Vietnam’s beautiful and fascinating cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An have been revealed as some of the best in Asia, according to the very latest annual Travelers’ Choice™ Destination awards from.
The gorgeous Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi oozes charm and culture at every turn, and now the results speak for themselves – TripAdvisor has placed Hanoi number two in their best of Asia list, beaten only by Beijing in China. Based on reviews by real travellers, Hanoi was ranked as the eighth most popular destination on the worldwide list!
And with a traditional Old Quarter brimming with quaint shop fronts and original architecture, it’s easy to see why Hanoi in Vietnam has become one of the must-see destinations in 2014. The city also boasts an impressive clutch of museums, charting Vietnam’s long and rich history; don’t miss the intriguing Vietnamese Women’s Museum, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology which explores the 54 local ethnic groups and the deeply moving Hỏa Lò Prison Museum. Stop by the cultural gem that is the Temple of Literature (pictured above). My personal recommendation is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which honours this highly revered former leader, who is laid to rest for visitors to pay their respects.
Ho Chi Minh City
Next up is the pulsating Ho Chi Minh City, which buzzes with energy 24/7. Named the ninth most popular destination in Asia, HCMC is Vietnam’s largest city and reigns supreme in both the economic and cultural stakes. Formerly known as Saigon, the criss-crossing boulevards are teeming with atmospheric French colonial architecture.
Travellers will be spoilt for activities and sights in HCMC, from superb museums, enigmatic temples and authentic shopping markets. Don’t miss the engaging exhibitions within the War Remnants Museum which details the Vietnam War; stop by the sumptuous Jade Emperor Pagoda, gawp at the sumptuous Presidential Palace (pictured above) and learn to haggle your heart out at the lively Ben Thanh Market. Ho Chi Minh City is also the ideal gateway to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta.
Vietnam boasts three diverse cities on this year’s Travelers’ Choice™ – with the pretty coastal city of Hoi An coming in at number 14. Located in central Vietnam, Hoi An remains largely unchanged since its days as an important trading port, between the 15th and 19th centuries. And it’s my favourite city in Vietnam – mopeds are banned from the center which makes a walk through the ancient streets, which are lined with merchants’ houses, a very serene affair. Traditional temples, notable architecture and a monthly lantern festival all make Hoi An a very special destination indeed.
Make sure you walk over the pretty Japanese Covered Bridge, aka Cau Nhat Ban, which dates back to the late 1500s. Walk the length of the Old Town, enjoying the traffic-free streets, which are lined with seriously old shophouses, traditional cafes and shops selling every from locally produced silk items, canvas paintings and cheerfully colourful paper lanterns. And don’t leave Hoi An without checking out the deliciously tropical Cua Dai Beach, which has just been names as one of TripAdvisor’s best beaches in the world! Coming in at number 23, Cua Dai Beach beat off stiff competition from Caribbean and Indian Ocean beaches – enough said!