Vietnam’s geographic and cultural treasures, intriguing differences from north to south and rich history secures it as an
unfaltering favourite in Southeast Asia. Although only opening its borders to the rest of the world in the 1990s as a country
left scarred by conflict, Vietnam offers both vibrancy and peace and a winning blend of remarkable hospitality, exquisite cuisine,
breathtaking scenery, charming people and incredible experiences. A captivating and stunning country, Vietnam begs to be
explored. Before contacting our specialists, you may want to whet your appetite with this guide to Vietnam.
At Scott Dunn, Vietnam is a much-loved destination amongst guests of all ages and interests who adore its temples and pagodas,
lively markets, unforgettable landscape and evidence of its intriguing history. The charming towns of Hue and Hoi An are a popular
addition to many itineraries, as are the country’s wonderful national parks and soaring limestone karsts of iconic Halong Bay.
Getting across the country between the myriad of highlights is relatively easy, although if getting off the beaten track is more
your style it will certainly not disappoint. Vietnam boasts miles of dazzling beaches of white sand bathed with crystal waters
and a trip to the north of the country is a great opportunity to witness the magnificence of its mountains, rice terracing and
meet its hill-tribe inhabitants.
Vietnam is a great destination to visit throughout the year with the advantage of three different microclimates due to the
length of the country; the weather can vary dramatically from the north to the south. November to April is regarded as the most
ideal time for visiting the country due to low rainfall, however take a look at our When to visit Vietnam guide for a more detailed overview.
Vietnam is easily accessible by air from all over the world. Scott Dunn can simply arrange your flights with British Airways or
Vietnam Airways, or even one of the Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates or Qatar. Do just let us know if you would like to
combine your enlightening journey to Vietnam with any other destination in Southeast Asia, as it is an exciting and popular
Exploring Vietnam by road is a fantastic way to see the variety of landscapes the country offers, and fortunately roads have
improved somewhat in recent years, making this a little easier. We can arrange for you to have a private air-conditioned vehicle
so that you are as comfortable as possible. This ensures everything goes smoothly for you and there’s always someone to answer
your questions in English. The vehicles we use are spacious and comfortable and ideal for couples, families or larger groups of
five to eight. However, most travellers find themselves flying from one highlight to another, as this saves time. It’s stress-free
to fly between Hanoi, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). If you are planning to visit the rolling landscape
surrounding Sapa, please note that this is normally done by overnight train, an experience in itself.
The national currency in Vietnam is the Dong (VND). US Dollars (USD) are often accepted in shops and restaurants but are easy to exchange on arrival however ATMs/cash points are widespread throughout the country, particularly in cities.
Northern Vietnam is home to Hanoi, the bustling capital of the country and fascinating illustration of its French Colonial
past. Explore the intricate streets of the Old Quarter or escape to Hoan Kiem Lake with a coffee and patisserie and watch morning
Tai Chi. Travel east to the renowned limestone landscape and emerald waters of Halong Bay and further towards the border with
China and Laos to the far north and the spectacular hills and valleys around the town of Sapa, peppered with waterfalls, hill-
tribe villages and blanketed in striking rice terraces.
If visiting the central coast of Vietnam and its beaches we recommend spending some time in the historic trading town of Hoi
An, a popular stop to visit one of the many tailors and a delight to explore its streets, lined with well-preserved merchants’
houses. Travelling inland and on the Perfume River is the former imperial capital of Hue, essential in Vietnamese history and
home to a handful of sights including the Thien Mu Pagoda and Imperial City. Further south, soak up the atmosphere and sun in the
coastal city of Nha Trang. A destination famed for relaxing swathes of sandy beaches and great scuba diving in its turquoise
waters and nearby marine reserves abundant in tropical fish, corals and turtles.
Reaching Southern Vietnam, you are met by the largest city in the country, Saigon, also named after the revolutionary leader Ho
Chi Minh and home to historical landmarks aplenty and the hub of modern-day Vietnam. Continue exploring south and land gives way
to the picturesque Mekong Delta, a delight to explore by bike, boat or perhaps a traditional sampan. You may hear this area
affectionately referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam due to its fertile agricultural land. This is an undeniably delightful
place to watch local life unfold and visit Can Tho’s animated floating markets. From this part of Vietnam, a short flight can
transport you to the idyllic and beaches of the southern coast & islands, including the halcyon Con Dao Archipelago and Phu Quoc
Island in the Gulf of Thailand.
The majority of Vietnam’s most luxurious and sensational hotels are found in the more central regions and mainly on the coast
where 5* accommodation is at its finest. However if your voyage through Vietnam includes the more metropolitan, The Reverie and The Sofitel Metropole both offer an exceptional base from
which to explore Saigon and Hanoi. Four Seasons The Nam Hai
offers an indulgent hideaway on the coast near the UNESCO world Heritage town of Hoi An, whilst Fusion Maia Danang, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay and Amanoi at Vinh Hy Bay afford further tranquillity along the Vietnamese Coast. For those
wishing to venture a little further for their picture-perfect beachside retreat, travel south where Six Senses provides bare-foot luxury
in the Con Dao Archipelago.
There are a few notable, intimate and stylish hotel options across Vietnam, many boutique hotels here are characterful
reminders of the country’s colonial past such as Anantara Hoi An. One of the most stylish properties in the town, it blends effortlessly into surrounding architecture
and its riverside location. Close by, Fusion
Maia Danang offers guests bijou coastal luxury without sacrifice, each villa is accompanied by a garden and pool. Further
afield, colonially inspired and the finest property on the lesser frequented but pristine island of Phu Quoc, La Veranda is ideal if you want real escapism.
Found mainly in the north of the country and ideally located for those wishing to explore the wilder and less-touristy areas,
lodges and guesthouses in Vietnam are lesser-known but nonetheless outstanding in their uniqueness. Topas Ecolodge is a favourite at Scott Dunn, offering magical
mountain views and the perfect base for exploration and relaxation less than an hour from Sapa.
We always tailor-make our itineraries, but have created a few suggested journeys for the inspiration of your own bespoke
journey. Classic Vietnam provides a definitive introduction, traversing the country
from north to south and enchanting visitors with the highlights of Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Saigon.
Beguiling experiences and a variety of hotels are interwoven to create an unforgettable trip for first timers.
Culture and Beach in Vietnam is a double stop itinerary that promises
an insight into Vietnamese history and local life in Hoi An before exchanging town for pristine beaches at a luxury resort in Ninh
Combine some of the highlights of China and Vietnam in our 12 night Treasures of China and Vietnam itinerary. An inspiration if you want to discover the thriving city of Beijing and
numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites before some time in Hanoi and key stops down to Danang where your trip culminates with some
repose in coastal Vietnam.
Vietnam is a great destination for families, with plenty to explore and a different culture to discover. Younger guests will
love exploring the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels, Trekking from Sapa to visit the hill tribes of Northern Vietnam, witnessing the
extravagant Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, experiencing life as a local in villages around Hue, or jumping on the back of a Vespa for
an exhilarating food tour around Saigon. Our itineraries can really be adapted to make a family trip truly extraordinary as well
as educational and there are many hotels and resorts throughout Vietnam that cater for children and have interconnecting rooms or
villas. Our Culture and Beach in Vietnam itinerary is a great example of how really getting under the skin of a place can also be
combined with rest and relaxation to cater for all members of the family. For older children Temples and trekking for teens takes
families on an active journey through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, seeing the main highlights without sparing incredible
experiences. Ending in UNESCO protected Hoi An there are many local villages to explore and the opportunity to learn about
traditional silk making and bamboo craft with local experts. Try your hand at fishing or see the town from a different perspective
by kayaking along the Thu Bon River.
Vietnam has some of the most beautiful vistas in Southeast Asia; its beaches are amongst the region’s most idyllic and it is
bursting with unique experiences and luxurious hotels. Whatever pace you want for your honeymoon, Vietnam can accommodate. Our
top picks for a romantic once in a life time trip include the beach resorts of Six Senses Con Dao and Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, The
Nam Hai and Fusion Maia Danang. Further inland Anantara Hoi An and La Residence Hotel and Spa provide an indulgent boltholes in
the historic cities. Finally, what could be more romantic than a stay on either the Aqua Mekong as it sails between Vietnam and Cambodia or weave
your way through the islands of Halong Bay on Halong Violet.
With much to see and do in Vietnam, we try to include those experiences guests love time and again, but also some unexpected
options so you can see the authentic Vietnam as you travel through the country in style. Journey like locals on the back of a
Vespa through the streets of Saigon, through the central coast countryside by bike or buffalo cart and learn to fish Vietnamese
style. In Hanoi meet a Feng Shui master or have a pre breakfast Tai Chi class and explore its colonial streets by jeep. Further
north, trek from Sapa to Ta Giang Phinh across the waterfall scattered and undulating landscape past numerous villages, home to
lesser-known ethnic groups and charming stilt houses. With such a variety of experiences we are able to craft an itinerary really
suited to your particular interests and tastes.
Vietnam has hundreds of traditional dishes, some eaten for centuries, others shaped by French colonial influence and some such
as Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and Goi Cuon (translucent spring rolls) that are national dishes with international recognition.
As with much of Vietnamese culture and geography, there are regional variations between gastronomy and ingredients; at Scott Dunn
we consider food another exciting aspect of a destination and an experience in itself.
Learn about the likes of Cha Ca (sautéed
white fish) and Bahn tom (deep fried shrimp cakes) during our Street food experience and Hanoi highlights combination or Whole day
culinary experience in Hanoi with dinner in Cha ca La Vong. Further south, Hoi An’s culinary experience a Cooking class with Mr
Duc Tran or trip to the Red Bridge Cooking School will begin with a stroll through the city’s effervescent market before you learn
the essentials behind tantalising meals such as the town’s signature noodles, Cao Lau. If one of these classes gives you a taste
for more, tour Hoi An’s street food by Vespa or with a culinary expert and experience the best backstreet delicacies as the locals
do in casual eateries. In the celebrated city of Hue, savour its royal tea and learn about local dishes like Banh Nam (steamed
rice cakes), Banh Bot Loc (clear shrimp and pork dumplings) and Banh Khoai (Hue pancake) in a fascinating Culinary Experience.
For first-hand history and a gastronomic experience to remember have Dinner at Former US Ambassador’s Residence in Saigon. Enjoy a
cocktail reception and sophisticated fare in this stylishly restored home. For some culinary comparison in the city, combine this
with our incredible Saigon food tour by Vespa or Foodie walking tour of Saigon.
To truly get under the skin of any part of Vietnam, head to the nearest market. Frequented by locals for almost anything, they
are well worth exploring and offer fascinating photographic opportunities and the exciting chance to bargain for a variety of
goods. We offer an array of retail experiences across the country that range from the informal Mekong Delta’s floating markets at
Cai Be and Can Tho where you are met by boats laden with colourful fruit, vegetables and fish to a Bespoke shopping trip in
downtown Hanoi. Expand your wardrobe with tailor-made clothes of high quality Vietnamese silk. Despite Hoi An’s slow pace of
life, express tailoring of made-to-measure suits and dresses is a popular choice amongst visitors and locals. For those with a
deeper interest in Asian textiles, discover how Vietnamese silk is created from silkworm to the ancient looms of the Champa
Vietnam combines well with Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand. There are also direct flights to Singapore, China, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Australia and Philippines. At Scott Dunn we can expertly craft transnational itineraries suited to your dream trip,
whether it be the luxurious Indochina in Ultimate Luxury,
discovering the Indochina in Style, a desire to explore Beaches off the
beaten track from Cambodia into Vietnam, to discover the Mekong Delta and Temples of Cambodia or experiencing A Cultural Explosion: Australia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
You may want to consider Laos, Cambodia, Thailand or China.
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