Move over, Thailand: Vietnam food is where it’s at.

When we think of moped shoals in Ho Chi Minh City or cloth merchants in Hoi An, it’s the flavours we remember best. A crusty Bánh mì or streetside pho, seafood cù lao hotpots and (scarily addictive) condensed milk coffee. Vietnam tours are fun, plain and simple. But unlike other operators, we won’t just drop you in Ha Long Bay and call it a day. Our local leaders will introduce you to rice farmers in Sapa and fishermen on the Mekong Delta. They’ll guide you through the Cu Chi Tunnels, point out Nha Trang’s best beaches and take you on a rooftop bar crawl through Ho Chi Minh City. Our stomach’s rumbling already... 

Top Vietnam travel deals

Departing Days From GBP
4 Nov 2017
Indochina Uncovered
22 £2,375
£2,138
View Trip
7 Nov 2017
Vietnam Discovery
15 £765
£689
View Trip
9 Nov 2017
Vietnam Explorer
19 £2,095
£1,886
View Trip
9 Nov 2017
Southern Vietnam Adventure
10 £790
£711
View Trip
15 Nov 2017
Explore Vietnam
11 £610
£549
View Trip
16 Nov 2017
Vietnam Express Southbound
10 £860
£774
View Trip
17 Nov 2017
Best of Vietnam & Cambodia
18 £1,650
£1,485
View Trip
19 Nov 2017
Real Food Adventure - Vietnam
12 £1,450
£1,305
View Trip
25 Nov 2017
Scenic Vietnam
15 £1,280
£1,152
View Trip
26 Nov 2017
Classic Vietnam
15 £1,695
£1,441
View Trip

Our Vietnam trips

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Vietnam tour reviews

Our Vietnam trips score an average of 4.86 out of 5 based on 2905 reviews in the last year.

Vietnam Express Northbound, October 2017

Jessica Ryan

Scenic Vietnam, October 2017

Dianne O'Brien

Video

Articles on Vietnam

Vietnam travel highlights

Transport in Vietnam

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Vietnam, you may find yourself travelling by:

The Reunification Express in Vietnam

Overnight sleeper train

Travelling aboard the Reunification Express is a fun way to journey through Vietnam. Interact with other passengers or sit by a window and watch the world go by.

Vietnam Express Northbound

Vietnam Express Southbound

Explore Vietnam

Cycling in Vietnam

Bicycle

Take time to wave to locals as you cycle at a leisurely pace past rice paddies and through simple villages in rural Vietnam

Cycle Vietnam

Cycle South East Asia

Accommodation in Vietnam

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible. 

When travelling with us in Vietnam you may find yourself staying in a:

Traditional junk boat sailing in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Overnight boat

Sleeping aboard a traditional junk is a quintessential Vietnamese experience to be savoured. Slip into relaxation mode as you take in stunning views of the surrounding limestone karst scenery.

Vietnam Express Northbound

Vietnam Express Southbound

Explore Vietnam

A riverside homestay in Mekong, Vietnam

Homestay

Get acquainted with the Vietnamese way of life while on a memorable home stay. Be exposed to new languages, cuisine and customs while making friends with your hosts and neighbours.

Real Food Adventure - Vietnam

Classic Vietnam

Vietnam Discovery

Rural farmstay in Vietnam

Farmstay

Experience warm hospitality and unspoiled scenery on a farmstay in the heart of the Vietnamese countryside. Relax in comfortable rooms among fields and gardens, or head out to explore the local village.

Central Vietnam Adventure

Best of Vietnam

Vietnam holiday information

At a glance

History and government

Geography and environment

Shopping

Vietnam Top 10 Landscapes

Culture and customs

Health and Safety

Further reading

Vietnam travel FAQs

Most nationalities require a visa to travel to Vietnam. 

Some nationalities are exempt from visas for a stay of under 15 days. If you are planning on staying in Vietnam for longer than 15 days you will need to obtain a visa extension in advance (please contact your relevant Consulate or Embassy). Effective from 1st July 2015 - 30 June 2017 exempt visa nationalities include British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. 

Vietnam visas need to be arranged in advance. When obtaining your visa you should allow 3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. 

Keep the customs and immigration form you receive on arrival, as you need it to complete exit formalities on departure.

If your visa application asks for a point of contact, please write: Intrepid Vietnam 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu St, Hanoi, Vietnam Ph +84 4 3715 0996.

Most nationalities do not require a letter of invitation for Vietnam but if you do need one, please contact your sales agent for more information.

Read more about obtaining a visa for Vietnam

Tipping isn't mandatory or customary in Vietnam, but a tip of spare change or another small amount would be appreciated by restaurants, drivers and other service workers, especially if the service has been particularly good.

Read more about tipping in Vietnam

Internet access is widely available in tourist areas and big cities, which have many internet cafes. Internet access is less frequent in rural and remote areas.

You'll be able to use your mobile phone in most urban areas of Vietnam, although remote and mountainous areas may not have network coverage. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your mobile carrier before you leave home if you wish to use your mobile while in Vietnam.

Read more about mobile phone use in Vietnam

You'll have to adjust to different standards of hygiene and sanitation while in Vietnam. The standard toilet is of the squat variety and this may take some getting used to, although western-style toilets can be found in large hotels and some tourist areas.

Quick city bus ride = 4,000 VND
Local-style coffee at a cafe = 15,000 VND
Bowl of pho from street stall = 20,000-30,000 VND
Dinner at a simple restaurant = 70,000-100,000 VND
Dinner at a up-market restaurant = 200,000+ VND

Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Vietnam. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found; some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.

Read more about water in Vietnam 

Major credit cards are widely accepted by large shops, hotels and restaurants in Vietnam. However, they may not be accepted by smaller vendors such as small family restaurants, market stalls or in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Vietnam.

ATMs are found widely throughout Vietnam, so withdrawing cash shouldn't be problematic in most areas. Some smaller villages and rural areas may not have ATM access, so prepare for this before venturing too far from a city or major town.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

  • 1 Jan New Year's Day
  • 2 Jan New Year's Day Holiday
  • 26 Jan Lunar New Year Holidays
  • 27 Jan Lunar New Year Eve
  • 28 Jan Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan)
  • 29 Jan Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan)
  • 30 Jan Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan)
  • 31 Jan Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan)
  • 1 Feb Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan)
  • 6 Apr Hung Kings Commemoration Day
  • 7 Apr Hung Kings Commemoration Day Holiday
  • 30 Apr Reunification Day
  • 1 May Labor Day
  • 2 May Reunification Day Holiday
  • 2 Sep National Day
  • 4 Sep National Day Holiday

Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Vietnam go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/vietnam/public-holidays

The major festivals celebrated in Vietnam are Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year, February), Reunification Day (30 April), National Day (2 September) and Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival, late September).

Read more about Vietnam's festivals and events

The most popular times to visit Vietnam are spring (February-April) and autumn (September-December) but because of the huge variations in latitude and altitude, there is no one best time to go to Vietnam. It’s a good destination all year.

Read more about the best time to visit Vietnam

Vietnam has an incredibly diverse tropical climate, and temperatures vary from 4°C (39°F) in Sapa in winter to humid 36°C (97°F) days in Saigon in the middle of the dry season. The monsoons bring heavy rain to the south, and a cooler winter to the north depending on when you plan to tour in Vietnam.

Read more about weather in Vietnam

Traditional Vietnamese food is typified by its use of fresh herbs and vegetables and it's wide regional variance. Vietnamese food is influenced by its Chinese and Khmer neighbours and echoes of French colonisation. Some of the best things to eat in Vietnam are noodle soups (pho, bun mam, bun bo hue), bread rolls (banh mi), savoury pancakes (banh xeo) and fresh tropical fruits. 

Read more about what to eat in Vietnam

Our list of best things to drink in Vietnam includes fruit smoothies, fresh coconut juice straight from a freshly cracked green coconut, sugar cane juice, local beers and artisan rice wine.

Read more about what to drink in Vietnam 

While the tropical climate lends itself to layered, breathable clothing all year round, if you are taking a tour in the North, cold winters mean you might need to bring a fleece or jacket.

Read more about what to pack for Vietnam

The LGBQTI community is gradually gaining recognition in Vietnam, with gay pride parades becoming a regular occurrence and a lift on same-sex marriage bans in 2015. With that said, Vietnam is stil a conservative culture and many still hide their sexuality from their families. Travellers will find Vietnam to be a gay-friendly country, with lively gay-friendly bars, restaurants, sauncas and hotels found in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It is generally recommended that both gay and straight couples resist showing public displays of affection.  

Read more about LGBTQI culture in Vietnam

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Young local Vietnameses children taking photos

Top responsible travel tips for Vietnam

  1. Be considerate of Vietnam’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
  2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
  3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
  4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
  5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
  6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
  7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
  8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
  9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
  10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In Vietnam, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

Intrepid Foundation - Supplied by Blue Dragon

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

This organisation supports some of the most vulnerable children in Vietnam. Homeless, disabled and poverty stricken kids are greatly assisted by the health, education and social development programs run by this worthy organisation. 

Image supplied by Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.

Childrens Hope in Action

Children's Hope in Action

Caring for some of Vietnam's neediest children, this grassroots organisation provides life-saving medical treatment, therapy programs and education opportunities to families without means. 

Image supplied by Children's Hope in Action.

KOTO Saigon Training Centre

KOTO Saigon Training Centre

This not-for-profit restaurant and vocational training program changes the lives of disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. Providing hospitality training, English language education and life skills, the KOTO cafe not only serves up great food, but also changes people's lives in the process.

Image supplied by KOTO.

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org