Coconuts and Cultural Tourism: Exploring Ben Tre with VTV4

By: JK Hobson

I’ve been a resident of Saigon for a little over a year. Like many metropoleis, the hectic and frenzied energy of it has a way of sucking its denizens in. Often, our ways of viewing Vietnam become limited to Saigon’s many districts. (“What’s Vietnam like? Well, I live in Thao Dien, which is kinda like Brooklyn with more motorbikes!”)

Ben TreThai, the one of the cameramen for VTV4 snagging some footage of women bailing coconut fibre hay.

VTV4’s Vietnam Discovery Tours Ben Tre Province in Vietnam

I’m always looking for opportunities to get out of the insanity of the traffic and smog and to experience culture in Vietnam’s rural areas, so when I was invited to guest host VTV4’s travel show Vietnam Discovery I jumped at the chance.

The two filmed episodes would take us through the rural areas of Ben Tre Province, which I was slightly familiar with from the year that I had spent in the Mekong Delta. During the Vietnam Discovery filming, I was able to experience a different level of cultural immersion than I had while living there as I was invited into the rural areas and engaging with people living their everyday lives, rather than living in the city and visiting rural areas as a part of some tour or another. Just outside the city limits, I found a lush countryside brimming with scenic beauty and friendly local folks willing to share and engage in dialogue about their lifestyles in the Mekong Delta province.

Touring Ben TreVietnam’s Coconut Kingdom

Ben Tre is most well-known for the ubiquity of the coconut, which is why it’s widely understood to be Vietnam’s “Coconut Kingdom.” For local people in Ben Tre, the coconut trees have a special place in their culture and their economic development. The presence of coconut in Ben Tre even had an impact on religion in the province for a time. At one time a monk in Ben Tre a monk named Nguyễn Thành Nam was locally renowned for having legendarily founded his own religion centering around the coconut, sustained himself entirely on coconuts for over three years, and even had a presidential run in 1971.

Along both sides of the Ba Lai river, which runs between the districts of Mo Cay Bac and Mo Cay Nam, there are a seemingly endless number of coconut processing plants where coconuts are sorted, processed and exported.

Ben TreA woman in Phu Le VIllage proud of the water lilies she has gathered.

Over the generations, the people of Ben Tre have uncovered the versatility of the coconut and have become masters at turning it into hundreds of products. Coconuts are used to make candy, oil, milk and water among other comestible products. It is also used for skin care, hair care, fuel, and even musical instruments. (More on that later.)

While visiting the processing plants, you can see people hard at work, often with their bare hands, separating the coconut. Each part will be utilised in some form or another. The variety of ways in which Ben Tre’s most valuable resource has been employed reveals the resourcefulness of its people.

Ben TreAnother worker in the coconut processing plant. His daily workout regimen involves spinning coconut husks into fiber, which are later used to make rope and fishing nets.

While on the Thom River, which splits Mo Cay Bac and Mo Cay Nam, I met locals performing their daily duties. Some splitting coconuts from their husks, some extracting water, others separating the husk into a kind of hay used for constructing rope, and even for fire fuel. These processing plants line both sides of the river and run as far as the eye can see.

Ben TreThis husband and wife work hard every morning ripping coconuts out of their husks. They work side by side and in unison, radiating with the intense energy of a young couple in love.

Ben TreA brother and his twin sisters entertaining themselves in the coconut processing plant where their mom works. They were making some concoction of dirt, twigs, and other things they found around the plant. Impressive in this digital age where kids have iPads and still find themselves bored.

Meet the Local Artisans of Ben Tre Province in Vietnam

The local people have also learned how to repurpose the coconuts and the wood from coconut trees to make ingenious artwork. The coconut is an integral part of Ben Tre culture, so it’s not surprising that the local folks incorporate it into their craftsmanship.

Perhaps the most resourceful of all the people I came across on my travels in Ben Tre was a craftsman who went by the name of Ba Ba. In Ba Ba’s home, the living room looked like a music shop for string instruments. Lining the walls were all sorts of guitars, basses, as well as traditional Vietnamese instruments like the đàn tranh, and the one-stringed lute known as the đàn tỳ bà.

Ba Ba modeled his dan ba in the shape of Vietnam, complete with two arms that unfold revealing representations of the contested islands of Truong Sa and Hoang Sa, an epic show of patriotism. Ba Ba goes to bed at night thinking about his next project and still wakes up in the morning excited about completing it. Etched in his face is the serene look of a person who does what he loves.

Ben TreBa Ba about to put on a private concert using this electric guitar with a built-in microphone that he made using coconut wood.

Ben TreBa Ba's masterpiece, a đàn bầu in the shape of his beloved country.

Ben TreA sac bua singer in Ben Tre.

In Phu Le Village of Ba Tri district, I found an enclave of people that shared a deep interest in preserving cultural traditions. Among them, a woman who is a renowned sac bua singer.

Sac bua is a form of music recognized as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage that originates from Quang Ngai in the central province of Binh Dinh. Many people from that province moved South during the 18th century and brought this vocal tradition with them. The songs are a wish for peace and prosperity for listeners and are generally performed around the Tet holiday.

These are just a few of the people that I encountered on this adventure. It’s heartening to know that just a few hours outside of my home in busy Saigon there are places rich with scenic natural beauty and culture. I would advise a trip to the province of Ben Tre for anyone looking to get a sense of Vietnam’s vibrant artistry.

Ben TreThe slow pace of life in the rural areas of Ben Tre is such that it is not uncommon to share a smile with a stranger passing on the road.
I asked this woman if I could take her photo. She acquiesced and smiled brightly without hesitation.

Video source: Huỳnh Phan Tùng Kha

Image source: JK Hobson


Discover Phu Quoc, Vietnam

By: Vinh Dao

Travel to Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island and is surrounded by 40km of white sand beaches and turquoise seas. This tear-shaped island in the Gulf of Thailand has been compared to Koh Samui and Phuket before the tourist hordes invaded. The establishment of Phu Quoc National Park ensures that almost 70% of the island is environmentally protected. Pearls are harvested locally and fish sauce is made on the island.

Major development plans, however, are in the pipeline and Phu Quoc is expected to be an increasingly popular destination, perhaps receiving overflow tourists from Phuket and Bali as those locales become saturated with increasing numbers of Chinese and Russian tourists. International developers have plans to build more upmarket resorts, some with attached golf courses. However, delays with land clearance and the provincial government’s indecision regarding development mean that commercialisation is slow to say the least -- good news for locals and tourists content to enjoy the island’s laid back feel. Now is definitely the time to go.

As well as relaxing and soaking up the natural scenery, you can go river swimming, cave navigating or island exploring by motorbike. If that sounds like too much effort, take a dip in the ocean, and then enjoy some deliciously fresh seafood at the night market followed by a cocktail or two at one of the many beachside bars.

Of the island’s unique sights and smells, the many racks of drying anchovies and squid are the most potent. Anchovies are the special ingredient used to make Phu Quoc’s pungent fish sauce, an important part of the Vietnamese diet. Many of the fish sauce factories are open to visitors, but be warned that the aroma can be overpowering. Also, make sure you take it back via boat as it’s currently not allowed on flights departing from the island.

Phu Quoc also has some of the best pepper gardens in the country, attracting visitors to enjoy the vast green and bring back the handpicked spice for family and friends. For a more romantic souvenir idea, head off to Phu Quoc’s pearl farms, and get your own pick on the island’s world-famous quality jewel.

Deemed as among the two safest destinations in Vietnam – the other being Con Dao – you can travel in Phu Quoc without the slightest fear that your belongings will be lost or stolen.  Of course, this is not to say bad things do not happen. If you keep your wits and be mindful, this island is truly a place to relax, to forget your worries for a while.

The rainy season is from July to November, but the temperature is hot all year round. Phu Quoc is only an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City so book tickets and accommodation well in advance during peak periods. You can also reach Phu Quoc by fast boat from Rach Gia and Ha Tien. The best time to travel by sea is during the dry season (late October to May) when the seas are calmer. There are several boat operators and the cost will run from VND130,000 – VND190,000.


6 Great Weekend Getaways from Saigon

By: Barbara

Great weekend getaways from Saigon don't have to involve air travel. Beach lovers can sunbathe just 2 hours away from the city. Wild jungle trekking can be done in just 2 days.

Ho Chi Minh City is a place like no other, a seething and densely-populated mess of traffic, people, construction sites, pollution, narrow alleys and towering skyscrapers.

There are quiet spots and there are parks, but sometimes, visitors and expats are seized by an urge to flee the chaos and the noise.

But where to go? Especially if an overseas jaunt isn't financially viable.

Most people head to Mui Ne or Vung Tau for a quick getaway from Ho Chi Minh City. But there are other options.

Here's a 6 of the lesser-known places that can provide a soul-soothing return to nature or relaxing beach break, all just a few hours from Ho Chi Minh City.

Cat Tien National Park - 3,5 hours from HCMC

mekongImage source: Vyacheslav Argenberg

The last Javan Rhinoceros in Vietnam, which the Cat Tien National Park was set up to protect, was, sadly, killed in 2010. But there is still a range of interesting and exotic wildlife to see in this national park, 3.5 hours by road from Ho Chi Minh City.

The 720 square kilometer park is home to elephants, sun bears, several species of monkeys, deer, gaur, civets and dozens of bird species. The park can be explored on foot, by bicycle, jeep or kayak. It's also possible to visit the primate and bear rehabilitation centres, both close to the national park headquarters, and stay overnight near Crocodile Lake.

The Ta Lai Longhouse, 12 kms from the park headquarters, is a great base for exploring the national park and the nearby villages, which are home to people from the Ma, Tay and S’tieng ethnic minorities. The longhouse was set up in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and an NGO, and a portion of the profit goes to support the four Ta Lai villages.

The staff at the Ta Lai Longhouse can organise pre-dawn gibbon treks and half-day or longer treks, as well as visits to Crocodile Lake and other parts of the national park.

Ho Tram Beach Resort - 2 hours from HCMC

With or without kids, Ho Tram Beach Resort is a relaxing beach break only two hours from Ho Chi Minh City. The resort is a stylised traditional village, with winding stone paths leading to the various bungalows and villas, two swimming pools, a tranquil pond and the beach.

Relax on the beach, at the spa, the pool or the beachfront bar, or in your room, either on the balcony, in the four-poster bed or in the full-length bath, a standard feature in the jungle-ish outdoor bathroooms.

mekongHo Tram Beach Resort

The resort is quite isolated, with dining options limited to the in-house open air restaurant, which serves Vietnamese and Western dishes and overlooks the children's playground on one side, and a stream on the other.

Stu's Explorer Club - Two-day weekend activity

mekongImage source: Stu's Explorer Club

For a real back-to-nature experience, join Stu's Explorer Club on a weekend "rumble in the jungle" adventure that involves hiking, swimming, camping under the stars and eating hearty home-cooked Vietnamese meals. You can choose to drive your own motorbike to the Dong Nai forest, or opt for a transfer in a private car.

These jungle adventures are only overnight excursions but they leave you feeling as refreshed as if you've been away from the city for several days. As an added bonus, Stu provides free leech socks!

Victoria Cruises - 2/3 days cruises

mekongImage source: Victoria Cruises

Tune into the gentle rhythm of Mekong Delta life with a luxury cruise on your own private sampan. Victoria Cruises has several join-in cruises that explore the waterways of the Mekong Delta. But a most peaceful and private option is a private two- or three-day cruise aboard the Song Xanh Sampan, which usually includes a stop at the historic family home of Huynh Thuy Le in Sa Dec.

The character of The Lover in the book of the same name by French author Marguerite Duras was based on Mr Le. The house, built in 1895, remains much as it was when Duras' mother taught at the local school, with photographs on the walls of the actors who starred the 1992 film, The Lover, as well as the real Mr Le and Ms Duras.

A Mekong Delta cruise usually includes delicious food, cycling along narrow local paths and visits of local cottage industries. , 

Mekong Delta Homestay - 3,5 hours from HCMC

For a land-based Mekong Delta getaway, consider a homestay.

Green Village Homestay and Nguyen Shack Homestay near Can Tho, Mekong Riverside Resort near Cai Be and Mango Home Riverside near Ben Tre are all great getting-away-from-it-all choices with comfortable facilities and quiet country settings.

mekongFloating Market In Can Tho

You can use your homestay as a place to loll about in a hammock and recharge your depleted batteries, or as a base for exploring local villages on foot or by bicycle. Most homestays have fishing equipment, and some offer cooking classes and/or cooking demonstrations.

Phan Thiet - 4 hours from HCMC by train

Just 12 kms from Mui Ne is the fascinating fishing village of Phan Thiet, a completely different world to its resort-centric neighbour.

There's no tacky tourist trade here. Phan Thiet is a lively town that's perfect for a weekend of pottering about, eating well and strolling on the beach.

The cost of food and accommodation in Phan Thiet is a fraction of what it is in Mui Ne. So this town, just four hours by rail from Ho Chi Minh City, is ideal for adventurous types who prefer to spend less so they can see more of the fabulous country they're in.

mekongFishing Market

These are just a few examples of great weekend getaways from Saigon. Have you traveled to one of these destinations? What is your favorite spot to escape the city's stress?

About the Author

Barbara and her husband Vu lead street food tours in Ho Chi Minh City's back streets through Saigon Street Eats. Since their first bundle of joy arrived five years ago, Barbara, a former journalist, has become a family travel expert. Follow Barbara's blog here.

Banner image source: sapphireeliteescapes.com


Top things to do in Quy Nhon

By: Fabrice Turri

Relatively unknown and free of mass tourism, the coastal city of Quy Nhon (the capital of Binh Dinh province in central Vietnam) will seduce those who love to travel off the beaten tracks.

Called ‘Pulo Cambi’ by Portuguese Jesuits who settled there in the 1620s, its origins date back to 11th century Champa culture.

Quy Nhon is also known as the birthplace of the eighteenth Vietnamese Emperor, Nguyen Hue. The city experienced a major U.S. military presence and its hinterland was the scene of heavy fighting during the Vietnam War. However, only a half-buried U.S. tank (on the beach, south of the Lan Anh Hotel) reflects this dark parenthesis of history.

Quy Nhon made up the main port for all military forces in Vietnam’s Central Highlands region. Almost all the supplies for the area were unloaded from ships moored in the port before being transported by aircraft.

A large number of U.S. Army support units were also based in the city and its suburbs, including a field hospital and a large supply center.

Quy Nhon In 1975 the South Vietnam Navy evacuated its soldiers and some civilians before abandoning the strategic city of Nha Trang in May 1975, leaving North Vietnamese tanks and infantry to occupy nearly half of the territory of the Republic of South Vietnam.

Today, things have changed.

Quy Nhon has just begun to capitalize on its huge potential for tourism. At 42 km long, the coast is indeed ​​remarkable with its white sand beaches. Abundant seafood is served in local restaurants at a price that defies competition.

And if historical remnants aren’t Quy Nhon’s greatest strength, we must admit the city and its outskirts still contain some interesting sites worth visiting.

Quy NhonThe picturesque Queen’s Beach, in particular, deserves a visit.

Named in memory of last Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai’s wife, Queen’s Beach is accessible via An Duong Vuong Street, with your back to the peninsula.

On the way, a paved road leads to a ledge where you can see the tomb of famous Vietnamese writer Han Mac Tu, one of the great figures of Vietnamese literature. Further on, you’ll come to the famous beach where you can stop for refreshments.

Although not a good place for swimming, Queen’s Beach is interesting because of its many blue, egg-shaped, smooth stones superimposed on the small beach pummeled by waves. That is why Queen’s Beach is also called ‘Egg Stone Beach’.

Continuing on the road along the headland, you arrive at Qui Hoa Beach, very quiet and ideal for swimming. A hospital Leproserythat specialises in treating leprosy has been built nearby. In its charming garden, you can admire statues of famous French and Vietnamese doctors. Visitors are welcome.

Arguably the best spot for swimming is probably Bai Dai Beach, a beautiful stretch of white, fine sand.

Located on 13.5 hectares, Bai Dai Beach is frequented by few tourists. With a beautiful view of Cu Lao Xanh Island, Bai Dai remains quite wild. Activities available from the beach include kayak trips to neighboring islands.

The Cham towers of Banh It (20 km north of Quy Nhon, at the top of a hill that boasts panoramic views of the countryside) and those nearest to Thap Doi are remarkable for their sculptures. Despite their years, both sites are in good condition and worth visiting.

If you have time, you can also have a look at Long Khanh Pagoda, Quy Nhon’s main pagoda, built in the 18th century and famous for its 17-meter-high Buddha.

Practical Information:

- Binh Dinh Province is 1065 km from Hanoi and 680 km from Ho Chi Minh City. You can get to Binh Dinh by car, train or plane. Note that the train stops at Dieu Tri Train Station, about 10 km west of Quy Nhon.

- There is a VND 5000 admission fee to Queen Beach (plus an extra 2000 if you’re riding a motorcycle).

- You can go to the hospital that treats leprosy by turning left at the end of An Duong Vuong Street. The hospital entrance is well marked, a few hundred meters further down the road.


Other articles:

Top 5 things to do in Saigon

Top 5 things to do in Danang

Top 5 souvenirs to buy in Vietnam

Top 5 dishes to try in Nha Trang

Top 5 things to do in Nha Trang

Top 5 dishes to eat in Hanoi

Top 5 places to go shopping in Ho Chi Minh City

Top 5 Che-sweet soups must try in Saigon



Best Places to See in Ly Son

By: Lien Nguyen

My friends and I had a few days off work, so we decided to get out of the city to relax. We found a quiet island in Central Vietnam, called Lý Sơn.

Lý Sơn is an island belonging to the Quãng Ngãi coastal province, bordering on Quãng Nam and Bình Định provinces in the North and South respectively. This island is commonly known as “The Kingdom of Garlic” because it is the only place in Vietnam where wild garlic and onions are grown in the sand. The garlic has a special flavour unique to this region, and is widely exported to the mainland.

Video source: eightyninePictures

Lý Sơn is also known for being the homeland of the Hoàng Sa Flotilla, a revered group of soldiers who protected the territorial waters around Vietnam during the Nguyen dynasty. On the island you will be able to see a myriad of relics and historical sites dedicated to these brave sailors.

Let me show you the best places to go on the island.

How to get to Lý Sơn?

The only way to get to the island from the mainland is to take a high-speed boat from the Sa Kì fishing port. The first ferry is at 8 a.m, then 10:30 a.m, 1:30 p.m, and 3:30 p.m.

In order to book your boat, make a list including: the number of people in your party, requested date, your phone number, your ID/ passport numbers, and your address, then send the list by email to dangkyve.csk@gmail.com. You should send the email at least 10 days before your trip to be sure there are available seats on the boat.

The price is about VND140,000 each way.

Important tip: Don’t forget to bring your ID or passport; authorities will check it before you head to the island.

SEE MAP

When to go to Lý Sơn?

The best time to go to the central coast of Vietnam is from May to September. During the summer, you will have good sunshine, clean blue water and white sandy beaches.

ly sonImage source: vietnamtourism.me

Where to stay in Lý Sơn and how to get around?

Central Lý Sơn or Mường Thanh Lý Sơn hotels, are both conveniently located near the port.

If you want to explore the island you have the option of taking a Tiên Sa taxi or renting a motorbike at your hotel to drive around the island.

What to see in Lý Sơn?

Don’t forget your camera because there will be plenty of photo ops.

Here we go!!!

The island is divided into two parts: Lý Sơn, the main island, and An Bình, Lý Sơn’s little brother. Lý Sơn island is only about 10 kilometers from end to end; the top destinations are not far from one another, so it is easy to move around.

Hang Câu Cave

To get to Câu cave, you can start from the center of the island and head North-East towards Thới Lới mountain, around 15 minutes. Right at the base of Thới Lới mountain, Câu Cave will appear in front of your eyes like a beautiful painting, blurring the boundaries between ocean and mountain.

ly sonImage source: 3.bp.blogspot.com

Over the centuries the lapping of waves and the coastal winds effaced the rock and burrowed Câu Cave into the body of the mountain.

ly sonImage source: images.ndh.vn

It is a perfect location for wedding photography, picnics, and swimming. The sea water is crystal-clear, making it easy to see the blanket of seaweed and colorful coral within.

Đỉnh Thới Lới (the Top Thới Lới) - An Extinct Volcano

Head to the top of the street from Câu Cave, and you’ll find yourself on the peak of Thới Lới. Here you can pause for a moment and enjoy the view of the lush green plants on the island.

ly sonImage source: wetrek.vn

The concave top of Thới Lới mountain is unique because it was a crater millions of years ago. Now, it has become a large lake. Covering the lake is a carpet of grasses and algae, which make it look like a savanna on the top of the mountain.

From the summit, when you look towards the east of the island, you’ll see fields of garlic and onion. Look towards the sea, and you’ll discover two small islands, Mù Cu and Đông ward, which are the most beautiful places to watch the sunrise.

Chùa Hang (Cave Pagoda) - A Pagoda in a Cave

Bricks were not needed to built the pagoda because the cave was eroded naturally, over the course of millions of years, by the ocean waves. A Guanyin statue was erected outside the entrance, and locals come here to pray for peace for their families and good luck for the fishermen, as they head out for their catch. Thanks to the pagoda’s unique structure, it attracts many tourists. If you come to Lý Sơn, don’t forget to come say a prayer for your family and friends.

ly sonImage source: khamphalyson.vn

Tip: Don’t wear shorts or tank-tops. In Vietnamese culture, wearing conservative clothes when coming to a pagoda is a sign of respect for the Buddha.

Cổng Tò Vò (Tò vò gateway)

Tò Vò Gateway is the second most important tourist destination after Câu Cave. You CAN’T MISS this place when you come here.

Tò Vò Gateway is a stone archway with a height of 2.5 meters. The unusual shape was organically created from the lava of the volcano millions of years ago.

ly sonImage source: travel.edu.vn

Come here in the evening to watch the sunset. The contrast of the sea with the gateway and the dark lava rocks lurking in the waves make this a great location for photos in silhouette.

What to see in An Bình island?

An Bình Island is the perfect quiet location for tourists with its palm-lined beaches, white sand and clear blue water.

It is around US$5/ person for a round trip boat ticket to the island.

ly sonImage source: 1.bp.blogspot.com

An Bình island isn’t as crowded as the other islands. However, it has a breathtaking landscape. Take a dip in the fresh sea water and enjoy the sounds of the ocean and nature.

ly sonImage source: static.panoramio.com.storage.googleapis.com

An Bình, meaning peace, lives up to its name; this island definitely gives a sense of complacency and comfort. All feelings of sadness, stress and frustration ease away.

So what are you waiting for? Go!

What to eat in Lý Sơn?

This island is famous for its healthy garlic and seaweed but you can also enjoy the seafood. There are many kinds of fish, snails, sea urchins (a rich source of nutrition for men) and the delicious Red Frog Crab.

ly sonImage source: img.delicious.com.au

There are numerous restaurants selling seafood near the fishing port, but here are a couple of restaurants that we tried and loved:

Biển Nhớ restaurant: Thôn Tây, An Vĩnh ward, Lý Sơn

Thạnh Lợi restaurant: Thôn Tây, An Vĩnh ward, Lý Sơn

Banner Image source: static.english.vov.vn


Vietnam’s World Leading Tourist Destinations

By: Laura Hill

World’s Leading Green Resort

World’s Leading Iconic Hotel

World’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort

Vietnam’s Success at the World Travel Awards

In a year where we have likely spent more time at home than ever before, and travel has been restricted for many, it is easy to forget what an incredible country Vietnam is. From white sand beaches, to lush green forests, from spectacular and iconic rice terraces, to vibrant cities, Vietnam is fast becoming recognised as one of the most desirable destinations for international travellers to visit.

This was confirmed by judges at the recent World Travel Awards, where Vietnam picked up a number of titles including World’s Leading Heritage Destination 2020 and World's Leading Natural Landscape Tourist Attraction 2020!

Vietnam World Travel AwardsIntercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

Established in 1993, the WTAs celebrate excellence across all areas of the tourism industry and are recognised globally as a hallmark of quality. Below, we look at each of the locations in Vietnam that were considered to be world leaders in 2020!

World’s Leading Green Resort 2020: Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

Since opening in June 2012, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort has developed a reputation for being a work of art as much as a resort. Nestled in the myth-filled hills of Son Tra Peninsula nature reserve, and surrounded by a stunning landscape with panoramic views of the East Sea, this is a truly luxurious resort that showcases the best Vietnam has to offer.

Vietnam World Travel AwardsIntercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

Once again recognised as a leader in eco-resorts Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort was acknowledged for its dedication to reducing carbon emissions and aiming to protect the ecosystem of the Son Tra Peninsula.

With such an exceptional resort located in an area of such natural beauty, this is certainly a destination that should be high on your ‘to visit’ list for 2021!

World's Leading Cultural Tourist Attraction 2020 and World's Leading Natural Landscape Tourist Attraction 2020: Sun World Fansipan Legend

Before being branded by Sun World as ‘The Fansipan’, this mountain was just called ‘Fansipan’ and was best known for being the highest mountain in the Indochinese peninsula. At 3,143 meters, the climb to the top was (and still is!) manageable in a day, but not totally without its challenges. With stunning views at every turn, and the beautifully temperate climate of Sapa offering a welcome break from Vietnamese humidity, climbing Fansipan was a highlight for many who visited the region.

Vietnam World Travel AwardsSun World Fansipan Legend

Nowadays, Sun World Fansipan Legend contains a variety of tourist attractions, an amusement park and, the pièce de resistance, a record-breaking cable car that whizzes visitors to the top of the mountain without the struggle of the hike, but with all the benefits of the spectacular scenery.

With a variety of cultural and spiritual attractions adding to the natural allure of the site, it is easy to see why Sun World Fansipan Legend was recognised at this year’s awards.

World’s Leading Iconic Hotel 2020: Hotel de la Coupole M'Gallery

If you fancy taking a trip to the World’s Leading Natural Landscape Tourist Attraction, why not couple it with a stay in the World’s Leading Iconic Hotel? Located just 5 kilometres from Sun World Fansipan, Hotel de la Coupole is as traditional as Sun World is modern. An enchanting mix of haute couture and hill tribe style, this stunning hotel is infused with the glamour of 1920’s art deco luxury.

Vietnam World Travel AwardsHotel de la Coupole M'Gallery

With a luxury spa and extravagantly vast swimming pool allowing spectacular views across the Sapa valley, luxury, relaxation and indulgence are high on the list of priorities at Hotel de la Coupole. “A haven in a heavenly setting” is possibly an understatement.

Vietnam World Travel AwardsHotel de la Coupole M'Gallery

World's Leading Iconic Tourist Attraction 2020: Sun World Ba Na Hills

Also recognised as Asia’s Leading Theme Park 2020, Vietnam’s Leading Theme Park 2020, and awarded recognition for containing the World's Leading Cable Car Ride 2020 and the World's Leading Iconic Tourist Bridge 2020, Ba Na Hills in Da Nang is clearly doing a lot of things right.

Vietnam World Travel AwardsSun World Ba Na Hills

Located 20 kilometres outside Da Nang city, atop a small mountain, Ba Na Hills replicates many of the successes on ‘The Fansipan’, but with a distinctly European flavour. ‘The French Village’ is a particularly popular attraction with locals, but it is the now world-famous Golden Bridge that is the true star of the show. Recognised by Time magazine in 2018 as ‘one of the world’s greatest places to visit’, the spectacular views and unique design have since become an Instagrammers dream!

World’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort 2020: JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay

Once a 19th-century French university, now an eclectically themed, lavish beachfront playground JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is a luxury haven on the beautiful island of Phu Quoc.

It is easy to see why the resort was recognised at the WTAs for the ability to host an unforgettable destination wedding. With facilities to provide both small, intimate services and lavish, extravagant celebrations, this is certainly a destination that can appeal to every type of bride.

Vietnam World Travel AwardsJW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay

Plus, with access to the soft, white sands of stunning Kem Beach, luxurious, stylish accommodation and a variety of eateries to suit every palate, it is a destination that appeals to every type of guest!

Vietnam World Travel AwardsJW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay

World’s Leading Regional Airport: Van Don International Airport

Just 2 years old and already a world leader, Van Don International, another baby of the ubiquitous Sun Group, is a state-of-the-art travel hub primarily servicing UNESCO world heritage site, Ha Long Bay.

Vietnam World Travel AwardsVan Don International Airport

Also awarded a special prize at the Prix Versailles awards, Van Don is a symbol of things to come in the Vietnamese tourist industry. Let’s hope that in 2021 the tourists can return and Vietnam can continue to develop its reputation for world leading travel and tourism!

For details of all winners at the WTAs visit www.worldtravelawards.com

Banner Image: Golden Bridge

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YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?

GET IN TOUCH