Holidays to Vietnam

Discover unspoilt beaches, stupendous landscapes and a blend of historic and hectic cities on a fabulous holiday to Vietnam. The country is beaming with things to do and unusual experiences to explore and is fast becoming one of South-East Asia’s most popular destinations. You can stay in some unusual accommodation too, from jungle lodges to spa hotels to swanky skyscrapers in the centre of a metropolis to a cabin on a ship. The eclectic fusion of foods and cultures offers something that no other Asian nation quite matches. Vietnam is simply extraordinary.

In the cities, you’ll see French colonial architecture rubbing shoulders with golden temples and Buddhist pagodas, millions of motorcycles will swirl around you, there’s vibrant, pulsating nightlife and restaurants galore! If you’d like to slow down the pace a little, you can enjoy tranquil luxurious jungle spas as well as pretty towns such as Hoi An or Hue – lit up by hundreds of colourful lanterns by night. They also have superb French and Vietnamese cuisine.

A brief overview, Vietnam holidays offer:

  • Atmospheric towns and cities
  • A diverse range of culture, history and breath-taking scenery
  • A cruise on a traditional barge to see the staggering natural beauty of UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay – like nowhere else on earth
  • Spa experiences
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Classic train journeysh
  • Unusual cuisine
  • Friendly cultural experiences
  • A fascinating and unusual spiritual culture
  • An eclectic and fascinating history unique to Vietnam
  • The buzz of the big city with spectacular nightlife

Holiday to Vietnam – how best to do it?
If you’re on a holiday to Vietnam for just two weeks and want to see the best of the country, we advise to fly into the north and out of the south – thus into Hanoi and out of Saigon (Ho Chi Minj City).  

Your Vietnam holiday starts here – Hanoi.

Begin in Hanoi, the atmospheric capital, in the north and on the banks of the Red River. Here there’s a heady mix of temples, traditional markets and the city’s pulsating heart – its beautiful lakes. With its historic architecture, fascinating markets and street life – and being the gateway to spectacular Halong Bay (see below) – you’ll see why Hanoi is the classic way to start any Vietnam holiday. Make sure you stay in the ‘old quarter’ or at least near it for the best and most authentic experience – and do a foodie by night tour too!

Some background

Wandering in any direction around Hanoi’s old quarter you’ll see a fusion of  architecture, from French colonial to ancient temples and pagodas. There’s a lively nightlife scene too from sophisticated restaurants to grabbing a plastic chair and sitting outside with hundreds of locals – roadside! Take a tuk-tuk and whizz around the city. There are street vendors on every corner, aromatic food being dished up by women with woks and teams of markets to choose from.  


On to Halong Bay -a must on any Vietnam holiday

Next, and just a few hours drive way, it’s a good idea to enjoy an overnight cruise in the stupendous Halong Bay – make sure it is ‘full board’ and with activities such as a cooking class and Tai Chi. Three-star boats are more than adequate for an authentic experience. The uniqueness of the bay, with its towering limestone karsts, make this a natural wonder of outstanding beauty.

There are more than 1,500 islets in the bay, on one most surreal seascapes and cruises you’ll ever see. Some of the islands have been carved out by the seas leaving them hollow, so that you can explore by guided tours inside their caves. Enjoy Tai Chi on the deck at sunset, delicious onboard food and swimming or kayaking if you are feeling energetic.


King Kong country

For something unusual, explore Nihn Binh on your Vietnam Holiday.

Here you’ll get a hands-on experience of ‘King Kong country’ – yes, they shot the movie here. It’s best to stay in a jungle lodge for the full experience. There is also an elaborate cave and river system that you can sail through by local boat and oarsmen (and women) and it remains a lovely hidden gem with less tourists. There’s pleasant, easy cycling around jungle paths too. Allow at least a day and night here.


Imperial Hue – your next stop on your Vietnam holiday

Hue is often referred to as Vietnam’s most beautiful city and its main sights are the romantic Perfume River, the remains of the Citadel and the Tombs of the Emperors. The tranquil Perfume River has many hotels and restaurants along it. A boat trip on the river itself is a great way to take in some of the city’s main attractions. You’ll pass houseboats, sampans and dragon boats. There’s the chance here to explore Vietnam’s imperial past and see beautiful pagodas, tombs and temples that are dotted along the river. The historic Thien Mu Pagoda is a beautiful, iconic place and at seven storeys high, the tallest in Vietnam.


Whilst not for everyone, a day trip to the historic Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) could also be incorporated on your visit. Here you’ll see the war fields of some of the American/Vietnamese most fierce battles such as Camp Carroll and one of the largest bases of the US Marine Corps. You can also explore Vinh Moc Tunnels, where an entire hidden village was constructed underground to protect people from the Americans.


Spend two days here which puts you in poll position to take a classic train ride over the Hi Van Pass (made famous on the BBC’s Top Gear) taking you over the mountains and along the country’s best stretch of coastline.


Next, fly to Danang (and spend just a short few hours there) so that you can focus on colonial Hoi An – spend at least three days here if you can – it is one of the country’s highlights and will high light of any holiday to Vietnam. The city is less frenetic than others in Vietnam, so you can enjoy a more laid-back experience soaking up the sights on foot or by bicycle. Browse quaint cobbled streets lined with art galleries, authentic restaurants and rickety shops selling bespoke silk garments, and take the time to really appreciate the city’s eclectic and beautifully preserved architecture. Gorgeous French colonial houses, a mix of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese-style buildings and a network of pretty canals set the city apart; you’ll also find a 400-year-old bridge which previously joined the Japanese and Chinese communities and Quan Kong Temple, dedicated to a Chin Dynasty General. The city was also one of the finest ports in South-East Asia during the 18th Century, and some of its traditions date back to this time. The monthly Lanterns Festival celebrates the full moon, a key part of Buddhist culture on the 14th of every lunar month (of the Chinese calendar), you’ll be able to watch locals pay respects to their ancestors and decorate the city with colourful lanterns, lighting up the river and skyline.

Hoi An is just as big on cuisine as the rest of Vietnam, with favourite street foods including the pork noodle dish Cao Lau. Head to the buzzing Central Market to barter for fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, take an evening stroll down to one of the numerous riverside restaurants, and book a cooking class at the renowned Red Bridge Cooking School, where you’ll be able to meet local market traders, buy ingredients and learn how to create classic Vietnamese dishes.

And as well as its beautiful old town, Hoi An is also known for its area of sandy coast. One of the best Hoi An beaches is Cua Dai Beach, translating as ‘big sea mouth’ and just a 10-minute drive from the centre of town. It’s often busy here on the weekends but you’ll have a great selection of bars and restaurants, plus some picture-worthy sunset views over the nearby Chám Islands. Further inland, you’ll be able to take an excursion to UNESCO World Heritage-listed My Son; this former capital of the Champa Kingdom is an hour’s drive from Hoi An and is home to a superb collection of Hindu temples. There are some wonderful spa hotels here too.

From here move to the Mekong Delta for an exotic escape to see how traders traverse from small villages down the Mekong to sell their wares from old junk barges – the busy morning markets are a wonderful experience. You can take a boat (with a good tour operator) and navigate a maze of narrow canals and visit a local family, watching as they use centuries-old methods to produce rice paper.

End your two-week holiday to Vietnam in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) where restored grand colonial buildings sit next to striking skyscrapers and a heady mix of local street markets and a great array of restaurants combining with ancient pagodas and historic temples. In Ho Chi Minh City colonial charm and buzzing  modernity combine for a fitting finally to your North to South holiday to Vietnam. Spend time in its huge China town, visit the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels to explore a labertynth of underground tunnels and caves hat was  contructed deep underground by the Vietnamese – there’s even an underground hospital.


Getting around
Vietnam is a relatively large country (longer than the UK) so the best way to move longer distances is by plane. Train is a fascinating option particularly in the central region and of course private bus. Boat travel through the jungle waters in the south – particularly from the Mekong into Saigon are an exceptionally enjoyable way to travel. Seeing the Purfume river by cruise, as well as an overnight junk boat experience in Halong Bay are highlights.


Vietnam has some of the best and most varied shopping in all of South-East Asia. They offer everything from hundreds of street markets to sophisticaled shopping malls. You’ll find handicrafts galore such as lacquerware, ceramics and jewellery. Be sure to haggle for the best prices.


Food & drink
Vietnamese cuisine was recently brought into the culinary map by the late food writer Anthony Bourdain – Vietnam ultimately became his favourite destination. There is a lot more to it than just noodles (known as ‘pho’) and a myriad of fine dining experiences to street food options. There are lots of French influences too.






Vietnamese Dong – with approximately 23000 to a $1!



11 – 12 hours from the UK






British travellers can enter visa free for up to 15 days on a tourist visa and can apply for a 30-day visa if they want to stay longer.


Flights to Vietnam – getting the best flights

As said, to get the most out of your trip to Vietnam it is best to fly into the north and out of the south Angel Holidays will help you do this with the latest travel advice.

In: Hanoi

Out: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city)

As you are booking your own flights, you have the advantage of flexibility. This means that you can arrive earlier and spend more time experiencing wonderful Hanoi. It also gives you time to rest after your long flight. Angel Holidays provides free transfer you to the hotel from the airport (free) whenever you arrive, as long as you arrive no earlier than 4 days before the beginning of the tour.

Booking flights to Vietnam, some helpful hints:

  • If you look at for example, select the MULTI CITY option.
  • From here enter (as an example) London to Hanoi on the dates you choose (Angel Holidays will assist if you are booking with us).
  • And on the next line down enter: Ho Chi Minh to London for the end of the tour.


Via Bangkok

Another option is to book a return flight to Bangkok, followed by two single flights: firstly Bangkok to Hanoi, and at the end from Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok.  Fares between Bangkok and Vietnam are quite competitive and start as low as £40 each way – but make sure this fare includes checked baggage (this can add another £20 if not). You may want to combine this with a night in Bangkok on your return. Note, there are two airports in Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi (its main international airport that you will most likely use from the UK) and Don Mueang.  Some budget airlines flying between Bangkok and Vietnam use Don Mueang – so please check.

Fares and how they vary

Flight prices will vary, depending on flying times, stopovers, dates etc. Some airlines will fly direct, others will have stopovers in other destinations such as Kuala Lumper, Singapore or Bangkok. Stopover durations can also have an effect on prices.


A typical stopover of 3 or 4 hours may seem a long time, but allowing for any delays, disembarking the aircraft, entering transfer lounges, and boarding the next aircraft 45 minutes before take-off, it can be no time at all. Usually airlines will check your luggage all the way through from the UK to the final destination, but ask on check-in.



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