- Wonderful colonial and characterful accomodation
- Imperial Hue and ancient Hoi An
- Vietnam's modern, energetic cities Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi
- Minority culture and grand mountain scenery at Sapa
- Relaxing cruises on glorious Halong Bay and the Mekong Delta
One of the most positive legacies of Vietnam's turbulent history is the elegant colonial architecture that still graces the boulevards that were laid out in the French Indochina-era. Many of the remaining buildings have been converted into stylish period accommodation, and it is with these as our luxurious base that we will set out to explore the length and breadth of this diverse and fascinating country.
Our journey commences in the modern, energetic hub of southern Vietnam, in Ho Chi Minh City, and journeys north to a grand conclusion in the nation's capital, Hanoi. Along the way we explore the country's finest cultural and scenic highlights; the imperial capital of Hue and the ancient trading port of Hoi An, one of Asia's most relaxed and characterful destinations. We confront more recent history at the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City, and pay a visit to the revered leader's mausoleum in Hanoi, where locals still mass to pay their respects. We travel overnight by train to witness the stacked rice terraces of Sapa stretching to the skyline, and visit the minority groups who reside still throughout the mountains, and whose ancestors created these remarkable feats of early engineering.
Food plays an integral part in Vietnamese life, and for those as yet unfamiliar with the variety of cuisine on offer, a treat is in store. Our tour provides plenty of opportunity to sample many of the sumptuous styles, often with a local expert on hand to select the finest options, from simple but delicious street food in Ho Chi Minh City, to the elegant and complex imperial cuisine of Hue, where we try our hands at creating (and of course eating!) some of the traditional dishes at the wonderful Tha Om Garden House.
Vietnam is also a land of water, from the remarkable bounty of the Mekong Delta in the south, to the sweeping coastline that stretches for more than two thousand miles to UNESCO World Heritage designated Halong Bay in the north, making exploration by boat a wonderful way to better understand the country and its people. As part of our tour we spend a night on board a couple of our favourite boats - the beautiful converted rice barge, the Bassac, deep in the Mekong Delta, and the refined Paradise Luxury that cruises through the towering peaks of Halong Bay.