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Premium Picks for Vietnam.

June 25, 2013 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Luxury TravelPham Ha picks the top five experiences for you in Vietnam, and they all can be combined into one trip from North to South Vietnam, or you can do them separately, depending on your time and travel interests.

Pham Ha is the CEO and founder of Luxury Travel Ltd (, the first luxury travel and tour operator in Indochina. He is also a travel guru, tourism speaker, writer, consultant and a leading designer of luxury tourism industry training programs.

Deck_by_the_Beach3Vietnam offers a magical mix of tropical beaches, post-colonial charm, a string of world heritage sites, stunning inland scenery, world-renowned cuisine and a home-grown flair for hospitality.

With new luxury hotels and world class golf courses newly opening, luxury trains, exclusive cruises and upscale private tours spanning the length of the country, Vietnam is fast emerging as the world’s latest luxury destination.

Vietnam country has a French colonial influence with unique architecture, tree-lined boulevards, and baguettes and croissants to rival any Parisian cafe.

The country also boasts many attractions, including beautiful resorts, spas, majestic scenery, a rich traditional culture, easy going and welcoming locals and an improving tourist infrastructure.

This makes Vietnam a more attractive destination for travelers seeking authenticity coupled with luxury and the best value for their money.

Holidaymakers have the choice of new and trendy boutique hotels, spas, golfing, cruises, shopping centers, restaurants and nightlife.

With new luxury hotels and world class golf courses having recently opened or set to open soon, and the introduction of  luxury train journeys, exclusive cruises and upscale private tours spanning the length of the country, Vietnam is fast emerging as an exciting luxe destination in Southeast Asia.

1.  Explore the Wonder Halong Bay by Helicopter.

The use of helicopters between the Vietnamese capital and the UNESCO World Heritage site means travel time between the two points, traditionally a six-hour journey by road, has been cut down to just one hour.

Situated in the Tonkin Golf, Halong Bay is one of the world’s natural wonders, a bay with more than 3,000 islands, that time, wind and waves have sculpted into fantastic shapes.

The bay is dotted with tiny islands and pristine sandbanks on the turquoise water providing an excellent backdrop for swimming or simply being lazy on the junk boat deck.

You can tour Halong Bay by helicopter and it is a great way to get a panoramic view.  We organize this helicopter tour every Saturday or as a private charter upon request.

Guests will be picked up at 7:00 at their hotel in Hanoi, then transfer to Gia Lam Heliport for a 45 -minute flight by helicopter MI 8 to Halong Bay (helicopters MI 8 and 17 can carry 20 passengers, while MI 172 VIP holds 24 passengers and EC -130B4, accommodates 5 passengers only).

Passengers will enjoy 5 minutes of a bird’s eye view on Halong Bay as the helicopter flies over the bay for a bit before landing.

Arriving at Halong Heliport on General Giap Hill, you will transfer to the Halong Harbor. Travelers will board a private boat for a four-hour cruise of this stunning area, stopping along the way to visit one of the limestone caves in the area.

Passengers will be treated with a sumptuous local seafood lunch onboard and transfer back to Halong Heliport at 2:30 pm and guests board the helicopter for 45-minute ride back to Hanoi.

Passengers can opt for staying overnight in Halong Bay on luxury junks and travel back to Hanoi by road if time permits.

2. Train Experience, and  Bac Ha Sunday Market

Sapa and Bac Ha offer some of Vietnam’s most colourful experiences and Luxury Travel offers a deluxe tour package for these destinations.

Tucked high in Vietnam’s remote northern mountains, close to the Chinese border, the former French military outpost of Sapa is a special destination.

The views are breathtaking, as Vietnam’s highest peak, the 3,143-metre Mount Fansipan, looms overhead, while the surrounding valleys feature terraced rice paddies and blazing green fields cut by fast-flowing streams.

Layer upon layer of green ridges fade into the distance, edged by sharp, rocky peaks. The region is home to several ethnic minority groups, all wearing their traditional and colorful attire.

Guests will be picked up from their hotel in Hanoi and transfer to Hanoi Railway. The Victoria Express departs at 10:00 pm at 120 Le Duan Str., Hanoi and ends at the border town of Lao Cai.

The train arrives at the Lao Cai train station at approximately 6:00 a.m. There will be a vehicle waiting to transfer guests to Sapa. The drive to Sapa is only 33 km but it takes around 1.5 hours.

Once at Sapa, guests will check into the Victoria Hotel, have breakfast at the Ta Van Restaurant and then enjoy a free morning to explore around town. Guests will meet their guide in the hotel lobby at 2 p.m for a walking tour to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, home to the H’mong ethnic minority peoples.

As they walk, guests will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa and have the opportunity to share cultural experiences with the families that live in the area.   Them it’s dinner at the Victoria Sapa Hotel and an overnight stay.

Awaking to the sounds of a new day, guests eat breakfast at the Victoria Hotel and head out for a stunning spectacular weekend market excursion.

Bac Ha is considered one of the most wonderful and colorful markets in extreme northern Vietnam, where thousands of local people in their traditional attire buy and sell the local products. Dogs, cats, pigs, horses… everything is on sale!

This is a golden opportunity to take your best photos and in the afternoon, guests will take a pleasant walk to Ban Pho village, home to the flower H’mong people. This is a great opportunity to interact with the friendly locals and have pleasant walk amongst tribal villages.

Then, transfer to Lao Cai station for an overnight Victoria Express trip back to Hanoi, arriving at 5 a.m.

3.  Discover Central Vietnam in the Lap of Luxury

Vietnam has always had an extraordinary charm, in part because of the French colonial influence still evident throughout much of the country, and also because of its own rich traditional culture and visual style.  Jaw dropping scenery, fabulous food and friendly locals all contribute to the country’s appeal to travelers but in recent times the destination’s luxury offerings have ramped up a few notches, especially in Central Vietnam. The Central Coast of Vietnam boasts a rich mix of attractions.  Besides the stunning beaches, sumptuous resorts and golf links, there are numerous UNESCO-accredited cultural heritage sites, including the centuries-old former port town of Hoi An, once an international hub for merchants in Asia.  Also, there’s Hue, home to the throne of the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) and the My Son ruins, the spiritual heart of the Kingdom of Champa and dubbed the “Valley of Kings” by French archaeologists.  A few miles from Hoi An Ancient Town, you will find the untouched paradise of Cham Island, which is a perfect day trip from either Hoi An or Da Nang. There are also mountain retreats, insights into Vietnam’s military history at Vinh Moc tunnels in the DMZ, and the natural wonders of Phong Nha Ke Bang national park, not to mention the incredible unique local cuisines found in Hue and Hoi An. The Nam Hai in Hoi An and La Residence Hotel and Spa Hue are recommended.

4.  Culinary Discovery

Vietnam boasts one of the world’s most original cuisines, which is characterized by a complex blend of textures and flavors. Fresh and healthy, it varies throughout the country’s northern, central and southern regions, revealing a diversity of culinary and cultural influences. From culinary courses to gourmet cooking weekends, discover the best culinary travel services for your next luxury culinary vacation. Foodies will love the myriad of culinary activities from private chefs, cooking schools and other luxury travel services that create unforgettable culinary experiences in Vietnam. In 10 days, you will discover the fascinating culture, scenery and food of Vietnam, while staying at the best hotels and dining at wonderful authentic restaurants.  We are taking you around Vietnam, from the South (starting in Ho Chi Minh City), to Central Vietnam (with the highlights of Hue and Hoi An) and ending in the North (Hanoi). It is said that Vietnamese culture expresses itself differently in these three parts of the country.   This is clearly reflected in the culinary life of local residents in each area. During the tour, you will discover the fascinating landscape and taste traditional Vietnamese food in the best authentic restaurants.

.  Island Experience on Six Senses Con Dao

After a wonderful cultural discover you should stay a couple of nights on the beach before you fly home and Con Dao is an ideal choice.  In colonial times, the islands of Con Dao (also known as Poulo Condore) were much feared, as a notorious French prison was located on Con Son, the largest island of this remote southern archipelago. Many of Vietnam’s most famous freedom fighters served time on this lonely, windswept island, which lies 185 km southeast of the port city of Vung Tau. Today, the archipelago’s residents survive by fishing, diving for pearls, collecting swallows’ nests, and farming. Visitors will find starkly beautiful cliffs, long, untouched beaches, and patches of thick, old-growth forest. Sea turtles lay their eggs on the islands’ remote beaches, while dolphins live offshore. Just 60 minutes via Vietnam Airlines from Ho Chi Minh City, Con Dao offers the perfect escape from modern life. A four day package (all inclusive) from Ho Chi Minh City (featured on is priced at $2,832 USD per couple.

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