Vietnam is among Asia’s most gorgeous destinations. The country’s lively towns, stunning golden sand beaches, and verdant highlands draw many travelers from around the globe.
Unfortunately, this results in crowding at popular destinations and the loss of unspoiled beauty in some locations. However, travelers who explore beyond popular destinations will be delighted with hidden bays, scenic villages, and farm-to-table cuisine. Such spots give you a different outlook on the country and allow you to be on an adventure that offers the taste of paradise.
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Without further ado, here are seven destinations to explore in Vietnam for an offbeat adventure:
Beyond the Crowd: Exploring the Asian Paradise
1. Bong Lai Valley offers farm-to-table cuisine
You may have already planned to go to Phong Nha National Park, but your taste buds will applaud you if you also visit the nearby Bong Lai Valley. Here, farming is a vital part of the culture, and a growing number of locals are opening their doors to tourists.
Farm-to-table restaurants will provide you with an authentic taste of regional specialties; Moi’s specialty is bamboo-tube-slow-cooked meat and vegetable-peanut dumplings. You can nourish the ducks at The Duck Stop and purchase beverages and fresh pepper packets. The renowned Pub With Cold Beer is precisely what its name implies, and furthermore, there are hammocks and a river where one can swim. In the genuine essence of farm-to-table, they will roast a chicken for a communal meal.
2. Make your way to Bai Tu Long Bay.
Bai Tu Long Bay is located immediately northeast of the world-famous Ha Long Bay. Its stunning expanse is equally as magnificent. However, it only receives a small percentage of visitors.
The number of tour companies offering tours to Bai Tu Long (“Children of the Dragon”) is increasing. Or, if you prefer to be on your own, you can take the ferry to the secluded Quan Lan Island; the slow boat from Cai Rong offers the most breathtaking vistas.
There are only a few hotels in Quan Lan, and few speak English, but that is part of its charm. Once you’ve admired the bay, you can relax on the pristine coastline (the best stretch of the east coast) and bike along the nearly deserted roads. You will sense that not much has changed in this area for decades.
3. A Binh Island in the Mekong Delta is ideal for cycling.
Travel all the way south to the tranquil Mekong Delta to experience a feel of island life on your Vietnam journey. The aquatic pastoral paradise of An Binh Island is crisscrossed with small dirt paths that are ideal for bicycle exploration.
All tracks are bordered by palm trees and surrounded by lush orchards and traditional thatched huts, many of which provide homestays. It’s much better to spend the night here and explore at your own pace than to go to a tourist spot.
4. Drive to rural Ha Giang.
Vietnam’s Far North, home to various ethnic minority tribes such as the Hmong, Dao, and Giay, is the last frontier for daring travelers – but nowhere is crazier than Ha Giang. In the mountainous Dong Vang Karst Plateau Geopark, mountain roads zigzag through a verdant landscape and open up to breathtaking panoramas.
5. Experience the warmth of Mai Chau
Surprisingly neglected by international visitors despite its proximity to Hanoi, Mai Chau’s pastoral setting is an excellent escape from Vietnam’s frenetic metropolis. The valley is predominantly occupied by the White Thai minority, many of whom dedicated their traditional stilt cottages as homestays. You merely need to stroll through the settlements that radiate from Bac Ha to locate a place to lay your head.
After settling in, dine on delectable home-cooked dishes against the setting of jagged karst hills.
Check out these seven offbeat destinations if you’re looking for something different on your next Vietnam trip. From exploring ancient ruins to visiting a floating market, these places will give you a taste of authentic Vietnam.
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