Browse our Vietnam Tours
From the jostling of Hanoi’s hectic intersections and to your first refreshing bite of banh mi, the phenomenon of Vietnam stays with you. With over 3,000 kilometers of gorgeous coastline and world-famous natural wonders, such as the snaking Mekong River and the jagged limestone bluffs of Halong Bay, a tailored Vietnam tour has all the ingredients of the perfect Asia getaway. It’s the Vietnamese, however, with their contagious optimism and gracious view on culture and history, that truly take your breath away.
Browse our selection of itineraries from which we base our tailored Vietnam holidays for just a sampling of what this country is all about. Mekong river cruises, beach retreats, and culinary trips balance out luxurious resorts and romantic lodges. With specialists based in Hanoi and Saigon, Backyard Travel provides bespoke Vietnam tours to suit your dream of Southeast Asia.
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With its golden coastline on the South China Sea, Vietnam stretches along the Indochina Peninsula from the Gulf of Tonkin to the Gulf of Thailand. Inland, this long, narrow country is mountainous and densely forested, with coastal vistas of misty tropical cliffs plunging into the sea on one side and neatly tiered rice fields stretching into the horizon on the other.
In the south, the vast Mekong Delta empties into the sea near Ho Chi Minh City, a stylish metropolis where buzzing open-air markets assemble outside trendy galleries and restaurants. In the north, the elegant city of Hanoi, with its impressive boulevards and pagoda-filled parks, sits at the center of the more densely populated Red River delta. Between the two old city rivals lie handsome trading ports, inspiring farming communities, and floating fishing villages.
Click on a city to discover more about travel in sublime Vietnam
We just wanted to provide feedback about our wonderful trip - we enjoyed it greatly. Tour guides, the hotels, transportation, everything, thank you for putting together such a wonderful itinerary.
Mrs Jennifer Wideberg & Family (Vietnam, May 2013)
Your holiday plan gave us a fantastic view of Vietnam, all arrangements were perfect. The hotels, food and travel were excellent. your drivers were most helpful.
Hugh & Alison Suffern (Vietnam, Feb 2014)
Regarding the tour, I have to tell you that it was WONDERFUL... beyond our expectations! The service was the best from the beginning. The guides and drivers really amazing, polite, and happy.
Ms. Violeta Brown (Vietnam, Nov 2014)
I had an amazing time ... the homestay was excellent! Very hospitable and great food! Basically I give it 100% PERFECT!
Mr. Stasinos (Vietnam, April 2015)
Some Questionsabout our Tours of Vietnam
Yes, most nationalities will need a visa to enter Vietnam; however passport holders from UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Japan and South Korea can enter Vietnam visa-free for 15 days or less. All other nationalities can apply for a tourist visa at any Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Alternatively, we can pre-arrange a “visa on arrival” for you—please contact our Travel Specialists for further information. One last detail to note: your passport will have to be valid for six months after the end of your holiday in Vietnam.
Vietnam is a very long country that spans roughly 15 degrees of latitude, and the climate differs from the north to the south. In the north, it tends to be cool from November to March, warm and dry from March to May, and rainy from June to October. The hottest time of year is June to August.
Vietnam’s central region, from around Hanoi to Hoi An, can be subject to surprise showers year-round, but it tends to be mostly dry between February and September and bright, sunny spells are not uncommon. August is the hottest time of year, and October can be stormy with infrequent typhoons.
In the south, around the region of the Mekong Delta, temperatures are a bit more predictable. It stays dry from December to May, and it rains from June to November in short, daily downpours. It does get hot and humid in the south, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) from March to May.
This depends on what part of Vietnam you’d like to travel to, but we love Vietnam in all its climates and attitudes. We at Backyard Travel believe there is no ‘wrong’ time to go to Vietnam. However, as a general rule, temperatures and sunshine tend to be at their most pleasant from October to March, though northern Vietnam can be quite cool, and even cold, during these months. There are also cultural events and festivals year-round, with the biggest, Vietnamese New Year (Tet), falling in February. To find out what time of year would be best for the perfect trip to Vietnam, contact one of our Vietnam-based Travel Specialists.
If you’d like to veer off the beaten path in Vietnam, you won’t have far to look. North of Hanoi, one of Vietnam’s main entry points, is the rugged and remote region of Ha Giang. Few tourists venture here, but it offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Vietnam. This region’s terraced rice paddies are home to many Vietnamese hill tribes who lead fascinating lives steeped in tradition. We offer customized Vietnam homestay tours that give you a chance to mingle and stay with the local White Thai, Hmong, and Dao people.
Or, perhaps you’d like to see the Mekong—Southeast Asia’s lifeblood—from a different perspective on a Mekong river cruise. Or take a jaunt out of Ho Chi Minh City’s hustle and bustle to discover Sa Dec, a river port in the Mekong Delta that is home to the novel The Lover. Here, you’ll find neighborhood floating markets that you won’t find in the city, and we can arrange a homestay that will give you a true taste of local life. Just contact one of our local Travel Specialists who can customize a Vietnam tour off the beaten track just for you.
Certainly. Vietnam truly does have it all: this culturally and historically rich country boasts some of Southeast Asia’s most colorful and interesting cities, as well as white-sand beaches, quaint fishing villages, terraced rice paddies, karst topography, the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, and one of the biggest cave systems in the world. And the food—just wait until you try it! The Vietnamese are also very child-friendly and welcoming of families. A family vacation in Vietnam promises a lot to experience and discover, and we can help you tailor a family-friendly trip to Vietnam that incorporates everything on your wish list.
You can purchase a local Vietnam SIM card nearly everywhere, including at the airport on arrival. They’re cheap and ubiquitous, and you’ll easily find SIMs with 3G, too. Four major mobile operators carry data plans: Mobifone, Vietnamobile, Vinaphone, and Viettel. A SIM card costs about 80,000 dong (US$3.50), and top-up credit is available as you go.
As a coastal country that is home to the vast Mekong Delta and many rivers, Vietnam offers numerous fantastic options for overnight boat trips. From the verdant karst islands of Halong Bay to the local floating markets of the Mekong Delta, there are plenty of ways to experience a Vietnam boat cruise.
Of course, Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has some incredible options. We recommend a 2-night cruise or an overnight trip—we at Backyard Travel offer a relaxing overnight cruise, where you can soak in the Halong Bay sunset and participate in early-morning tai chi classes.
The Mekong offers the iconic, lazy river cruise as well as exciting river adventures with kayaking and other activities built in. Explore the river in a range of Mekong boat styles—your choice—from the deluxe boats that travel to Cambodia to the rustic cabins that ply quieter waters. Just contact one of our Vietnam-based Travel Specialists to have them customize a Vietnam boat cruise for you.
Although more and more high-end hotels, restaurants, and bars in urban centers such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are accepting credit cards, it’s still a good idea to carry dong, especially if you are traveling to rural areas or smaller villages. Many mom-and-pop establishments such as cafes, convenience stores, and souvenir shops, even in urban areas, will not accept credit cards. ATMS are everywhere in the larger cities, and most will take international ATM cards.
Vietnamese food is one of our favorite cuisines here at Backyard Travel. Similar to Thai food, regional Vietnamese dishes vary greatly from province to province, but there are some common threads, such as the widespread use of nuoc mam, or fish sauce, and the juxtaposition of delicious barbecued meats with fresh herbs and greens. There is very much a northern, central and southern style of cuisine, with the food in the south tending to be much sweeter than the rest. One of the must-try dishes is pho, a beef noodle soup that is considered Vietnam’s national dish. You should also try bahn mi, a Vietnamese sandwich that perfectly weds Vietnamese flavors and textures with the French baguette. These are available on almost every street corner, and we’ll wager you’ll become an instant fan.
Although tipping in Vietnam is not generally practiced, you’ll want to tip your guide and driver at the end of each tour. We recommend tipping your guide about US$10 to $15 per group per day, and about $5 to $8 per group per day for your driver. If you’d like to tip the wait staff at a restaurant, we recommend leaving about 5 to 10% of the bill. Porters at hotels would appreciate about $1 per piece of luggage carried. However, remember that these are all rough guidelines and tipping hospitality staff other than your guide and driver is completely optional.
Hotels in Vietnam run the gamut from 5-star luxury and boutique hotels to quaint, family-run inns and rustic lodges. Choices will seem limitless in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but the farther out into rural areas you get, the humbler the accommodations tend to be. The wonderful thing about Vietnam, however, is that you’re not strictly limited to hotels. With a diversity of river cruises and homestays available, you can experience some truly unique accommodations in Vietnam. If you’d like to inquire about some different options, contact our local Travel Specialists. They would be happy to arrange an overnight boat trip on the Mekong Delta, a multi-day Halong Bay Cruise, a homestay in a hill tribe village, or perhaps something else that you’ve dreamed up.
No vaccinations are required to travel to Vietnam, except for Yellow Fever if you are arriving from a country where the disease is present (namely parts of South America and Africa). We do, however, advise inoculation against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A and B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in parts of Vietnam, though it is rarely contracted by tourists. We recommend talking to your physician about precautions, especially if you’re planning to stray off the beaten track. We also recommend being covered by comprehensive health insurance that includes evacuation. Please check your government’s travel advisory on Vietnam for the most up-to-date information.
Dress modestly and respectfully. Cover bare skin from the shoulders to the knees, especially when entering places of worship.
Always show respect for Vietnam’s religious sites and objects by avoiding sitting or posing in front of them. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
If traveling into forests, caves, or other undeveloped areas, please respect the ecosystem and manage your impact as much as possible. This may mean refraining from littering, straying off the established trails, or disturbing the natural habitats. Be sure to follow the instructions and requests of your guide.
Sights & Experiences
MORE TRAVEL INSPIRATIONS & INSIGHTS
Cheerful, relentless, quick with a smile and even quicker with a deal, the Vietnamese pride themselves on being engaged and having a wicked sense of humor. Industrious and hardworking, they are courageous in the face of their contentious history.
Especially in the south, humid, warm conditions are the norm in Vietnam. Monsoon rains bring downpours during the summer, and typhoons strike the coast in both spring and fall. Winter brings cooler, dryer conditions, verging on cold in the mountainous north.
Vietnam’s large cities and tourist centers all have a wide selection of bars and nightlife. For more local fare, try an evening of Hat Tuong, a Vietnamese variant of Chinese opera, or the delicate and distinctively Vietnamese art form of water puppetry.
As you might have guessed from the innumerable flavors in the food, Vietnamese culture combines a number of local, regional, and international influences — from traditional family customs to Chinese Buddhist principles and the Parisian grandeur of Hanoi’s opera house.
Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam and is spoken by most of the population. Minority and regional languages include Chinese, Khmer, and Cham. The younger generation and quite a lot of locals learn and speak French.
Meet the Vietnam Team
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
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