We've put together a guidebook with everything you need to know about Vietnam. Written by our specialists, it details destination information, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send you a link by email which will allow you to download your own copy.
Vietnam is one of Imagine Asia’s favourite countries and the perfect destination for first timers and South East Asia veterans alike. Here are our favourite Vietnamese experiences in no particular order:
This famous oriental boat is Chinese in origin and design, but across the years it has been used throughout Asia for extensive sea-bound voyages.
Vietnamese cuisine is world-famous for its bold, aromatic and fresh flavours. Simple in design yet complex in taste, there are so many wonderful dishes to try on your travels through Vietnam. We’ve picked a few of our favourites to whet your appetite…
The beauty of Vietnam’s coastline is that it stretches for 2000 miles and offers such a huge variety of beaches – there is something for everyone. Here's the lowdown on our top places to go and why…
There are so many wonderful drinks to try on your travels through Vietnam but here we’ve picked a few of our favourites.
Graceful, atmospheric and just plain stunning, this cosmopolitan melting pot deserves its status as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This classic itinerary takes in historic and scenic highlights of Vietnam, from the dramatic peaks of Sapa to the lush rice paddies of the Mekong Delta. The combination of culture and adventure makes this a great option for both couples and families.
Asia Specialist Holly takes a look at two of Vietnam’s most significant cities, Hanoi and Saigon…
Hanoi, Mai Chau, Ninh Binh, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho & Phu Quoc
Best for: Culture History, Highlights
This in-depth itinerary combines history, culture and adventure, allowing you to explore some of the most well-known areas of Vietnam, as well as more off the beaten track gems, including spectacular rural scenery and remote hilltribe villages.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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Start in the north of Vietnam, taking in the charming capital of Hanoi, the breathtaking scenery and remote villages of Mai Chau and Ninh Binh, and the iconic Halong Bay. Journey to the central coast, where you can explore Imperial history in Hue, and Hoi An's past as an important trading port.
From the central coast continue south to the buzzing Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the city's fantastic foodie scene and learn about Vietnam's modern history, including important military sites such as the Cu Chi Tunnels and Reunification Palace.
Venture down into the Mekong Delta and enjoy a night on board a traditional boat, cruising through serene rural scenery and stopping off to visit towns which offer floating markets and bustling riverside industries.
Finish the itinerary on the idyllic island of Phu Quoc. Rejuvenate on gorgeous sandy beaches, snorkel in clear blue waters, or for those who want more action, go trekking in the national park.
Days 1 - 4 : Hanoi, Vietnam
Stay at La Siesta Hotel and Spa for 3 nights
Start your journey in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. The city has a wonderful atmosphere, with tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes. Unlike many of the other flourishing cities in Southeast Asia, Hanoi has managed to embrace modern-living whilst still maintaining its old-world charm.
During your time here we suggest taking a full-day tour of the city to explore some of Hanoi’s most interesting cultural sites. Learn about Vietnam’s ethnic minorities at the Ethnology Museum, visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex to see the mausoleum and One Pillar Pagoda, and wander through the picturesque Temple of Literature. It is also worth taking a stroll through the bustling Old Quarter, which is brimming with shops, bars and restaurants. Finish the day with a traditional Water Puppet Show. The performance focuses on rural life and natural history, and the puppetry is an art form unique to northern Vietnam.
Days 4 - 6 : Mai Chau, Vietnam
Stay at Mai Chau Eco Lodge for 2 nights
From Hanoi, take a private road transfer to Mai Chau, which lasts approximately four to five hours. Close to Mai Chau, stop off at the rural village of Pu Bin. This remote village is home to Thai and Muong ethnic minorities and surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery. Have lunch with an ethic Thai family, and take a stroll around the village to gain an insight into local life here before continuing your journey to Mai Chau.
The scenery around Mai Chau is also stunning, and during your stay here there are some fantastic opportunities for trekking and cycling.
Days 6 - 8 : Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Stay at Tam Coc Garden for 2 nights
From Mai Chau it is around a four to five-hour drive to reach Ninh Binh. This area is often referred to as the ‘Halong Bay on land’ due to its dramatic limestone mountains which rise from an otherwise relatively flat landscape.
Spend your time here exploring the picturesque scenery by bicycle and venturing into mysterious caves. It is also possible to take a boat trip through Tam Coc or Van Long nature Reserve. The local rowers have developed a technique to use their feet to operate the oars, which makes for a rather entertaining sight!
Day 8 - 9 : Halong Bay, Vietnam
Stay at Heritage Line - Jasmine for 1 night
From Ninh Binh continue on to real Halong Bay, which takes approximately four to five hours. Spend the night on board a traditional junk boat, sailing through the incredible limestone karst islands which rise from the sea.
Depending on the particular cruise there are a number of excursions, which can include visiting dramatic caves, climbing up to the top of an island to take in the views, or kayaking through serene bays.
Day 9 : Domestic flight from Hanoi to Hue
Days 9 - 11 : Hue, Vietnam
Stay at AZERAI - La Residence Hue for 2 nights
From Halong Bay return to Hanoi (around four hours by road) to take a domestic flight down to the historic city of Hue. The city was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, but it was badly damaged in the Tet Offensive in 1968.
Take a full day to explore Hue’s most interesting cultural sites. Visit the Imperial Citadel, which houses the Forbidden Purple City and Imperial Court, and admire the tomb of the Emperor Minh Mang, with its elaborate architecture and picturesque setting.
It is also worth spending some time out in the countryside here, as it is very pretty. Stroll through local villages, many of which have traditional architecture, and take a boat trip along the famous Perfume River, named for the aromatic flowers and foliage that float down from the mountains at certain points in the year.
Days 11 - 13 : Hoi An, Vietnam
Stay at Ancient House Village Resort for 2 nights
From Hue it is a three-hour scenic drive to the charming town of Hoi An, where you will spend the next two nights. Hoi An was a major trading port during the 17th and 18th centuries, and much of the architecture has remained untouched since this time. It is a lovely place to explore on foot, and there are many excellent bars and restaurants. Hoi An is also known for its vast array of tailors, who can create outfits from scratch in a remarkably short space of time.
There is so much to see and do here, from cooking classes to exploring the countryside on the back of a Vespa. From Hoi An it is also possible to visit the impressive ruins of My Son, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My Son was once the capital of the Champa Kingdom, which ruled from the 4th to 13th century.
Day 13 : Domestic flight from Danang to Ho Chi Minh City
Days 13 - 16 : Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Stay at Silverland Yen Hotel for 3 nights
From Hoi An, travel 45-minutes by road to Danang where you will catch a domestic flight down to Ho Chi Minh City. As well as having a number of historic sites and a fantastic food scene, Ho Chi Minh City is also the gateway to further afield adventures, including the notorious Cu Chi Tunnels, where you can learn more about the tactics used during the America-Vietnam war, and even venture through one of the narrow tunnels yourself.
Day 16 - 17 : Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Stay at Bassac Boat for 1 night
From Ho Chi Minh travel two-and-a-half hours by road down to Cai Be. Here you will board a boat, which will also be your home for the evening. Spend the afternoon exploring the Mekong Delta, drifting past scenic rural countryside and catching glimpses of local life along the banks.
After anchoring for the night, continue on the next morning to Can Tho, the commercial hub of the delta. Transfer to a local boat in order to visit the famous Cai Rang floating market and travel along the nearby canals. After disembarking a car will be waiting to take you on to the airport.
Day 17 : Domestic flight from Can Tho to Phu Quoc
Days 17 - 21 : Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Stay at La Veranda for 4 nights
From Can Tho it is only a short flight over the to the tropic island of Phu Quoc. Days here can be spent lounging on gorgeous sandy beaches, snorkelling on coral reefs or trekking in the lush national park.
When to go
Given that Vietnam is a long country, the weather patterns can vary greatly. In general, the best months to go if you are visiting north, central and south Vietnam are from January/February to March/April. In winter, northern Vietnam can get quite cold, and mountainous areas such as Sapa can experience regular mists, although it is usually fairly dry. In June and July this region can get very hot. Central Vietnam is at its best from January to April, and although there is a higher chance of rain from April to September, this is still a good time to travel. The central coast experiences heavy rain from September to November/December. Southern Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, is always hot and humid, with the best weather between November to March. This area can get very wet in summer months, with regular flooding.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
Explore Hanoi Rural Life by Bicycle
Head off the beaten track and take to two wheels to explore the rural villages along the banks of the Red River close to Hanoi. Cycle through lush countryside, stopping off to learn about day-to-day life including local cultures and beliefs.
Vespa Street Food Tour
Enjoy an exhilarating street food tour in Ho Chi Minh City, travelling like a local on the back of a vintage Vespa. Avoiding other tourists where possible, this is a fantastic way to experience the city and to try a variety of delicious local dishes.
Half Day Cookery Class at Red Bridge
Learn all about local cuisine with this half day cooking class at the popular Red Bridge Cooking School. After buying ingredients at Hoi An’s morning market, take a boat along the Thu Bon River to the school for a hands-on cooking class with a local chef.
A Day in Charming & Historic Hanoi - Full Day Tour Including Water Puppet Show
Spend a day exploring the cultural highlights of Hanoi with a private guide. Visit the city's most important sites, including the Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature and Old Quarter, before ending the day with a water puppet theatre performance.
A Day in Hue
This full day tour will allow you to explore some of the most fascinating historic sites in Hue, including the Imperial Citadel, the Thien Mu Pagoda and the tombs of Emperor Minh Mang and Khai Dinh. You can also enjoy a cyclo ride through scenic gardens.
Ben Tre - Mango Cruise
Head deep into the heart of the Mekong Delta for a full day tour, travelling by boat on the 'Mango Cruise', by motorized cart and by bicycle. Learn about rural life by the river, including local industries, fishing and farming.
Hanoi Street Food Tour
Spend half a day weaving through Hanoi's bustling markets and side streets, stopping off to sample an array of mouthwatering dishes along the way. You will be accompanied by a local foodie guide to ensure you make the most of the experience.
Half Day Highlights of Hue
This half day tour will allow you to explore some of the most fascinating historic sites in Hue, including the Imperial Citadel. You can also enjoy a cyclo ride to Hue first private museum.
Sunset Boat Cruise on the Thu Bon River
Enjoy a leisurely sunset boat cruise on the Thu Bon River, the perfect way to end a busy day exploring Hoi An.
Hanoi Evening Vespa Tour
Experience Hanoi by night, travelling through the streets on the back on a vintage Vespa, stopping off to enjoy delicious streetfood along the way. Finish the evening at a famous jazz club where you can listen to fantastic live music.
From $4151 per person
International economy class flights and airport taxes from the UK
All accommodation and breakfasts
Private transfers and domestic flights
Entry fees and a selection of experiences
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.