Off the beaten trail in Vietnam

11 Nov 2019 / 10:50 H.

VIETNAM is a nation of contrasts, where the old and the new co-exist side-by-side. But instead of following the crowd, why not be adventurous and explore the country’s newer travel destinations?

Can Tho – The serene jewel of Vietnam

Upon reaching Can Tho, you’ll realise how idyllic the place is. The picturesque city is the largest in the Mekong Delta, and a trip there starts your journey into southern Vietnam.

The Cai Rang Floating Market is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the heart of Can Tho. Head to the market early in the morning to watch the city wake up, while having breakfast on a boat. This riverside city is also known for its seafood, and one should try the lobster and crab noodles (bun rieu) when visiting.

Can Tho is famous for its interesting and beautiful architecture as well. You’ll find yourself entranced by buildings like the historic Vinh Trang Pagoda.

The pagoda feels like a serene enclave with vibrant trees, bonsai and elegant stone arches.

What makes the Vinh Trang Pagoda stand out is its fascinating mix of Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian architectural styles. This unique blend of artistry can be seen on its three gates covered in colourful porcelain mosaics featuring Buddhist folktales and scenery.

Nha Trang – A family fun trip

Nha Trang is an exciting beach destination in Asia, known for its seaside resorts. With so many activities to do and sights to see, it is the perfect location spot for families.

Children can pretend they are pirates at Hon Mieu (Mieu Island) when they visit Tri Nguyen Aquarium. The marvellous aquarium is designed to look like a fossil ship with clinging moss and an outdoor aquarium.

After looking at the fish in the aquarium, families can spend the day at Bai Soi Beach which is also a fabulous place to snorkel, explore underwater caves or build sandcastles.

The highlight of the trip would be a family trip to Vinpearl Land, dubbed the Disneyland of Vietnam. Start the trip on a literal high by taking the world’s longest oversea cable car, the Vinpearl Cable Car, and marvel at the crystal blue sea below.

While Nha Trang has a lot of modern attractions, there are stunning ancient ruins to visit as well. The Po Nagar Cham Towers, built between the 7th to 12th century, still stand tall on the banks of the River Cai.

Once a huge Hindu temple, all that remains today are four east-facing towers. The temple was built as a homage to the goddess Po Nagar (The Mother of the Country) and is still visited by locals offering prayers, especially during the Thap Ba festival during the third lunar month.

Phu Quoc – A sophisticated getaway

A brand new beach destination has emerged in Phu Quoc, boasting affordable and budget-friendly lodgings, food and attractions.

When in Phu Quoc, head over to Sanato Beach. With beautiful sculptures along the beach, you’ll have lots of Instagram-worthy pictures that will make friends wish they were there too.

The beach with white sand and sparkling waters is also known for its cloudless and mesmerising golden sunset. To get the best views of the sunset, head over to Choun Choun Bistro & Sky Bar and watch the sun slowly sink into the horizon.

The bar also offers a magnificent view of the city, showing off the mountainous landscape and the glittering sea.

The next day, head over to Ho Quoc Pagoda which overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. The largest Buddhist temple on the island is a grand sight, with a huge jade statue at the entrance, stone-carved dragon staircase and a giant hanging bell at the peak of the temple.

Visitors can catch the sunrise while overlooking a 360° view of the sea and mountains. Since the temple is also surrounded by nature, there’s a chance of spotting macaques and hornbills in the early morning as well.

Another way to enjoy the view of the islands and the turquoise waters is to hop on the Phu Quoc cable car. The longest non-stop three-way cable car in the world takes you from Phu Quoc island to Hon Thom (Pineapple Island).

Once there, you get to enjoy a laid-back day at the beach, and take in the view one last time when you head back on the cable car.

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