There has never been a better time to visit this long, thin, coastal country. Stretching from the spectacular scroll-paintinglike islands of misty Halong Bay, to the lush tropical waterways of the Mekong Delta, scattered in between are hundreds of miles of white sand beaches, forest covered hills, enchanting ancient cities and laid-back rural towns. You can stay in fabulously atmospheric French -colonialera hotels like the Hanoi’s Metropole, Art Deco classics like La Residence in the old imperial capital of Hue or cutting-edge new designer resorts like Six Senses on the paradise island of Con Dao, Amano’i in the hills of Nui Chua National Park and the Four Seasons near the utterly delightful old trading port of Hoi An. Vietnamese food is always sublime; from humble street stalls to cool cafés and gourmet restaurants, and there are excellent handson cookery schools, with guided tours of lively, action-packed street markets piled high with succulent produce.
The mysterious allure of a luxury Vietnam holiday is epitomised by the countries mesh of bustling cities, hill tribe communities and beautiful coastlines. Much of the country enjoys a languid mood, but life in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is wonderfully disordered. Scooter mad locals bundle as much as possible atop their two wheels, the streets swarming with life as people buy, sell and barter. In the War Remnants Museum, rooms are crammed with period military equipment, while few visitors leave town without first taking a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, a fascinating labyrinth that was once a haven for Viet Cong fighters. It’s all a stark contrast to cruising down the Mekong Delta past mangroves and rice paddy workers in conical straw hats. Hanoi is bigger, cooler and greener than Saigon, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum being a top-of-the-list attraction. The city makes an excellent base from which to explore Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where sailing trips aboard traditional junks are popular. Brave a cyclo ride through Hanoi’s Old Quarter and have a suit made to measure in traditional Hoi An with its cobbled streets, tailor shops, galleries and cafés. Or relax a while with a visit to one of the enchanting beach resorts such as Ninh Van Bay and the Con Dao Islands archipelago, famed for its unparalleled snorkelling and diving. In fact, as a multi centre destination, Vietnam is hard to beat. As for the fabulous cuisine, try mastering Vietnamese cooking skills on one of the courses offered by its leading hotels.
Vietnam is a year round destination with a complex weather system influenced by two monsoons, so visitors are likely to encounter both sunshine and rain. The winter monsoon travels from the north east between October and March bringing wet and cool temperatures to all areas north of Nha Trang and dry warm temperatures to the south. From April to October the south western monsoon brings warm, humid weather to most regions. For the best balance, the months of April, May and October are recommended whilst offers are available year round.
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Carrier has been tailoring holidays worldwide for over 35 years and has firmly established its reputation as one of the leaders in the luxury holiday market. We have been voted ‘Favourite Tour Operator’ by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller magazine more times than any other company in the past decade, and have been featured in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Top 10 Tour Operators for 2016. Carrier has also won several national travel industry accolades, including ‘Luxury Tour Operator of the Year’ from TTG Luxury and Advantage Travel Centres.
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