From kaleidoscopic landscapes made up of lush paddy fields, vast stretches of undisturbed white sandy beaches, and bustling cities famous for their street foods and vibrant markets, there’s so much to love about cultural holidays in Vietnam. Arguably most famous for its Mekong Delta and the limestone karsts of Halong Bay, nature abounds in this stunning Southeast Asian country. Each of our itineraries is filled with cultural adventures that take you on a mesmerising journey into the heart of Vietnam.
As you trek through traditional hilltop villages, you’ll meet with the local people and enjoy immersive experiences learning about the culture and history. Whether you prefer to explore on foot or by bike, the historic towns of Hanoi, Hoi Ann and Hue are fascinating places to visit. And a trip to Vietnam wouldn’t be complete without crawling through the epic Cu Chi war tunnels.
Sail down the Mekong Delta, sampling authentic Vietnamese dishes along the way and witness the diverse scenery that makes this country so unique. In contrast to the Mekong, the city of Ho Chi Min City, formerly known as Saigon, whisks you into a frenzy with its bustling streets and dynamic cityscape that fuses Vietnam’s past with its modern economic hub.
During our Cultural Holidays in Vietnam, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy immersive experiences trying activities such as Tai Chi and yoga and learning about the history and skills of local crafts. And if you’re a food lover, you’ll be in your element with all the colourful cuisine that’s on offer.
Hanoi City Tour: Vietnam’s cultural capital and historic heart, Hanoi, blends ancient architecture with modern-day culture, and inside the vibrant Old Quarter you’ll see colonial influences that have shaped the city. Walk among the centuries-old buildings that line the narrow streets and see the historic temples and landmarks that are dotted around the city, from the Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo Prison to the impressive Presidential Palace. Hoa Lo Prison once housed American prisoners of war during the Vietnam War but is now home to memorabilia and a French guillotine that tell of Vietnam’s struggles in the 1950s. As you explore the city further, your senses are awakened by the hum of scooters zipping through the streets, the sound of haggling market traders and the seductive aromas of Vietnamese street foods.
Walking Tour of Hoi An: Formerly a major port for traders in the 16th-century, Hoi An is a significant town that takes you on a trip into Vietnam’s rich past. This fascinating outdoor museum lies along the river and its Old Town is brimming with centuries-old merchant’s houses, Chinese temples and laid-back bars. Immerse yourself in Hoi An’s intoxicating atmosphere as you wander though the riverside market where silk garments and large bowls of fragrant spices spill out from the stalls. The iconic Japanese bridge, Quan Thang House and colourful river boats make Hoi An one of the most photogenic destinations in Vietnam.
Cruise the Mekong Delta: Experience a much slower pace as you venture into the land of the Mekong Delta. Known as the ‘rice bowl’, the Mekong is the lifeblood and lungs of Vietnam with its network of canals, rivers and streams that meander between traditional towns and villages. As you cruise along its waterways, you’ll pass boats weighed down with fruits, sugar cane and coconuts and you might even spot a buffalo or two bathing in the rice paddies. If you want to experience authentic Vietnamese culture, head to Cai Rang floating market or stop off at one of the local cottage industries where you can watch coconut candy and rice paper being made.
Explore Ho Chi Minh City: Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the economic hub of Vietnam. Its imposing cityscape and pulsating streets fuse together ancient and modern cultures quite spectacularly. A scooter tour of the city is a fun way to explore and visit some of the main sights such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Opera House and the Central Post Office but if you want to delve deeper into the past, the War Remnants Museum lets you discover the darker side of Saigon. Walking through the city at night is undeniably atmospheric with its noisy markets and street food stalls which tempt you with local delicacies like bánh xèo (savour pancakes) and com tấm (broken rice).
This was an excellent trip, full of extraordinary sights. We were able to see many of the most impressive sites in Cairo and the Upper Nile. Hotel accommodation was of a high standard and the cruise ship was good. We had an outstanding guide and a friendly and interesting group of people. When I had an accident in the temple at Edfu the response from our guide, from Exodus, and from the personnel on the cruise ship was incredibly supportive. The guide’s knowledge of first aid was much appreciated. We have a few reservations: we found the early starts made sight-seeing rather tiring after very little sleep. The 7am briefing on the first morning seemed unnecessary, for example, after a late arrival the night before and the two hour time difference. We didn’t think the trip should be described as ‘leisurely’: there was a lot of standing in queues at both airports and sites and this was especially exhausting in conjunction with the early starts. Also, while we realise that Exodus doesn’t control the entertainment on the cruise ship, we would have preferred informational talks and preparation for the following day’s events to the party games and belly dancer. We would also have liked to have had more Egyptian food.
We were a private group of 9 chaps, none of us spring chickens. We went early-March, and the weather was generally warm apart from a couple of very chilly mornings. We were led there by our brilliant leader Mikhled; nothing was too much trouble for him, and he is very knowledgeable. A wonderful country, very friendly. The trip was a good mixture of biking and mini-bus transport. Highlights were Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, and Red Sea/Aqaba. Some steep cycling downhill sections and the odd walk up hills – no great surprise at our age! Accommodation fine and food generally excellent; alcohol is sometimes available, sometimes not, so you need to plan a bit in advance if you like to imbibe, as we do. Overall view – highly recommended. (One tip – we were advised to take US dollars as well as Jordanian dinar; you only need the latter in reality).