Vietnam is an exceptionally beautiful country with contrasting landscapes, from mountain peaks in the northern highlands, to its fertile network of flood plains in the south’s Mekong Delta. Vietnam also exhibits influences from across the region, with Chinese, Khmer and European styles of cooking, architecture and religion blending together. As well as remarkable natural attractions and a vivid cultural scene, Vietnam also boasts a superb selection of hotel resorts where relaxation, pampering and exceptional service make up the essential ingredients for the ultimate 5 star holiday.
Things to do
Cruise to Halong Bay
Make sure you catch a boat cruise to Halong Bay to see the exceptionally splendid UNESCO protected limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. This breathtaking site is a true spectacle, where the indigo, emerald and oyster colours of the landscape seem to come together in perfect harmony. Spend a couple of days on an elegant luxury junk boat and you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the surrounding grottoes and caves, rich in biodiversity and a wonderful array of flora and fauna, as well as swimming and snorkelling in some of the area’s almost beautiful and isolated beaches and lagoons.
Discover Vietnam’s most beautiful city
Experience a less frenetic pace of life in delightful Hoi An, a city with colonial grandeur, majestic architecture and a lovely riverside setting. It boasts a selection of the country’s most elegant buildings, all of which are excellently preserved in a picture postcard perfect state. Unlike frenetic Ho Chi Minh and bustling Hanoi, in charming Hoi An, motorcycle traffic is restricted, and the attractive streets are lined with red lanterns, giving the whole city an otherworldly feel. Don’t miss the Japanese covered bridge, the ruins of My Son and a boat ride on the Thu Bon River.
The Mekong Delta is a startlingly fertile region of the country known as ‘Asia’s rice basket’, because this small area is single handedly responsible for more than a third of the country’s annual food crop. Easily accessible from Ho Chi Minh City, a boat trip on the delta is an excellent way to get to know something of local Vietnamese life. This spectacularly beautiful region bustles with activity and, alongside lush fields of emerald crops, you’ll encounter farmers wearing their characteristic conical hats and colourful floating markets selling produce from the region’s orchards, paddy fields and fish farms. Everywhere you go, groups of lively local children will never be too far away, often chasing your boat and waving excitedly from either riverbank.
Where to stay
Situated on the banks of the Red River, Hanoi in the North of Vietnam is one of the region’s most attractive cities, with its elegant French colonial architecture, elaborate temples, pagodas, and tranquil lakes. Hanoi’s Old Quarter has been a buzzing centre of trade for centuries, and today you can still pick up locally made silks and souvenirs to take back home. Nha Trang on Vietnam’s east coast is a charming base for a luxury holiday, with its long stretch of pristine sand and some of the region’s best diving and snorkelling. After dark, the numerous bars, restaurants and nightclubs wake up - giving this city a buzzing, thumping party vibe. Of course, no holiday to Vietnam would be complete without a visit to Ho Chi Mihn City. The hot and humid capital, formerly known as Saigon, has a plethora of attractions - from ancient pagodas to bustling markets, sleek skyscrapers and stately colonial buildings.
Flight time from London: Approximately 13 hours.
Arrival Airport: Hanoi Airport. Transfers take approximately one hour.
Entry details for British passport holders: A visa is required and needs to be arranged before departure. Passports need at least 1 month validity beyond the expiry date of your visa. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
Time difference: GMT +8 hours
Currency: Vietnamese Dong, although the American Dollar is also widely accepted.
Here to help:
A local Thomas Cook Signature representative will meet you at your arrival airport, check your booking details and escort you to your pre-booked transfer vehicle. You'll receive a welcome pack containing information about the local area and all contact details.
Best time to go:
Vietnam’s weather is dictated by two monsoons, which means that seasons vary across the country and there will probably be some rainfall whenever you decide to travel. Despite this, year-round travel is a possibility, as long as you include some time in the south, which is likely to be warm and sunny whenever you plan your trip. To make the best of your time in Vietnam, a good bet is to opt for the short periods in between the monsoons – spring and autumn are good options because the southern region is likely to be dry and warm, but not too humid, and the northern region is warmer and drier than at other times. Either way, make sure you pack a jacket or waterproof, and then you’ll be protected whatever the weather.