In 2011 Vietnam Airlines launched their first direct services from the UK (London Gatwick) to Hanoi and Saigon. Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are popular gateway points for access to almost all parts of Indochina. Flying time to the region is around 11-12 hours.
Guide to the country
Vietnam offers two outstanding cities in Saigon and Hanoi. The capital Hanoi in particular has retained much of its character and history and is the gateway to one of the region’s most amazing sights; Halong Bay. The beaches of Vietnam are becoming more and more popular, with resorts such as Hoi An, Phan Thiet and Nha Trang, but there is so much more to these areas, with impressive historical temples and busy, photogenic ports. The World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is famous for its beauty and splendour and a must-see on any Indochina itinerary. Luang Prabang, in the north of neighbouring Laos, is a tranquil town on the banks of the Mekong River, providing visitors with a taste of authentic Asia.
When to go
For Hanoi the summer months from May to October can be quite hot with regular downpours. Winter from November to April is cooler and drier and a better time to visit. Saigon is particularly hot during March to May, with the wet season from May to November. December to March is considered the best time to visit Saigon and the beaches of Central Vietnam. For Angkor Wat and Cambodia, November to February is ideal with cooler and drier weather. May to October sees brief showers and high humidity. October to March is the best time to visit Luang Prabang in Laos, when the weather is cooler and drier than at other times.
Important to note
British passport holders require a passport valid for at least six months following the return date of the trip. Visas are required individually for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. A 30 day visa for Vietnam can be arranged in advance and will cost approximately £40- £45. You can contact the Vietnamese embassy in London to arrange (allow two weeks for this). For Cambodia and Laos you can get a visa on arrival. This is in the region of $US20-35, which is payable in cash. For vaccination requirements for Indochina, please contact your doctor well in advance of your UK departure date.
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