Vietnam

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Vietnam

Blessed with a pleasant climate and beautiful landscapes, Vietnam snakes its way from the Chinese border to the Gulf of Thailand along the Indochina Peninsula, facing both the Eastern Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

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Vietnam opened it’s borders to foreigners in the early 1990s and has seen striking change in the years between. Noticeable contrasts are still evident between the north and south and a journey through the country offers travellers the opportunity to soak up contrasting cultures, tantalising cuisine and spectacular scenery.

Vietnam’s colonial, communist and war-torn history is evident throughout its historic cities where a tapestry of influences manifest themselves in everything from its food to its architecture. While Hanoi is a city of colonial allure with ramshackle 19th century merchants’ houses packed into the picturesque old quarter, Ho Chi Minh City is a cosmopolitan, frenzied and invigorating hub – the country’s engine for its remarkable economic growth.

Visit Halong Bay in the northeast for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands or cruise along the Mekong Delta, a vast maze of rivers, swamps and islands in the south, home to floating markets, Khmer pagodas and villages surrounded by rice paddies.

Centrally you’ll discover Huế and it’s 19th-century Citadel, or Hội An on the central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. Those who enjoy trekking should head to Sa Pa in the northwest overlooking the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley where colourful hill tribes, such as the Hmong, Tay and Dao, make up much of the town’s local population.

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Quick Facts

Capital
Hanoi

Population
92 million

Area
329,247 sq km (127,123 sq miles)

Major Languages
Vietnamese

Major religion 
Buddhism

Monetary Unit 
Dong

Flight time from London
11.5

Time Difference 
GMT + 7

When to go 
The weather in Vietnam is very regional meaning there is almost always a good time to visit somewhere in the country.
In the north, including Hanoi, hot and humid weather with high rainfall can be expected between May to October; between November and April it is cooler and dry, particularly in the far north in December & January which can experience very cold temperatures.

In the centre of the country, January to August boasts dry, hot weather with temperatures in the mid-30°C’s. High rainfall can be experienced between September and November.

Southern Vietnam sees generally dry and hot weather between November and April, with cooler, yet still warm temperatures alongside rain from May to October. The highest of the rainfall can be expected in June, July & August.

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Highlights

Hanoi

Strong influences from the French and Chinese are evident in Hanoi’s architecture and culture, Ancient Hanoi manages to interlace seamlessly with the contemporary and dynamic vigour of the modern city it is today.

Old Hanoi comprises of four districts: Hoàn Kiếm, Ba Đình, Hai Bà Trưng and Đống Đa, in contrast to the skyscrapers and shopping malls in the newer Western districts Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan, Ha Dong and Nam Tu Liem.

By comparison to Ho Chi Minh, the country’s political capital and second largest city has a feeling of intimacy about it. Colonial merchants’ houses, Confucian temples and  street vendors dishing out magnificent food on every corner gives Hanoi much of its charm. Discover riotous markets, museums and historical homes along with high-class boutiques and a surplus of fine dining establishments.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Formerly Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City was the capital of South Vietnam and today is the largest of the country’s cities. Dominated by the high-rise structures of the 20th century, and the buzz of scooters which purr through the streets, the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ is as intoxicating today as it ever was.

Ho Chi Minh City began as a Khmer fishing village built on marshland and remained in the hands of the Cambodians until the Vietnamese arrived in the 17th Century. With the village and entire lower Mekong river delta, formally occupied by Vietnam, it became known as Saigon and soon grew into a major settlement. Saigon then fell to the French and Spanish and was filled with Western architecture, much of which is still in evidence today.

Following a chaotic variety of occupations before, during and following the war, while Ho Chi Minh City is today the nation’s economic hub, pockets of the old charm can still be discovered throughout the city, with street food for sale at every turn leading to Colonial mansions, and ancient pagodas and palaces.

Southern Islands

The perfect final stop to the end of a tour of Vietnam, the beaches along the southern coastline and surrounding islands are picture perfect and host a delightful range chic retreats and boutique hotels to recharge and energise.

Con Dao comprises 16 islands, the largest of which is Con Son, the entire archipelago sitting within the Con Dao National Park. Geographically separated from the mainland roughly 15,000 years ago, the islands have developed a variety of unique flora and fauna with 80% of the land remaining jungle, swarming with wildlife such as the endemic black squirrel and the crab eating macaque.

A prison island during the French colonial era and later in the throws of the Saigon regime, Con Dao’s old prison buildings are still standing and are open to the public as is a small museum tracing the island’s history. Con Dao, however, is also an island of colossal natural beauty with green hills, uninhabited beaches with hidden lagoons and vast coral reefs making for and excellent underwater environment to explore.

Circled by some of the most stunning beaches Vietnam has to offer, Phú Quốc is mountainous and densely forested Island, infamous for serving up the best seafood in the country. Relatively unspoilt when compared to the likes of Phuket, Phú Quốc has been voted to have “The Cleanest and Most Beautiful Beach of the World”.

Hanoi

Strong influences from the French and Chinese are evident in Hanoi’s architecture and culture, Ancient Hanoi manages to interlace seamlessly with the contemporary and dynamic vigour of the modern city it is today.

Old Hanoi comprises of four districts: Hoàn Kiếm, Ba Đình, Hai Bà Trưng and Đống Đa, in contrast to the skyscrapers and shopping malls in the newer Western districts Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan, Ha Dong and Nam Tu Liem.

By comparison to Ho Chi Minh, the country’s political capital and second largest city has a feeling of intimacy about it. Colonial merchants’ houses, Confucian temples and  street vendors dishing out magnificent food on every corner gives Hanoi much of its charm. Discover riotous markets, museums and historical homes along with high-class boutiques and a surplus of fine dining establishments.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Formerly Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City was the capital of South Vietnam and today is the largest of the country’s cities. Dominated by the high-rise structures of the 20th century, and the buzz of scooters which purr through the streets, the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ is as intoxicating today as it ever was.

Ho Chi Minh City began as a Khmer fishing village built on marshland and remained in the hands of the Cambodians until the Vietnamese arrived in the 17th Century. With the village and entire lower Mekong river delta, formally occupied by Vietnam, it became known as Saigon and soon grew into a major settlement. Saigon then fell to the French and Spanish and was filled with Western architecture, much of which is still in evidence today.

Following a chaotic variety of occupations before, during and following the war, while Ho Chi Minh City is today the nation’s economic hub, pockets of the old charm can still be discovered throughout the city, with street food for sale at every turn leading to Colonial mansions, and ancient pagodas and palaces.

Southern Islands

The perfect final stop to the end of a tour of Vietnam, the beaches along the southern coastline and surrounding islands are picture perfect and host a delightful range chic retreats and boutique hotels to recharge and energise.

Con Dao comprises 16 islands, the largest of which is Con Son, the entire archipelago sitting within the Con Dao National Park. Geographically separated from the mainland roughly 15,000 years ago, the islands have developed a variety of unique flora and fauna with 80% of the land remaining jungle, swarming with wildlife such as the endemic black squirrel and the crab eating macaque.

A prison island during the French colonial era and later in the throws of the Saigon regime, Con Dao’s old prison buildings are still standing and are open to the public as is a small museum tracing the island’s history. Con Dao, however, is also an island of colossal natural beauty with green hills, uninhabited beaches with hidden lagoons and vast coral reefs making for and excellent underwater environment to explore.

Circled by some of the most stunning beaches Vietnam has to offer, Phú Quốc is mountainous and densely forested Island, infamous for serving up the best seafood in the country. Relatively unspoilt when compared to the likes of Phuket, Phú Quốc has been voted to have “The Cleanest and Most Beautiful Beach of the World”.

Where to stay

These are just a selection of the properties we can personally recommend. Please get in touch to hear more about our full portfolio.

Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

With an idyllic location on Vietnam’s culturally rich central coast, The Nam Hai offers a portal to three extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage sites and a breezy respite on the country’s most celebrated beach.

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Park Hyatt Saigon

Discover urban luxury with a combination of sophisticated design, handcrafted details, and modern-day comforts at Park Hyatt Saigon.

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Six Senses Con Dao

Six Senses Con Dao, the first five-star resort in the archipelago, is contemporary in design and comprises 50 private pool villas reflecting the essence of a traditional fishing village.

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Get in touch with us now to start planning your journey

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