Lonely Planet reveals three of Vietnam's 'hidden charms'
Update: Jan 11, 2024
In a recent article titled "Discover where locals travel in Vietnam", the renowned travel website Lonely Planet revealed three "mysterious" yet equally alluring places to visit in Vietnam.  

Heaven for coffee lovers

Coffee flowering season in Buon Ma Thuot City, Central Highlands, Vietnam. Photo: Duy Linh

Tucked away in the highlands of central Vietnam, Buon Ma Thuot is famous for its coffee culture, according to Lonely Planet.

"As the largest coffee-producing region in the country, Buon Ma Thuot is fiercely proud of its main export and even hosts an annual coffee festival in mid-March," the travel website writes.

The Lonely Planet staff writer suggests travelers take a tour to see the lush green coffee plantations, inhale the aroma of freshly roasted beans, and learn how to make their own Vietnamese-style coffee.

Aside from coffee, the city is also home to a number of magnificent and stunning waterfalls, such as Dray Nur and Dray Sap.

To truly immerse themselves in the local culture, travelers are advised to visit Lak Lake, a serene oasis in the region surrounded by charming villages inhabited by the M'Nong ethnic group. The friendly people may invite you to share in their cultural traditions with folk songs and drumming parties.

Dray Nur waterfall in Buon Ma Thuot. Photo: Duy Linh

Chau Doc - the kingdom of fish sauce

Close to the Cambodian border, Chau Doc is a Mekong Delta town that's home to Cham and Khmer communities; the diversity of its inhabitants is reflected in its architecture and cuisine. In addition to cruising the Mekong Delta, visitors can stop at sacred sites such as the Hang Pagoda and Ba Chu Tomb or soak up nature and wildlife at the Tra Su Bird Sanctuary.

In particular, Lovely Planet recommends travelers visit the Chau Doc Floating Market. During the Lunar New Year season, the market buzzes with activity as people prepare for the festivities, creating a vibrant atmosphere.

Lau Mam Chau Doc or Chau Doc Hot Pot made from fermented fish. Photo: Tham Hiem Chau Doc 

Visitors to the town also have the chance to attempt its unique culinary adventures with a variety of dishes made from mam or salted fermented seafood.

Travelers should try the lau mam or fish sauce hot pot, which offers a mouth-watering combination of shrimp, fish, meat, and over 20 different kinds of vegetables and herbs.

Another must-see in the region is the floating Tra Su Cajuput Forest, a nature reserve and one of Vietnam's most beautiful sites.

The best time to visit this unique ecosystem is during and immediately after the monsoon season, which lasts from June to November. This is when the floating forest awakens and transforms into brilliant shades of green.

Lang Co Beach - A treasure trove of natural wonders in central Vietnam

Lang Co Beach in the central province of Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam. Photo: Vntrip.vn

According to Lonely Planet, the beach stands out from other bustling tourist spots in Vietnam as a hidden gem where travelers can find unspoiled fishing villages, national parks, white sand beaches, and turquoise bays.

The ideal time to visit the Lang Co region is from March to July, when the weather is sunny with minimal rainfall.

Another must-see is Bach Ma National Park, an absolute treasure trove of natural wonders with awe-inspiring views, towering waterfalls nearly 300m (984ft) high, and a remarkable array of flora and fauna.

Jenna Duong

Hanoi Times - hanoitimes.vn - January 10, 2023