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VietnamVietnam

Vietnam is full of unexpected, marvelous sights: vast, green rice terraces fill the landscape, dotted by numerous conical hats of local farmers. A country of seemingly endless farmland is interrupted by massive cities with a vibrant nightlife. Centuries-old temples and decorated pagodas are found at every turn, including a tiny one that stands on one leg in the center of a lotus pond. Bustling markets full of colorful, fresh fruits and patterned trinkets can be found only a short walk from ornate French colonial buildings, community squares and neatly kept public gardens.

Tours & Packages

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  • Destinations: Vietnam
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3 matching packages
Small Group Tour A Taste of Vietnam
Bustling Ho Chi Minh City, picturesque colonial Hoi An, world-heritage Halong Bay & the northern capital of Hanoi; optional extension to Bangkok
from $1749 w/ Flights from $1249 Tour Only 10 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Ancient Capitals of Indochina
Sights, history & culture of three incredible countries: Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam plus deluxe overnight Halong Bay cruise; optional Bangkok extension
from $4199 w/ Flights from $3699 Tour Only 16 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Best of Vietnam & Cambodia
Wild & wonderful Hanoi, world-heritage Halong Bay, alluring Hue & historic Ho Chi Minh; plus Phnom Penh & the breathtaking temples of Angkor Wat; optional extension to Bangkok
from $3699 w/ Flights from $3199 Tour Only 17 days
per person, double occupancy*

Trip Reviews & Photos

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Highlights

  1. Ho Chi Minh City

    Commonly known as Saigon, this city in southern Vietnam was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City in 1976 when Saigon merged with the Gia Dinh Province. Ho Chi Minh City perfectly illustrates its past as well as its future -- full of towering skyscrapers and charming tree-lined streets. Famously known for its importance during the Vietnam War, the city is also recognized for its French influence scattered throughout. Some great examples of this influence is the Notre-Dame Cathedral that was created solely with French-imported materials, the ornate French colonial Saigon Post Office that was built by famous architect Gustave Eiffel, and Reunification Hall that formerly served as the Presidential Palace. Take time to visit one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon -- Bến Thành Market. This bustling market is full of stalls and vendors selling their local handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs and cuisine. Some of the top street foods in Ho Chi Minh City are Vietnamese sandwiches, southern-style southern pancakes, and broken rice.
  2. Hanoi

    Founded over 1000 years ago on the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam (and one of the most ancient capitals in the world!) known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with influences stemming from Southeast Asia, China, Russia and France. This city is also famous for its decadent cuisine, lively nightlife, handmade crafts and silks sold in the markets, and more. With the streets of its bustling 14th-century Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem lake that lies in the heart of the capital, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and his private residence and more, Hanoi illustrates the history of Vietnam perfectly. Additionally, this capital city is home to the famous Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, and Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the "Hanoi Hilton".
  3. One Pillar Pagoda

    The One Pillar Pagoda, located in Hanoi, is a historic Buddhist temple and one of Vietnam's most iconic temples. Built by King Ly Thai, this architecturally unique structure lies on a single stone pillar in the middle of a lake and was built to represent a lotus flower (which is also Vietnam's national flower). According to legend, the king would visit numerous temples, praying to Buddha for a son of his own. He once dreamed of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara seated on a giant lotus flower in the middle of a square pond. He was holding a baby boy that he then gifted to the king. Months after this dream, the queen gave birth to a little boy. With this exciting miracle, the king commissioned the One Pillar Pagoda in 1049 that resembled a giant lotus emerging from the water.
  4. Cu Chi Tunnels

    The Cu Chi Tunnels is an elaborate network of underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City and built by the Viet Minh in the 1940s. These tunnels once stretched over 200 miles and contained tactical quarters, storage rooms, kitchens, a school and a hospital. The purpose of this underground system was to help the Vietnamese protect themselves and fight against the more well-equipped American and South-Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese soldiers dug out and utilized these tunnels to house troops, transport supplies from place to place, house booby traps for enemies, and more. Most entrances to these tunnels were so well disguised that only a small portion of the system was ever discovered during the war. American and South-Vietnamese soldiers, known as "tunnel rats", were trained to explore the tunnels in order to find booby traps and enemies. Today, the Cu Chi Tunnels are present in a Vietnam War memorial park and have become a popular tourist attraction, where you can descend into some of the tunnels to see for yourself!
  5. Halong Bay

    Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site adorned with thousands of limestone karsts and isles located in the Gulf of Tonkin. The bay is popularly known for its sparkling emerald-green waters that are home to over 1,600 islands, mostly uninhabited. According to ancient legend, invaders came to the area to try and claim the land. In effort to protect the land and its inhabitants, the Jade Emperor directed the Mother Dragon down to Earth to assist the locals in fighting against the invaders. As she defeated the enemies, the Mother Dragon scattered down emeralds that eventually became the towering limestone formations that still stand today. The name "Halong Bay" originated from this legend, since "Halong" means "descending dragon". The bay is a popular destination for activities such as scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking, especially in nearby Cat Ba National Park. 
  6. Temple of Literature

    The Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, was built in 1070 during the time of Emperor Lý Thánh Tông, and was closed in 1779. Today, the well-preserved architecture and gardens (that are still cared for just as they were hundreds of years ago!) paint a picture of Vietnam's past. In the university's early days, the students that attended the Temple of Literature were members of the elite class who studied literature, poetry and Chinese philosophy. The university is divided into five different courtyards. The first two courtyards are full of towering trees and freshly manicured lawns where students could relax between classes. The second courtyard is home to the Khue Van Cac pavilion, standing tall among white stone columns and storing a brass bell that is rung only on favorable occasions. The third contains the Thien Quang well as well as the Stelae of Doctors. Here, students believed it was good luck to rub the Stelae statues prior to their exams; however, it is now forbidden to touch the statues in order to help preserve them. The fourth courtyard is where visitors and students can find altars to Confucius and his disciples. The final courtyard was where the actual university was and is the site of numerous cultural events today.

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Vietnam? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital: Hanoi
Population:  90.5 million
Currency: Vietnamese dong (VND)
Languages:  Vietnamese
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: GMT +7

Entry requirements

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your arrival date. In addition, your passport must have at least 1 blank visa page.

U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Vietnam, obtained no more than six months prior to arrival. You may apply for a visa through the Vietnam embassy website: http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/ or a fee-based visa service such as our preferred provider, VisaHQ. Consult the Vietnam Embassy or the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

More information about passport, visa & entry requirements.

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Malaria is present in rural areas of Vietnam. See your doctor about malaria suppressants. Dengue fever, plague, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and trypanosomiasis have also been reported in Vietnam. Disinfect wounds and bandage to prevent skin infections. Seek medical aid if bitten by an animal.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

The best months to visit Vietnam are between October and December when temps are mild and nights are cool. The northern part of the country has cooler temperatures. In the south, monsoon season occurs between May and September. The mountains can be quite cold any time of the year. Bring along a sweater for cooler nights.

Tipping

Upscale restaurants will add a 5% service charge. Inexpensive restaurants do not expect tips. Taxi tipping is optional, but most appreciated.

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop for hand-embroidered items, jewelry, baskets, carvings, fabrics, marble boxes, water pipes, statues, water puppets, lacquerware, paper-mache, beaded bags, kimonos, watercolors, war-related items, and custom tailored items. Avoid tortoiseshell, coral, ivory and even antique items, as many will not be allowed back into the U.S. or Canada.

Electricity & Power Adapters

127/220 volts. Plugs A, C & G. You will most likely need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances, even though some outlets will correspond to American plug types and voltages. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Vietnam is the number one country in the world in terms of rice exports and ranks second in coffee after Brazil. 
  • Instead of cars, motorbikes are the main method of transportation in Vietnam, with over 45 million registered motorbikes in the country.
  • The most famous Vietnamese dish (and Vietnam's national dish), pho, a soup with rice noodles and meat is popularly known as one of the best street foods in the world.
  • About 16% of the world's species are found in Vietnam, including great hornbills, Indian elephants, sun bears, water buffaloes, Burmese pythons, tigers, and dolphins.
  • Vietnam is home to the world's largest natural cave, Hang Son Doong Cave.

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* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, hotels, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, hotels, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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