Hanoi’s Tran Quoc pagoda on West lake (Photo source: CNN)
Two centuries ago, trips to Asia were reserved for wealthy merchants, ambassadors and the colonial elite who could afford grand and expensive voyages, but that travel scenario has been turned on its head, CNN Travel wrote. With a proliferation of affordable flights, versatile accommodation, high-speed rail, and increased international connectivity, it’s easier than ever to visit Asia. The site revealed its short list of destinations in the world’s largest continent with its natural beauty, distinct cultural traditions, ancient architecture, and absolutely delicious food.
Hanoi was praised for its history, culture, and endless energy. For first-time travelers, Hanoi the Old Quarter is the best place to start. This labyrinth of lanes reveals French colonial architecture, hardworking hawkers, artisanal crafts, and no shortage of restaurants. It’s busy and chaotic but navigating the crowded streets, where motorbikes reign, is half the fun.
As the capital for more than a thousand years, since 1010, Hanoi is considered to be the cultural center of Vietnam, where every dynasty has left behind its imprint. It hosts more cultural sites than any other city in the country, including hundreds of pagodas and temples. Influenced by the Chinese and the French, the city features an Asian – Western style in architecture and cuisine.
CNN Travel also advised travelers that, after soaking up the history of Hanoi, they can chase the sun to Phu Quoc Island. The 28-island district is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia, not to mention the world’s longest over-sea cable car. Whether you stay on more developed Phu Quoc Island or ultra-remote Hon Xuong, the region promises island hopping, snorkeling, diving, sandy shores, and more.
Situated in the Gulf of Thailand on the Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand marine economic corridor, Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island and boasts a range of beautiful beaches. Phu Quoc National Park, meanwhile, is home to hundreds of plant species, dozens of which are listed in the Vietnamese and world red books of endangered species. The park is part of the Kien Giang biosphere reserve, which was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2006. The cable car route connecting An Thoi town and Hon Thom Island, the largest of the An Thoi island cluster, is the longest in the world at nearly 8 km.
Other destinations on the list include Bali in Indonesia, Luang Prabang in Laos, Kyoto in Japan, Rajasthan in India, Hong Kong, The Great Wall and Xi’an in China, the Maldives, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Yogyakarta in Indonesia, Chiang Rai in Thailand, Bhutan, Kathmandu in Nepal, El Nido in the Philippines, and Seoul in South Korea.
The total number of visitors to Hanoi in 2018 was over 26 million, including 5.7 million foreigners, up 9.3 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, against 2017. Phu Quoc welcomed 4 million visitors in 2018, including nearly 550,000 foreigners, up 35.8 per cent and 70.6 per cent against 2017.
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