Vietnam’s cultural backcloth is a complex weave of its many peoples, historic eras and influences from beyond its borders. 

Among its ancient monuments, and dating from the fourth to fourteenth centuries, the tombs and temples of My Son, west of Hoi An, and Po Nagar near Nha Trang are the surviving remnants of the Champa Kingdom, itself part of a greater cultural empire based on both Hinduism and later Buddhism, the impressive remains of which are also evident in Thailand at Sukhothai and in Cambodia at Angkor.


In Hanoi, the area around West Lake bears witness to the seat of power of the Dai Viet People. Thang Long citadel, dating to the 11th century, is among the oldest surviving buildings in the Capital. 

Hoi An, a former harbour of the Cham people, who were gradually displaced by the Viet, was later developed as a major trading port with both European and other Asian cultures during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries and the unique blend of influences of its charming historic buildings, including the famous Japanese bridge, are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The influence of Hoi An declined in the nineteenth century, when the Nguyen family, opposed to foreign trade, assumed the Vietnamese Emperorship and set up their capital in their ancestral home city of Hue in 1802. The Forbidden Purple City, Emperors Tombs and Garden Houses are the legacy of this period. 

It was during the Nguyen Dynasty that the French turned up in earnest, in 1858, and using spurious religious pretexts, eventually invaded Vietnam in 1861 and fully conquered the country in 1887.  

The legacy of the French colonial presence can be found in the pleasant leafy civilised boulevards of its major cities and many of its buildings, but beneath the surface of this charming coffee house and croissant air, the prison at Con Dao, built in 1861, is a testament to the sober reality of the methods used by the French to ensure control of the country. 

France’s intractable inability to relinquish colonial territory, as the British had begun to, in aftermath of the Second World War, led to Vietnam's fateful communist uprising, and the eventual intervention of the United States. The legacy of the Vietnam War is also evident at Con Dao prison, but the most obvious effects of the American bombing are to be seen in the area of central Vietnam, still referred to as the DMZ. 

American bombs also caused considerable damage to much of Vietnam's heritage, including the Citadel at Hue and the ancient Champa site at My Son. 

The Cu Chi Tunnels near Saigon bear witness to the extreme resilience of the Viet Cong resistance, who would eventually triumph in 1975, leading to the founding of Vietnam as a renewed independent entity. The legacy of its founder Ho Chi Minh, is particularly evident in Hanoi, especially in his mausoleum.  

Much has changed in Vietnam since regaining its independence and the people of Vietnam are reconciled to, and now protect, the diversity of their heritage in the modern era. Meanwhile the making of future history and heritage continues apace.

Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Adventure, Heritage, Beach, Trekking, Wildlife
Destinations: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Con Dao Archipelago
Duration: 15
Guideline price: US$ 3008     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

A delightful tour suited to those who want to leave conventional tourism aside and really connect with the culture and environment of Vietnam, visiting the usually unvisited villages of the northern and central highlands and culminating with a visit to Con Dao Island. Travellers wishing to model a tour on this template should be aware that, in some village locations, the local river will provide your only bathing and washing opportunities.
Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Heritage, Luxury
Destinations: Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City
Duration: 12
Guideline price: US$ 4096     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight:
Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This twelve day luxury tour revives the memory of the French colonial heyday in Vietnam, with overnight stays in some of the iconic hotels of the era, exploring the legacy of the French presence in Indochina and the Vietnamese sights that in turn inspired the colonisers. The tour includes visits to Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, the historical imperial city of Hue, Saigon and Dalat.
Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Classic, Heritage
Destinations: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An
Duration: 9
Guideline price: US$ 0     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 9 day tour of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage explores the country’s artistic and ethnic legacy together with the long history within which these cultural ideals emerged. The tour includes visits to Hanoi, a cruise of the natural wonders of beautiful Ha Long Bay, The imperial legacy of Hue and the cultural world heritage sites of historic Hoi An and ancient My Son.
Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Heritage
Destinations: Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City
Duration: 12
Guideline price: US$ 0     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This exclusive luxury tour of Vietnam’s major cities is defined by stays in the rarefied refinement of well-preserved French colonial hotels of Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat, with excursions into the wealth of cultural and historical features of each destination. This highly adaptable template can readily be modified and extended to include luxury experiences of other premier destinations both in Vietnam and beyond.
Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Heritage
Destinations: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City
Duration: 14
Guideline price: US$ 2341     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 14 day trip penetrates under the surface of Vietnamese culture, exploring the arts, cuisine music and crafts of Vietnam from the grand works to the skilful hands of the rural villages, and meeting the people driving the creative development of Vietnam’s cultural evolution. Your discovery of the secrets of the cuisines of Northern, Central and Southern Vietnam through three cookery classes, should send you home with new skills of your own.
Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Adventure, Heritage
Destinations: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Sapa and beyond
Duration: 15
Guideline price: US$ 2084     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This fifteen day exploration of Northern Vietnam is designed for photography enthusiasts, and explores the vast and stunning vistas of northern highland landscapes, and the colourful costumes and characters of their ethnically diverse peoples. The tour concludes with a visit to the spectacularly scenic Ba Be National Park and breath taking Ha Long Bay.
Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Heritage
Destinations: Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta
Duration: 14
Guideline price: US$ 2752     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 14 day tour of Vietnam is designed to introduce the country’s traditional philosophy, medicine and therapies and the principals of wellbeing. The tour visits Hanoi, Hue and the Mekong Delta, and combines sightseeing with a relaxing stay at one of Vietnam’s premier Spa and beach resorts.
Country: Vietnam
Type of holiday: Heritage
Destinations: Hanoi, Sapa and beyond, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta
Duration: 12
Guideline price: US$ 1848     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 12 day tour of Vietnam is a fascinating exploration of the real lives of the country’s peoples and ways of life. Staying with local families in their homes, and sharing in their experiences, you’ll get to know the variances between the villages around Hanoi to the highland lives of the upland minorities and the farming and fishing lifestyles of Hoi An and the Mekong Delta.
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