Vietnam has made a name for itself: first through war and now through commercialisation. The rice basket of south-east Asia turned itself around after the conflict of the 1960s and 70s and became the key to the economic mechanism of Indochina. What greets the visitor is an energy and a vibrancy: Vietnam is open for business.
Gliding down the Mekong Delta opened my eyes to what an extraordinarily adaptable and entrepreneurial country Vietnam is, particularly in comparison to neighbouring Cambodia and Laos. Wandering through riverside villages I was struck by the commitment to trade, using the country’s extraordinary natural resources to better a family’s standard of living.
The bustle of the south, the Mekong Delta and Saigon really represents the more industrialist side of the country, whereas the relaxed north is where you find more in the way of rural and traditional communities. Then there are the beaches off the South-East coast, some of which are the most exquisite to be found anywhere in the world. With all this variety is it no wonder that many return time and time again.
Need to Know
–Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are about an 11-hour flight away from London direct with Vietnam Airlines. Non direct flights via Bangkok, Hong Kong and others are also possible.
– Vietnam has an excellent network of internal flights. Some cities are better connected by car and the roads are well maintained. The train network is also useful for some routes.
– Vietnam’s weather pattern is a little complex but essentially the northern half is cooler from October–March and warmer in the summer months while the southern regions are warm year-round. October–March are generally wetter in the north and drier in the south while July–November can bring torrential rain to central regions. November–March and summer months are busy times to travel, coinciding with school holidays, but essentially when you travel will depend on your priorities, either geographically or in terms of activities.
Visa/ entry requirements
– Visas can be obtained ahead of travel or on arrival.
Events (festivals, wildlife migrations)
– There are lots of wonderful festivals in Vietnam where dancing, singing and bright lamps and lights bring cities to life. The new year Tet festival, around January/February, is the most important and vibrant but there are many others throughout the year.
Did you know?
– The most expensive coffee in Vietnam is made from beans which have passed through the digestive tract of a Civet-cat and call sell abroad for up to £300 per kilogram.
When to go:
There’s always somewhere sunny and dry, somewhere else hot and humid and elsewhere will be cool and clear. Much depends on what you want to be doing. Give us a call to find out when might be the best time for you.
From about £2800 per person for a two-week trip.
"The Quiet American" by Graham Greene
Your favourite item of clothing. Get it copied beautifully in Hoi An.