Vietnam as a travel destination has it all. Vietnam holidays can include visits to stunning beaches, scenic mountains, bustling cities, ancient towns where you can enjoy innovative cuisine and experience a vibe that is different to other Asian countries.
Cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are frenetic and vibrant. You can trek mountains and terraced rice fields in Sapa and Mai Chau. You can relax in luxurious five-star beach resorts in Hoi An, visit the prettiest of ancient towns such as Hoi An, visit the Nguyen Emperor Tombs in Hue or wander My Son, Vietnam’s mini Angkor Wat for starters. You can cruise Ha Long Bay or the mighty Mekong Delta and enjoy the local cuisine.
We have created a special Vietnam Travel Planning Facebook Group to assist travellers to plan their visit to Vietnam. You can join our community here.
As we travel the world we like to work with local travel operators who are experienced and knowledgeable in their region. During our time in Vietnam, we chose to work with the top Vietnam tours company – Victoria Voyages who are part of the Vietnamese travel group TMG.
We also like to work with companies that are concerned about the environment. Victoria Hotels are committed to being plastic-free from 2020 in all of their hotels with reusable bottles.
The new Victoria Mekong Cruise ship is a ‘green ship’:
- solar panels
- refillable water bottles in rooms
- treated and recycled water
The TMG Group includes:
- Victoria Hotels & Resorts
- Emm Hotels & Resorts
- Emeraude Cruises
- L’Azalee Cruises
- Victoria Express Train
- Spice Viet Restaurants
- Hai Au Aviation – routes include Da Nang, Hue, Dong Hai, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay
If you prefer to travel to Vietnam with an organised tour we can recommend the packages that Victoria Voyages/Hotels have on offer.
When you visit Vietnam with the TMG Group you will enjoy unique experiences from a luxury vintage train ride to Sapa, a seaplane adventure from Hanoi to Halong Bay, sidecar adventures in Hoi An, trekking in Mai Chau, luxury sampan cruises on the Mekong Delta, luxury cruise for 4 nights on the Mekong Delta and cruising Halong Bay in a luxury paddle steamer.
We were hosted on different adventures with Victoria Hotels & Resorts, Emeraude Cruise to Halong Bay and Spice Viet Restaurants in Hoi An and Hue. As always our opinions are our own.
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We were impressed with the level of service and expertise we received throughout our travels with the TMG team. We can highly recommend all of the products that we mention in our article.
Check out our YouTube videos throughout our article that highlights the best of Vietnam with Victoria Voyages.
- 1 Best Places To Visit in Vietnam
- 2 Reviews of Victoria Hotels in Vietnam
- 2.1 Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa
- 2.2 Mai Chau Lodge Mai Chau
- 2.3 EMM Hotel Hue
- 2.4 EMM Hotel Hoi An
- 2.5 EMM Hotel Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- 2.6 Flower Garden Hotel Hanoi (soon to be branded as EMM Hotel Hanoi)
- 2.7 Victoria Hoi An Resort & Spa
- 2.8 Victoria Can Tho Resort
- 2.9 Victoria Chau Doc Resort
- 2.10 The Victoria Nui Sam Lodge
- 3 Review of Spice Viet Restaurants
- 4 The Latest Hotels & Voyages with Victoria Voyages
- 5 The Victoria Voyages Experiences Available are:
- 6 General Travel Information for Visiting Vietnam
Best Places To Visit in Vietnam
Hanoi the capital of Vietnam is located in the North of the country. The Old Quarter with its 36 winding vibrant and busy streets is a must for all visitors to Hanoi. Head to the Old Quarter for the best of local cuisine.
One of our favourite past times was to wake early and join the locals on Hoan Kiem Lake for a morning exercise ritual. The locals welcome you openly and you can enjoy tai chi, Zumba, stretching, yoga or just walk around the lake enjoying the coolness of the morning.
In the evening enjoy a local performance at the Water Puppet Theatre in the Old Quarter.
Allow some time to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. During the year the Mausoleum may be closed, we recommend that you check if this is high on your things to do in Hanoi. A visit to:
- Temple of Literature
- Presidential Palace Grounds
- One Pillar Pagoda
- Hanoi Opera House
- Thang Long Imperial Citadel
- Hoa Lo Prison
- Temple of the Jade Mountain
these popular destinations should be included in your visit.
Ha Long Bay
One of the top things to do in Vietnam is to visit Ha Long Bay to enjoy a night or two sailing around the 1600 limestone islands and islets. Ha Long Bay is 170 km from Hanoi. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Its beauty is outstanding and make sure you set your alarm early as the sunrises are magnificent where you can enjoy tai chi before breakfast. There is nothing better than enjoying a Ha Long Bay sunset with a cocktail from the bar.
Travelling to Ha Long Bay with Victoria Voyages you have a choice of two ships: the classic paddle steamer the Emeraude or their A’Zalee ships.
Both cruises include visits to the Pearl Farm, caves, beaches, kayak excursion, cooking class and tai chi at sunrise.
Our Youtube Video on Ha Long Bay:
For more information and bookings on Emeraude Cruises click here.
For more information and bookings on L’Azalee Cruises click here
For an extra special adventure, you can add on a sea-plane flight from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay with TMG’s Hai Au Aviation. For more information click here.
Sapa has long been on the tourist path for travellers travelling in Vietnam. The terraced rice fields are a drawcard for photographers and travellers. For those who enjoy hiking and trekking, there is nothing better than wandering the valleys and mountains, following streams and meeting the local ethnic groups in their villages as you trek.
If you want a unique way to travel to Sapa the Victoria Express Train is the way to travel. It departs Hanoi every evening except Saturday at 10.00 pm arriving into Lao Cai at 6.10 am. Lao Cai is the capital of the Lao Cai province where Sapa is located. On arrival, you will be transferred to Sapa. On the return journey, you depart Lao Cai at 9.40 pm arriving Hanoi at 5.30 am.
Accommodation is in the luxury berths on the 2 sleeper carriages that sleep 4. 4 shared berths can be configured as 2 berths. Just before arrival in the morning, you are woken with coffee or tea and a warm pastry. A great way to travel and to relive travel journeys of the past.
Our Youtube Video on Sapa
Mai Chau is only a 3-hour journey from Hanoi. You can visit on a day-trip but we would recommend spending at least 1 night even more. Mai Chau is more like Sapa before it became well known and on the busy tourist path.
Mai Chau is located in the picturesque valley of the Hoa Binh province. You can trek the local mountains and terrace rice fields, kayak on the lake, visit local ethnic villages by bike and enjoy visiting the local markets.
Our Youtube video on Mai Chau
Hue is located in the centre of Vietnam. Hue was once the capital of Vietnam during the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945. It was the home of the Nguyen Dynasty Emperors.
One of the top tours in Hue (pronounced hway) is a tour of the City, the Imperial Citadel and the Royal Tombs which is included in the “A Taste of Vietnam Tour”.
The Royal Tombs complexes are awe-inspiring, one of our favourites was the Ming Mang Tomb Complex.
If there was a pretty town award for Vietnam Hoi An would win it hands down. This ancient town is one of the prettiest we have ever visited. It is very touristy but certainly worth a visit. At night the river comes alive with lantern boats offering tourists boat rides along the river. The restaurants are buzzing with diners enjoying the local cuisine. Shopping is a favourite past time of travellers and if you are after leatherware or tailor-made clothes Hoi An is the place to shop!
Victoria Voyages include Street Food Evening Tours and Cooking Classes as part of some of their tours.
Just outside Hoi An are the famous beaches of Ang Bang and Cua Dai.
The Cham Islands located off the coast are an easy day trip for snorkelling, diving, swimming and sunbathing.
One of our favourite adventures in Hoi An was a Sidecar Tour from the Victoria Hoi An Beac Resort and Spa. The tour included visits to the local fishing village, Lady Pagoda Complex, one of the oldest Banyan trees, Monkey Mountain and a gourmet lunch with wine and beer.
Our Youtube Video on our Sidecar Adventure to Monkey Mountain
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is still known as Saigon is the financial capital of Vietnam and is located in the southern region of Vietnam.
There are a lot of things to do and see in Ho Chi Minh City. One of the top excursions is to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels which Victoria Voyages include in their Ultimate Southern Vietnam Tour.
For the best 360 degree views in the city, a visit to the Bitexco Tower at sunset is a must.
Other popular things to do in Ho Chi Minh City is to visit the:
- Binh Tay Market
- War Remnants Museum
- Cao Dai Temple
- Jade Emperor Pagoda
- Reunification Palace
- Central Post Office
- Notre Dame Cathedral
The Mekong Delta is a highlight of visiting Vietnam. There are day tours from Ho Chi Minh City but we recommend that you spend at least 3 nights even more. The towns of Can Tho and Chau Doc are included in the tours that Victoria Voyages offer. They are both located on one of the tributaries of the mighty Mekong River.
The Mekong Delta is the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam’.
An early morning breakfast cruise from the Victoria Hotel in Can Tho visiting the bustling floating markets was such an eye-opener for us. The hustle and bustle of the trading boats selling their local fruit and vegetables have been going on for years. We could hardly concentrate on enjoying our scrumptious breakfast as we were so intent on not missing out on daily life before our eyes.
The Ultimate Mekong Delta Experience which we enjoyed, included on the first day a Sampan cruise from Cai Be with lunch at a traditional colonial Vietnamese Villa – Le Longanier. The setting was beautiful and the local cuisine excellent.
In Can Tho, you can visit the local town and evening markets by the Victoria Can Tho Hotel shuttle boat.
In Chau Doc, you can visit the Tra Su Floating Forest and enjoy lunch at the Nui Sam Lodge that overlooks Chau Doc and the terraced rice fields. On clear days you can see Cambodia.
Our Youtube Videos on our 4 days in the Mekong Delta
Travel to Phnom Penh from Chau Doc
One of the easiest border crossings between Vietnam and Cambodia is on the Mekong River. The duration of the journey takes approximately 5 hours. You leave Chau Doc around 7.00 am for the 40-minute speed boat ride to Vinh Xuong – the Vietnamese border crossing. It can take between 1 – 2 hours to complete the immigration formalities at Vinh Xuong and Kaam Samnor on the Cambodian side. You arrive in Phnom Penh around 1.00 pm the return journey takes the same route and leaves around 1.30 pm. Victoria Voyages have their own speedboat that travels between the two.
Reviews of Victoria Hotels in Vietnam
Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa
The Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa is centrally located in Sapa Town with stunning views over the lake and Mount Fansipan. There are 77 rooms and suites available, restaurant and bar and their Spa which offers a range of treatments.
The Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa offers a range of activities that can be booked at Reception from trekking, visiting markets, biking and more.
Our Youtube Video on the Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa
Mai Chau Lodge Mai Chau
The Mai Chau Lodge is located just outside the town of Mai Chau and within 1 km of local ethnic villages. The Lodge offers 16 rooms styled in local decor and traditional textiles. You can enjoy a dining experience at the Bu Luong Restaurant with local cuisine and traditional dancing. The Lodge has a pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. The Lodge also offers a range of activities that can be booked at their own tours desk.
Our Youtube Video on the Mai Chau Lodge
EMM Hotel Hue
The EMM Hotel Hue is centrally located in Hue at 15 Ly Thuong Kiet Street. The 3-star stylish boutique offers a swimming pool, fast WiFi and on-site restaurants. You can enjoy a local Vietnamese dining experience at the Spice Viet Restaurant.
EMM Hotel Hoi An
The Emm Hotel Hoi An is located at 187 Ly Thuong Kiet Street in Hoi An about a 10-minute walk to the centre of Hoi An’s ancient town. The stylish funky designed hotel is perfect for your visit to Hoi An. Breakfast is included and fast WiFi. Facilities include a swimming pool, spa and our favourite Spice Viet Restaurant. We stayed for 7 nights and we found it hard to leave.
EMM Hotel Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
The EMM Hotel Saigon is located at 157 Pasteur Street, Ward 6, District 3, 900m from the Reunification Palace. The 3-star hotel offers a fitness centre, free WiFi and the Spice Viet Restaurant which offers excellent local Vietnamese cuisine.
Flower Garden Hotel Hanoi (soon to be branded as EMM Hotel Hanoi)
The Flower Garden Hotel in Hanoi is located at 46 Nguyen Truong To, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh. The Flower Garden Hotel will be rebranded as the EMM Hotel in Hanoi.
Victoria Hoi An Resort & Spa
The Victoria Hoi An Resort & Spa is located on its own private Cua Dai beach 15 minutes from Hoi An town. The resort offers 109 rooms and suites with river, garden or ocean views. You can relax by the pool or enjoy a range of water activities or enjoy one of their many spa treatments.
Our Youtube Video on the Victoria Hoi An Resort
Victoria Can Tho Resort
The Victoria Can Tho resort is located in a central location with easy access to Can Tho via the Victoria boat shuttle. The luxurious 92 rooms are decorated in the French colonial style. A special excursion is to book Breakfast on the Mekong in the Victoria Sampan Lady Hau visiting the floating market, a local noodle maker and a local fruit farm.
Our Youtube Video on the Victoria Can Tho Resort
Victoria Chau Doc Resort
The luxurious 4-star Victoria Chau Doc is located in the centre of Chau Doc within walking distance to the local market. The bedrooms are stylishly decorated in French colonial style. The hotel offers a swimming pool, spa and fast WiFi. In the evening enjoy a cocktail or two at the bar overlooking the Mekong Delta.
Tours are available from the hotel:
- Xeloi Experience – 2 hours visiting the local market, cycle through the countryside to visit the local villages. Before returning back to the hotel you can visit the Buddhist Pagoda near Sam Mountain
- Afternoon canal cruise to a nearby village and enjoy a ‘sundowner’ at the Nui Sam Lodge with magnificent views over the countryside
- Visit temples and pagodas before a cocktail at sunset at the Nui Sam Lodge
- Cruise the Mekong Delta around Chau Doc for 2 hours visiting floating markets and fish farms
- 20 km from the hotel is the Tra Su Floating Forest where you can travel by sampan through the mangroves
- Market Walking Tour for 2 hours in Chau Doc
Address: 1 Le Loi Chau Doc
Our Youtube video on the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel
The Victoria Nui Sam Lodge
The Victoria Nui Sam is located 7 km from the centre of Chau Doc on Sam Mountain. There are great views over Chau Doc, the Mekong Delta and on clear days to Cambodia. Le Giang Restaurant offers local Vietnamese cuisine as well as Western dishes.
Review of Spice Viet Restaurants
There are now 4 Spice Viet Restaurants throughout Vietnam:
- Saigon – 157 Pasteur Ward 6 District 3
- Hue – 15 Ly Thuong Kiet Street
- Hoi An – 187 Ly Thuong Kiet Street
- and the recently opened Hanoi at 46 Nguyen Truong To Ba Dinh Hanoi
What we love about the Spice Viet Restaurants is their extensive innovative Vietnamese menu. Their ingredients are locally sourced and their fragrant herbs and spices complement every dish.
The interior design is contemporary chic with natural colours in a rustic setting.
The Latest Hotels & Voyages with Victoria Voyages
The Victoria Mekong Cruise was launched in December 2019. The Victoria Mekong is a green ship utilising solar panels, treated and recycled water, plastic-free with refillable water bottles in every room. The Victoria Mekong has 2 weekly regular departures of 3 – 4 nights duration and offers:
- authentic local experiences
- unique routes
- unique activities e.g. lion dances, Aspara dances
- for senior passengers there are elevators, rail handles in bathrooms and restrooms
Some of the special events for cruising on the Victoria Mekong include:
Short cruises of 4 – 5 nights for Honeymoon or Wedding Anniversary Packages which includes:
- dates on offer up until 31/12/2020
- suite cabin
- complimentary sparkling wine in the cabin
- the room decorated with bath salts and flower petals in the bathroom
- set breakfast served in the cabin
- 20% discount on premium wines, cocktails and spirits
- 1 complimentary spa treatment per person
- 20 complimentary pieces of laundry in total for 2 persons
The Victoria Voyages Experiences Available are:
Ultimate Vietnam Experience 14 days/13 nights
Travel Vietnam for 2 weeks visiting Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.
Best of Vietnam 12 Days/11 Nights
Travel Vietnam for 12 days visiting Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, day trip to Ba Na Hills, Ho Chi Minh City and Pan Thiet
Ultimate Mekong Delta 4 Days/3 Nights
4 days and 3 nights visiting the scenic Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho and Chau Doc.
This is the journey that we undertook.
Ultimate Northern Vietnam Experience 5 Days/4 Nights
5 days 4 nights from Hanoi to Sapa, Ma Tra Village excursion, back to Hanoi and then to Ha Long Bay.
Elite Vietnam 10 Days/9 Nights
10 days 9 nights visiting Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.
A Taste of Vietnam 12 Days/11 Nights
12 days/11 nights visiting Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.
Ultimate Southern Vietnam 6 Days/5 Nights
6 days/5 nights visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, Mekong Delta, Can Tho and back to Ho Chi Minh City
A Taste of the Mekong Delta 4 Days/3 Nights
4 days/3 nights visiting Can Tho, Sa Dec and Ho Chi Minh City
Deep into the Mekong Delta 5 days/4 nights or 6 Days/5 Nights
5 days/4 nights visiting Can Tho, Sa Dec, Chau Doc and Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
For 6 days/5 nights Can Tho, Sa Dec, Chau Doc, Can Tho and then either travel onto Phnom Penh or add 1 extra night in Chau Doc.
Saigon to Phnom Penh by Victoria Mekong 8 Days/7 Nights New for 2020
From Saigon to Phnom Penh by Victoria Voyages new ship the Victoria Mekong that includes Ho Chi Minh City, a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels and 4 nights on board the Victoria Mekong to Phnom Penh.
General Travel Information for Visiting Vietnam
When is the Best Time To Visit Vietnam
The country of Vietnam is broken into 3 regions – North, Central and Southern. Each region experiences different weather patterns throughout the year.
Vietnam Travel Visa
Most travellers to Vietnam will require an e-visa on arrival.
Flight Deals to Vietnam
For the latest flight deals compare prices on Skyscanner here:
Travelling from the USA – click here
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Bus & Train Travel Throughout Vietnam
For the latest booking information on bus, train and ferry journeys:
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Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are ‘chase time not money’ and ‘age is no barrier when it comes to travel’.