Vietnam's top destinations featured on CNN’s photo tour

Monday, 2018-04-23 11:18:28
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A man rowing his boat on the Thu Bon River that flows through central Vietnam.
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NDO – Vietnam’s typical beauty and its stunning diverse landscapes, as well as its culture, architecture and cuisine have been vividly reflected in a photo story run by CNN.

The American news channel has selected the top 30 most beautiful places in Vietnam, suggesting travellers to undertake their own travel adventure through a “beautiful Vietnam.”

Son Doong cave: Discovered by a Vietnamese farmer in 1991, it is the largest known cave passage in the world by volume. It’s located inside the UNESCO-listed Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park.

Sapa Highlands: The mountainous region of Lao Cai Province lures adventurous travelers who appreciate fresh air, magical waterfalls, rice terraces, cultural homestays, bamboo forests and challenging hikes.

Can Tho: One of the most picturesque cities along the Mekong River Delta, Can Tho is home to a labyrinth of tributaries, lush landscapes, rice farms, mangroves and colorful floating markets.

Nha Trang Vinpearl Cable Car: Off Vietnam's central coast, the two-mile-long Nha Trang Vinpearl Cable Car connects Hon Tre Island with Nha Trang, providing aerial views of the vast ocean below and the towering mountains in the distance.

Phu Quoc Island: Ringed by white-sand beaches, this un-spoilt oasis in the Gulf of Thailand recently welcomed the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, which was designed by Bill Bensley. From there, it's all tropical jungles, white beaches, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and island-hopping around the 20 or so uninhabited islets nearby.

Son Tra Nature Reserve: Jutting off the northeastern coast of Da Nang, in central Vietnam, the millennia-old rainforest plays host to ancient banyan trees, rare flora and the peculiar-looking red-shanked douc langurs.

Hoi An: As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An's Old Town is brimming with handmade lanterns, rickshaws, graceful low-rise merchant houses, tailors, fresh markets and hole-in-the-wall eateries that will transport you to a bygone era.

Dong Van Karst Plateau: A UNESCO Global Geopark located in the northeastern corner of Vietnam, Dong Van Karst Plateau is dotted in limestone peaks and canyons.

Cao Dai Temple: Located in Long Than village, northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, the Cao Dai Temple was built in 1955, featuring ornately carved pillars and pretty blue ceilings.

Ganh Da Dia: Along the central coastline, north of Nha Trang, the Ganh Da Dia (Cliff of Stone Plates) National Heritage site showcases mysterious basalt rock columns formed by volcanic eruptions that occurred thousands of years ago.

Hanoi Opera House: Erected by the French colonial administration between 1901 and 1911, Hanoi's Opera House is modeled on the Palais Garnier in Paris and is one of the architectural landmarks of Hanoi.

National Highway No. 4D: Connecting the northern provinces of Lai Chau and Sapa, the infamous National Highway No. 4D (QL4D) wraps around steep cliffs, while trucks whiz around at cavalier speeds.

Than Uyen Terraces: Hidden away in the sparsely populated Lai Chau province of northwestern Vietnam, the Than Uyen rice terraces and tea plantations wind across the countryside in concentric patterns.

An Bang Village: Set on a beach outside of Hue, Vietnam's ancient imperial capital in central Vietnam, An Bang Village is a 250-ha cemetery housing hundreds of opulent family tombs with vibrant tile pillars, regal lion motifs and sparkling dragons.

Ha Long Bay: Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, Ha Long Bay is home to thousands of craggy karst rock formations, grottoes and islands.

Con Dao Islands: Sitting off the southeast coast of Vietnam, the Con Dao archipelago is loved for its colourful coral reefs, diving sites and clean beaches -- some of which double as turtle nesting sites between June and September.

Ban Gioc Falls: Straddling the border of China and Vietnam, the Ban Gioc Falls can be found along the Quay Son River in northern Vietnam, thundering from 98 feet at its highest point and nearly 1,000 feet at its widest point.

Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica: At the heart of Ho Chi Minh City's District 1, the 60-metre Notre Dame Cathedral was constructed from 1863-1880 by French colonists, recalling the namesake cathedral in Paris in a neo-Romanesque architectural style with dramatic spires.

Da Lat Central Highlands: Sitting at an elevation of 4,900 m above sea level, Da Lat has become synonymous with misty valleys and its "eternal springtime" climate.

Jungle Beach: On a peninsula north of Nha Trang, on Vietnam's Central Coast, Jungle Beach is one of those untouched getaways with its clean water, soft sand and trek-worthy jungle interior.

Trang An Grottoes: Part of a massive eco-tourism complex in Vietnam, the UNESCO World Centre is best explored by boat, with a maze of rivers and caves, alongside craggy limestone facades and jade green water.

Linh Phuoc Pagoda: Completed in 1952, outside of Da Lat city, the Linh Phuoc Pagoda stands at 118 feet tall -- making it Vietnam's highest bell tower, with intricate mosaics along the facade and corridors and glass dragon sculpture crafted from thousands of broken bottles.

Hue: Sitting on the banks of the Perfume River in Central Vietnam, Hue served as the capital during the Nguyen Dynasty, from the mid-1500s until 1945. The city still remains the historic and cultural epicentre of Vietnam, retaining its imperial feel due to a clutch of royal palaces, shrines and theaters that are all housed in the UNESCO Complex of Hue Monuments.

Cat Ba Island: A wonderland of caves and waterfalls, Cat Ba Island is Ha long Bay's largest atoll. Across the 135-square-mile island there are several untouched beaches, nature treks, mangroves, rock climbing, lakes, forts and caves to explore.

Ngo Dong River: Part of the UNESCO Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, south of Hanoi, the Ngo Dong River is one of the most serene sights in Vietnam.

Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage, Phong Nha - Ke Bang is home to more than 300 caves, imposing karst mountains, jungle treks, and underground rivers. Son Doong Cave, the largest cave system in the world, can be found here.

Bac Son Valley: Surrounded by cone-shaped mountains and peaceful rice paddy scenery, the Bac Son Valley in northern Vietnam is impossibly pretty. The best time to visit is late July and early August, when the ripening rice fields glow in vibrant shades of green and gold.

King Khai Dinh Tomb: Tucked away in the mountains near Hue, the imposing King Khai Dinh Tomb is a beautiful combination of French and eastern architecture.

Cuc Phuong National Park: Another beauty in Ninh Binh province, Cuc Phuong National Park is the country's oldest nature reserve and opened in 1962, featuring caves, fossils and ancient trees, including one incredible tree that's 1,000 years old, along with vibrant flora and more than 135 mammals.

Photo: CNN