Monday, 4th July 2016
Vietnam visa waiver extended
Holidays to Vietnam of up to 15 days can continue to be organised for British passport holders without the need for a visa. The decision has been reached by the country’s government to continue the programme to make travel to Vietnam easier.
It was first introduced in July 2015, but has been extended up to the end of June 2017. As well as applying to Brits, Italians, Spanish, German and French citizens can also take advantage of completing less paperwork for a two-week holiday in Vietnam.
Tourism is thriving in Vietnam, with 4.7 million visitors arriving in the country in the first half of 2016. This is according to figures from Vietnam’s General Statistics Office and represents a 21.3 per cent increase on the same period a year ago.
It is thought that the waiver for single entry visas, as well as direct flights between London Heathrow and Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have gone some way towards this success. So what can you do in Vietnam with 15 days of visa-free travel?
Travel the length of Vietnam
A 15-day itinerary could easily see you travel the length of the country from Ho Chi Minh City in the south, right up to Hanoi in the north. Along the way there are plenty of incredible places to stop off and experience the regional differences and cultural highlights of this stunning nation.
Ho Chi Minh City
Take in the incredible colonial architecture of the city that many locals still call Saigon. From the Notre-Dame Basilica to the Saigon Central Post Office, the legacy of the French can be seen throughout. For a distinct Vietnamese flavour, be sure to sample some dishes from the many food stalls lining the streets.
The port town of Hoi An has really come into its own in recent years and has a booming restaurant scene, as well as plenty of tailors to stitch outfits for you. Explore the Old Town on foot and discover why it charms all those who visit.
Having been the seat of the Nguyen dynasty between 1802 and 1945, this city on the Perfume River has so much to see. The 19th-century Citadel includes the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City. Do not miss the seven-tiered Thien Mu Pagoda while you’re in Hue either, as it is a stunning example of traditional religious architecture.
A popular trekking destination, Sapa in the north of Vietnam, is a town nestled in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains. From here, you can explore the surrounding countryside and rice terraces and interact with the hill tribes that call the area home.
Ready for some well-earned R&R, Halong Bay is the place to do it. With more than 1,600 limestone islands and islets, this United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site is an incredible sight to behold.
At the heart of Vietnam’s capital is the stunning Old Quarter, where artisans can still be seen plying the same trades on streets that have housed them for generations. Wander around some of Hanoi’s varied temples and head to the market to stock up on souvenirs.