1863. The lofty spires, bell towers and stained glass windows make the cathedral worth a visit on your trip. Also visit one of the best examples of French colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh City and perhaps all of Viet
A short drive from Hanoi takes you to the emerald waters of Halong Bay. A popular stop among Vietnam Packages, Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strewn with limestone karsts and isles, Ha Long bay draws visitors from all over the world. Of the nearly 2000 islands that make up the bay, only forty are inhabited. We suggest visiting Cat Ba, Pelican Cave and Hang Trinh Nu with its grotto shrine as part of your Vietnam Tour Package. The Bay is best experienced on an overnight cruise on a traditional junk boat from which you can enjoy the magical sunset and wake up to the waves lapping against the boat.
Begin your journey in the capital of the country, Hanoi. Located in the rustic north of Vietnam, Hanoi is a buzzing city littered with pagodas, cafes and relics of its colonial past. One of the city’s biggest attractions is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum the final resting place of the leader and of the most important monuments of the country. The somber granite structure is reminiscent of Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow, Russia and houses the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh in a glass case. Other Hanoi attractions that find themselves on most Vietnam travel guides are the Presidential Palace, the Hanoi Opera House and Turtle Tower. Called Thap Rua by the Vietnamese, the tower was built in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake in 1886 in honour of the folk hero Le Loi. You can admire its beauty by the shores of the
Dark monoliths towering over green waters, the karsts of Ha Long Bay are a sight to behold. Often the most memorable leg of Vietnam holidays, a cruise on Ha Long Bay is an essential part of the Indochina Experience. Made of nearly 2000 islets that hide grottos, floating bazaars and picturesque beaches, the Bay is best experienced on an overnight cruise. Hop on to a traditional wooden junk boat and enjoy traditional Vietnamese meals on board and drink in some of the prettiest scenery you are ever likely to see as you try your hand at scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling and sun bathing.
Any Vietnam travel guide worth its salt would be incomplete without including a guided tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels. A haunting relic of the Indochina Wars, the system of tunnels was built by the Viet Cong in the 1940s to transport supplies and fighters. A section of the tunnels is open to the public with the area having become a war memorial. Crawl through the dark tunnels, fire assault rifles at the shooting range nearby and stroll through the booby trapped park to experience the horrors of war firsthand.
For a taste of Vietnamese life from the 17th century, make your way to Hoi An. A trading post for spices, silk and porcelain, Hoi An saw an influx of traders from Japan, China and France for over four hundred years with each country influencing the city’s culture and architecture. Not unlike a time capsule, the city is virtually unchanged from its glory days. Chinese pagodas, wooden huts, French colonial villas and a Japanese bridge, all beautifully preserved to make this picturesque town a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.