Visit Vietnam Before It Gets Popular


A US travel site has urged tourists to visit Vietnam in a list of destinations to visit “before it’s too popular”.

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The piece, written by Canadian writer Lewis Kelly for New York-based travel site Thrillist, also suggested some of the country’s must-see sites.

Handy Recommendations

With the inclusion of sites like Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Hue’s royal tombs and temples, Notre Dame in Saigon and Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the list is perfect for first-time visitors to Vietnam. Sa Pa and Ban Gioc Waterfall near the Chinese border are also featured.

Other than places to visit, Kelly also highlighted one of the country’s most famous exports: coffee.

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Growth of Tourism in Vietnam

With Vietnam in the midst of developing tourism into one of its key drivers for economic growth, this article paints two contrasting pictures.

The country raked in VND400 trillion ($35 billion) from tourism in 2016, and is looking to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors with a yearly revenue target of $35 billion by 2020.

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Visitor numbers have already increased by 30 percent in the first half of this year to 6.2 million, putting Vietnam on track to turn 2017 into the country’s biggest year for tourism yet.

But Is Vietnam Ready?

However, Kelly highlighted scenes of thousands of tourist boats dumping untreated sewage into the waters of Ha Long Bay and countless charming examples of daily life in Hanoi with some of the best food in Asia, only if tourists manage to cross the busy, cramped roads unscathed.

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“Traveling is more fun when it takes effort, not when everything is being comfortably taken care of,” he suggested.

Using the example of Sa Pa, he mentioned that large portions of the town are littered with construction sites and the “serene” valleys and terraced rice hills can only be found if a traveller steps out into the countryside.

Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral, built with bricks imported from France, is recommended as “a note of grace and calm to the intense hustle of the streets”. However, tourists will only be able to view the building from the outside for the next two years, as it has been closed for renovation work.

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