Here at Black Tomato, we can’t get enough of Vietnam. Why – you ask? Well, this fascinating country has it all, from mist-shrouded mountain lakes and faded colonial grandeur to jungles and glorious scuba diving. But beyond its natural riches, Vietnam has that intangible quality: buzz. With two-thirds of the population under 30, the country is filled with creative energy, and stylish new hotels and restaurants are opening up practically every week. So how do we suggest you ‘do’ Vietnam?
French infusion in Hanoi and trip to Halong Bay
Start your trip in the north in the city of Hanoi. Notoriously known as the grand old dame of the east, Hanoi seamlessly mixes an old-world Parisian legacy with the frantic and bustling excitement of a modern Asian capital. And what better way to experience this eclectic mix than exploring the city’s labyrinth of backstreets the local way – on a cyclo. Passing by traders and food stalls, the aromas are bound to tickle your taste buds, so we’ll drop you off and learn how to rustle up the perfect Vietnamese dish that will put any spring roll at the next party to shame. Don’t miss out on a boat trip in Halong Bay on in a luxurious junk boat gliding past limestone caves and jumping into the cool calm waters.Read more
The perfect mix of history, beach, highlands and kite-surfing
Moving south, stop in Hoi An, the most charming and beautiful of Vietnam’s coastal towns and check into the Anantara. With many of the town’s wooden buildings dating from the 19th century or earlier, the place is a living version of Vietnam’s history, untouched by the war. Don’t miss the monthly festival of lights, and if you have time stop off at one of the many traditional tailors to have some clothes custom made for you.
But to really get you under the skin of a destination, you need to see it from the local’s point of view, and we know the best people in town to show you around. After a leisurely cycle through emerald green rice paddies, hang out with a local farmer for the day before taking to sea with a fisherman and net. And if you’re looking for a challenge, there’s always the opportunity to hop into a coracle.
Ho Chi Minh City cannot go amiss
Finish off in frenetic, exciting Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon – and believe us, the heat is definitely on). Explore ancient temples, visit the war remnants museum and the eerie Cu Chi Tunnels, or take a boat cruise along the Mekong Delta. And dare we mention the shopping? Well suffice to say you should definitely pack an extra bag or you’ll never get all your purchases home.
Continue to the end of the country and spend a few days recharging on the gorgeous and quiet Phu Quoc Island and hole up in La Veranda Resort. Enjoy 5 days planning your next adventure on soft white sand beaches, let your mind wander while you explore pepper gardens (bless your) or try your hand at catching squid, knowing that your next trip to the south-east has to be Vietnam.