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Destinations Asia Vietnam

Adventure holidays to Vietnam

Modern day Vietnam is a paradox. A Socialist Republic that welcomes capitalism, an historic country that is wrestling to keep its centuries-old traditions alive whilst trying to adapt to the 21st Century. An Explore holiday to Vietnam is a journey through time, discovering Vietnam’s ancient treasures and its vast and varied landscapes along with its modern cities, rising out of the ashes of its chequered past.

Travel on an Explore tour to and discover the sheer diversity that the 1500 miles of Vietnamese coastline has to offer. Experience jagged limestones and glittering turquoise waters on a cruise to Halong Bay in the north. Travel alongside the Ho Chi Minh trail and past the DMZ battleground in central Vietnam, with its ancient towns of Hue and Hoi An. In tropical southern Vietnam, the modern metropolis of Saigon contrasts against the sleepy myriad of waterways that make up the lush Mekong Delta.

The 5 H’s of: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City are the backbone of most group tours to Vietnam. With our expert Explore Leaders, Explore’s trips allow you to experience these fascinating destinations through a local’s eyes, whilst taking you off the beaten path to show you real life away from the tourist trail. But of course it’s not just about seeing the sights – Vietnam is much more than that. It is about the all-encompassing experience, and no tour to Vietnam is complete without sampling the best of Vietnamese cuisine. Take a street food tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, try delicious ‘Pho’ soup at one of the many noodle bars, eat freshly caught fish in the Mekong Delta, or perhaps have a go yourself on a Vietnamese cookery course in Hoi An.

With its rich history, huge cultural diversity and awe-inspiring landscapes, it’s not difficult to see why Vietnam is an exciting adventure holiday destination, and one of Explore’s most popular countries.

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Northern Vietnam - Hanoi and Halong Bay

Many Explore adventure holidays in Vietnam begin in its fascinating capital, Hanoi. This small city is a blend of French colonial architecture and more traditional Vietnamese buildings, with Chinese influences apparent around almost every corner. Hanoi’s jewel is its Old Quarter, a bustling area of narrow streets filled with shops, markets, street vendors and food stalls. It is a wonderful place to explore on foot and immerse yourself in. Just 3 hours drive from the capital is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, a place of mystery, intrigue and beauty. Halong actually means 'descending dragon' and it is said that an enormous beast had careered into the sea, cutting the fantastic bay from the rocks as it thrashed its way into the depths. The best way to explore Halong Bay is to take a cruise around this area on a traditional junk boat which allows for the discovery hidden islets, small village communities and the caves and grottos that the Bay is famous for. There is so much to see here; another option is to kayak Halong Bay, or perhaps discover the lesser-visited Bai Tu Long Bay on one of Explore’s tailor-made adventures.

Central Vietnam – Hue and Hoi An

In terms of adventure travel, the centre of Vietnam has so much to offer, from the recent history of the Vietnam War and the DMZ, to the ancient historical sites of My Son and the Imperial City of Hue. At the end the scenic drive along the Hai Van pass lies the fishing port of Hoi An. This centuries-old merchant town is a firm favourite on most people’s Vietnam trips, with its medieval buildings, colourful lanterns and Japanese architecture; it is perfect for a walking tour through its narrow streets and along its waterways. For those who wish to get off the beaten track, Dalat and the Central highlands offers breath-taking mountain scenery and rural village communities, far off the main tourist-trail.

Southern Vietnam – Saigon and Mekong Delta

Southern Vietnam is where the country’s booming economy is most evident – in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is more commonly known by the locals, towering sky-scrapers and gleaming glass structures rub shoulders with old colonial buildings like the Notre Dame Cathedral, although there were precious few of these buildings left by the time the terrible Vietnam War came to an end in 1975. A visit to the War Crimes Museum gives a harrowing account of the war far from the Hollywood films, whilst a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels offers first-hand experience of guerrilla warfare and demonstrates the ingenuity of the Viet Cong. A few hours drive away, the lush fertile plains of the Mekong Delta feel like travelling back in time, where glass structures and concrete roads are replaced with stilt houses and floating markets. Here the best way to explore is on two wheels, and a cycling tour in the Mekong Delta gives the opportunity to discover the small villages that are dotted between this complex network of waterways.

A tailor-made holiday to Vietnam allows you freedom to design the perfect itinerary for you. Whether that means hiking in the northern towns of Sapa and Mai Chau to meet colourful hill tribes or searching for hornbills, woodpeckers and birds of prey in Cat Tien National Park or Cuc Phuong National Park.

Tailor-make your holiday to Vietnam to include an a luxury cruise boat in Halong Bay or get back to basics with a local family at a homestay in the Mekong Delta. Travel on an overnight train or perhaps you’re short on time and want to fly between cities, with a tailor-made holiday you choose how you travel. Our Explore Tailormade Regional Specialists can arrange those little extra moments to create the ideal holiday to Vietnam – a cookery class, a martial arts lesson, a candlelit dinner or time to relax on one of Vietnam’s stunning beaches.

Call the Tailormade team today on 01252 883 184 for help, advice and to get a quotation.

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