Vietnam's climate is pretty varied, due to its distinctive shape on the map. That makes the northern territories somewhat milder than those of the central region – where the most popular beaches are – and the south.
Generally speaking, Vietnam's rainy season often coincides with our conventional summer months back home, so consider a visit in October, November or February for the best balance of hot sun with temperatures around 30°Cs, all free from sudden downpours.
Vietnam welcomes thousands of travellers every year, although you would be smart to keep in mind that health facilities are a little less advanced than back home. Keeping bottled water on hand is always a good plan for beating the heat, and it's also recommended that trying any alcohol such as rice wine is done at licensed bars so you know how strong it is.
As with any holiday, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and family on your trip. If you're planning a holiday to Vietnam specifically to take part in sports or watersports, including hiking, you should make sure your insurance covers this. See our holiday extras page for more information and for the latest health and safety information visit gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/Vietnam .
Luckily, breaks of up to two weeks in Vietnam need no visas at all, so if you're taking a standard holiday here you've nothing to worry about. For visits of longer than 15 days, British citizens holidaying to Vietnam are advised to get a visa. Luckily, you can do so in advance of your holiday through the official Vietnamese government website.
Once you arrive, you'll be whisked from the airport to your accommodation as most tour operators include transfers as part of a holiday package. And when you need to get around, a lot of the locals hire out their expertise regarding their surroundings to be drivers. So if you're not shy about car sharing, buckle into the passenger's seat of a hired driver to get you about. For shorter jaunts within a town, or between the beach and your hotel, taxis are also plentiful across the country.
Buses are not for the faint of heart, being crowded and often hot in the country's abundant sunshine, yet they're cheap, so keep it in mind. Rail travel is also a great way to see the sights, not least since the national rail service slinks along the shoreline of the country.
Vietnam isn't always the first pick for a family holiday, yet luckily kids will have plenty to do once they arrive. Markets, beaches and playgrounds are plentiful across the country.
Connector type: Two-pronged plugs, type A and B, the same as America. Although many new hotels also use British plugs.
Voltage Info: 220V, just like at home.
Should you require the emergency services in Vietnam, each service has a unique number. That's 113 for police, 114 for the fire brigade and 115 for an ambulance.
If you're a victim of crime or affected by a crisis overseas, or if something happens to a relative or partner contact the British Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.
Address: 25 Le Duan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone (from within Vietnam): (0)8 3825 1380
Phone (from the UK): +84 (0)8 3825 1380
Major hospitals in Vietnam's north and south can help as required.
Viet Duc Hospital, Hanoi
Address: 14 Phu Doan, Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi City
Phone: +84 4 3825 3535
Vinmec Central Park International Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City
Address: 208 Nguyen Huu Canh, Phuong 22, Ho Chi Minh, Binh Thanh
Phone: +84 8 3622 1166
Just Can't Settle – This Southeast Asia blog features lots of useful articles about popular Vietnamese destinations, including Ha Long Bay, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc Island.