Wherever you go in Vietnam, you will come face to face with astounding natural beauty. Some of these places are well-known, but others take a little more research to discover. Here are a handful of Vietnam’s glorious but not yet famous gems that you should add to your itinerary ASAP!
Draped along the banks of the Hau Giang River, Chau Doc sees plenty of travellers washing through on the river route between Cambodia and Vietnam. A likeable little town with significant Chinese, Cham, and Khmer communities, Chau Doc’s cultural diversity – apparent in the mosques, temples, churches and nearby pilgrimage sites – makes it fascinating to explore even if you’re not Cambodia-bound!
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, the remarkable Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst foundations in Asia, formed approximately 400 million years ago. Riddled with hundreds of cave systems and spectacular underground rivers, Phong Nha-Ke Bang is truly Heaven on Earth for those seeking adventure tourism.
Fringed with white sand beaches and with large tracts still covered in dense, tropical jungle, Phu Quoc rapidly changed from a sleepy island backwater to a must-visit beach escape for Western expats and sun-seeking tourists. Beyond the resorts lining Long Beach and development beginning on the east coast, there’s still ample room for exploration and escaping. Dive the reefs, kayak in the bays, eat up the back-road miles on a motorbike, or just lounge on the beach, indulge in a massage and dine on fresh seafood.
The epicentre of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho is the largest city in the region and feels like a metropolis after a few days exploring the backwaters. As the political, economic, cultural, and transportation centre of the Mekong Delta, it’s a buzzing town with a lively floating market, which itself is a major draw for tourists who come here to shop for souvenirs before they boat along the many canals and rivers leading out of town.
Dalat is quite different from anywhere else you’ll visit in Vietnam. You would almost be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled into the French Alps in springtime. This was certainly how the former colonists treated it, as they escaped to their chalets to enjoy the cooler climate. The French ambience is compounded by a radio mast shaped like the Eiffel Tower and the local bohemian artists’ desire to swan around in berets. Dalat is small enough to remain charming, and the surrounding countryside is blessed with lakes, waterfalls, evergreen forests and gardens.