A country of contrasts – from wild jungles and rugged mountain ranges to pristine white beaches and bustling cities – Vietnam
fuses exotic Asia with Parisian chic, while boasting breathtaking views aplenty. Here’s DialAFlight’s pick of the vistas that should be top of your viewing list.
Ha Long Bay, Bay of Descending Dragons
Close your eyes and imagine over 2,000 limestone pinnacles rising from calm, emerald waters creating a mystical landscape of beguiling beauty. According to legend, the islands and islets formed when a dragon from the mountains charged towards the coast and plunged into the sea. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is particularly striking when shrouded with mist in the early morning. Take a boat trip on a traditional wooden junk or, for a closer view, kayak through the natural grottoes dotting the islets, perhaps exploring the many magnificent caves.
Sapa rice terraces, Tram Ton Pass
A picturesque mountain town in the northwest of Vietnam, Sapa is renowned for its lush green cascading rice terraces, bamboo forests and authentic tribal villages. For the best views in town, trek to Tram Ton Pass (Heaven’s Gate), the highest mountain pass in Vietnam. Rumour has it that a cable car is planned to connect the sleepy hill station of Sapa with Indochina's highest peak, Mount Fansipan – go there before the inevitable crowds!
Hoi An from the Thu Bon river
Watch the sun set from across the Thu Bon river and you’ll see lights shining from hundreds of twinkling lanterns reflected in the serene waters. Once a 15th century South-East Asian trading port, historic Hoi An retains its grand colonial architecture, narrow streets and wooden-fronted shophouses, making it one of the country’s most charming towns. Soak up the atmosphere from the Anantara Hoi An Resort
, on the banks of the Thu Bon river – the perfect spot from which to gaze and enjoy the view.
The Reunification Railway
Winding its way the length of the country from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the Reunification Railway is a marvellous way to see Vietnam. Board at Hué and, after an hour or so, you’ll see the deserted coast rushing past the windows, with pristine beaches and islands galore, plus the occasional house on stilts standing in the waters of the South China Sea. Riding the railway further still, the train climbs into the hills and crosses the Ocean Cloud Pass. This leg of the journey isn’t for the faint hearted, but the rewards are high – striking views of the bays, boats and beaches below, through the drifting sea mists.
The Ba Na cable car
Linking Vong Nguyet Hill near the city of Da Nang and Ba Na Mountain, the Ba Na cable car is the world’s longest single-track cable car and offers a thrilling three-mile ride. The Ba Na Hill Station was previously inaccessible to all except those able to climb a steep and winding mountain pass. The journey affords spectacular views of the bay at Da Nang and the Lao mountain range and takes about 15 minutes. If you don’t have a head for heights, the on board drinks will help to calm your nerves!
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