By Georgia Shipley
16 October 2019
Don’t waste precious holiday time worrying what souvenirs to pick up from your travels, get stuck into this handy guide and make your shopping trips a cinch!Read more
The Vietnamese people are justifiably proud of their country; Vietnam is beautiful, intriguing and exciting by turns.
The Vietnamese people are justifiably proud of their country; Vietnam is beautiful, intriguing and exciting by turns. Evidence of Vietnam's rich, and sometimes turbulent, history remains in cities such as Hanoi where buildings from the French colonial period stand alongside traditional temples and pagodas.
The ancient Imperial city of Hue, on the east coast, was virtually destroyed in the Vietnam War. Following painstaking restoration work, a testimony to the Vietnamese spirit of indomitability and optimism, much of Hue's stunning ancient architecture has been restored and today the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond its cities, Vietnam is imbued with startling natural beauty. From the terraced paddy-fields of rural hillsides where ox-drawn ploughs still work the land, to the dramatic and densely-forested mountains of the Highlands and to the miles of talcum-white, palm-fringed beaches this is a country of stunning landscapes. Most unforgettable of all is the haunting Ha Long Bay, whose countless naturally formed limestone columns, islands and caves are magical to explore by boat.
Explore the wonders of two fascinating nations on a tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. Delve into the history and culture of Vietnam, explore UNESCO-listed attractions and visit the incredible temple city of Angkor Wat.… see more
14 days from £2,095 ppView tour details >
Explore the wonders of two fascinating nations on a tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. Delve into the history and culture of Vietnam, explore UNESCO-listed attractions and visit the incredible temple city of Angkor Wat. This version of the tour is run by our sister company Great Rail Journeys.… see more
14 days from £2,095 ppView tour details >
A feast for the senses, there is no more enjoyable way to enjoy Vietnam's hospitality, rich culture, natural beauty and diverse cities than by joining an escorted tour with Rail Discoveries. Exploring this remarkable and historic country by road and rail, our itineraries feature visits to Vietnam's outstanding destinations and include a wealth of unforgettable sights, activities and experiences.
We also ensure that you'll have free time to discover Vietnam for yourself. Quality accommodation, all travel arrangements and many meals are included in the tour price, and you'll have the services of our friendly and knowledgeable Tour Manager to help you enjoy the very best experience of this diverse and fascinating country.
Rows of handmade boats laden with exotic fruits and vegetables wait on the river for prospective buyers. Most sellers are women and children, and once a price has been agreed on, they use a long pole to hand over the purchase. At the end of this pole is a basket where buyers put their money. Amidst the hustle and bustle you'd normally associate with docks, what stands out is the friendly attitude of the locals; all the smiles, laughter, and welcoming shouts of 'hello'.
A cruise along the emerald waters of Halong Bay are made even more memorable by the sunsets - brilliant red and orange against a backdrop of blue and green. The water is deliciously warm and taking a dip is not only possible but highly recommended. The limestone islands are covered with foliage and inhabited by monkeys, catching sight of them while out on deck is always a delight.
Though Hoi An is famous for its large number of tailor shops, it also boasts several other charming characteristics. In a county where the moped is king, Hoi An stands as an exception, with the Old Town enjoying many traffic-free evenings. This largely quiet area, with rows of yellow houses and a lazy meandering river, comes alive at night when 1,000s of lanterns light up the streets and the water. The friendly locals and delicious food are also big draws for anyone wanting to experience this attractive city.
The eerie silence at the Cu Chi Tunnels is a reminder of the unnerving nature of the Vietnam War. Many of the guides here were army men, and recount their sombre experiences of the conflict's aftermath; the atmosphere feels heavy with the weight of history. The forest where sections of these tunnels can be found is humid, and the tunnels themselves are incredibly narrow in certain places. Listening to tales of Viet Cong soldiers living, working, and even performing medical procedures underground makes you think about the realities of war.
Vietnam's cuisine is indeed exotic and varied. There's a pronounced Chinese influence, especially in the northern regions, while European flavours can also be detected in certain dishes thanks to the country's former French occupation. Noodles are part of daily life, along with rice rolls. Seafood, skewered meat, delicious stews, and Pho (noodle soup) are some of the most popular delicacies, while locally brewed beers make for a refreshing accompaniment. For that extra touch of authenticity, perhaps purchase a bowl full of crickets fried with crunchy onion bits as a filling evening snack. It's scrumptious as well as being a good source of protein!
The North-South Railway, locally known as the Reunification Express, opened in 1936, though services were halted during the Vietnam War. There's little more magical than bunking down on this sleeper train amidst the rush of Hanoi, before waking up to the sight of water buffalo ploughing paddy fields and farmers in traditional conical hats waving good morning.
Helping you plan your holiday to Vietnam