Blessed with a ravishing coastline, emerald-green mountains, breathtaking national parks, dynamic cities, outstanding cultural interest and one of the world’s best cuisines, Vietnam has it all.
The Vietnamese Experience
Vietnam is a nation going places. Fast. Its people are energetic, direct, sharp in commerce and resilient by nature. This is an outrageously fun country to explore, the locals love a laugh (and a drink) and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialise with them and hear their tales. The American War is over, and yet its impact endures – you’ll find reminders of that cataclysmic conflict everywhere you travel. That said, the country was never broken and emerged with its pride intact. Poor in parts but never squalid, Vietnam is developing at an astonishing pace. For travellers, there are issues to consider (including minor scams), but little real danger – on the whole it’s a safe, wonderfully rewarding and incredibly varied country to explore.
A Cultural Smorgasbord
This is a country of myriad influences and reference points. In the south, Indian and Hindu culture had a lasting influence in the Cham temples and spicy regional cuisine, spiked with chilli and tempered with coconut. Head north and Chinese connections are far more apparent. Between these two competing cultures, you’ll find a quintessential Vietnam in the central provinces: the graceful historic old port of Hoi An, and the royal tombs, pagodas and imperial cuisine of Hue. Oh, and there’s more, far more. Factor in an enduring French colonial legacy, which is evident in Hanoi’s graceful boulevards, in Ho Chi Minh City’s stately museums and in the crispy baguettes and coffee culture you’ll find on every street corner. Add the American interlude, more than 50 hill tribes, and of course the proud (battle-tested and victorious) ruling Communist Party ideology and you’ve got Vietnam: heady, intoxicating and unique.
Big Nature, Booming Cities
If you want visual dramatics, Vietnam delivers. Cruise an azure ocean pierced by surreal-looking limestone islands in Halong Bay, slalom through the majestic inland karst mountains of Cao Bang. Hike mountain tracks and explore tribal villages near Sapa and Bac Ha. Then witness the spectacular sandy bays of the central coastline and explore the reefs and coves of the Cham and Con Dao Islands. Highway 1 is near-relentlessly urban, so get off it at regular intervals to see the astonishing cave systems of Phong Nha, national parks like Cat Tien, and the bewitching backwaters of the Mekong Delta. Finally, no visit would be complete without experiencing the energy of big-city life in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, the grand old lady of the Orient, and Ho Chi Minh City, the engine room of the economy and the nation.
Best places to stay in Vietnam
Vietnam travel guide
Blessed with a ravishing coastline, emerald-green mountains, breathtaking national parks, dynamic cities, outstanding cultural interest and one of the world's best cuisines, Vietnam has it all.
10 delicious kid-friendly foods of the world
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Vietnam's best beaches
Colonial architecture in Vietnam
Vietnam - Planning (Chapter)
Your journey to Vietnam starts here.
Ho Chi Minh City
High-octane city of commerce and culture hiding timeless alleys and teeming markets.
Ten of the world’s toughest bike rides
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Trekking in Vietnam
Conical hats, lacquerware bowls and flag T-shirts are fine - you can compare them with everyone else's. Or get talking and bring home souvenirs that no one can match. Open the phrasebook and make this trip your own.
Vietnam Express Southbound
Capture the spirit of magical Vietnam on this compact tour from the colonial charm of Hanoi to the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City. Sip coffee with locals in Hanoi and shop up a storm in the Old Quarter, cruise along emerald waters on a Halong Bay boat trip, travel through old-world Hue and Hoi An, and get lost in the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City.
Touchdown in Vietnam amid the chaotic streets of Ho Chi Minh City, travel through Cambodia and arrive in Thailand's vivacious capital. In Cambodia, visit the spectacular temples of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, and reflect on Cambodia's tragic history at the sobering sites of Phnom Penh.
Five amazing places to experience another culture
Learning about the culture and customs of other people is one of the great experiences of travel. Explore the planet's diversity with one of these locally owned and authentic tribal encounters. H'mong women by Maria Hsu...
Vietnam - South-Central (Chapter)
Vietnam's South-Central Coast offers vast tracts of unspoilt coastline with opportunities for surfing, snorkelling or simply reclining in front of turquoise waters.
Sights in Vietnam
Activities in Vietnam
Tours in Vietnam
Restaurants in Vietnam
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Imagine a city where the exotic chic of old Asia blends with the dynamic face of new Asia.