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Vietnam Tours & Vacations
There’s never been a better time to explore Vietnam. After suffering the horrors of war throughout the 20th century, it’s now one of the safest places on the planet, and its resilient people welcome visitors with open arms. New roads make getting around easier than ever, and travelers are spoiled for choice. Head for the iconic cities of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, venture into the spectacular landscapes of the mountainous north, cruise through the Mekong or Red River Deltas, hike into enormous caves at PhongNha, check out the World Heritage Sites of Hue and Hoi An, or just sprawl on one of the many beaches that line the coast. And when the sun goes down, it’s time to indulge in the refined taste of Vietnamese cuisine and hit the nightspots for some serious fun.Help Me Plan My Trip
Testimonials What Travellers Say!
4.9 stars based on 120 reviews
Harvey Schwartz, MD
John Mason Nashville, Tennessee, US
Ebo293 Boulder, Colorado
Vietnam is not what people expect nowadays. It’s so much more than the war. The Vietnam in the 60’s and the Vietnam happening at this very moment are like 2 different countries. Vietnam still has its history and culture but also widespread natural beauty, traditional and modern cities and some of the most amazing people you will ever meet.
Each of the 3 distinct regions have their own, unique culture, delicious food and stunning monuments. The influences of the Chinese, French and Khmer civilizations are still visible throughout this historical and adventurous country.
Vietnam is thriving with beautiful and colorful surroundings with its green mountains and yellow rice terraces. Vietnam is home to many wonderful people, an abundance of greenery and beautiful animals. Filled with hidden caves, deeps blue waters and white sandy beaches, Vietnam is what dreams are made of.
What you choose for your trip to Vietnam is up to you entirely. You decide whether you want an enchanting cruise through Halong Bay or step into the charming city of Hanoi. You can even choose to just relax in luxury in the Nam Hai, Hoi An! You can have it all.
Whatever you want, wherever you desire to go, let us be there for you every step of the way. Our Travel Experts will listen to your preferences and find the perfect tour for you.
Guaranteed, you will have the vacation of a lifetime!
Outside the main cities, are more traditional and rustic locals where you can take a tour of the area by dugout boat in Red River or Me Kong Delta, visit a rice paper factory, tour the Imperial City in a horse drawn carriage, visit the Purple Forbidden City and the royal tombs or even spend the night with a local family in Sapa and work in a rice field for half a day.
If Hanoi is your chosen destination, the Presidential Palace and Temple of Literature, the oldest university in Vietnam, is a good start. Nearby is the One Pillar Pagoda said to represent the blessing of the goddess who sits on the lotus flower in the lake.
Take time to visit the street shops in the Old Quarter where each street designates the type of shops you’ll find there and stumble through the narrow alleys to discover the main train tracks running between ancient buildings.
Vietnam Tours without mention of Halong Bay is not quite complete. The World Heritage site is known for its stunning limestone karsts, beautiful caves and much more. You can opt for day or overnight cruises around the many islands that sprout up in the lakes. It’s said that these islands were born of the emeralds dropped into the water by the dragon to protect the capitol from attack. Take a day cruise on a junk boat around Halong Bay and keep your eyes open for the monkeys skipping around the rocks and trees.
Even though Hanoi is the capitol of Vietnam, the most historic city is on the Perfume River in Hue where you can visit the Imperial City–draped in halls of ruby red backdrops emblazoned with gold dragons, the Purple Forbidden City or the Royal Tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty.
In nearby Hoi An, you can get a traditional, ankle-length silk dress custom made for a reasonable price while you’re busy at a cooking lesson, ride a buffalo or buy a lantern and set it free to honor the ancestors (or take it home). Hoi An is an example of a 15 -16th century trading post on the river and is fast becoming a hot tourist spot that’s not to missed in your Vietnam trip.
Ninh Van Bay – about 10 minutes from Nha Trang City by boat – has gorgeous white sand beaches and beautiful villas for overnight stays. This is only one of the many beaches dotting the more than 1000 mile coastline of Vietnam.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
As in most Asian nations, dragons play an important part of the lore and identity of the ruling families. In Vietnam, the dragons were the royal symbol of power, similar to that of Dynasties of China. Hanoi, the capitol of Vietnam, is known as the City of the Roaring Dragon named such when one of the country’s kings saw a golden dragon fly into the sky from this location.
Here is a land where the people are said to be born of the King Dragon of the Lac Bird Clan. The creation story says that Lac Long Quan was the son of the dragon and Au Lo, his wife, was the daughter of a fairy. According to popular legend, rain is created by the Nine Dragons that bless the country by taking water from the sea and pouring it out on the rice paddies so that the people will prosper.
Rice is one of the most important export crops of the country that employs a vast majority of people. While global trade requires a certain amount of modernization, the ancient traditions are embraced here as well. Today, there are public festivals where people from all walks of life perform the Dragon Dance to honor the dragon. Additionally, water puppetry is a treasured entertainment for children and adults alike.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
A valid passport with, at least, six months validity from your return date is required for entry into Vietnam. You will also require a Visa. There are several different kinds of Visas but we will advise you which one is best for your particular trip. Exotic Voyages can help you with all the stages of obtaining your visa. However, if you wish to do this independently please contact your local Vietnam Embassy to do so, you normally have to physically go to the Embassy to arrange this Visa. If you don’t obtain your visa, you can either be stopped from boarding your flight or refused entry on arrival, which may lead to high costs and great inconvenience. For any questions please contact us, we will always give our honest and correct information for your particular trip. Please also note, we can only provide Visa assistance when a booking is made; we are unable to provide a Visa, only service.
In Vietnam the local currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It has a variety of notes ranging from the 200 all the way to the 500,000 note, however the main notes are the 10,000 20,000 50,000 100,000 200,000 and 500,000. Please take care with 20,000 and 500,000 notes they are both blue and can cause some confusion. The US Dollar is very popular to exchange, however you can easily exchange both British Pounds and also the Euro. ATM machines are readily available throughout most cities and resorts. However, if you travel to more remote regions, you are best to have local currency with you.
Here are the exchange rates of Vietnamese Dong, as of June 2016:
$1 = 22,300 VND
£1 = 31,782 VND
€1 = 25, 086 VND
FOOD & DRINK
Food in Vietnam is of great importance and extremely tasty! We suggest you try the local flavors and enjoy them for yourself. The most famous dish is Pho (‘Fo’), which is a rice noodle dish served with your choice of meat and subtle herbs and flavors, it has an incredible taste and is eaten at all times of the day. We suggest trying the Pho with the locals, if you see a busy place you can be sure it will be good. Coffee is also a way of life for the Vietnamese; second only to Brazil for exporting coffee in the world. Here, it is served hot or cold with condensed sweet milk. It is a great way to start the day. Bia Hoi – local beer, is also very popular in some cities, it freshens each day and is very tasty and cheap, it can be an enjoyable way to watch the world go by and meet some friendly locals. Street food is also popular; we always encourage you to try this alluring food and experience it, but please still take caution on what you try.
One of many amazing sights in Vietnam are its charming colors. They are created by the varying tropical weather. Each region, North, Central and South, has its own varying climate, which is different at various times. As with worldwide weather, this appears to be changing. Please check with us as to the best seasons and area for your trip. Here is some essential information of the weather in each region: (Or we can insert link to article about weather)
The North – Having four true seasons, you can see the many wonderful sights they create, from Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa Valley, and Mai Chau to the Chinese border.
March – May (Spring): With clear days, temperatures on average of 20-25 degrees Celsius.
June – September (Summer): Temperatures peak in the North during the summer months with high temperatures, occasionally reaching over 40 degrees Celsius, but with an average of around 30degrees Celsius. During these months you may encounter some short but heavy downpours; these tend to last around one hour maximum and are very infrequent.
September – Mid-November (Autumn): Similar to spring, clear skies and pleasant weather, this is the North’s favorite season low humidity and average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius.
Mid-November – February (Winter): Average temperatures are around 15 degrees Celsius, however, given its geography it can colder, lows can on rare occasions be as low as 5 degrees Celsius. We advise during this month to begin all tours in the north and head to the warmer south and to bring a jacket to wear.
Central region – Having three seasons covering Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, QuyNhon, Dalat and Central highlands:
January – May: Clear sunny skies with an average of around 30 degrees Celsius with little if any rain at all.
June – September: Very hot with temperatures reaching in excess of 40 degrees Celsius and an average of around 30 degrees Celsius. Regular evening showers of about one hour, very tropical climate.
October – January: This time has highly unstable weather, possibility of storms and rain at this time. Much cooler with an average of around 15-20 degrees Celsius
The South – Having two distinct seasons and a sub-tropical climate, covering Saigon, Phan Thiet, Can Tho, Chau Doc and the south Islands. Overall the South has an average temperature of 32 degrees Celsius.
April – September: This is the hot season, with average temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius. Again there are chances of occasional rain, but these may be heavy but brief, and should mainly be sunny, hot days.
October – March – The Dry Season, with average temperatures of between 25-30 degrees Celsius and long, dry days.
Here are some basic things you need to know before going on a Vietnam tour & vacation
Vietnamese is the main spoken language, with different dialects between the North and South. The Vietnamese language can be difficult for visitors to understand. However, with its Roman alphabet you may be able to recognize the words, and with the assistance of a phrase book or translation program. English is becoming more commonly spoken, with others speaking French as well. If you do try the language, please don’t be discouraged if you are laughed at, for when many try and speak they inadvertently say incorrect words, the locals laugh but really appreciate you trying. So be brave and try to say hello, or as we say “Xin Chao!” (Sin Chow).
With the size of Vietnam most of the main trips are done so by flight. On the other hand some road journeys are also required. The road system has got better and many roads have been updated to a modern standard, however you’ll still experience more local and rural roads. Our cars and drivers are to the highest standard to ensure your safety. We do not advise car hire as you are only allowed to drive if you have a local driving license. Within the cities and beach resorts, we suggest taxi’s and always try to get a metered taxi to avoid any confusion. We will advise which companies to use to ensure not only the price but also your safety and that the car has insurance. Also, in many destinations you can take a ‘Cyclo’ (a pedal taxi); always determine the price before setting off. Another option in most regions is “Xe Om” which are motorbike taxis, whilst cheap and normally fine for the locals, you will not be covered by insurance so please consider this.
As a typically Oriental country, Vietnam has its own customs, some of which are the same as other Asian countries; others are really unique which can amaze you much during your trip.
Everyone is family – The greatest feature of Vietnam is the people. The Vietnamese are renowned for being kind, friendly, helpful and very respectful. Locals call others as if they are part of their family. For example “anh” means older brother, “chi” older sister and “bac” means uncle or aunty. It’s common that you hear they shout “Anh oi! Anh oi!” at people passing by. Whilst it sounds a little rude to visitors, but this turns out to be a very respectful way to show their friendliness.
Please share everything about you! – It is normal for Vietnamese to ask very personal questions when you first meet. Don’t be too surprised when they ask your age, hometown, marital status, how long you have been in Vietnam, or your religion. It’s not rude in the minds of the locals to ask these questions, they do it to show they’re caring, and they want to learn more about people in order to introduce them to others.
Sharing food – Like many other Asian countries, where people eat rice and use chopsticks in daily meals, Vietnam also has a “sharing food” culture. Locals tend to share the same dishes with others who join their meal, and won’t hesitate to finish your food for you, if you are sat with them.
Holding hands to show closeness – Holding hands with the same gender is not uncommon here, it’s the way locals express their closeness and caring for their friends. It is quite sweet!
Better go shopping after at least 9 am! – Vietnamese people believe the first customer of the day determines their luck for the rest of the day. So if you do not want to bring bad luck on a store for the day, we suggest not going until after 9am, when others have already been. Unless you are buying something, then you will bring them great luck all day long!
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Vaccines are required for visits to Vietnam, including the following: Polio, Typhoid, Tetanus, Japanese Encephalitis, Yellow Fever. Be sure to check the latest updates from your own government on these issues. Here’s a handy reference.
Travel insurance is advised.