A charming country of varied landscapes, rich history and welcoming people, Vietnam is a travel dream. Its mountains, forests and green-terraced rice paddies – not forgetting its pristine beaches – form a magical backdrop to high-tech cities and traditional villages. There are plenty of things to do on tour, from discovering ancient temples with distinctive Chinese influences and Hindu origins to exploring the tree-lined boulevards and spectacular French-inspired state buildings that grace the capital, Hanoi.
The Vietnamese people are as diverse as the country’s landscapes, with almost 60 different ethnic groups. What sets Vietnam apart from holidays in other Asian countries isn’t just its war history. It is the friendliness of the people and their eagerness to welcome visitors to enjoy what their country has to offer.
Why we love travelling in Vietnam
- Its natural beauty, found in places like Ha Long Bay and the red and white sand dunes in Central Vietnam, is unsurpassed.
- You can enjoy olde-worlde French colonial architecture in the capital, Hanoi or ultra-modern buildings in Ho Chi Minh.
- Hoi An is famous for its superb tailors – suits and dresses are made at very reasonable prices.
- You can enjoy peace and tranquillity in ancient temples like My Son.
- It’s famous for its incredible subterranean caves, especially the vast Hang Son Doong.
- It’s an affordable holiday option with fantastic packages for travellers from South Africa.
- Vietnam’s history is legendary. Each place you visit will have its own story to tell.
- The cuisine is a delightful mix and offers a culinary adventure, and the coffee is some of the best in the world.
Vietnam suits all travellers. Whether you’re planning a fun and educational family holiday or looking to relax with friends on beautiful beaches. Perhaps you want to enjoy a romantic getaway that includes breathtaking scenery. You’ll find your corner of paradise on Vietnam tours to this exotic, exciting holiday destination, so book a holiday package to Vietnam with Thompsons Holidays today.
What to do in Vietnam
A destination that is charming, exciting, fascinating and unbelievably beautiful, Vietnam offers a taste of Asia at its best. Things to do are as varied as the landscapes. Explore the fascinating coastline, laze on a pristine beach or learn to kitesurf. Discover Vietnam’s captivating cities, including Hue, with its rich history of the Nguyen dynasty, laid back Da Nang and sensational Saigon. Or, piece together the country’s history, from colonisation to war and freedom, and learn about its numerous religious and cultural influences.
Things to do in Vietnam
- Explore Hoi An’s old town with its Chinese temples, shophouses and colonial buildings.
- Travel through the historic Cu Chi Tunnels, the underground routes of the army during wartime.
- Visit some of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the ancient My Son Hindu Sanctuary and Hue’s Imperial City.
- Discover caves and grottoes in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
- Attend a water puppet show in Hanoi.
- Spend time soaking up Halong Bay’s beauty.
- See the Sahara-like red and white sand dunes of Mui Ne.
- Sail along the Mekong River to see a lifestyle unchanged for centuries.
- Visit the Perfume Pagoda, a complex of Buddhist temples.
- Enjoy a massage on one of Vietnam’s magnificent beaches.
- Sample the amazing street food. Eating on the street is by far the most exciting and accessible way to truly experience daily life in Vietnam.
Whether you’re ticking items off your bucket list, like visiting Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum or just want to travel and experience Vietnam’s incredible natural beauty, you’re in for an extraordinary experience. Browse our Vietnam packages below and let's plan your holiday!
Know before you go...
- Vietnam has a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 30°C.
- The best time to visit Vietnam is spring (February to April) and autumn (August to October).
- There are no direct flights to Vietnam from South Africa. You will typically travel via Hong Kong, Dubai, Doha or Bangkok.
- The shortest flight duration from Johannesburg to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam is 16 hours, 15 minutes.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Vietnam.
- Passports should be valid for 6 months after travel.
- Vietnam is 5 hours ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency is the Vietnam Dong (VND). This is the only accepted currency.
- The best place to change money is at the hotel or a local bank (banks open Monday to Friday).
- Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and shops, but not many other places.
- ATMs are widely available throughout Vietnam – they’re the easiest and safest way to access money.
- Tipping is gratefully accepted in Vietnam. Tip restaurant staff, luggage porters, drivers and guides at your discretion.
- The most widely spoken language in Vietnam is Vietnamese.
- English is spoken in the main cities.
- Religion in Vietnam is defined by a mix of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, known in Vietnamese as the Tam Giáo ("triple religion").
- Catholicism is also practiced in modern Vietnam.
- Ancestor worship is common in Vietnamese culture.
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Vietnam. Bottled water is readily available.
- Required vaccinations: check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Pack loose and breathable clothing for summer, warmer layers for winter.
- Lightweight rain jacket.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites – no shorts or tank tops. Legs & shoulders must be covered. Long, loose pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are best.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor. Plug type A (two flat vertical pins), type C and type F (two round pins) fit most Vietnam electrical outlets.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables.
What do I do in an emergency?
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!