Part of imperial China for over a thousand years, Vietnam was ruled by powerful dynasties for nearly a thousand more before being colonised by France, occupied by Japan, and then becoming the theatre for ten years of military conflict with the USA. But you’ll see on your tour of Vietnam just how much has changed since its doors have opened to the world. The country’s economic growth rate is now one of the highest. Yet as one of the world’s last communist regimes, it remains a land of sharp contrasts. The orange robes of Buddhist monks mingle with contemporary fashion, and the French influence on Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) remains as strong as the political legacy of its eponymous revolutionary leader.
So your Vietnam tour will be full of intrigue and surprises. A cycle rickshaw will take you into the old town of Hanoi, a colonial city of tree-lined avenues, belle époque villas and grand buildings built around enchanting lakes – as well as the Temple of Literature dedicated to Confucius and the imposing marble mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. You’ll pass through a timeless landscape of rice paddies to sail on a Chinese junk around the jade-green waters of spectacular Halong Bay, whose 3,000 craggy islands are said to have been formed by the thrashing tail of a mythical dragon. This wonderful Vietnamese tour will also take you to the country’s ancient capital, immense citadel and Forbidden City of Hue, encircled by six miles
of impenetrable 65 foot thick walls. You’ll visit the magnificent seven-storied Thien Mu pagoda and the shrine of Emperor Tu Duc who was left impotent by smallpox despite having a harem of 104 wives. You’ll love our full day’s cruise on the mighty Mekong River delta, visiting Coconut Island and sampling the local delicacies. Then there are the fascinating and infamous Cu Chi tunnels used by the Vietcong to attack US forces, along with their fearsome mantraps and stake pits – all extraordinary memories you’ll return with from your tour of Vietnam.