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Tailor made holidays to Vietnam

Vietnam’s founding myth tells of a sea dragon, Lac Long Quan, who fell in love with the mountain fairy Au Co. Together the pair had one hundred sons, half of whom followed their father to the coast and half of whom joined their mother in the highlands. These magical children are held as the forefathers of the Vietnamese people. This myth holds a clue to Vietnam’s landscape and cultural identity. A long, skinny country curled around the South China Sea, Vietnam has 3,450km of coastline and a central spine of mountains, including the highest peak in mainland Southeast Asia, Mount Fansipan. Vietnam’s shape is often compared to two rice baskets on a shoulder pole. The narrow band of lowland deserts and steep mountains in the centre give way to broad expanses of river deltas in the north and south. Having begun its journey in Tibet, the Mekong River divides into nine tributaries in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, giving this fertile region its Vietnamese name of Cuu Long, or ‘Nine Dragons’. The northern Red River Delta, meanwhile, is the cradle of Vietnamese culture, and villages in this area retain their traditional architecture and traditions. Visitors are astonished by the Vietnam’s geographic diversity. You’ll find remote mountain markets frequented by ethnic minority peoples, vibrant cafés and art galleries in the cities, serene views of emerald paddy fields in the lowlands, and endless stretches of unspoilt beaches.

Set high in Vietnam’s northeast mountains, the hamlet of Sapa offers spectacular views of jagged mountain ridges, terraced rice paddies and green valleys inhabited by people of various minority groups, all of whom congregate in Sapa’s colourful market. Each group has its own distinctive style of dress. From early childhood girls learn to grow and weave hemp, to dye cloth with indigo, to sew the family’s clothes, and to decorate items with traditional embroidery motifs.

While imperial rule ended almost six decades ago, the central city of Hue still bears the marks of its royal past. From 1802 to 1945 Hue was home to 13 Nguyen emperors, whose palaces and tombs provide fascinating glimpses into the luxurious and secretive world of the court. Visitors may explore the red-lacquered pavilions of the Citadel, take an evening boat cruise on the Perfume River accompanied by a troupe of musicians performing courtly love songs, or feast on delicacies once served in the royal palaces.

Ho Chi Minh, or Saigon as the locals still call it, is a bustling city located in the south of Vietnam. The city’s neoclassical and international style buildings, and pavement kiosks selling French rolls give certain areas of the city an attractive, vaguely French feel. From the contemporary art galleries to the buzz of the markets, Ho Chi Minh caters for all tastes.  There is no doubting the vibrancy and energy the city exudes day and night, making it a city that is desperately hard to leave.

In 1010 Emperor Ly Thai To founded his capital, which he christened ‘Rising Dragon’, on the banks of the Red River. Almost a millennium later, Hanoi remains Vietnam’s political centre, its crowded streets lined with reminders of its long and tumultuous history. You’ll find the Temple of Literature, a bastion of Confucian scholarship founded in 1015; an Old Quarter of winding alleys, crowded markets and traditional shop-houses; tree-lined avenues flanked by imposing French colonial villas; and the Soviet-style mausoleum built in honour of the man who led the country to independence, Ho Chi Minh.

More than 3,000 limestone islands rise from the turquoise waters of Ha Long Bay, an archipelago that lies 160km from Hanoi. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, Ha Long Bay is a naturalist’s dream. Sculpted into strange shapes by the wind and weather, the islands hide deserted beaches, many magnificent caves, and hidden lagoons that may only be reached by chinks in the cliffs that are revealed at low tide.

Located in central Vietnam, the sun-washed town of Nha Trang hugs a seven-km-long stretch of golden sand, making this the perfect place to get a dose of sun, surf and fresh seafood. Clear blue seas dotted with offshore islands offer excellent opportunities for diving, fishing and snorkelling, while the town itself is home to some interesting sites, including a massive white Buddha statue and a cluster of Cham towers built between the 7th and 12th centuries. For a truly dirty pleasure try the mineral mud baths warmed by natural hot springs.

Set near the coast in central Vietnam, from the 16th to 19th centuries the riverside town of Hoi An once drew merchants from as far afield as Japan, India, Indonesia and Europe who bought the area’s silk, spices and porcelain. A Japanese district and a Chinese quarter were built, to be later joined by a French district. What makes Hoi An remarkable today is that its town centre has been beautifully preserved, the streets still lined with old tile-roofed shop-houses, shady pagodas and colourful communal halls. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this little town is like a living museum.

The French colonial legacy is still very much evident, not just in the charming architecture of buildings such as the Opera House and the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi but also in the vibrant café culture of the cities and the widespread popularity of the baguette.

Whether luxuriating on an island honeymoon, trekking with hill tribes, diving on coral reefs or sampling Saigon’s buzzing nightlife, Vietnam cannot fail to captivate and beguile.

When to Travel to Vietnam:

October to March is when the temperature is most pleasant. However, Indochina is a year-round destination although conditions may vary. During May and June it can get particularly hot and July to September is the season of the south-western monsoon, when wet conditions bring welcome respite. Whilst many people avoid the “off season”, there are plenty of good reasons to travel during this time, when hotel rates are reduced and the attractions are delightfully free of crowds. 

This is a nice video produced by Vietnam Airlines that showcases some of the main attractions of Vietnam.

Beaches of the South China Sea

A two week holiday taking in some of Vietnams most beautiful coastal scenery whilst staying in the most luxurious secluded beach retreats before spending a few nights in the lively city of Saigon.

From £2349 per person sharing

CGH Heaven & Earth - Kerala at her best.

10 day holiday to Kerala that allows you to explore the quintessential parts of Kerala, staying in the award winning CGH Earth hotels - Bruntons Boatyard, Spice Village, Houseboat, Coconut Lagoon and Marari Beach Resort - quite simply Kerala at her best!

From £1750 Per person sharing
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Fun For the Family - A Holiday in Sri Lanka - Colombo, Sigirya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dikwella & Bentota

A stimulating holiday for adults and children alike, which introduces you to Sri Lankas cultures, history, wildlife and her glorious beaches whilst staying in child friendly villas, lodges and hotels.

From £2110 per person sharing

Goa and the Golden Triangle - Delhi, Agra, Ranthambhore, Jaipur & Goa

The classic Golden Triangle combined with a visit to Ranthambore National Park in search of tiger and to finish,5 nights in aGoan retreat overlooking the Arabian Sea. Highlights: The Taj Mahal; Tiger Spotting in Ranthambhore; Jaipurs markets; Goas Beaches

From £3371 per person sharing

Heavenly Himalayas - Delhi, Darjeeling, Sikkim & Kalimpong

Two weeks spent on the roof of the world, in the Himalayan states of West Bengal and Sikkim. Visit the world famous tea gardens of Darjeeling, explore the culture of the area with its Indian, Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese influences and survey the unrivalled vistas of the mighty Himalayas.

From £2676 per person sharing

Hilltops and Hideaways - Kerala - Tranquil, Cochin, Munnar, Periyar & Backwaters

A fourteen night holiday discovering the delights of Kerala, ranging form tree houses in the western Ghats to elephants in Periyars wildlife sanctuary. Visit the historic harbour city of Cochin, the Cardamom plantations of Munnar and the emerald green...

From £2299 per person sharing

In Search of the Tiger - Delhi, Ranthambhore National Park, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Agra, Bandhavgarh & Kanha National Park

Two weeks in some of Indias best wildlife sanctuaries in search of the elusive tiger, with a stop in Agra to marvel at the Taj Mahal.

From £2899 per person sharing

Inside the Dragon Kingdom

An essential overview of the Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom. This tour imbues you with a subtle appreciation of the Bhutanese situation and way of life. Bhutans character is underpinned by a culture rooted in its traditional past. Monastic-fortress centers...

From £2855 per person sharing

Kalmatia Sangam Village Walk - Delhi, Himalayas & Corbetts National Park

The majesty of mountains has inspired generations and none so much as the mighty Himalaya. Their sheer scale and dramatic rise from the foothills to the worlds highest peaks is as surprising as it is beautiful and has captured the imagination of explorers...

Magnificence of the Maharajas - Delhi, Shimla, Agra, Ranthambhore, Jaipur & Udaipur

Fifteen nights touring essential northern India in grand style, starting at a delightful retreat just outside Delhi. After gazing at the Far Pavilions of the Himalayas, marvelling at the Taj Mahal and listening to the night sounds of the jungle in...

From £5720 per person sharing


A Southern Indian Odyssey - Chennai, Mysore, Nagarhole, Cochin, Munnar & Madurai

A luxurious fifteen night holiday that takes in the very best of southern Indias beach resorts, temple towns, hill stations and wildlife sanctuaries.

From £2550 per person sharing

A Taste of Sri Lanka - Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya & Bentota

A ten night holiday to the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, including a night in a boutique hotel in Colombo, two nights exploring the arts and crafts of Kandy, a delightful morning train journey, a night in each of the four Tea Trails bungalows, a private...

From £2752 per person sharing

A Voyage of Discovery - Kerala - Cochin, Backwater Cruise, Periyar, Munnar & Marari Beach

A two week holiday staying at a range of delightful retreats in Southern India. It includes a three night cruise into the heart of the Keralan Backwaters aboard a custom built luxury boat. Discovery has a virtually silent engine and is pollutant free...

From £2099 per person sharing

An Epicurean Adventure - Chennai, Pondicherry, Chettinad, Periyar, Munnar, Kumarakom & Marari Beach

Tantalise your senses with a fourteen night holiday that introduces (or reacquaints!) your palate to the delights of southern Indian cuisine. It has often been said that the best Indian food is to be found in family homes and this itinerary provides...

From £2149 per person sharing

Andaman Escape - Chennai & Andaman Islands

Travel to some of the worlds most breathtakingly beautiful and unique islands. Explore mangroves ecosystems, trek through virgin rainforest dive or snorkel amongst pristine coral reefs in some of the worlds best dive sites and observe the incredibly...

From £2266 per person sharing

Classic Cambodia

Explore the magnificent temple complex of Angkor Wat and wander through the crumbling atmospheric ruins of Angkor Thom at dawn, where throughout the ages giant banyan tree roots, have slowly reclaimed the temple back for the jungle. With so much more...

£2459 per person sharing

Classic Laos

A 2 week adventure travelling through Laos where you will encounter a diverse array of people cultures, stay in hotels reminiscent ofa bygone colonialage as well asa charming lodge overlooking the Mekong River before working your way up to the Golden...

£2843 per person sharing

Coromandel to Malabar - Chennai, Mysore, Tranquil, Cochin, Backwaters & Kovalam

A leisurely, fourteen night journey across the southern states of India, starting out from Chennai (Madras), the first important settlement of The Raj, crossing the plains of Tamil Nadu by train, before climbing to a hill station on the cool slopes...

From £2727 per person sharing

Deccan Dynasties - Mumbai, Ajanta & Elora Caves, Goa, Badami & Hampi

Fifteen nights providing an insight into the ancient civilisations and magnificent art of the Deccan Plateau, interspersed with relaxing on the coast of the former Portuguese enclave of Goa.

From £3048 per person sharing

Dravidian Dreams - Chennai, Pondicherry, Tanjore, Trichy, Madurai & Chettinad

A 12-night holiday to Tamil Nadu that allows guests to explore the bustling city of Chennai, the French enclave of Pondicherry and the Temple Towns of Tamil Nadu before relaxing on a beach at Fishermans Cove.

From £2157 per person sharing


42 Lighthouse Street, Galle

This resort reflects the architectural style and traditions of Vietnam. This is very much evident in the cham style reception and dining pavilion. The exclusive location is within walking distance of the city centre and is Nha Trangs only beachfront...

Ali Gedara, Kandy

A private home and ancestral farm estate, just 45 minutes from Kandy, where visitors are houseguests, rather than clients. The main attractions are the five tame elephants that come up to the kitchen door every morning for their breakfast. This is an...

Alphonse, Seychelles

Well appointed and luxurious new lodge famous for its fly fishing facilities (bone fishing and blue water fly). Exceptional diving and snorkelling and day boat trips to exquisite neighbouring islands.

Amangalla, Galle

An historic building in the thronging Galle Fort area has been converted into a luxury hotel, which aspires to a colonial atmosphere. The rooms are stylish and spacious with high ceilings, reproduction furniture, four-poster beds and large shutters. The...

Amanjara Hotel - Phnom Penh

Featuring 21 intimate yet spacious suites, this luxury property offers the guest fine views over the energetic Sisowath Quay in the heart of Phnom Penh. Located within walking distance to both the Royal Palace and National Museum, the hotel provides...

Amankora - Gangte

Positioned on a forested knoll close to the valley floor is Amankora Gangtey. A winding track leads guests through the forest and descends to the lodge. With sweeping views of fields of dwarf bamboo and potato crops, the accommodation is typical in design and feel to other Amankora lodges.

Amankora - Paro

With views that take in the 17th century Drukyel Dzong (monastery) and soar to the 7,300m high, snow-capped Jhomolhari peak, Amankora Paro is a dramatic introduction to Bhutan. Twenty four stylish suites are built in clusters of four with rammed earth...

Amankora - Punakha

Based around a traditional farmhouse built by Her Majesty the (Bhutanese) Queen Mother, Amankora Punakha is surrounded by orchards of tropical fruit and paddy fields. Flanked by the Mo Chu river, access, via a suspension bridge decked with fluttering...

Amankora - Thimpu

Built to emulate the design of a Dzong, incorporating high stone, white-washed buildings, landscaped gardens and pristine pine forests, this lodge overlooks Thimpu valley. Two accommodation blocks house sixteen suites with king size beds, wood panelled...

Amansara - Siem Reap

This luxurious enclave was once the guest villa of King Norodom Sihanouk. It has been transformed into a 24-suite retreat that provides an ideal base for exploring the temples of Angkor. The hotel has the inviting ambience of a gracious home and is...


Calcutta Walks

06:45 Your walking guide will meet guests at the hotel lobby. 07:00 Heritage Walk of Dalhousie Square, now a World Heritage Site. The walk takes place in the morning so that you can leisurely take in the architecture and history of the citys...

Cruising on a Junk through Halong Bay, Vietnam

 This is a fantastic clip of Halong Bay and what it is like to cruise through this remarkable part of the world. Definitely one for the Bucket List! 

Cruising on the Backwaters of Kerala

Stretching along the coast from Cochin to Quilon and as far inland as Kumarakom, the Backwaters of Kerala consist of an intricately woven network of canals, streams and rivers. This lush green area provides a haven for many species of birds...

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

One of the Worlds oldest feats of engineering is the narrow gauge railway that runs from New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, to Darjeeling, rising from an altitude of 400ft to a staggering 7407ft in little over 51 miles, giving it one of the steepest gradients...

Delhi - Delhi Art Appreciation Experience

Lovers of Art recognise Indias increasing popularity in the genre of contemporary arts. This experience includes a visit to the National Gallery of Modern Art, a study of the private art collections and also meetings with experts on contemporary...

Delhi - Delhi Culinary Experience

In this truly remarkable experience you will be transported into a world of spices and aromas and the sheer variety and versatility of Indian food with our culinary experts a food historian, consultant, or a chef from a reputed hotel . Culinary experiences...

Delhi - The Gandhi Smriti Delhi Experience

Gandhi Smriti, housed in the Old Birla House on 5, Tees January Marg, New Delhi, is the sacred place where Mahatma Gandhis epic life ended on 30 January 1948. The exhibits include the room where the Mahatma lived and the grounds where he held a...

Delhi - The Real Delhi Experience

Visit an Indian home and meet the family over a meal. Explore Indian culture and cuisine interacting with people who have lived here for years. For travelers with specific interests, we can arrange for interactive sessions with expert views on a variety...

Elephant Safaris - Tiger Spotting on Elephant

If you think a 4 x 4 can cover rough terrain, it is nothing compared to where an elephant can go! Sitting high up on its back, I was amazed at just how hairy the large pachyderm was, and getting used to the sway of his gait was a little tricky at...

Everest Flight

A commercial airliner cruises at 35000 ft above sea level and the last time I flew over the Alps, I enjoyed looking down on the snow covered peaks. Everest is 29029 ft and is right on the wing of a commercial flight, as the photograph below illustrates....


Adams Peak

Legend has it that the footprint at the mountain’s summit (2224m) was left by Adam, when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. Revered by all religions, it is the most important pilgrimage site in the country. The hard climb is normally done at night, reaching the summit for sunrise.


A city of great contrasts, Agra was the former capital of the Mogul Empire. Here stands the worlds finest monument to love, The Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory of his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died whilst giving birth to her fourteenth...


Amritsar, now the capital of Punjab and the most important pilgrimage site for the Sikhs, has had a tumultuous history since it was founded over four centuries ago. Nowadays though, a visit to Amritsar’s two renowned places – the Golden Temple and Jallianwallah...

Andaman Islands - Andaman Islands

Lush tropical forests, crystal clear waters and some of the best beaches in the world, make these islands an unspoiled paradise. Situated 1000km east of India in the Bay of Bengal, the tritory is comprised of hundreds of islands, thirty-eight of which...

Andaman Islands - Port Blair

Founded by the British in 1858 the capital is a hub of activity, through which all transportation in between islands comes and goes through here.

Ba Be National Park

Ba Be National Park is home to impressive waterfalls, rivers, lakes and valleys and is a tropical rainforest region with interesting local tribes and a range of mammal, bird and insect species. The 3 lakes here are known as the Ba Be Lakes and make...

Bach Ma National Park

Located between Hue Hoi An, Bach Ma National park was once a holiday retreat for the French who built villas here which now all lay in ruin. Only declared a national park in 1991, it is home to a variety of animals such as elephants, birds, butterflies...


Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei, or Citadel of the Women, is widely regarded as the Jewel in the crown of Khmer art and is wonderfully well preserved with intricate stone carvings. Built in 967, it was the only temple not commissioned by a King, rather a Brahman believed...


This lovely beach resort is approximately half way between Galle and Colombo. It has long deserted beaches and a choice of water sports on the river. In Bentota, you can visit Brief Garden which was built by Geoffrey Bawa’s brother, Bewis. The village...