Five adventures for your bucket list

11:11 | 10/02/2019
Vietnam is fast becoming a top destination for scuba diving, water sports, snorkelling, fishing, swimming as well as cliff climbing, cave exploring, cycling, cooking, and just generally frolicking along the pristine coastline. VIR’s reporters have gathered a bouquet of five great local tourism activities in Vietnam you should not miss in 2019.

Vietnam’s potential as a high-end tourism destination can be seen in the growing number of five-star resorts, world-class golf courses, and luxury spas throughout the country. You can take luxury cruises, private chartered flights, and bask in the splendour of suites at stunning locations. With a string of such luxurious spots, Vietnam is an emerging destination for high-end tourism and attracts travellers from all over the world.

Once considered more of an exotic destination for backpackers or adventure-seekers, Vietnam is now attracting a different kind of tourists with a growing amount of high-end options.

There is plenty of consensus in the industry. Reputed travel magazines such as Sphere, Conde Nast Traveler, and Travel and Leisure all agree that Vietnam can now offer luxury travel experiences with world-class cuisine and high-class hotels in the world, not to mention the country’s rich cultural heritage, breathtaking natural beauty, and awesome food scene.

Luxury travel is more than just sightseeing. High-end tourists want to experience the very best services, products, and destinations a country has to offer, while discovering more about the culture. Price is not everything. High-end tourists regard quality more important than price. They simply want to experience the best possible – without delays, drama, panic or fuss. There should be no more sweating on the pavement waiting for a mini-van. High-end tourists want a smooth ride from the moment they touch down at the airport to the moment they depart. Here are what they choose.

Cave exploration

five adventures for your bucket list

According to a survey on tourists and expats in Vietnam, 31.8 per cent of respondents suggest having a trek to explore the majestic caves in Vietnam. No wonder caving was ranked first, as Vietnam is a treasure trove of attractive and spectacular caves – particularly the perfect natural cave system called Son Doong Cave.

Being 150 metres in width, more than 200m in height, and at least five kilometres in length, Son Doong is currently the largest natural cave in the world which has its own ecosystem, alongside the incredible scenery calling to mind the Garden of Eden. In addition to Son Doong, you can also conquer the world’s third largest cave, Hang En or the Pygmy cave (the fourth-largest in the world) or Tu Lan, all in the central province of Quang Binh, which has been deservedly dubbed as Cave Kingdom of Vietnam.

Cycling tripS

five adventures for your bucket list

Rated as the second favourite activity in Vietnam with 20.4 per cent of the vote, cycling and motorcycle journeys will definitely make for an unforgettable memory. Whether you are discovering the bustling streets of the big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City or traversing the trails in the northern mountainous areas in Moc Chau (Son La province), Sapa (Lao Cai province), and Ha Giang, a bike is your optimal choice. Strap on your helmet, dart and weave like a local, and you will experience Vietnamese culture up close and personal.

With the interlacing road system across the country, motorcycles have been the main vehicle for Vietnamese people and the best way to discover every nook and cranny of this vibrant country. Get a good tan, enjoy the breeze running through your hair, listen to the sounds of traffic – and let yourself fall for the charms of Vietnam.

CulinarytourS

five adventures for your bucket list

Cuisine is undoubtedly a great part of the country’s vibrant and unique culture. World-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay has made it clear that Vietnamese cuisine is on the top of his list after a visit to Vietnam for an episode of Gordon’s Great Escape in 2011.

Veteran chef Anthony Bourdain has always appreciated Vietnamese gastronomy, saying that “The trip to Vietnam changed my life.” Vietnamese food impresses eaters with the explosion of flavours thanks to a balanced blend of spices, combined with secret traditional cooking skills.

To better experience the culture through the taste, food lovers can join a food tour or a Vietnamese cooking class where you can learn how to make the authentic dishes from each specific region of Vietnam. Furthermore, you can also visit the most popular stalls down the hidden alleyways where locals love to dine, indulging your senses with the delicious tastes and tantalising aromas, while travelling in comfort and style.

Agri-tourism

five adventures for your bucket list

Appearing in Vietnam a few years ago, agri-tourism is rising as an inevitable trend in Vietnam – a prominent agricultural country. Thanks to the long tradition of rice civilisation and agricultural production with 70 per cent of the population living in rural areas, agri-tourism has been increasing the value of Vietnamese agricultural products and attracting a large number of visitors to experience living like a true farmer and to be introduced to the production facilities and process.

“Visitors can harvest all the ingredients for their meals and buy food from the farm and take it back home. This model offers a more novel experience than common sightseeing and leisure attractions,” said Van Hanh, marketing director of ORFARM, an organic food supply chain following the agri-tourism model.

Watersports

five adventures for your bucket list

The country’s entire 3,260km (2,025 miles) pristine coastline entices sea-lovers to enjoy its magnificent lagoons embraced by powdery white sand, turquoise waters, and rich marine life. There are unlimited watersport opportunities you can try when visiting the crystal-clear beaches in Vietnam.

Scuba diving and snorkelling simply cannot be missed when at the pearl islands of Phu Quoc, Con Dao or Cu Lao Cham, and the heavenly Nha Trang Bay. Especially, the Con Dao archipelago offers a fantastic place to see fish, seahorses, bamboo sharks, rays, clownfish, colourful corals, and much much more.

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