Beaches, mountains, culture: Vietnam has it all
Vietnam holidays reveal both the beauty and energy of this vibrant country. Its colourful past is filled with Imperial dynasties, French colonists and tumultuous years of war, intermingling to form a dynamic culture that is ever-present.
The Vietnamese welcome visitors with open arms, eager to flaunt their country’s natural beauty, its sparkling bays and rolling hills, modern metropolises and ancient cities. And in every corner the culture thrives, in the diverse landscapes, the friendly people and the delicious cuisine.
Vietnam's mountain retreats in the north are distinctly different to the rest of the country. Sapa is surrounded by Vietnam's highest mountains and is home to colourful hill tribes such as the H'mong and Red Dzao. Easy treks through terraced rice fields uncover the rural way of life of the hill tribes living at these high altitudes.
Graceful Hanoi is Vietnam's modern-day capital, but the locals still call it the 'City of Lakes'. Classic colonial architecture, a distinctive cuisine, a millennium of history and culture give Hanoi her elegance. Roam the enchanting and industrious alleys in the Old Quarter or along wide, tree-lined boulevards.
The former imperial capital of Hue presents an insight into historic Vietnam. Filled with relics of a fascinating past, the ancient architecture is a sight to behold. Visit the Citadel and the emperors' atmospheric tombs, monuments both ornate and majestic. This peaceful town is also the cradle of Buddhism in Vietnam and tranquil pagodas abound.
Hoi An is undoubtedly the gem of Central Vietnam. This historic port town has been largely preserved, with historic buildings now filled with stylish restaurants, bars and shops. Wander the lanes to explore the distinctive architecture, tailor shops and quaint galleries. There is a breathtaking array of eateries, from street carts to French-style cafes and riverfront seafood restaurants.
A fishing village of days gone by, Nha Trang is home to some of the loveliest beaches in Vietnam - the perfect place to spoil yourself. Cruise the China Sea or sip cocktails from one of the many bars lining the white sand as the turquoise sea laps gently at the sweeping beach.
The cooler climate of this former French hill station is more reminiscent of a European spring than most of Vietnam, and the picturesque lakes and evergreen forests add to this feeling. Full of charm, Dalat is known for its fragrant local market brimming with fresh flowers, as well as nearby ethnic minority villages and historic golf course.
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
The heart and soul of Southern Vietnam, Saigon is a bustling powerhouse moving steadily into the future, yet steeped in tradition. This is evident as soon as you walk out of a modern skyscraper and encounter the local people burning incense for their ancestors on the footpath, or carrying their wares on baskets over their shoulders. In addition to historic sites, art galleries and bustling markets, Saigon is home to an emerging international foodie scene and some of the country's best restaurants.
Over 2000 Islands rise from the bay, studded with caves and grottoes, and soaring jungle-clad cliffs. Cruise on a traditional 'Junk' boat amongst the endless karsts to discover the beauty and serenity of this world-Heritage listed region.
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Cruise Halong Bay
Sharp limestone karsts jut dramatically out of the waters of Halong Bay, best viewed in the soft light of dawn from the deck of a traditional junk boat on a cruise around these iconic rock formations.
Learn a craft in Hue
Take a break from exploring the former imperial capital’s historic treasures by sitting quietly at the Healing the Wounded Heart factory, where deaf and mute workers will share the secrets of their crafts.
Hoi An on foot
Discover Hoi An’s lesser known gems with a walk around its historic streets. From trendy wine bars to artisan tailors, this old port town is full of surprises.
Nha Trang private cruise
The South China Sea provides the perfect backdrop to an indulgent banquet of Thailand’s finest fresh seafood on the deck of your very own private boat.
Try Pho in Saigon
Savour the flavours of authentic Vietnamese noodle soup as you sit back with a steaming bowl of Pho and watch the world go by in one of Saigon’s superb restaurants.
Meet the hilltribes in Sapa
The friendly faces of local hilltribe women greet you as you walk across picturesque rice terraces, feeling the cool mountain breeze against your skin.
Visit a monastery in Dalat
A hundred monks and nuns live in the peaceful monastery in Dalat, a charming colonial hill station in a cooler area that more closely resembles the French Alps than southeast Asia.
Floating market in the Mekong Delta
Colourful merchant boats characterise Cai Rang, the biggest floating market on the Mekong Delta, where you can mingle with the locals, who make an early start to stock up on the market’s array of food.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Sample Vietnamese snacks on a walk through the historic streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where clues to the area’s past lie in the street names, which tell of the shop types that dominated in days gone by.
Sampan Journey in Ninh Binh
Discover hidden valleys and fertile rice paddies by hopping aboard a sampan - a small wooden rowing boat - for a river journey around the area’s distinctive limestone karsts, known as “Dry Halong Bay”.
From the blog
The Living Room’s Dr Chris Brown in Vietnam
April 2017We were delighted to have the chance to speak with The Living Room’s travel presenter, Dr Chris Brown about his recent adventures in Vietnam travelling with Insider Journeys and Vietnam Airlines.
Explore the best of Sapa
An established French hill station which dates back to 1922, Sapa orientates the most spectacular views of mountains and plunging valleys. Local hill tribes fill the town, transforming the vibrant green rice terraces into a colourful landscape. Experience the charm of the northwest Vietnamese tourist centre in Sapa.
Top 5 things to do in Hoi An
March 2017Colourful and historic Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most atmospheric towns. Here are five things you can do to make the most of your time in the Vietnamese gem that is Hoi An.