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Travel in Vietnam

An introduction

Lionel, tailor-made travel specialist
'Vietnam is unrivalled for its pure diversity of travel experience, quality of hotels and imaginative cuisine. If there’s a better all-round destination, I don’t know of it.'

Lionel, tailor-made travel specialist

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A journey of incomparable variety

Conveniently linear, Vietnam's shape lets you travel all the way between Hanoi, its wonderfully chaotic capital, home to a fascinating jumble of architectural styles and truly scrumptious streetfood, to the fertile Mekong Delta with its floating markets, without missing the tempting array of sights, experiences and flavours in between...

Making Vietnamese coffee

Making Vietnamese coffee

Where to travel in Vietnam

If you've flown into Hanoi, head south to Halong Bay, where you can explore this famously eye-catching coastline on board a traditional junk. Travel south to the imperial city of Hue with its stately citadel, before driving along the stunning Hai Van pass to ancient Hoi An, the historic highlight of many a journey through Vietnam.

South of Hoi An, your exit point from the country is likely to be by air from Ho Chi Minh City, unless you would like to travel through the remarkable Mekong Delta and maybe on up the Mekong River to Cambodia.

Before you think about leaving, though, you might want to pause at one of Vietnam’s gorgeous beaches - we especially love Quy Nhon in the centre, and Mui Ne in the south. The lovely island of Phu Quoc is more developed, but still boasts plenty of space away from the main hotels, and tiny Con Dao is ideal for a classic tropical island honeymoon.

Alternatively you may wish to spend longer in the north, enjoying time outdoors meeting some of Vietnam’s minority tribes in Sapa, remote Ha Giang, or in pretty Mai Chau Valley. Join in with traditional rural life in Ninh Binh, or hike the well-signposted trails of Cuc Phuong National Park.

There is also the less travelled Central Highlands of Vietnam to consider - the site of many of the most infamous battles during the late 60s and 70s. Dalat is the ideal entry point to the region, and this hill station usually captivates attention for a day or two before it’s time to move on.

Reasons to love Vietnam

  • Its stunning countryside, buzzing cities and superb uncrowded beaches
     
  • Easy to travel the whole country without doubling back, thanks to its convenient shape and an efficient transport system
     
  • Whether you travel from north to south, or south to north, you are promised a journey of incomparable variety
Population:
89.7 million
Capital:
Hanoi
Currency:
Dong
Language:
Vietnamese
Religion:
Buddhism

Unification nation

Vietnam became a unified country in 1976, after the armed forces of the communist north were victorious over the south the previous year. The preceding thirty years were dominated by wars for independence, which the communists fought first against their French colonisers, then against South Vietnam, which was backed by the anti-communist USA. The second campaign resulted in heavy casualties across the board. Thousands of civilians suffered atrocities, and much of the landscape was defoliated and contaminated.

The newly unified nation struggled to begin with, the party attempting to run Vietnam’s largely agricultural economy according to strict collectivist ideals. Market forces developed and private enterprise became tolerated in the 1980s. A stock exchange opened in 2000, and the one-party communist state is now a major manufacturing centre with one of South-East Asia’s fastest growing economies.

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Find out a little more about Vietnam

Ways to explore Vietnam

Ways to explore Vietnam

See our recommended Vietnam holidays
Highlights in Vietnam

Highlights in Vietnam

Read our Vietnam travel guides
Vietnam from our blog

Vietnam from our blog

Six cool places to drink Vietnamese coffee in Ho Chi Minh City

Six places to see reliably mind-blowing sunsets in Vietnam and elsewhere in SE Asia

Visit our Vietnam blog