A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is unforgettably compelling.

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Vietnam is located between 9 and 23 degrees north. Eastern Vietnam has a long coastline on the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea. It has a tropical monsoon type of climate; from May-Sep the south monsoon sets in, and the country is dominated by south to southeasterly winds. From Oct-April, the north monsoon is dominant with northerly to northeasterly winds affecting the country. There is a transition period between each monsoon season when winds are light and variable.

Vietnam has a single rainy season during the south monsoon (May-Sep). Rainfall is infrequent and light during the remainder of the year. Rainfall is abundant, with annual rainfall exceeding 1000mm almost everywhere. Annual rainfall is even higher in the hills, especially those facing the sea, in the range of 2000-2500mm.

For coastal areas and the parts of the central highlands facing northeast, the season of maximum rainfall is during the south monsoon, from Sep-Jan. These regions receive torrential rain from typhoons which move in from the South China Sea at this time of the year. The weather at this time is cloudy with frequent drizzle.

What you should know



Area: 331 698 km²
Population: 90 million people
Capital : Hanoi

Vietnam is hot and humid, steamy and sticky, and definitely during monsoon season, deluged with rain. Expect the weather to be changeable in shoulder seasons. Rain gear is a must, along with hat, umbrella and maybe even that trusted travel towel to dry you off when the skies douse you mid day. As always, layers are always a good idea. The country’s various regions get diverse weather patterns.


Visitors from the following countries do not require a visa for tourism purposes for a limited period of stay.

– 14 days: Brunei, Myanmar
– 15 days: Norway, Belarus
– 21 days: The Philippines
– 30 days: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Kyrgystan
– 45 days (from August 15, 2023): United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Japan and South Korea
– 90 days: Chile, Panama

All other nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa, which is generally valid for 30 days. Visas can be obtained from Vietnamese Embassies and Consulates abroad. Costs of tourist visa vary from one Vietnamese Embassy to another. When your passport is returned to you from the Vietnamese embassy, one application form with a photo will be returned along with it. Keep the form, as you will be required to hand it to the immigration upon arrival in Vietnam. If you misplaced this form, you can complete a new form upon arrival – there are photo booths at the airport. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the end of the trip.

Many travelers try to board their flights with no visa or ‘confirmation letter’ and are refused. Ensure that you have a visa or have applied online for a confirmation letter, and received it before your flight. Your confirmation letter should have your exact information as per your passport or once again you will be refused entry to Vietnam or not allowed to board your flight.


From August 15, 2023, Vietnam E-visa holders might stay up to 90 days with a single entry or multiple entries.

A complete list of nationalities can be found at The application is also processed through this website. Visitors with e-visas can touch down at any of Vietnam’s eight international airports. They can also arrive via land at 13 international border gates, and via sea at seven ports across the country. List of ports that allow foreigners enter and exit Vietnam by E-visa is available at . E-visa fee (25 USD for single entry) is paid via electronic payment gateway as prescribed by the Immigration Department. The fee will not be refunded if the application is refused.


The currency in Vietnam is the Dong (VND). The US dollar is also still accepted at some hotels, but you should have local currency available for use anywhere else. Credit card acceptance is spreading in higher-end hotels, restaurants and shops in big cities, but outside of these cash is still by far preferable. Never change money on the streets from hustlers.

ATMs are now the easiest way to get hold of your money in Vietnam. ATMs are a common site in most Vietnamese towns.  The number of ATMs in the country is increasing all the time, and there is now usually at least one ATM in every town, more in the larger cities. However, it is not sensible to rely on them entirely, as ATMs can go down, or might be out of cash, and you could also be left penniless if you were to lose your card. A combination of bank cards, cash and a few travellers cheques is often best.

Best Times for This Excursion
  • Northern Vietnam: November – April winter (January-March hovering in the 20 Celsius/70 Fahrenheit degree mark), summer is May through October with the wettest months smack in the center of July-September
  • Central Vietnam: January-July hot and dry (temperatures hovering above 30 Celsius/90 Fahrenheit degree mark), wettest months are October/November (watch for typhoons
  • South Vietnam: largely focused on the wet (early May – November; July/August wettest) and the dry (November – late April) seasons with average year-round temperatures around 30 Celsius/90 Fahrenheit degrees.
Credit Cards

These are accepted in the larger hotels and restaurants, as well as a limited number of banks. Visa and MasterCard are the most often accepted cards. Very few places will accept American Express cards – so they are better left at home. Money, passports and other valuables like travellers’ cheques are best kept in a safety deposit box at your hotel. Never leave valuables or money unattended in your hotel room. It’s also advisable to avoid carrying unnecessary valuables on your person, especially at night, just in case.

Personal expenditure & Tipping

You can spend very little or a lot in Vietnam depending on your personal spending pattern. A modest weekly budget of approximately US$55 for day to day things like food, drinks, tips, entry fees (when not included) and small souvenirs. This amount is naturally just an estimate.

It is not customary to leave a tip in small local eateries, but more sophisticated restaurants will expect a tip. Tips are often divided between the waiting and kitchen staff, so if you have experienced great food and service, it is advisable to show your appreciation with a tip- between 5-10% of the bill is normal. A tip is also very welcomed by local guides and drivers.


Vietnamese (Tieng Viet) is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of Vietnamese people (Kinh), and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language or a first language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. It is part of the Austro-Asiatic language family, of which it has the most speakers by a significant margin (several times larger than the other Austro-Asiatic languages put together). Much of Vietnamese vocabulary has been borrowed from Chinese, and the language displays some influence from French, and the Vietnamese alphabet in use today is a Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones and certain vowels and consonants.


As in any country when travelling, keep a close eye on your belongings. Secure your valuables, documents and credit cards in your hotel safe or carry them close on your body if that is not possible. Beware of pickpockets, purse-snatchers and mobile phone thieves, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. If you choose to rent a motorbike or ride a bicycle, always wear a helmet.

The emergency telephone numbers are:

– 113 – Police
– 114 – Fire
– 115 – Medical

Here are some general things to take into consideration when travelling around Vietnam:

– Before leaving from your hotel, ensure you have a hotel business card from the reception desk. This will make your return to the hotel in a taxi or cyclo much easier.
– For longer excursions from your base hotel, it is always a good idea to carry a roll of toilet paper in your daypack. You never know when you will need it.
– Always dress appropriately. Not only for the prevailing climatic conditions, but also not to cause offence to the local people. Vietnamese have conservative dress codes and it is only in larger cities that these codes are relaxed a little.
– Always leave your excess cash, airline tickets, passports and valuables with the hotels safety deposit facility.
– Always be aware when entering someone’s houses to see if you must remove your shoes at the front door.
– Always ask his or her permission first when taking a photograph of someone. If they indicate that they do not want you to, then abide by their wishes. DO NOT push the issue or offer money.

Bring your senses to life with sights, sounds, views and experiences that simply can’t be found anywhere else. The country’s top five top destinations are now quarantine-free for fully vaccinated travellers: Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa (Nha Trang, Cam Ranh), DaNang, Quang Nam (Hoi An, My Son), and Quang Ninh (Ha Long Bay).

North Vietnam


Hanoi, the capital of unified Vietnam, whose name means “Below the river.” The city was founded in 1010 on the right bank of the Red River and then called Thang Long, the “Dragon taking flight” as the country out of a thousand years of Chinese domination.  Hanoi is undoubtedly the most charming city of Vietnam with all its authenticity, large shady avenues, numerous lakes and manicured gardens.

Halong Bay

The Goal Thap Pagoda is located 30 km north-east of Hanoi in Ha Bac province.  Surrounded by a dozen buildings dating mostly from the seventeenth century, this pagoda is unusual comprise a main sanctuary surrounded by a carved stone gallery.  The interior is full of rich lacquered wooden statues, including one of Quan Am (in thousand arms and a thousand eyes).  

The Island of Cat Ba

After two hours by train or car from Hanoi to Hai Phong port, and an hour by hydrofoil, you’re in Cat Ba, the largest of some 360 islands and islets dotting Lan Ha Bay.  Cat Co and Cat Dua are two large very popular with bathers beaches.  The water is so clear that one can distinguish the golden sand at the bottom of the sea.
The park Cat Ba National has 20 species of wild animals, 69 birds and 20 reptiles.  Maybe you’ll have the chance to take a photo of a bald vooc, a rare primate that exists only in this island.

Hai Phong

Haiphong harbor is the North’s second city, with a population amounting to more than a million souls. Haiphong continued to supply North Vietnam throughout the war, despite the incessant bombing. A few still standing buildings from the French colonial period reflect the pride of Vietnamese settlers for their first bridgehead. The old theater Dien Bien Phu Street, is a notable example. The area is also a colorful shopping hive, with its street markets and outdoor food vendors.

But Thap – Pagoda Tower

The Goal Thap Pagoda is located 30 km north-east of Hanoi in Ha Bac province.  Surrounded by a dozen buildings dating mostly from the seventeenth century, this pagoda is unusual comprise a main sanctuary surrounded by a carved stone gallery.  The interior is full of rich lacquered wooden statues, including one of Quan Am (in thousand arms and a thousand eyes).  

Thay – Pagoda Master

Located 33 km west of Hanoi Thay pagoda (master pagoda) is a set of several buildings and a large pilgrimage center frequented by the people of Hanoi for both its ritual value for the romance of the site is reflected in a small lake.  At the top of a hill, a group of sanctuaries dedicated to Quan Am, the Master and His Royal incarnation near a peak known as the market fairies.  The pagoda itself contains a beautiful statue.

Tay Phuong Pagoda

35 km from Hanoi, this pagoda founded in the eighth century, is accessible by a staircase of 262 steps, notable for its 73 painted statues, carved from wood and jackfruit representing Buddha, Bodhisattva and Arhat.  It is a veritable museum of Vietnamese wood carving.

Perfume Pagoda

80 km south of Hanoi, the Perfume Pagoda is one of the most important religious sites in Buddhist Vietnam.  Every spring, after the Vietnamese New Year, thousands of pilgrims flock to the Buddhist holy land to pray and wish health and prosperity to their families for the New Year.

Ceramic Village-Bat Trang

The village of Bat Trang ceramics, about 10 miles northeast of Hanoi, along the Red River is renowned for centuries for its products in traditional porcelain with blue decoration.  With a total area of 164.3 ha, Bat Trang includes the villages of Giang and Cao Bat Trang.

Duong Lam

Duong Lam Village, 50 km east of Hanoi, is the first village in the country recognized as a vestige of the national level.  This village has kept almost intact to this day, the culture and architecture representative of civilization in the Red River Delta, developed for thousands of years.  

Hoa Lu – Halong

Located 90 km south of Hanoi, Hoa Lu was the ancient capital of Vietnam for 41 years under the Dinh and Le dynasties (between 968 and 980).The magnificent site of Hoa Lu is also called the “Ha Long”.  Indeed, the relief is reminiscent of the famous “Bay of the Dragon” with many limestone hills covered with lush vegetation, natural succession of circuses connected by tunnels dug by erosions.  

Cathedral of Phat Diem

Located 120 km south of Hanoi, the great cathedral of Phat Diem Sino-Vietnamese-style (half pagoda, cathedral half), built in 1865, is the place of pilgrimage for Catholics.  This religious site is considered a masterpiece of Vietnamese architecture.  On the square, one can admire the tomb of Father Six, founder of the building.

Kenh Ga

Isolated in an area surrounded by water, the floating village of Kenh Ga is located about 120 km from Hanoi.  The picturesque landscapes, authentic lives of people rowing with feet and living on the water throughout the year give travelers a typical image of the region.  It is a floating village where 300 Catholics live fish farming, and move in sampans or cement boats!

Cuc Phuong National Park

Located 140 km south-west of Hanoi, this beautiful park is considered one of the last primary tropical forests in the world.  On 25,000 ha is found 2,000 plant species and a huge variety of mammals, reptiles, insects and birds.  You can swim in the hot springs and stay in houses on stilts (basic comfort).  To do this, contact the office at the entrance of the park.

Hoa Binh – Mai Chau

70 km south-west of Hanoi in the heart of what was the Tonkin region Hoa Binh has the charm of large green spaces where rice fields alternate.  Capital of the province of the same name, Hoa Binh is a small town which is home to the first dam of Vietnam and the Muong and Dao minorities.


Located at 1,650 meters above sea level and enjoying a temperate climate, Sapa was an old resort created by the French in the Mount Fansipan region (3143m), which is considered the roof of Indochina.This city interest by the mosaic of minorities: H’mong, Dao, Tay, Dzay…. The city retains some beautiful colonial mansions perfectly integrated in a wild natural environment.

Market Bac Ha

The Bac Ha market is the busiest markets in the region which is held only on Sunday.  This is the place where you can meet all the different ethnic minority groups in the region: Flower H’mong, Tay, Fla, Thai.  They come here, dressed in silver jewelry and embroidered clothing and colorful for bartering.  This very colorful market is famous for its various handmade crafts.  This is one of the most spectacular markets in the region.

Market Coc Ly

Located 55 km from Lao Cai, the Coc Ly market attracts many flower H’mong Tuesday from throughout the region for bartering, trimmed with silver jewelry and embroidered clothing and colorful.  Visit the Coc Ly market is an opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery as you cruise on the Chay River and make a beautiful hike in the villages along the river.

Lake Babe

Lake Babe (the lake “three seas”), located 230 km north of Hanoi, is located 145 meters above sea level and stretches over 9 km long and 100-1800 m wide.  It is the outlet 3 valleys converge in an arc.  Ba Be is not only a site for imaginative, but also for nature lovers.  Nearly forty species of mammals live there, as well as over a hundred species of birds and butterflies.

Son La

A 308 km from Hanoi and 600 m, Son La is the region where the population is predominantly made up of Thais.  The Thais live below 600m and practical growing rice, soybeans, tea, tobacco, and various vegetables.  Established mainly on the banks of the Red River, numbering 800,000, they constitute the largest ethnic minority in Vietnam.

Dien Bien Phu

Nineteen years before the last US troops recognize their defeat and leave Vietnam, the French suffered their own humiliation in the hands of the army of Ho Chi Minh.  The decor was in Dien Bien Phu, a valley very close to the border with Laos, where some 3,000 French soldiers were killed and three times as many surrendered. 

Lai Chau

Lai Chau is the meeting point of several ethnic minorities.  The Lai Chau market that takes place every Thursday and Sunday is considered one of the most beautiful mountains of Tonkin.  The visit Lai Chau is also beautiful landscapes and the opportunity to appreciate the kindness of the many ethnic groups.

Ha Giang

Located 300 km from Hanoi, Ha Giang is a provincial capital without a stamp that has recently grown from a small old town.  The surroundings of Ha Giang reserve surprises and enchantment.  In areas as diverse as landscapes adds, and this is certainly the major interest, an ethnographic wealth as few regions in the world can make.  


Central Vietnam

Phong Nha

The caves of Phong Nha, classified World Heritage by UNESCO, are located in the province of Quang Binh, about 130 km north of Hue.  In a huge national park, 14 river caves stretch over almost 100 km.  Aboard a small boat, you will discover the magic and grandiose interior of the caves.

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

Along the 17th parallel 100 km north of Hue, the demilitarized zone was the scene of many battles during the Vietnam War and still retains traces of this conflict.  The Geneva Accord (1954-1975) created the separation of Vietnam into two separate zones and having to line the Ben Hai River.The demilitarized zone extended for 5 km on either side of the river


Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945 is an intellectual city and the pride of the Vietnamese.Declared historical heritage by UNESCO since 1993, Hue offers visitors many historical and cultural sites still well preserved.  The city is bisected by the Perfume River.


At the mouth of the Han River in the South China Sea, the port city of Danang made history March 8, 1965, when two battalions of US Marines landed on its beaches and marking the beginning of the commitment to large-scale US in Vietnam.  When the Americans retreated, they left behind a huge airport, but few other useful buildings in peacetime.  Since then, the municipality has created parks and gardens to bloom again its image.

Hoi An

Hoi An town about thirty miles Southeast of Danang.  This is the fifteenth century that the former Champa harbor took off in Faifo.  It was a Chinese trading post before the arrival of missionaries and Japanese merchants, Dutch, English, Portuguese and French.  Declared World Heritage by UNESCO, Hoi an built on the banks of the Thu Bon River where rich houses, temples and communal houses give this town an unforgettable charm.

My Son

My Son, located 60 km from Danang is considered the best preserved Cham site of the country and classified by UNESCO.  The site, surrounded by green hills in the heart of the rainforest is a collection of temples, shrines and towers fell into ruin.  It was the ancient capital of the kingdom of Cham who ruled central Vietnam between the fourth and thirteenth century AD.  This is a must for lovers of architecture and ancient culture.

Quy Nhon

Quy Nhon, capital of the province of Binh Dinh is at the heart of the ancient Cham empire.  There are many Cham ruins scattered across the landscape of rice fields and hills.  Qui Nhon Bay, is one of the largest in Vietnam.  The deep blue sea, golden sand and the many small islands are Qui Nhon a resort to discover.


During the French colonial period, Dalat station, in the hills, offering a fresh and rather elegant refuge to privileged fleeing the suffocating heat of Saigon.  Nestled in the wooded hills around 1,500 meters, the garden city is built around an artificial lake large enough to accommodate small boats.  There are also waterfalls nearby.

Central Highlands

Located along the borders of Laos and Camboge, the Highlands are among the most remote and least visited Vietnam.  This region of authenticity footprint where some people still live according to ancient traditions, has over 27 distinct ethnic groups.  A succession of picturesque landscapes Kon Tum through Pleiku or Buon Me Thuot, the Highlands are full of many treasures.


South Vietnam

Nha Trang

Nha Trang, picturesque resort is the perfect place to take a break from your Lord visit to Vietnam.  Quiet coastal town with white sandy beaches planted with coconut trees, Nha Trang with its appearance of a small resort and its surrounding islands is an invitation to laziness.  From the discovery of green islands, do some diving, or simply enjoy the pleasures of the sea are the main activities.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the largest city in the country, the richest and most dynam ic where start all the economic reforms of the government.  Bicycles, scooters, mopeds, motorcycle taxis, rickshaws, old cars and trucks invade the center of what was the Pari s of the East.You will enjoy strolling walk to admire the colonial architecture influenced by 95 years of French, to visit the colorful markets, but also stroll by cyclo to enjoy the city and soak up all the excitement without press.

The tunnels of Cu Chi

Located 70 miles northwest of Saigon, Cu Chi, is where the Viet Cong taunted the Americans with a primitive technique miracle. The guerrillas escaped their enemies in a maze of tunnels bombproof that span nearly 200 km. Most of these tunnels are too narrow for Western visitors, who quickly become claustrophobic. But a small part of the maze has been expanded to give tourists a glimpse of the underground city of Cu Chi.

The Caodaism temple in Tay Ninh

Beyond Cu Chi, the provincial capital of Tay Ninh is the starting point for a visit to the spectacular temple of Cao Dai, the cathedral of religion the same name.  This sect, a native of Vietnam, is loosely based on other philosophies, Christianity, Confucianism.  The architecture of the cathedral is breathtaking, neither eastern nor western.

The Mekong Delta

Considered as the rice granary of South Vietnam, the Mekong Delta offers a real window on Vietnamese rural life.Made up of thousands of foster canals lined with orchards and tropical plants, the delta is a harmonious blend of landscapes colors beige and green around which life is organized.  The main sights are My Tho, Ben Tre, Cai Be, Vinh Long, Sa Dec, Can Tho and Chau Doc.

Long Hai

Formerly holiday destination of the last Emperor of Vietnam. Long Hai is a small and secluded city, located 120 km southeast of Saigon and 40 km northeast of Vung Tau (formerly known as Cap Saint Jacques). Wild setting, Long Hai is an ideal place to relax to the rhythm of the sea.

Phan Thiet

Fishing village located 200 km northeast of Saigon, Phan Thiet is the perfect place for a beach extension. Bordered by the South China Sea with its white sandy beaches and coconut groves, the resort of Phan Thiet is a haven for relaxation, but it is also a place rich in the more astonishing than the other natural sites such as sand dunes, natural lakes or surprising “red canyons.”

Phu Quoc

A 308 km from Hanoi and 600 m, Son La is the region where the population is predominantly made up of Thais.  The Thais live below 600m and practical growing rice, soybeans, tea, tobacco, and various vegetables.  Established mainly on the banks of the Red River, numbering 800,000, they constitute the largest ethnic minority in Vietnam.


Need Ideas?

Private Group Tours & Bundles

If you have a specific interest be it art, history, cooking or whatever

We will do our utmost to design your tour to include (or be totally about) whatever you like. We have arranged for all types of people to do all sorts of interesting things and meet interesting people.

We have taken war veterans to old battle sites, pilgrims to pagodas, students to visit schools and forestry experts to the forest. Organised visits to artists’ private studios and visits to charity organisations to give donations. Whatever red tape or permission is required, whatever introductions are sought, we will take care of everything so that you can enjoy a rich and fulfilling experience.

Bridge, photography, traditional music, war history, ancient history, architecture, textiles, motorcycling, cycling, trekking, shopping, ceramics, kayaking.  Vespa/Jeep tour, spiritual tour, modern or traditional shows, arts,fashion, cooking class, street food, homestay, home host dinner, special event (honeymoon, anniversary, birthday…), incentif, seminar.