In 1994 we were the first American tour company in Vietnam. Our headquarters remains in Hanoi and over our two decades, Vietnam has everyone's place to visit. Why? Vietnam is one of the most vibrant and exciting countries in the world. Every turn brings a new thrill, fascinating sights, and the unexpected. But without exception, the thing our past travelers marvel at more than anything else are the Vietnamese, unfailingly friendly and gregarious as you'll soon discover shortly after arrival.

Vietnam travel map Hanoi Halong Bay Sapa Mai Chau Song Doong Cave Hue Hoi An Nha Trang Dalat Saigon The Mekong Delta Phu Quoc Con Dao China Laos Cambodia


Girl in prayer in Hanoi, Vietnam

Though it's the Vietnam War that lingers with those who know Vietnam through film and television, it's the elegant French presence that strikes those who actually visit, especially in the capital city, Hanoi. Here are stately French-built mansions and tree-shaded boulevards, as well as art galleries in the Old Quarter selling works heavily influenced by French styles, cafés that dot the lake area serving French bread and drip-filter coffee, and Grand French villas of the embassy quarter.

Yet, though the origin of some customs and style are French, the interpretation is purely Vietnamese. Locals still move at bicycle pace, schoolgirls in graceful white ao dais pedal by, and women with conical hats sway under loads of country produce. The Bohemian capital of Indochina, the arts too are everywhere. All in all, Hanoi remains one of Asia's most fascinating cities.

Read more about Hanoi

Halong Bay

Cruise ship on Halong Bay, Vietnam

To glimpse how utterly magnificent Halong Bay is, watch the French film Indochine. Now imagine gliding across those same placid, emerald waters past hundreds of majestic karst islets, through caves into hidden lakes, and white-sand beach coves, your luxury charter ship or kayak passing beneath towering limestone peaks...

There is no other place like this in the world, a cruising experience on par with the Blue Voyage along Turkey's coast. Indeed, the romantic setting of rugged island peaks and bays dotted with sailing junks has inspired a whole genre of Vietnamese painting. Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with nearly two thousand picturesque limestone peaks is perfectly calm, wonderfully suited for kayaking close up to the limestone formations that offer fantasy wonderland for exploration.

Read more about Halong Bay.


Terraced rice fields in Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa has changed dramatically since we lead the very first trips there in the early 90s. The small town has been transformed by tourism and the weekend market is teeming with tourists. Still, the high-mountain setting is picturesque and offers extensive trekking for both light and extended trips when the weather permits.

Unfortunately, the weather in Sapa is most adverse during the December through February high season when temperatures can dip to the 30s with heavy fog and drizzle. Mai Chau offers a warmer (and closer) option for exploring hilltribe villages during these months.

Read more about Sapa

Mai Chau

Hilltribe girl in Mai Chau, Vietnam

The small town of Mai Chau lies in a picturesque valley of the same name, featuring a bucolic setting of a towering limestone walls, patchwork quilts of rice paddies, and traditional long house villages. Not far from Hanoi (about a two and half hour's drive), Mai Chau offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Vietnam with a myriad of traditional hilltribes, mostly Tai and H'mong, scattered around the area.

Much has change in many places in Vietnam, but not much is very different in this remote area. In the winter, Mai Chau is a pleasant and far less touristed alternative to Sapa (which may also socked in with fog and experience freezing temperatures in winter). Indeed, Mai Chau offers some of the same attractions — hilltribes and beautiful scenery — at a more comfortable elevation, all without the crowds of tourists.

Read more about Mai Chau

Song Doong Cave

Hilltribe girl in Mai Chau, Vietnam

Astonishingly, the world's largest cave was founded only recently, in Vietnam. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, the remarkable Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia, formed approximately 400 million years ago. Riddled with hundreds of cave systems – many of extraordinary scale and length including Hang Son Doong (Mountain River Cave), the world's largest cave, is one of the most spectacular sights in Southeast Asia. – and spectacular underground rivers, Phong Nha is a speleologists’ heaven on earth.

Combine this trip with exploration of the war-era DMZ, former military bases, tunnels, and scenic mountains ideal for hiking and cycling, and the Imperial Capital, Hue.

Read more about Song Doong Cave


Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam

Hue has largely been bypassed by the wave of development that has washed over Saigon and nearby Danang, remaining a pleasant outpost on the central coast. Located roughly halfway between Hanoi and Saigon, Hue is arguably Vietnam's most picturesque and pleasant city where many travelers miss its true charms.

The landscapes here of endless emerald-green rice paddies, misty Perfume River, and colorful pagodas and tombs, are timeless inspiration for poets and painters.

Read more about Hue

Hoi An

Hoi An, Vietnam elderly woman

A small jewel on the central coast, Hoi An is an ancient port town situated on the Thu Bon River, just three miles inland from white sand beaches fronting the South China Sea. In the past, it was one of the most important trading ports in Southeast Asia before its port silted and influence ebbed.

Although it is no longer bustling with international trade nor hosting sailors and merchants from China, Vietnam, and Portugal, it is certainly getting a new lease on life by attracting tourists in its uniquely charming way, with chunks of its Old Quarter given over to restored hotels, cafes, restaurants, and galleries, pedestrian area, and, in 1999, Hoi An became a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its efforts.

Read more about Hoi An

Nha Trang

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Established as a port town in the 1920s, once sleepy and unknown Nha Trang now has a population approaching 300,000, largely due to a two-decade boom in tourism. Once an idyllic, beautiful and undeveloped beach cove only a short hop north of Saigon, Nha Trang today is a bustling developed beach town popular with package tourists from around the world.

Although the town itself is no longer a recommended stop on your visit to Vietnam, there are two remote luxury resorts, including an Aman, to linger during longer trips when lounging in the sun by the pool is paramount and other beach destinations of Phu Quoc and Hoi An are inconvenient or experiencing cooler weather.

Read more about Nha Trang


French villa in Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat was an entirely French creation, a small town complete with its own railway station, cathedral, lycée, shops, cafes, and villas—all erected in a remote valley in the Vietnamese highlands. With its pine forests, rolling hills, and tranquil lakes, the area could have passed for anyplace in France and provided a pleasant escape for homesick French administrators from the high summer heat of Saigon. Dalat is now a resort town, a favorite with honeymooners staying in the renovated elegant French villas. The Vietnamese wax poetic about Dalat and rave on in awestruck detail about every waterfall and valley.

If you're looking for a place to exercise your lungs, however, the hills around Dalat are great for hiking, biking, or breathing in that pine-scented air. Or shoot a few rounds of golf. Dalat market has excellent and varied fresh produce, which means dining out in Dalat is great. A good spot to rest up for a few days and rest muscles sore from biking or hiking.

Read more about Dalat

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

City Hall in Saigon, Vietnam

A visitor arriving from the north of Vietnam could mistake Saigon for another country. Whether it’s the sea of thousands of scooters, modern gleaming towers, and simply the sheer scale of the city, Saigon provides little continuity from the relative calmer and rustic north. Although no longer on out short list of must-see places in Indochina (for several years). However, we can ensure sprawling Saigon will be thrilling for a half-day or longer stopover en route to Angkor or other destinations. With a delightful collection of the country's best cafes and restaurants, the busy and restless nature of its inhabitants, or the abundance of great shopping, Saigon is an invigorating and intoxicating place.

It’s no surprise that Saigon, (as most locals still call it) exudes a youthful, inventive energy — after all, over half of its eight million dwellers are younger than 35. This dynamic spirit shines through in quirky cafes, innovative cuisine, and boutiques selling homegrown fashion. And when you need a breather from all that’s new and fabulous, it’s easy to steal quiet moments in rustic colonial buildings, contemplative art spaces, and cutting-edge designer shops.

Read more about Saigon

The Mekong Delta

sampan in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

In the Mekong Delta the mighty Mekong River ends its run from the Himalayas, splitting into multiple branches before emptying sights and experiences for those who care to explore. If you make the effort you'll be amply rewarded. The delta is a region of extraordinary energy and market commerce, with burgeoning markets, the last floating markets in Asia, exotic fruit orchards, and more coconuts than you'd want to contemplate. The delta is a relaxing place, with good food (seafood!), pleasant river trips, cheap boats, and friendly people. You're never far from water in the delta, and boats in some districts are the main mode of transportation. Intriguing in the backwaters are the floating markets, which have disappeared in other parts of Asia.

If you've the time, we can organize Mekong Delta trip that travels through the heart of the delta (cycling is wonderful here), then by boat along the Mekong to Cambodia's sleepy capital, Phnom Penh. From Phnom Penh, the temples of Angkor are a short 30-minute flight to the north.

Phu Quoc Island Paradise

Phu Quoc Island palm-fringed beach

Treat yourself to Phuket of two decades ago. Only a 50-minute hop from Saigon lies Phu Quoc, Vietnam's, indeed Southeast Asia's best kept secret. A National Park, the 16-island archipelago of Phu Quoc (aka "the Emerald Isle") lies about 40 kilometers west of Ha Tien and, to many traveler's delight, is located within the Gulf of Thailand which has better weather than Vietnam's coastline destinations such as Nha Trang. The major island, Phu Quoc, is an 27 miles long and covering an astonishing 732 square miles. Lying only ten miles off the Cambodian coast, the island is disputed territory that also claimed by the Cambodians but the Vietnamese are beginning to develop the island. Phu Quoc Island boasts lush tropical forest and mountain zones.

The island is about the size of Singapore, but only about 75,000 people live here. Phu Quoc is blanketed with the largest remaining swath of tropical rain forest in Vietnam. The main activities are fishing and manufacture of the country's finest nuoc mam (fish sauce); about 18,000 inhabitants live mainly in the town of Duong Dong, on the west side of the island.

Read more about Phu Quoc

Con Dao Island

Con Dao Island from the air

Vietnam’s newest and most remote, tropical escape to the luxurious Six Senses Resort Con Dao. An hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Con Dao is the largest of a chain of a national marine park of 15 islands and islets, ringed with picturesque beaches, unspoiled coral reefs, with the best diving in Vietnam, scenic bays, and partially covered in tropical forests with trails for hiking.

In addition to hiking, diving and exploring deserted coastal roads there are interesting wildlife-watching opportunities, spotting such creatures the black giant squirrel and endemic bow-fingered gecko.

Read more about Con Dao Island

October to March

Visa Required

Angkor Wat - Laos

All Departure Notes

When and Where to go? Our over two decades years of organizing custom trips in Vietnam ensures you'll visit the places we know will be perfect for you and doing the things you are interested in. In fact, few of our guests experience the same trip, as we fine tune even the smallest of details such as where to dine in each location. Weather and climate should definitely affect your itinerary, ask us and refer to our weather chart for specific patterns of the year.

What to know? Vietnam is no longer as much a challenging for travelers. However, unlike places seasoned by longer periods of tourism, such as Japan and Thailand, local knowledge and arrangements will make the difference between a good trip and one that is one of the most incredible of your life. Benefit from our over two decades of experience in Vietnam, unsurpassed local knowledge and personal connections. Vietnam remains two countries with marked differences between the north and south and even various provinces within them, not only culturally, but geographically. Indeed, travel between Vietnam's many provinces can often seem like passing between countries. If your trip is short, you should not miss the north, where most cultural, historical, and geographic highlights are centered (and all UNESCO World Heritage Sites). The north is intriguing because it is full of unknowns; it is less commercial than the south, and the people have an entirely different mentality. The north feels like a foreign place; central Vietnam seems mysterious; but the south may seem a little too familiar with traffic, billboards, and sprouting up of high rises all over Saigon.

Most importantly for your travel plans — toss the guidebook. Vietnam is exceptional for it's people, and certainly not museums, historical sites, or other attractions that draw package tourists. Geography and cuisine notwithstanding, almost every one of our travelers over the past two decades have been stuck by the people. Their warmth, easy demeanor, and gregarious nature are unsurpassed and you'll find a welcome smile almost anywhere you venture in the country. We will facilitate these unforgettable personal encounters, with premier artists to street food chefs, but also make sure your trip exposes you to the best of Vietnam's cuisine and other attractions.

Vietnam Private Custom Tours

Vietnam's greatest natural experiences lie in the undeveloped north and central coast. The north is intriguing, full of exotic and unknowns; far less commercial and more traditional than the south. Explore places you should not miss below, and our Vietnam tours page for initial trip ideas.

Unique Vietnam Travel Experiences

We organize unique, private activities and experiences tailored to your interests

Highlights of Vietnam

Vietnam's most authentic places and experiences lie in the undeveloped north and central coast. The north is intriguing, full of exotic and unknowns. The stoic capital, Hanoi, sublime Halong Bay, the ancient Imperial Capital, Hue, and nearby Hoi An, an ancient port of trade, are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites that should be part any trip to Vietnam.

Vietnam Luxury Hotels

Below are a sampling of he finest luxury hotels best resorts in Vietnam to whet your appetite. Most important, Vietnam's climate is far more specific than other parts of Asia, such as Thailand, and there are definite times of the year for enjoying beach resorts—contact us for details.

The Indochina Travel Difference in Japan

Asia Expert

Asia changes quickly and is, well, very different from trip planning to other places. Many of our travelers have never used a tour company before.


The first American tour company to open offices in Indochina and to organize specialty adventure, arts, photography, and culinary trips.

Insider Travel

Toss the guidebook and discover the authentic, away from crowds, overlooked gems, immersive activities & thrilling encounters for real insight into places you visit.

Unique Experiences

Skip the boring, the unremarkable, and tourist traps. Thrill to unique insider experiences, fascinating people encounters, and activities that only we arrange.


We provide full-service booking for your international flights, discounted and refundable, and arranging of all regional and in-country flights.

Only Private Trips

Access our decades of experience in the region on an entirely private custom trip, enjoying insider access, exceptional people, maximum flexibility, and activities few travelers experience.

Visas and More

Relax while we handle airlines, visas, and all other incidentals, including VIP immigration for your arrivals. Benefit from attentive local offices, experienced staff, and premier guides.

Culinary Delights

Long before Bourdain, we were organizing the first culinary-focused tours in Asia. We'll plan your dining from the best street eats to elegant venues. See our remarkable culinary trips.

Premier Guides

Experienced travelers know the guide makes the trip. Our guides are the most experienced and knowledgeable, typically with two decades in their position.


Enjoy a custom private trip for what most others charge for group trips, with better quality guides, services, itinerary, unique activities, and hotels.

Trip of a Lifetime

Even very experienced travelers return from their trips thrilled about their journey with us. Ask us for references and read our testimonials.

Peace of Mind

Enjoy the services premier travel agents use including meticulous trip planning and attentive 24 x 7 in-country offices so you may relax and enjoy your trip.

INDOCHINA Travel Company

San Francisco California
Phone: (415) 418-6800