Category: Vietnam Cities

Da Lat

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A slice of Europe in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Dalat found favour with the French rulers for its cool climate. Today, Dalat’s mild temperatures are popular with TUI’s travellers, as is the town’s attractive landscape of colonial villas, gardens, lakes and rolling hills.

Dalat’s colourful market features locally-made specialities such as artichoke tea, candied fruits, coffee and the finest cool climate vegetables and flowers in Vietnam. Visit the former summer residence of Vietnam’s last emperor, Bao Dai, and meet Dalat’s famous artist monk Vien Thuc in his studio lined with thousands of his quirky compositions. The brilliantly coloured silk weavings of the K’hor tribespeople are a popular purchase, as are finely detailed silk embroideries

Nha Trang

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Its fine beach, island and mountain views, fresh seafood and gentle sea breezes have endeared Nha Trang to many a TUI traveller. We spend time cruising the waters of the South Centre Sea, stopping to swim from our boat and visit an island fishing village. Whether eating on board, in the spectacularly located villas of the former emperor Bao Dai, or in one of our favourite barbeque restaurants, don’t miss the local seafood.

Nha Trang’s charms lie in its seaside surrounds, but you might like to take a cyclo ride along the beachfront boulevarde to the city’s market, and on to the ancient Cham towers of Po Nagar with their views over the colourful fishing fleet to the sea. Or if sport takes your fancy, why not join the locals as they gather on the beach in the evening for a friendly game of football.

My Lai

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The small town of My Lai is best known for the tragedy that betook this area, known to locals as Tu Cung Hamlet, at the hands of US Charlie Company on March 16, 1968. The massacre of civilians in the hamlets of Son My Village, now known in history as the My Lai Massacre, is the single most shameful chapter of America’s involvement in Vietnam.

US Intelligence suggested that the 48th Local Forces Battalion of the North Vietnamese Army, which had been involved in the Tet Offensive on Quang Ngai a month earlier, was hiding in Son My. Charlie Company was part of the taskforce sent to flush them out, and it was the First Platoon led by Lieutenant William Calley that ripped through My Lai.

In all the Son My boy count reached 500, 347 of whom fell in Tu Cung Hamlet alone. Visiting My Lai with TUI is a sobering and enriching experience. We take you through the history of the place and its people and its tragic, if brief, place in the Vietnam War.

Hoi An

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The small town of Hoi An is the perfect place to break your journey midway through Vietnam. Located on the country’s magnificent central coast, this one-time trading port retains an old world ambience and a rich historical quality that resulted in its recent listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Let TUI escort you through the narrow lanes and streets of the old town, lined with centuries old shophouses combining the influences of the many trading communities who visited Hoi An: French, Japanese, Chinese. See the Japanese Covered Bridge, the gaudy interior of the Guangdong or Fukien Chinese Assembly Halls; take tea in an 18th Century home; jostle for space with the fish mongers in the lively riverside seafood market,; cycle out to Cua Dai Beach or take a sunset river cruise – these are all part of the unique Hoi An experience.

And no trip to Hoi An would be complete without shopping: ceramics, wooden carvings, silk lanterns, paintings, or step inside one of the many tailors shops and get measured up for a silk blouse or business suit. Prices are very reasonable – especially if you sharpen your bargaining skills beforehand!

Centre Beach

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Not far from Danang lies My Khe – better known as the famed Centre Beach. US and Australian servicemen were helicoptered in here for R&R; during the Vietnam war.

A great expanse of white sand stretches out before a rough ocean just 7kms from Danang’s centre. Taking in Centre Beach from the heights of Marble Mountain is a must before heading down for a dip. The beach itself remains largely undeveloped – there’s just a small kiosk and of course a few stalls selling t-shirts and other souvenirs.

A swim at Centre Beach, or even just a walk through its clean, grainy sand is a must!

Hue

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Vietnam’s 19-20th Century capital under her last royal dynasty, Hue is a quiet and attractive city home to some of Vietnam’s most impressive feudal remnants.

TUI will guide you through the landmark Citadel, once the residence of the royal family, where we climb the Citadel’s colossal Ngo Mon Gate for views over the Thai Hoa Palace, with its interior of gold and scarlet ironwood columns and royal paraphernalia. Walk the grounds of the former Forbidden Purple City, scarred by decades of war, and admire the Hall of the Mandarins and the 2 tonne dynastic urns with their fine bronze work. We take a dragon boat up the Perfume River to the celebrated Pagoda of Thien Mu in its fine hilltop location.

In the lush hills beyond the city, we explore the tombs of the former emperors, the beautiful lakes, pavilions, pine groves and palace of Tu Duc, and the startlingly Baroque-influenced tomb of Khai Dinh with its ornate tiled interior.

Reunification Express

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It’s not the Orient Express, but Vietnam’s Reunification Express is a great, fun way to travel. We use this train on our Grand Adventure, Inside Vietnam and Cambodia, Cycling Vietnam and New Vietnam tours (although note that New Vietnam travellers can take the flight option).

Conditions on the Reunification Express are basic. It has four berth sleeper compartments; some trains are air-conditioned, others fan-cooled. We always book air-conditioned trains, but on occasion we must take the fan-cooled trains, although these are not necessarily a much worse option.

On the Grand Adventure we take the Reunification Express from Hanoi to Dong Ha and on the New Vietnam we travel north from Hue to Hanoi. Both are 14-hour scheduled journeys.

We take a break from pedalling by taking the Reunification Express on our Cycling Vietnam tour, and our Inside Vietnam and Cambodia Small Group Journey also enjoys the great train ride!

Sheets and pillows are provided, although it may be an idea to bring your own sleep sheet on this journey.

Breakfast is provided on the train – it’s basic but your tour leader will supplement it with delicious fresh fruit!

Mai Chau

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Located in a beautiful upland valley, Mai Chau is a mosaic of rice fields, bamboo groves, and scattered settlements of the White Tai people.

It is the Tai who give this valley its unique atmosphere, with their picturesque villages of bamboo and timber houses raised on stilts. Tai women are skilled weavers, with looms in use below most of the houses and Tai weavings making a fine momento of a visit to this area.

Stay with TUI in a Tai family house for a night of traditional hospitality and warmth. After dinner, we may have the opportunity to see some Tai dancing – or perhaps just bed down in the communal house before an early rise for a walk around the valley.

Halong Bay

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With its thousands of limestone islets emerging from the South China Sea, Halong Bay is Vietnam’s premier natural attraction.

Now a World Heritage site the bay’s towering cliffs, jungle-topped islands, hidden caves, grottoes and calm waters are a must-see for any visitor to the north of Vietnam. Cruise this magical environment with TUI, aboard a private boat that will carry you deep into the Bay’s more secluded inner reaches for a memorable experience of this unique seascape.

Sapa

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Located in Vietnam’s remote north west mountains, Sapa is famous for both its fine, rugged scenery and also its rich cultural diversity. Its lush, deep river valleys, in the shadows of Vietnam’s tallest peak Mount Fansipan, are home to Blue H’mong and Red Dao communities, who continue to maintain their strong traditions and warmly welcome visitors to their homes.

Sapa is also famous for its street market, which attracts villagers from the surrounding hills and is particularly busy on Saturdays. The unique embroidery, jewellery and clothes of the H’mong and Dao are good buys here, and the sight of dozens of minority women in their traditional clothing is a memorable part of any stay in Sapa.

Let TUI introduce you to the cultures and landscapes of this unique region. We visit nearby minority villages, take a walk to the river below Cat Cat, see the Thac Bac Waterfall and spectacular valley views up the nearby Tram Ton Pass.