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Vietnam Holidays

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Vietnam Holidays

Verdant patchworks of rice paddies and pointed conical hats - these are some of the international images of Vietnam. But there are other scenes to be found too, ones of spectacular natural beauty, fascinating ethnic culture, imperial history and timeless traditional villages, idyllic beaches and dynamic cities.

Vietnam stretches along the east coast of the Indochinese Peninsula and is likened by its people to a long bamboo pole hung with two baskets of rice, represented by the two fertile regions at either end of the country. Between the lush Red River Delta and the highlands in the north, known for their magnificent scenery and colourful hill tribes, and the agricultural plains and floating markets of the Mekong Delta in the south, lie miles of white sandy beaches, towering mountains, rivers and dense forests, and the thousands of bizarre rock and cave formations on the islands of Halong Bay.

Ancient temples and colourful pagodas are scattered throughout the urban centres, while among them stand hotels of modern luxury, and the development of tourism infrastructure is a booming business. Vietnam is a perfect balance between ancient times and the here and now, a country that reveres its past heroes, and people who welcome visitors to their country with open arms and friendly smiles.

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Detailed Overview

Vietnam in Detail

Vietnam stretches along the east coast of the Indochinese Peninsula and is likened by its people to a long bamboo pole hung with two baskets of rice, represented by the two fertile regions at either end of the country. Between the lush Red River Delta and the highlands in the north, known for their magnificent scenery and colourful hill tribes, and the agricultural plains and floating markets of the Mekong Delta in the south, lie miles of white sandy beaches, towering mountains, rivers and dense forests, and the thousands of bizarre rock and cave formations on the islands of Halong Bay.

The quaint town of Hoi An, once a major trading port, boasts the perfectly preserved architectural influences of the Asian merchants from the north, while the broad leafy boulevards of the capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are reminiscent of France. Menus offer Chinese variations of spring rolls, steamed dumplings and noodles.

Ancient temples and colourful pagodas are scattered throughout the urban centres, while among them stand hotels of modern luxury, and the development of tourism infrastructure is a booming business. Vietnam is a perfect balance between ancient times and the here and now, a country that reveres its past heroes, a nation that has collectively put the woes of war behind it, and people who welcome visitors to their country with open arms and friendly smiles.

Vietnam Attractions

A trip to Vietnam is often centred around a journey between the capital Hanoi in the north, and Saigon (as Ho Chi Minh is still called locally) in the south, taking in the many highlights between the two.

Vietnam's largest city and commercial capital, Saigon is a fascinating blend of old and new, where gleaming skyscrapers sit alongside ancient temples, and street vendors tout for business outside gleaming shopping malls. While in the south of Vietnam, visitors should take a cruise through the lush Mekong Delta to see the famous floating markets, tour the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels or relax on the coast near the tropical beach resort of Mui Ne.

Further up the coast travellers will find the delightful city of Hoi An, with its well-preserved old town, and a couple of hours further on can explore the once magnificent Imperial City of Hué, which was the national capital and home to the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802-1945, and is now a culinary capital. Hanoi is the modern-day capital, and has been an important city for a thousand years; the influences from the French and Chineses rulers is ever present in the architecture. Travellers can wander through the elaborate narrow streets of the Old Quarter, avoiding the many scooters, to find fashionable bars, restaurants and art galleries, alongside food vendors, street markets and Buddhist temples. The French Quarter, by contrast, has wide boulevards lined with imposing houses. A winding train ride up the mountains in Sapa lets visitors overlook it all. On the coast, visitors can find remote beaches, or take a boat cruise through the hundreds of towering islands in Halong Bay. The trip to nearby Ninh Binh offers tourists the chance to experience some of Vietnam's most beautiful rural scenery, with narrow rivers snaking past limestone cliffs and farmers tending their fields with water buffaloes.

Local Information

Language

The official language is Vietnamese.

Local time

Vietnam is 7 hours ahead of United Kingdom

Airlines

Some airlines include Vietnam Airlines, Emirates & Qatar

Flight time

From London it is around 11 hours 5 minutes

Where to fly from

Fly from various UK airports, many with connecting flights

Currency

The local currency is the Vietnamese dong