A Guide to Vietnam for
First-Timers

Vietnam’s natural beauty, contagious energy and unforgettable cuisine make it a perennial favourite, but it is the unfailingly friendly local people that make Vietnam a place to visit.

Combining the past with the present in a fusion that is unlike anywhere else in Asia, Vietnam is not surprisingly one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia. It’s time to discover the enchanting country.

1. Spend the night in luxury
Vietnam’s landscape is dotted with luxury hotels from north to south. Replenish your Zen at Danang’s Fusion Maia Resort and Spa, relax in UNESCO World Heritage listed Hoi An at Anantara Resort or spend the night in Saigon royalty at Caravelle Saigon.


2. Climb the mountains of the north
Referred to as the capital of the north, Sapa is located in the picturesque Tonkinese Alps, a region near the Chinese border. Spend the night in the sustainable Topas Ecolodge and make the most of the local valley community.


3. Soak up the sun
Enjoy the sun, sand and sea in Vietnam’s best beach resorts lining the coast from north to south. The country’s tropical white sandy beaches adorned with palm trees are a beach-goers delight.


4. Get a tailor made wardrobe
A former trading port, UNESCO World Heritage listed city Hoi An has made waves in wardrobes around the world. Roam among the city’s shop houses in designer-quality style, hand-crafted by Vietnam’s best tailors.


5. Float the limestone islands
Cruise around the towering limestone pillars of Halong Bay, one of the most popular attractions in Vietnam. Topped by forests and surrounded by emerald waters, the islands of Halong Bay are best explored by boat.


6. Tuck in to the local cuisine
The Vietnamese culinary scene packs a punch with a mix of vibrant colours, tastes and flavours. Known around the world for their simplicity, Vietnamese dishes range from delicious pho to tasty street food.


7. Discover the former imperial capital
The Perfume River winds its way through the city of Hue, dividing the blend of modern buildings and UNESCO-protected Citadel walls. Chief among the city’s highlights the Tomb of the Emperors and the peaceful Thien Mu Pagoda. Stop by the Spiral Foundation, an eco-friendly crafts store, to purchase a souvenir made by deaf and mute artisans.


8. Cruise the Mekong
Cruise the mighty Mekong River where houses and markets float upon the criss-cross canals. Take in the quiet country life where mangroves line the river edges and birds fill the skies or immerse yourself in the bustling commerce of riverside cities and floating hubs.


9. Hold up in Hanoi
Vietnam’s capital is as exotic as it is elegant. Wander the tree-lined boulevards of the old quarter, catch a glimpse of the past French and Chinese occupation in layers of architecture and uncover the evolving art scene.


10. Stopover in Saigon
Colonial architecture and war-time tunnels make Saigon the perfect place to discover the country’s past and present. Wander between 21st century skyscrapers and discover the chaotic life of Ho Chi Minh City. Saigon is the perfect city to mark the start of a Vietnamese holiday.