Holidays in Vietnam
Vietnam is bordered with China, Laos and Cambodia which has thousands of miles of spectacular coastline, it is a great country to visit on a holiday in Asia. Vietnam is one particularly appealing prospect for the more adventurous and we offer lots of travel and holiday options which will provide you with an amazing experience in South-East Asia. There are so many places you could visit on a holiday in Vietnam and so many special highlights. This country has had a well-documented turbulent history, but its tourism industry is going from strength to strength in the country. Regarded by travellers as one of the most exotic countries in the World, the nation's embracing of capitalism has allowed it to accommodate a greater number of visitors, many of whom return time and time again. With cheap flights to Vietnam available on various websites, holidaymakers can look forward to travelling on direct routes to the Far East from the UK. While it's advised that travellers draw up their own itinerary, there are a few must-see sights that every visitor should consider.
First stop for most visitors when exploring Vietnam is the country’s captivating capital, Hanoi. The city’s old French colonial past is still visible in its Parisian style architecture, while many buildings also demonstrate the modern side of a new emerging Asia. Masses of motorbikes whizz through the streets in their hundreds, and these must be carefully navigated when attempting to make your way from one side of the street to another. Buses, trucks and cars must also be avoided when crossing the city’s jam-packed streets. The Red River dominates the immediate landscape, running right through the city to the Gulf of Tolkin, offering some spectacular views along the way. The Hoan Kiem Lake is also a key landmark in the city and is surrounded by fine eateries and grand hotels. The main attraction, however, remains the city’s old quarter, the heartbeat of Hanoi. Filled with original architecture, lots to see and do and hundreds of shops and restaurants. There is a real vibrancy and buzz surrounding the old quarter and it is an opportunity not to be passed up. Trips to the Far East don't usually begin and end in Vietnam, with many travellers heading to nearby countries with an equally fascinating past.
If you are from the UK or a selected number of countries you can get a tourist visa on arrival if you are flying into Vietnam and stay for 30 days. By entering Vietnam via land you will need to get a tourist visa prior to arrival, this can be done in the UK or in neighbouring countries. It is also a good idea to know what the weather will be like when you visit, it's important you choose the right time of year to suit your travel syle. Vietnam has a long hot season and also a wet season and deciding when the best time to go can be difficult due to the weather being different in the North and South, and also because it can be quite unpredictable. Vietnam is busy during peak tourist season around November to March and if you are not a fan of intense heat you might want to avoid this time as temperatures can rise. If a beach break sounds appealing and you are looking for sunny weather in Vietnam we recommend visiting Phu Quoc and Con Dao located in Southern Vietnam inbetween November and June. Or if you would like to visit Nha Trang or Quy Nhon aim to be there around January to September time when you are usually guaranteed sun.
Travel + Tours in Vietnam
Vietnam is a large country to travel in but it has an extensive railway network which connects the whole country. The main line runs from North to South making it easy to travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. You can also travel further North from Hanoi. Prices vary depening what level of comfort you go for, we recommend going for the sleeper train option with a bed. For travel around the whole of Vietnam overland we recommend joining a tour or booking private transportation through a travel agency as if you go on public tranport they will charge you a lot more than local people and this can work out more expensive than private options. Jetstar also offer cheap flights but please note during the Vietnamese new year celebrations (Tet) which is in either January or February transport can be booked up or more expensive with local people travelling home. Local transportation in cities is very cheap, getting around places like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minch City will cost less than £1 ($1). If you get a local bike taxi agree a price in advance as some drivers will demand a huge sum at the end of the journey.
On a overland tour of Vietnam you can experience relaxing in the tranquil towns of Hoi Ann and Na Trang, there are a wealth of culturally rich tourist attractions including Sapa and Hanoi in the North of the country. If you are seeking adventure trips you could learn to scuba dive in Vietnam or fire an Ak-47 gun at the Cu Chi tunnels. There are budget and family tours which range in price. Most tours start in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and then travel North or South, there are lots of overland tours in Asia where you can travel and visit more than one country too. Popular destinations to visit on tours in Vietnam include the villages and fields of Mekong Delta and the naturally beautiful Halong Bay, while many tourists also head to Phu Quoc Island to relax on stunning white beaches in the height of summer. Motorbikes and bicycles are the most popular form of transport, you can find bike tours and specalized trips throughout the country. One of the benefits of travelling in Vietnam on a touring holiday is getting to stay and eat at locally run places, you will get to sample the most authentic cuisine including rice, fish sauce and fresh seafood which this destination is famous for. A lot of overland cultural tours also include homestays as part of some itineraries, this is a great way to get full immersion in the culture and integrate with local communities.
Vietnam Scuba Diving
Have you been thinking about learning to scuba dive? Want to take a course? Why not visit Vietnam and take a PADI scuba diving course which you can book on our website. On our website you can find beginner Vietnam scuba diving courses, PADI internships, scuba jobs, adventure diving trips and more. We list dive operators who offer scuba diving holidays and travel packages in Vietnam. Search dive centres today and you will be able to go diving in places like Hoi An, Nha Trang, Whale Island, Phu Quoc and Con Dao. Vietnam is a really up and coming tourist destination but not a lot of people know you can learn to scuba dive there. Vietnam has beaches and resorts which are a lot less touristy than Thailand for example, but the diving is just as good! You have lots of options if you have never dived before, there are beginners courses like the Open Water course and more advanced if you already have been diving before. The coast of Vietnam is spectacular and there are several dive sites where you can get close to coral and see marine life up close and personal. As you pick up the basics you might get more adventurous with your diving and you'll be happy to know there are lots of specialized trips for you to join in Vietnam. These include travelling out into the ocean under the guidance of experienced instructors to go wreck diving, learning underwater photography skill and more. Vietnam has really low living costs and usually accommodation will be provided in the cost of a scuba diving course. There is also really tasty local seafood which is a must try.
Volunteering in Vietnam
Would you love to do something different and help others? Why not browse our website and set up an international volunteering program in Vietnam! There are so many volunteering opportunities in Vietnam and on our website you can find organisations and inspirational programs where you can give back and help. Volunteering in Vietnam can be a really amazing and rewarding experience, we list volunteer holidays and vacations in Vietnam for individuals and families. View more information about arranging this type of experience and think about applying today. People are needed all year round to help volunteer programs which help communities and the environment. Vietnam might be less touristy than Thailand for example but this isn't a bad thing!
Less tourists mean a more natural experience where you can mix with local people, eat the local food and also help worthwhile causes. Thousands of people choose Vietnam, this is a very safe and interesting country to visit but one which has widespread poverty which is where the need for help comes in. Most volunteer programs are found in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi in the North of the country. Programs are not restricted to the large cities though, you can find programs in rural areas and its up to you where you would like to go. You can always ask us for advice and hopefully we can match your interests with a suitable area. We list volunteer organisations, non profits and NGO's which are based in various locations like Da Nang, Tam Ky, Tuy Hoa and Hue. Vietnamese people are very friendly and you will experience a new culture, tasty cuisine and a totally new experience on volunteering projects in Vietnam.
Types of Volunteer Programs in Vietnam
You could make a difference on education programs teaching English, work on community development programs helping children, elderly people and disabled people, you could work in an orphanage, join sports programs or gain experience on medical projects.
Conservation - This country might not strike you as a possible destination to help conservation programs but there are some really great opportunities which operate under the radar. One placement we have on our website is a wildlife rescue & rehabilitation centre which is accepting new participants and where you can help rescue and rehabilitate animals.
Community Development - People are needed to help at outreach centres and at orphanages in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam’s economic growth is among the fastest in the world and education is improving, you can play a role by helping lead lessons and working alongside local staff. Working at an orphanage of community centre is a very rewarding experience and local people will make you feel very welcomed. Schools and orphanages need caring and compassionate volunteers all year round.
Depending on your nationality and visa eligibility you should be able to volunteer in Vietnam. This is an extremly safe country to live and volunteer in and so don't be putoff by images of war in the past. Most volunteer organisations in Vietnam will require you to be aged 18+. Don't worry if you don't have any previous experience in the volunteers field of work, you should recieve help from local staff and training will be provided on arrival. Programs are operated throughout the year and you can sign up to volunteer today and join projects at a later date. Vietnam volunteer programs can also be booked in advance for 2013 and 2014. There are also summer and group volunteer projects in Vietnam which are popular but you will need to apply early to avoid places filling up. Experiences can last anything from a few days to a few months, its best to stay around a month at least to give you time to settle into a placement so you can get to know the people and really help.
Best Things To See and Do in Vietnam
View our list of activities and get suggestions for the best things to see and do in Vietnam, hopefully it will give you some idea of places you can visit.
Ha Long Bay - Ha Long Bay is one of the most spectacular places you can see in South-East Asia. Expect lots of limestone rocks sticking up out of the water which looks really amazing. There are lots of boat tours including overnight stays which you can join, we recommened a two day trip with a stop over in Cat Ba Island - search out a local karaoke bar here and you will have lots of fun.
Trek to Sapa - Sapa is located in Northern Vietnam and on a trek or trip here you will see really beautiful rice fields. The trips here can be arranged in advance or in most places like Hanoi. The journey itself is a lot of fun where you will see really rural areas and villages, seeing the way life really is away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Cu Chi Tunnels and War Museum, Ho Chi Minh City - If you want to learn more about the Vietnam war we recommend visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Museum. Here you will be able to read more about this brutal conflict which ravages this country and at the museum there are lots of old tanks, helicopters and war memoribilia. At the Cu Chi Tunnels you can go underground and see how the Vietcong used to live, the tunnels are tiny and so if you are claustraphobic it might not be a good idea to enter. You can also fire an AK-47 rifle here in a safe shooting range.
Scuba Diving in Nha Trang - Nha Trang is a popular beach destination on the East Coast of Vietnam, if you are travelling through the country you will more than likely pass through here. This is also a great place to learn to scuba dive.
Mekong Delta - The Mekong Delta is an impressive vast waterway stretching over 50,000km. Expect to see lots of rural vilages, fishermen, floating villages and relaxed lifestyles. There are lots of tours and trips available by land (car / bike) or we recommend taking a boat tour.
Travel Up or Down The Coast - Vietnam is very lucky to be based on the ocean and the whole coast is a magnificent to travel and see. There are lots of ways to travel overland via train, car, bus or bike.
Get Clothes Made in Hoi Ann - Hoi Ann is a popular stop off for most tourists and its easy to see why. Expect a beautiful little town with cobbled streets and lots of great places to eat tasty Vietnamese cuisine. You can easily walk around or just relax by the river. This is also a great place to get shoes or clothes made, shops here can design and produce some amazing items at low prices and remember to barter down prices or shop around for the best deals.
Phu Quoc Island - Located in Southern Cietnam Phu Quoc is a hidden paradise, so many islands in South-East Asia are buslting and busy with thousands of touritsts and its advised to visit Phu Quoc before it gets too popular. A new airport is planning for this island and so this is expected to change this paradise island for ever. You can catch a boat taxi to the island and expect some of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam here.
Contact us today for bespoke travel / holiday information about visiting Vietnam or go to our Asia holidays for a full list of trips in this region.