Planning a holiday to Vietnam? Check out our collection of useful information about Vietnam, from UNESCO sites and cultural history to the best local dishes and coffee. Guides to Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc island will help you find the must-see sights, along with a guide to exploring natural Vietnam on your holiday.
There are a host of amazing experiences open to you in Vietnam, from indulging in lazy beach days to exploring the ruins of ages past. Yet for all Vietnam's diversity between its north, south and centre, one aspect of local life everybody loves is its coffee. Coffee in Vietnam is pretty different to anywhere else in the world, so we've got a quick guide to help you get behind the buzz.
Vietnam is one of those countries whose sheer beauty needs to be seen to be believed. It's that gorgeous – blanketed in tropical forests, winding rivers and incredible bays cut with caves. The country is pretty huge, too, so the size of its natural landscape never fails to impress either.
Vietnam has plenty of beauty, both natural and man-made over the eons. As such, UNESCO recognition for Vietnamese World Heritage Sites has been granted to the most stunning locales in the nation, with plenty more pending approval in the future. Get up to speed with the most breathtaking sights Vietnam can offer in our rundown of the UNESCO sites gracing this holiday destination.
As far as Asian holiday destinations go, they don't come much more distinctive than Vietnam, and that's not just for the long shape that it makes on the map, mixing in all manner of climates. The culture, personalities and places of this fascinating and naturally beautiful realm make it a holiday destination unlike any other. In fact, it's so different from home or any other holiday you're used to it might feel nerve-wracking at first, but take a few of our fast facts in mind and you'll have a headstart on all things Vietnam ahead of your break.
Asian food is beloved the world over, yet when you're visiting Vietnam you're going to find a commitment to cuisine quite unlike anywhere else. Yet one factor that unites Vietnamese food, from its bustling street carts to its classiest restaurants, is a love of simple dishes with rich flavours. Blandness doesn't come into the equation here, but the food is also among the healthiest around, and will often fit the bill even if you're a veggie or a vegan.
Although not the capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is the country's largest city and it's close to popular tourist resorts in the south of the Vietnam, like Duong Dong on Phu Quoc island. It provides a fascinating mix of modern and ancient Vietnamese architecture along with splashes of historic Chinese and French buildings. You could choose to spend your time exploring temples and markets, learning about the American War or traversing the nearby Mekong Delta waterways.
Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island might once have been a tiny dot on the greater holiday scale, but no more. Over the last few years, it's become a show-stopper, stunning holiday newbies with white sand beaches studded with hotels and palm trees. No, it's not too good to be true – the scenery here is like something straight out of a postcard.
The Vietnamese lunar calendar is jam-packed with colourful festivals and celebrations that illustrate this vibrant country's past and culture. From humble religious holidays to wild techno-filled festivals along the beach, you've got a certified spectrum of parties. But because the festivities are reliant on the lunar calendar, they have a tendency to change dates over the years, so you're best off consulting the moon for the specifics on Vietnam's upcoming fetes. Or the internet – that'll work too.
The people of Vietnam have been influenced by historical rule, religion and strong cultural beliefs such as respect for elders and dead ancestors. A polite and friendly nation, if you're holidaying in Vietnam you can explore the culture through remarkable Vietnamese and Chinese temples, modern cities and traditional villages. It's good to know about the culture and traditions of the nation before you go.