When it comes to taking a long haul HOT Holiday, there are few places that can come close to Vietnam.
The south-east Asian country offers a true melting pot of history and culture at every turn, with bustling cities, stunning beaches and dramatic landscapes that are simply waiting to be explored.
Running along a slither of land bordering the South China Sea, Vietnam features a range of different climates depending on which area of the country you want to visit – with a marked contrast between the north and the south.
Should you visit southern regions, you can expect the conditions to be pretty warm throughout the year, although towards the north, the winter months can see temperatures drop a bit cooler.
With wet and dry seasons, you are more likely to encounter showers if travelling between May and September, although short, sharp bouts of rainfall are possible at other times of the year.
When it comes to exploring Vietnam, be prepared for a real assault on the senses as you take in the various cultures that have blended together through the years.
Expect to see shades of China, India and Europe – to name but three – as you explore the stunning architecture of not only the big cities, but also the many intricately designed pagodas and temples that are spread across the country.
The big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are packed with things to see and do, and you are sure to enjoy the opportunity to travel back through the ages as you embrace the Vietnamese history that will surround you at every turn.
Head away from the cities and you can explore more than 2,000km of stunning coastlines as well as high mountain peaks and verdant forests – showing just why Vietnam is regarded as one of the most beautiful destinations for an overseas adventure.
No matter where you choose to visit, and no matter whether you decide to backpack around the country or relax in five star luxury, a HOT Holiday in Vietnam is one that will create memories that you’ll never forget.
Củ Chi Tunnels
The Củ Chi Tunnels is a huge network of tunnels that lie underneath the ground and which played a crucial role in the Vietnam War. The tunnels were used by soliders from the Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during battle and were used to help move soldiers and supplies around the country - with some fighters even living within them. The main base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968, the tunnels are now a popular attraction for tourists, with a large section having been preserved and opened up to visitors.
Central Post Office
The Saigon Central Post Office is one of the most iconic buildings in the city and is a well preserved example of the buildings that went up during French colonial times. Located next to Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office is still in daily use so you can stroll in and admire the stunning architecture whilst sending a postcard to friends back home.
Cannon Fort sits on the island of Cat Ba and can accessed via a steep walk from Cat Ba Town along a network of paths. The walk is certainly worthy of the views that will greet you when you arrive at the Fort, with the chance to gaze out across the jungle to the stunning waters of Halong Bay below.
Cua Van is one of the old floating villages that still remain in the waters around Halong Bay and is perhaps the most well known. Like many other floating villages, many people who lived in Cua Van have returned to the mainland but you can visit the village to see what life was like for those who lived on the water. A small museum helps to tell the story of Cua Van through the years.
Hỏa Lò Prison
Hỏa Lò Prison was built by the French and was originally used to house political prisoners before the prison passed to the Vietnamese in the 1950s when the French left Hanoi. During the Vietnam War, the prison was used to house American Prisoners of War – including future American presidential candidate John McCain – but has since been largely demolished. Within what remains, there is now a museum featuring various exhibits telling the story of the prison through the years.
Trấn Quốc Pagoda
The Trấn Quốc Pagoda is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Hanoi and sits on one of the many islands that make up the city. Dating back to the sixth century, the pagoda is popular with visitors to Hanoi who want to embrace the stunning surroundings of the temple which is still used for worship to this day.