From the iridescent tranquility of the Red River Delta in the north to beaches of Ninh Van Bay in the south, Vietnamese geography is rich and varied. We adore the colonial elegance of Hanoi and the constant buzz of life in Ho Chi Minh City in the south – especially when you have a few days to relax afterwards at a deserted beach on the Con Dao archipelago of islands or the livelier, but every bit as lovely, Nha trang.
The range of food and drink is every bit as eclectic, too. You’ll find French-style pâté and baguettes sitting alongside noodle and rice dishes on lots of menus. You can feast on Chinese-inspired soups in the north, blisteringly hot curries in the south, and myriad street food stalls worthy of any Michelin-rated restaurant lining most main streets.
Lots of restaurants also offer cookery classes – a brilliant way to take a bite of Vietnam back home. Hoi An is one of the best places to learn to cook. It’s an atmospheric old riverside town where you can meander through the bustling local markets or explore the surrounding countryside by bike.
If you prefer to tour Vietnam’s magical landscape by water, spend a few nights sailing the emerald waters of the gulf of Tonkin in Halong Bay. The seascape is utterly stunning and surreal, with hundreds of limestone pinnacles jutting out of the water – we think it looks at its best at sunrise or sunset. These tiny islands are punctuated with beaches and pretty grottoes and are only accessible by boat.
When to go
Aside from the monsoons which occur from April to October in the central regions and from May to September in the north and south, the weather is warm and dry most of the year