The oldest and one of the most attractive capital cities in Southeast Asia, Hanoi exudes a rare sense of gracious charm and timelessness. At its core exists a 600-year-old ancient quarter, augmented by a century-old colonial city. Today, the rich cultural heritage of both blends in perfect harmony with growing modernization, as Hanoi claims its position as the heart of Vietnam.
Today, Hanoi is emerging as an elegant, cultured, and affluent city, where museums and galleries coexist with chic shops and fashionable restaurants. One can wander, in a few minutes, from the narrow streets of the Old Quarter to the imposing mansions and buildings lining the leafy boulevards of the former French Quarter. Hanoi’s past has also ensured a superb culinary legacy, where French and Chinese cuisines blend marvelously with the Viet traditions. The same is true of Hanoi’s lively arts scene, which is among the most sophisticated in Southeast Asia.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, situated in the southern part of Vietnam, is still called Saigon by most of the locals. This modern city used to be considered as the “Pearl of the Orient” by the French.
The wide Saigon River, which takes a huge turn from the east of Saigon, links the city with the sea. Unlike Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City may lack charm and elegance, but the city, with its essential French colonial character, has enough to draw your attention. The city’s colonial villas, wide avenues and a lively cafe society remind you of the days of French dominance.
Over the last 10 years, Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City has experienced a spectacular change in it’s cityscape. The once low rise landscape of the city’s central area, District 1, is now marked with shining skyscrapers including high – rise apartments, international hotels and office buildings. The bustling, vibrant industrial hub of the nation is also Vietnam’s biggest city. Saigon is also the cultural centre and economic capital of the country.
The city is well connected with the rest of the world through air routes and sea, and thereby draws huge foreign funds in the fields of oil and gas, agriculture, textiles, and marine products. However tourism contributes a major part of the Government’s revenue and visitors will also find intriguing attractions like the Ben Tanh Market, sandy beaches and mouth watering food stalls.
Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site..
There are many popular nightspots and several internet cafés, bars and restaurants have opened along the riverfront. Close by are the fascinating ruins of My Son, as well as Cua Dai Beach and China Beach – the latter which are popular for beach activities like windsurfing, snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing.
The city of Nha Trang is becoming more popular with the tourists in recent years. Yet, with a population of 300,000, Nha Trang still retains its small town atmosphere. This resort town is well known for its miles of beach and the friendliness of its people. The city is flanked by nearly ten kilometres of prime beach where the water is warm year round. The average temperature in Nha Trang is 26 C. Nha Trang also has the lowest level of humidity in all of Vietnam. Today, Nha Trang ranks among the top of all beaches in Vietnam. Nha Trang is 1,287 km south of Hanoi, 624 km south of Hue and 442 km from Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). Nha Trang has several famous islands. Most notable are Hon Tre, Hon Yen, and Hon Rua.
About 200 km north of Ho Chi Minh City are Mui Ne and Phan Thiet. Together, these traditional fishing villages are fast becoming a popular leisure destination. Resort-style developments have been rising along the coastline, though so far the lives of the fishing communities remain unchanged and Mui Ne’s long beach is quiet and serene, great for walks, jogging and spectacular sunsets.
Phan Tiet, which is rather larger, is famous for its fish sauce, an ingredient in most Vietnamese dishes. It, too, has a beautiful beach. There is a wide range of accommodation, and restaurants offer a huge selection of seafood at very affordable prices. There are golf courses, beautiful pagodas, spectacular red and white sand dunes, and a variety of water sports.
National Capital: Hanoi
Time Difference: GMT +7 Hours
Passports: Visitors to Vietnam must hold a valid passport. Passports should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure date from Vietnam.
Visa for Vietnam: It is important to be noted that a visa is required for all nationalities to enter Vietnam. Different types of visa, one month or six month, can be obtained at Vietnamese Embassies abroad. Normally, a tourist visa for 1 month is sufficient for most tourists. It is possible to get a “multiple entries” or “single entry” visa and it should be clearly requested upon your application for a visa. for more details please visit the Embassy of Vietnam (consular section)
Currency: Vietnam Dong VND, £1 = 32,472.24 VND ( June’13 )
Mainland Territory: 331,211.6 sq. km
Population: approx. 85.7 Million
Lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S”. China borders it to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the East Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the east and south.
The country’s total length from north to south is 1,650km. Its width, stretching from east to west, is 600km at the widest point in the north, 400km in the south, and 50km at the narrowest part, in the centre, in Quang Binh Province. The coastline is 3,260km long and the inland border is 4,510km.
Latitude: 102º 08′ – 109º 28′ east
Longitude: 8º 02′ – 23º 23′ north
Vietnam has about 2500 kms of coastline, The weather is rarely the same in whole country. Usually, when the weather is nice somewhere, it rains elsewhere. On the other hand, the time of seasons is not the same in every region.
In the North of Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong, Hoalu, Mai Chau, Sapa, Cao Bang), there are four seasons:
– December, January, February correspond to winter and the cold season: 8-17°c, high humidity, overcast mixed with infrequent sunny days.
– March, April and May correspond to spring and warm weather: 25-35°c, temperate humidity, fine weather, sunny interspersed with short rainfall, a possible mist of hot weather
– June, July, August correspond to summer and the hot season: 28-40°c, high humidity, tropical heat, heavy rain by the end of the day or at night (1 – 2 hours).
– September, October, November and first half of December correspond to fall and is a second nice season; it is a true Indian summer: 20-30°c, low humidity, sunny weather. It is the best time to visit the north.
In the Centre of Vietnam (Hué, Danang, Hoi An, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Dalat and Central Highlands):
– January, February, March, April, May, September correspond to the dry temperate season: 25-35°c, high humidity, cloudy, sunny days and fine weather often with a mist of hot weather.
– June, July, August correspond to the nice hot season: 30-40°c, humidity, fine weather often with a mist of hot weather, heavy rain at end of the day or at night (1 – 2 hours).
– October, November, December correspond to the stormy season: 15-20°c, high humidity, plentiful rains, changeable weather. That is the period of typhoon tails which come from the China sea and may cause floods.
In the South of Vietnam (Phan Thiet, Saigon, Can Tho, Chau Doc): 2 distinct seasons
– January, February, March, November, December correspond to the nice dry temperate season: 20-30°c, fine weather and cloudy
– April, May, correspond to the nice hot season: 30-35°c, cloudy, fine weather.
– June, July, August, September correspond to the rainy season: 30-35°c, changeable weather, heavy rains, mist of hot weather.
Vietnam has a variety of mineral resources. Located beneath the subsoil are precious stones, coal and valuable minerals such as tin, zinc, silver, gold and antimony. Vietnam also has large deposits of oil and gas on its offshore islands and on the mainland.
At present there are 54 different ethnic groups inhabiting Vietnam, in which Kinh (Viet) people make up nearly 90% of the whole population, and 53 other ethnic groups represent over 10%.
Language and Scripts
Among the 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups some have had their own scripts for a long time and some have not preserved their ancient scripts. As a matter of fact, some ethnic groups consisting of some hundreds of individuals living in remote areas have their own languages
Religion and Belief
The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism (which fuses forms of Taoism and Confusianism), Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam, Caodaism and the Hoa Hao sect.
The history of Vietnam Airlines dates back to January 1956, when the Vietnam Civil Aviation Department was established by the Government, marking the birth of the civil aviation industry in Vietnam. At that time, the fleet was small with only five aircraft including IL-14, AN-2, Aero-45; these started to serve domestic flights in September 1956.
April 1993 was a major turning point when Vietnam Airlines was officially established as the country’s national flag carrier. On 27th May 1996, Vietnam Airlines Corporation was born with the combination of 20 aviation enterprises and the airline itself as the core business.
On 20 October 2002, Vietnam Airlines introduced its new logo of the Golden Lotus as well as a new brand strategy and significant improvements in its infrastructure, operations and fleet.
The delivery of its first own “state-of-the-art” B777 in 2003 also marked a true revolution in the airline’s fleet modernization. Three years later, Vietnam Airlines became one of the most modern fleets in the region.
For 15 years of development with an average annual growth rate of over 10 percent (except 1997 when the Asian financial crisis broke out), the national flag carrier has embarked on a project to become a major competitor in the Asian aviation market, owning a modern fleet of Airbus and Boeing planes flown by well trained professionals.
Beginning with non-regular services between two domestic destinations, today Vietnam Airlines has expanded its network to 20 cities throughout the country and 26 international destinations in the USA, Europe, Australia and Asia.
In 2006, after being awarded the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate, a strict safety standard set by Aviation Quality Services (AQS), Vietnam Airlines joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as an official member, affirming its international standard.
In June 2010, Vietnam Airlines officially joined SkyTeam, the world’s second largest global airline alliance, affirming the carrier’s new position on the global aviation map and the strategic partner of the alliance in Southeast Asia region as well as its international standard services.
In 2015, Vietnam Airlines became the second airline in the world to operate both next-generation aircraft Boeing 787-9 & Airbus A350 at the same time. In July 2016, Vietnam Airlines received a 4-Star Airline Certificate from Skytrax, the world’s leading airline and airport rating organization.
Positioning its internationally recognized brand as a young and modern carrier, Vietnam Airlines excelled further when signing large purchase orders of world’s most modern, environment-friendly aircraft, such as Boeing B787 and Airbus A350-900. The airline is expected to reach 115 and 170 modern aircraft in 2015 and 2020, respectively, making solid steps integrating into the global aviation industry as a truly regional carrier of choice, which is fully ingrained with Vietnamese traditional culture.
Our airline partners
Destination Store Limited is ATOL registered with the Civil Aviation Authority, licence 6375. Flights and flight-inclusive holidays ex-UK booked directly through Destination Store are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. Hotel-only bookings are not covered by ATOL. For further information about financial protection and the ATOL scheme, please visit http://www.caa.co.uk/atol
Destination Store Ltd | Highbridge House | 581 Bath Road | Longford | UB7 0EW | Company registration 4939093