Embark on a journey to an exceptionally beautiful country, filled with contrasting landscapes. From lush mountain peaks in the north to the fertile network of flood-plains in the south, Vietnam is filled with fantastic luxury hotels ideal for giving you your creature comforts. It’s an ideal location for a bit of relaxation, pampering and exceptional service. This incredible location has all the ingredients to create your ultimate 5-star holiday.
When you’re on a holiday in Vietnam, you’ll see all the pan-Asian influences from across the region, with Chinese, Khmer and European styles of cooking, architecture and religion blending together to create an incredible destination. All over Vietnam, you’ll see elements of its colourful past, leading into an inspiring story of rebuilding. Spiritual locations like temples and shrines adorn much of the countryside, while deeper into the cities you’ll find a blend of architectures; from French imperial columns and arches to Japanese and Chinese pagodas, not to forget buildings with Vietnam’s own unique architecture.
Out towards the countryside, the striking colour of Vietnam is one of the first things that you'll notice. The country is a beautiful sea of green, with jungles, lakes and canals filled with lilies and algae, and huge rice paddies. The colour covers almost every inch of the landscape, with only brief breaks in the lush greenery coming from the busy, bustling cities.
Vietnam’s climate is very warm and inviting, but you should be aware that there's a long winter season when attractions, roads and certain areas can be closed. The seasons are split between north and south. In the north, towards Hanoi, there’s a hot and humid period between May and October, breaking in November to a dry and cool summer period. In the south, around Ho Chi Minh City, it’s hot and dry from November to April, with the warm, wet season hitting between April and October.
The centre of the country, where Hoi An, Hue and Danang lie, has a broader period of hot and dry weather, stretching from January to August. So it's often an ideal place for you to visit, removed from some of the harsher weather of the busier cities in the north and south.
But, climate aside, you'll find there’s a lot of flexibility in Vietnam for travellers. There’s the potential to create almost any kind of holiday experience. Being a coastal country, it has many pristine and tropical beaches. They’re ideal both for sun worshippers looking for a tan and for curious snorkellers, searching the coastal waters for the anemones and ocean life. Out from the shore, discover amazing small islands surrounded by beautiful emerald waters ideal for swimming. These are mostly concentrated in the north, but remarkable locations span the entire coastline.
If you’re looking for something more like a rural adventure, you won't be disappointed. The beautiful farmlands of Vietnam are truly vast, with green fields staggered up hills and mountainsides, or lying at the base of valleys and floodplains.
Whether you’re looking for small town exploration or want to get lost in the big city, you’ll be captivated on your Vietnam holiday by the huge variety of city locations waiting to be discovered. Each has its own unique atmosphere, tied to its past and its development.
In Hue, the capital of the Nguyen emperors, you'll be imbued with a sense of connection with the imperial Vietnamese era. Renowned as the most royal city in Vietnam, Hue has enough charm to keep you intrigued for the duration of your stay.
The unique charm of this place flows out of the streets and roads, with its ancient buildings mingling with the more modern colonial structures. Visiting the Imperial City, you’ll be able to absorb the history of the location. Then, follow the banks of the Perfume River, enjoying the beautiful natural location as the water ranges from green to blue-browns. Riverboat tours give you a fantastic view of the city and its surrounding area. The city blends new and old into a calm fusion, a lone stillness in the busy streets.
With so many amazing city destinations, it’s hard to list them all. Hanoi, bustling and beautiful, with its rich cultural links, and frantic and busy Ho Chi Minh City, are both fantastic destinations. Each is unique and wonderful to visit in its own way. However you spend your Vietnam holiday, you’re certain to have a deeply memorable experience.
Hoi An is a charming restricted-traffic city ideal for wandering. Ancient and peaceful, it’s one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam. Hoi An caters for travellers of all tastes and across the continents. With its colonial grandeur, mixed with majestic Khmer architecture and a lovely riverside setting, it boasts a selection of the country’s most elegant buildings. And they are all excellently preserved in a picture postcard perfect state. Unlike frenetic Ho Chi Minh and bustling Hanoi, in charming Hoi An, 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. Known for its landmarks, a must visit while you're in Hoi An is Notre-Dame Cathedral, made entirely of materials imported from France, as well as the 19th century Central Post Office.
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 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 most beautiful, isolated beaches and lagoons.
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 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.
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.
Vietnam’s weather is dictated by two monsoons, which means that seasons vary across the country and there'll 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 is a good time to travel 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.
Time difference: GMT +8 hours.
Currency: Vietnamese Dong, although the American Dollar is also widely accepted.
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 one-month validity beyond the expiry date of your visa. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
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.
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