Whether you are looking for complete cultural immersion, a relaxing time on the beach or a combination of both, a holiday to Vietnam will not disappoint.
From bustling cities full of Hanoi and Saigon to the breathtaking landscapes of Halong Bay and Trang An, there is something for everybody in this welcoming country.
Hanoi & The North
The capital city Hanoi celebrated its 1,000th anniversary in 2010 and visiting its many historical sites will take you on a journey through time. ‘Must see’ attractions include the Temple of Literature, built in 1070, and the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Make sure to also wander through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter, where there are many smaller temples, morish Vietnamese street food and shops and stalls where you can haggle for everything from clothes and jewellery to local artwork.
A trip to Vietnam wouldn’t be complete without visiting Halong Bay, a mesmerising seascape of over 1,600 limestone rock formations rising from emerald waters. Whilst accessible as a day tour from Hanoi, we recommend an overnight Halong Bay Cruise to properly do it justice, making sure you wake early enough to catch the sunrise!
350 km north west of Hanoi is the small mountain town of Sapa, surrounded by rice paddies in narrow terraces, that climb the steep hillsides like giant steps. Several ethnic tribal groups live in the region and welcome visitors to share their traditions. Our 4 day private Sapa by Train tour includes an overnight rail journey from Hanoi and a cable car ride up Mount Fansipan, the country’s highest peak.
Saigon & The South
Whilst the name of Vietnam’s largest metropolis was officially changed to Ho Chi Minh City in the 1970s, many residents still refer to the former capital as Saigon.
Much of the city centre architecture reflects the country’s colonial past, with tree-lined boulevards and several buildings modelled on those in Paris, including the impressive Ho Chi Minh City Hall and twin-towered Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. More recently glass and metal skyscrapers have been built, including Landmark 81 which was completed in 2018 and is taller than Malaysia’s Petronas Towers.
Also in Saigon are the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, preserved by the Vietnamese government as a War Memorial Park. 121 km in length, tourists can crawl through certain sections and see the secret trapdoors and underground living areas used by the Viet Cong.
A popular day tour from Ho Chi Minh City is to the Mekong Delta, where you can cruise through its maze of tributaries in a sampan and visit the family-run factories that drive the local economy. It provides a true glimpse of rural Vietnamese life.
Beaches, Mountains & Islands
Around 4 hours east of Saigon is the coastal resort of Mui Ne, which has a beautiful stretch of palm-lined beach and bars and restaurants selling freshly caught seafood. Just outside the once small fishing village is an area of towering, Sahara-like sand dunes, which are particularly picturesque at sunrise.
Travel further along the coast and you reach Nha Trang, a lively city that also boasts stunning, white sandy beaches. It is a popular destination for scuba divers, who come to see the 350 species of coral at dive sites off the main beach and outlying islands, as well as spot seahorses, frogfish and other exotic marine life.
Inland from Nha Trang is the former colonial hill station of Dalat, which has a cooler climate than the coastal resorts. Set amongst evergreen forests, there are numerous lakes and waterfalls in easy access from the town centre.
Off Vietnam’s south coast and in the Gulf of Thailand, are the jungle covered islands of Con Dao and Phu Quoc, where you can find some of the country’s more luxurious resorts, with private beaches.
Hoi An & The Central Coast
The former port of Hoi An is renowned for its maze of alleyways, narrow canals and street markets selling great food. The old town is easy to explore on foot or bicycle and has a peaceful and welcoming vibe. There are also great beaches, including Cua Dai which has 3 km of fine sands and typically gentle waters, and An Bang, which is slightly further out of town, but offers stunning views of the Marble Mountains.
Travel just 45 minutes north and you’ll arrive at the larger and livelier Da Nang, where the golden beaches stretch for over for 30 km, you can stroll in the shade down tree-lined boulevards and throw a few shapes in the local bars and nightclubs in the evening.
The former imperial capital of Hue on the Perfume River is well worth a visit, especially for history lovers. There are fascinating royal tombs, temples and monuments to explore as well as a superb museum housed in the Long An Palace.
A slightly surreal, but certainly unforgettable day tour from Hue or Da Nang, is a trip to the re-imagined 19th Century French Village in the Ba Na Hills, complete with townhouses and cobblestones. The tour also includes a walk on the eye-catching Golden Bridge, held aloft by two giant stone hands, and a ride on one of the world’s longest cable cars.
Tailor Made Vietnamese Holidays
At FREEDOM, we have been creating tailor made holidays for over 20 years. Our team of Travel Experts will find the best value, direct flights to Vietnam and hotels to suit your itinerary and budget. In addition, they can pre-book day tours and excursions for you, so you won’t miss out on the things that you really want to do.
For inspiration, our Asia Team has designed a range of multi centre holidays, which you can book as they are or alter to suit your plans. Our 11 day Vietnam city and beach combination is particularly popular, likewise our two week Vietnam Heritage itinerary, which takes in the best of Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Da Nang and Saigon.
Small Group & Private Tours
We also offer small group and private tours, exploring Vietnam and wider Indochina. Tours are led by expert guides with superb local knowledge, and often include unique experiences, arranged especially for your group.
For those looking to visit all the main cities and attractions, our 11 day small group Vietnam Insights tour is a popular choice, as is our 13 day Cambodia and Vietnam Explorer.
If you’re keen to get off the beaten track, our ten day tour of Northern Vietnam includes the overnight rail journey to the mountain town of Sapa, where you’ll meet some of the ethnic tribes that live in the region, and a boat trip at Trang An, an unbelievable landscape of limestone karsts, recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its cultural and geological importance.
Being tailor made specialists, with FREEDOM you can also mix and match, adding a city stay before your tour or time on the beach afterwards.
Vietnam Holidays 2021 & 2022
Our team of Asia Specialists have all travelled in Vietnam and throughout the Far East and would be pleased to share their recommendations and travel advice.
We are now booking for 2021 and 2022, so feel free to get in touch and they will design an unforgettable South East Asian adventure, just for you.
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