Beautiful Vietnam is an extraordinarily varied country, where towering limestone needles rise out of blue-green seas, white-sand beaches sparkle, paddy fields shimmer, and tropical rainforests resound with wildlife. A scenically spectacular place speckled with ancient temples and countless other intriguing cultural and historical sights, discover fascinating reminders of Vietnam’s past and present. Small, sleepy villages that seem lost in time lie alongside big, bustling cities in which gleaming skyscrapers loom over graceful pagodas and faded French-Colonial buildings – Hanoi is the country’s sophisticated capital, whilst Ho Chi Minh City is famously known as Saigon, or the 'Pearl of the Far East'.
Alongside its unrivalled history and scenery, Vietnam is the perfect destination for a wonderful spa retreat, for those in need of a little pampering. The flavoursome cuisine is undeniably some of the most delicious you’ll ever taste, and the friendly locals have a joyous outlook on life, with the widest smiles around. Vietnam has quietly risen amongst the ranks to become one of the world’s most outstanding travel destinations, a place to explore alone or use as a jumping board to see more of Indo-China. Our travel consultants will be delighted to tailor a bespoke itinerary for you.
Unravel Vietnam’s past through a myriad of historical landmarks, including a glorious line-up of French-Colonial buildings in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Many of the country’s poignant sights are connected with the American War – the Cu Chi tunnels, the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace. For a more serene glimpse into Vietnam’s past, pretty pagodas are liberally sprinkled across the country. The pagodas’ towers feature a series of stepped, lavishly adorned pyramidal structures, gracefully blending natural balance and harmony – wonderful examples of ancient Vietnamese architecture and a must-see on any authentic trip to the country.
Boasting more than 3,400km of coastline fringed with extensive swathes of powdery sand, hidden coves, idyllic lagoons and incredible boulder formations, Vietnam rivals the best of southeast Asia’s beaches. Nha Trang, for example, has been wowing visitors for years with its stunning 6km strip of white sands and neighbouring bays, some only accessible by boat. The Con Dao Islands, meanwhile, offer sublime landscapes of forested hills and long, immaculate beaches, surrounded by pristine coral reefs and excellent diving. Another beautiful spot is China Beach at Da Nang, where the well-heeled traveller has replaced the soldier for sun-worshipping and world-class surfing.
A trip to Vietnam will take your taste-buds on a culinary adventure, exposing them to a wonderfully unique combination of flavours. Top kitchens showcase highly innovative and utterly delicious Vietnamese masterpieces, deeply influenced by French, Chinese and Thai cuisines. Some chefs will prepare traditional delights, redefined with French flair; others will create authentic dishes in charcoal-flamed woks and wood-fired ovens mimicking ‘street-style’ food. Alternatively, head into the vibrant markets for silky, spicy noodle soups made with beef, pork and seafood, or sweet soups made with dumplings, jelly and exotic fruits. Sample delicious delicacies washed down with an ice-cold glass of Bia Hoi, a popular local beer.
Tranquil Vietnam boasts some of the best spas in the world, and our featured properties offer some truly luxurious retreats. Indeed, Vietnam’s mix of sensational scenery and world-class wellness facilities make for a truly healing holiday, balancing body and mind. A typical day might include sunrise yoga and outdoor meditation, followed by an afternoon of top-to-toe pampering with a ravishing range of rubs, scrubs, revitalising facials and soothing massages, using premium brands and all-natural products. Vietnam is a country perfect for reflection, relaxation and rejuvenation - expect to check-out in tiptop condition!
Saigon’s pancake topography means that the view from up high is far more impressive than anything witnessed on the ground – head to the Caravelle Hotel Saigon Saigon bar, which comes into its own at night, to witness the views, alternatively head downtown to Vietnam’s first open-air Chill Sky Bar which can be found on the 26th and 27th floors of a high-rise building in District 1. Up until 10pm drink at the super sleek, bi-level glass box rooftop after 10pm head to the lounge for more panoramic views, an outdoor cigar terrace and sway to the sounds of track spun by the resident DJ.
Boat Rides on the Mekong Delta
Talk to our Travel Consultants about arranging an early morning boat ride to see the floating market on the Mekong Delta. As you watch the traders selling their wares you can sip on Vietnamese coffee and partake in a specially prepared breakfast, on-board your very own private sampan.
Hiring a cyclo (three-wheel bicycle taxi) is the best way to discover the maze of narrow streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The antiquated setting provides a wonderful backdrop for Hanoi’s designers to showcase their merchandise, so amongst the more traditional shops you’ll find some quaint boutiques packed with original products.
Due to its length and the diversity of its topography, Vietnam experiences several different climate zones, with weather patterns varying considerably from season to season and region to region. Thanks to these regional variations, you can visit Vietnam at any time of year: catch the good weather in Saigon in February - March, following the coast to the north, visiting Hanoi in October - November. Temperatures shown in the grid, reflect the average temperatures and rainfall for Hanoi.
Generally cooler than the other South East Asian regions in the same longitude, northern Vietnam experiences a pleasant spring (March-April) and autumn (October-December) with chilly winters (December- February) experiencing average temperatures of 17.2°C (62.9°F), and hot summers (June – July) when temperatures can reach approximately 37°C (98.6 °F). Humidity levels remain at approximately 80% all year round and there may occasionally be typhoons and heavy rain in late summer (September to November).
With two sub-regions, coastal lowlands and central highlands, this area of Vietnam offers a climate that falls somewhere in between that of the North and the South. The coastal strip is usually dry and hotter with storms and typhoons (from July to November) affecting this area more frequently than the northern coasts. The Central Highlands have nearly double the average rainfall of the country and the two biggest towns in this plateau, Dalat and Pleiku, are cool throughout the year. Coastal cities, near-the-south, (Nha Trang), on the other hand, experience steamy hot weather (21°C-32°C / 70°F-90°F) all year round.
The south of Vietnam, which lies just eight degrees north of the Equator, enjoys a typically humid, tropical climate. Temperatures experience little variation throughout the year (staying at around 27-32°C/80-90°F) and there are two main seasons: the rainy and the dry. During the rainy/monsoon season (from May to November), downpours are expected to happen nearly every afternoon, which can result in occasional street flooding, in and around Saigon. In the dry season, it is hot from late February to April, cooling slightly when the first downpours come. December to March is said to be the most pleasant time to visit.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Vietnam.
British Airways, Thai Airways International and EVA Air from London Heathrow to Bangkok, with onward connecting flights to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Flights with Emirates (via Dubai) from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Flights with Vietnam Airlines from London Gatwick are also available.
From London Heathrow to Ho Chi Minh: 14 hours, 45 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
FCO Update - From 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, all British passport holders travelling for tourism or business can enter Vietnam for a maximum of 15 days without a visa. If you’re travelling for business reasons you should contact the relevant Vietnam government department before travel to check whether any licenses are required to carry out your duties.
You’ll still need a visa to enter Vietnam for periods of longer than 15 days and if you wish to re-enter Vietnam within 30 days of your departure. The safest option is to get a visa from the Vietnamese Embassy before you travel. If you plan to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country make sure you get a multiple visit visa.
For further information about visa requirements, please check with the Vietnamese Embassy in London.
Alternatively you can obtain these from the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam http://www.vietnamembassy.org.uk
With effect from 1 October 2015, International Driving Permits (IDPs) are accepted in Vietnam. The type of vehicle you’ll be able to drive is limited to the categories for which your permit is valid. You’ll need to show both the IDP and your UK driving licence to the authorities when required.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website. View the travel advice in full here: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam