With a 2,000 km coastline and charming gateway cities in old-world Hanoi and vibrant Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is a treat. Cruise amidst spectacular limestone islands on Halong Bay, experience atmospheric Hoi-An and the reef and beaches of Nha-trang before exploring the wild waterways of the Mekong Delta.

The countryside and landscapes of Vietnam is the quintessential image most of us have when imagining a true Asian landscape. Paddy fields, raised paths and causeways, small huts made of palm fronds standing on thick bamboo stilts. Water buffalo pulling single furrow ploughs through the flooded fields, driven by a local farmer in a straw, conical hat. This timeless scene can be witnessed across the country but so can many other stunning landscapes.

The main city in northern Vietnam is Hanoi. This atmospheric city, still with the old Market and lots of traditional buildings and colonial architecture, has a real feel of Asia about it. It is also home to the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the North Vietnamese leader during the war with America, which it is possible to visit and view his preserved remains. Other attractions include the main palaces and government buildings of the modern state, in areas completely different in character to the rambling old city.

The main city to the south is Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh, a modern bustling city that is the commercial centre of the country and much more developed than Hanoi after widespread destruction during the war. There are attractions, such as some magnificent Chinese temples and its busy central market, but many of its attractions lie in its vicinity.

Many people choose to extend their visit with a short trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples.

When to go:

There is no best time to go to Vietnam. The shape of the country and its position means that whenever you decide to go it will be dry in some places and wet in others. The good news about this is that it will always be the best time to go somewhere!

In the North of Vietnam the months of November to March are cold and wet. In the central zone September to December are the wettest, while the south is hot and humid for most of the year and therefore prone to heavy, sudden thunderstorms.

June to August are often stated as the best months as Central Vietnam is enjoying its best weather and the north and south are outside their extreme periods. During the wet times, and especially during the central monsoon of September to November, tropical storms, or typhoons are fairly common and can disrupt travel plans, especially cruises on Halong Bay.

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Vietnam: Beyond the Ordinary

Venture off the well-trodden path and into Vietnam's remote, mountainous north, which most visitors never get to see. Spend time among local hill tribes whose way of life hasn’t changed for centuries, and discover a new angle on key northern highlights.

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Travelling through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, you’ll get to appreciate how diverse and unique each country is. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet the locals, sample the varying cuisine, and explore the ever-changing landscapes.

Attractions in Vietnam

Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi tunnels are a preserved complex of Vietcong tunnels in the jungle to the north-west of Ho Chi Minh City. Here you can witness for yourself the complexity and ingenuity of the builders.

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Attractions in Vietnam

Halong Bay

On Vietnam's northern coast lies one of its biggest attractions, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a favourite backdrop for film producers. Halong Bay is famous for the thousands of limestone pillars and islands that jut from the sea, their sheer sides and cliffs rising 100’s of feet into the air, topped with lush vegetation that hangs down like a mop of hair.

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Attractions in Vietnam

Hoi An

For those wanting an insight into more traditional Vietnamese life then the city of Hoi An, situated in the middle of the country is the place to visit. An old trading centre that grew prosperous through the community of Chinese traders who based themselves here in the Middle Ages to trade with the local population, the old town is now a World heritage site.

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Attractions in Vietnam

Mekong Delta

In the south you can visit by boat the vast Mekong Delta, its maze of waterways nurturing the verdant vegetation and coconut plantations that line its banks. The best way to explore is in one of the traditional boats, their shallow draught and powerful engines transporting you from the wide rivers to small backwater channels that connect the isolated rural communities together.

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Attractions in Vietnam

Wildlife and Conservation in Vietnam

Vietnam is not renowned for its wildlife conservation but with 31 National Parks sprinkled across the country, taking in a wide range of landscapes and habitats, there are some beautiful places to visit. Since the country opened its borders and became one of the fastest developing countries in the World the Government recognised the importance of preventing unique habitats being irrevocably damaged and lost and since the late 1990's has created many of the Parks that exist today.

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