Vietnam is one of our favourite playgrounds in South East Asia. Look forward to faded colonial grandeur and stylish luxury retreats, green jungles and translucent bays, fragrant food and smiling locals.
This thin snake of land – nestled between Laos and Cambodia to the west and a long lick of the South China Sea to the east – has a spectacular coastline, dotted with delightful beaches and scuba diving spots.
Inland there are brilliant green rice paddies, and offshore you’ve got huge, towering limestone islands. Its cities are alive with energy and buzz to a soundtrack of a million scooters. The food is fresh, tangy and delicious. Vietnam is a delightful cultural destination: charming people, French Colonial architecture (not to mention great coffee and fresh baguettes), and the general aura of elegance with a little chaos thrown in.
Capital Hanoi, is your gateway to the limestone karst dotted Halong Bay and the picturesque hills of Sapa. The city’s French Colonial past is resplendent in the large mansions, relaxed cafes around Hoan Kiem Lake and the tree-lined boulevards. Chug your way through the mountains overnight on the Victoria Express, greeted by rolling green hills and sleekly-sliced rice terraces. Cruising on the Bay is best enjoyed overnight on your private junk, where your captain picks the quietest spot for you to kayak amongst the caves and visit the residents of the sea – away from the tourist throngs.
Central Vietnam‘s coast is famed for its picturesque beaches and its historical small towns. Wander along Hoi An’s quaint streets for authentic streetfood, tailor an outfit in amazing turnaround time and relax by the luxurious pools dotting the coast. Drive further inland to explore ancient palaces and temples along the Perfume River, where Hue was once the centre of political intrigue, intellectual excellence and spiritual guidance in Vietnam. For the ultimate in down time, look to Nha Trang, a quiet seaside city with pristine waters and long sandy beaches, in barefoot luxury at the rustic Six Senses resort.
City of a million motorcycles, Ho Chi Minh City‘s local charm remains intact in its timeless alleys, ancient pagodas, teeming markets and grinning street-side merchants hawking silk, spices, baskets and Vietnam’s beautiful crafted lacquer-ware. Venture out of the city to the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a complex and dense maze of over 250 kilometres of secret underground passages used by the Viet Cong in the 1960s. While along the old Rue Catinat and in the surrounding wide avenues the French history is ever-evident in the Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera House, Post Office and the Reunification Palace.
There are so many ways to enjoy Vietnam and so much to gain as a visitor: journey from Hanoi to Saigon, take a boat trip on the Mekong Delta, marvel at the limestone cliffs of Halong Bay, or venture to the Tonkinese Alps to meet with indigenous hill tribes. Whatever your interests and length of stay, the Lightfoot Travel team can provide you with expert impartial advice and a tailor-made Vietnam itinerary.