Vietnam travel tips
From the exciting pace of the cities to breathtaking rural landscapes and villages, Vietnam’s diversity is astounding. In the capital Hanoi, you will find peaceful lakes, wide tree-lined boulevards, and a fascinating Old Quarter. From Hanoi you can take an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay, with its thousands of limestone islands, or head to the mountains of Sapa.
With its modern vibe and frenetic energy, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) makes for a complete contrast, and is a great jumping off point for an exploration of the Mekong Delta, a mountain getaway to Dalat or a beach holiday in Nha Trang. And don’t forget the Central Vietnam towns of Hue and Hoi An. Here you will find history, culture, cuisine, beaches and some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in all Asia. If you have already booked your trip to Vietnam click here to download our pre-departure guide.
SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Voltage: 127V/ 220V
Dong (VND) exchange rates
International Calling Code
UTC +7 hours
Climate & times to visit
Vietnam can be visited year-round. The busiest time is November to April and we recommend booking four to six months in advance. The monsoon season, from May to November, is warm and humid with refreshing afternoon showers, and rarely affects travel. December to February in the north can be cool, especially highland areas. Halong Bay can be cool and drizzly from February to April, with fog that reduces visibility but adds a mysterious air to this magical landscape. While tropical storms are frequent during summer months, sunny days may be interspersed with clouds or rain at any time of year. Central Vietnam is usually dry from February to May and wet from August to January. October and November may experience unstable weather and local flooding.
What to expect
Vietnam offers friendly people, a delicious cuisine featuring fresh, fragrant herbs, stunning landscapes, idyllic beaches, historic sites and vibrant, action-packed cities. Whether it is culture and history that you seek, trekking in beautiful mountains amongst hilltribe villages or indulging in some of Southeast Asia's best shopping, Vietnam has it all.
There are fantastic hotels from comfortable, mid-range stays to deluxe, colonial-era hotels, and fabulous eateries from pho stands in local markets to high-end restaurants. You can partake in a cooking school, explore the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels, see the Mekong Delta by boat stopping at fascinating floating markets, or have clothes made at one of picturesque Hoi An's many tailor shops.
You can traverse Vietnam by train, or catch domestic flights between its major centres. You will find Vietnam a feast for the senses and an unforgettable place to explore, from its scenery to its cities; its historical sites to its people.
Flights to Vietnam from the UK are frequent and accessible from across the country. Flight times from London are around 14 hours and Vietnam Airlines currently offer a non-stop service into Saigon and Hanoi. Other popular carriers from London are Quatar, Thai Airways, Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. Flights from Manchester and Edinburgh are also available with Emirates being a convenient and popular choice. Read our flight overview page or speak with our Asia specialists about booking your flights alongside your small group tour or tailor-made holiday to Asia.
- 1 January is International New Year's Day. Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses.
- January/February (last day of last Lunar month) is Lunar New Year’s Eve, the beginning of Tet or the Vietnamese New Year period. The Reunification Palace will be closed in Saigon.
- January/February (first day of the first Lunar month) is Tet, or Lunar New Year, Vietnam's major annual holiday. Banks & public offices will be closed, as will most businesses. Cao Dai temples will be closed six days before the Lunar New Year, and floating markets in the Mekong Delta will not operate.
- March/April (10th day of the 3rd lunar month) is the anniversary of Hung Kings, Vietnam's ancient rulers. Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses.
- 30 April is Independence Day, commemorating the fall of Saigon and reunification of the country in 1976. Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses.
- 1 May is Labour Day, marking the contribution made by workers. Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses.
- 2 September is National Day, marking the day Vietnam declared its independence forming the Democratic Republic of Northern Vietnam. Banks and public offices will be closed, as will some businesses.
- 31 December is International New Year's Eve. While not a public holiday, it is celebrated in Vietnam with festive meals, parties and fireworks as it is in most parts of the world.