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  • The most stunning natural attractions in Vietnam

    Ha Long Bay, photo by Joseph Hunkins

    Vietnam is quite possibly one of the countries with the most eventful histories in Asia, and not a pleasant one at that: rebellions, occupations, wars, colonization. But despite its hardships, today’s Vietnam is a place that welcomes visitors, open to sharing its beauty and culture, and bearing its battle scars with dignity.

    Vietnam is one of those countries where colors seem brighter, tastes more enticing and natural sights more impressive than anywhere else. Vietnamese art, culture and cuisine should be experienced in full by all travelers, and so should the compelling natural wonders too. Here are some of the most stunning natural attractions in Vietnam, which should not be missed by any means.

    Ha Long Bay

    Ha Long Bay might be the most photographed place in Vietnam, but no picture can truly do justice to this astounding site. Ha Long means the bay of the descending dragons, a pretty good metaphor to describe the unique rock formations. There are 1969 limestone islands jutting from the water, and they are best seen from a boat (there are lots of so-called ‘junks’, or tourist boats that can take you on a trip).

    Cuc Phuong National Park

    Cuc Phuong National Park, photo by pululante on Flickr

    Cuc Phuong is the largest national park in the country, and a place of immensely rich flora and faun. Theoretically it’s possible to take a day trip to the park from Hanoi, but it’s impossible to see all the best places unless you stay for at least a few days. You can hike through the karst mountains (there are many trails for hikers), and visit the wildlife rehabilitation centers.

    Mui Ne sand dunes

    Mui Ne has become a bustling tourist destination since the 1995 solar eclipse, which was very nicely visible from the beach. And although this touristy beach is definitely a lot of fun, the nearby sand dunes just north of the town are breath-taking. Go to the dunes at sunset for a panoramic view of the surrounding area bathed in orange light.

    Phu Quoc

    Phu Quoc, photo by Kyle Taylor

    Some say that Phu Quoc is what Thailand’s Phuket would be like if it hadn’t been overtaken by resorts and hotels eager to attract visitors. Phu Quoc is a pristine island paradise covered in dense forest, coral reefs that haven’t suffered much damage yet, and very clean beaches, some of which might be completely deserted.

    If you’re visiting the island, take some time to taste the fermented fish sauce prepared in Phu Quoc, reputedly the best fish sauce in the world.

    Cat Tien National Park

    Cat Tien National Park is famous for…its crocodiles. The highlight of the park is Crocodile Lake, hidden at the heart of the park. More than a hundred species of crocodiles live in the lake, but they are quite elusive and you have to have patience to see them. The best time to look for crocs is at dawn or dusk. Rely on the knowledge of a ranger – the crocs are not the only things that bite around the lake!

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