Despite the devastating effects of the epidemic, Vietnam's diverse attractions continued to attract worldwide attention and earn top awards at global travel awards in 2021.

Con Dao

Con Dao, Vietnam
Sunset on the long white sand beach in Con Dao, Vietnam // Photo by LocHuynh on Shutterstock

Con Dao, a 16-island archipelago in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, was included on the New York Times' list of "52 places to love in 2021" in January.

Con Dao, previously known as "hell on earth" due to the inhumane treatment of captives in a jail built by French colonialists, maintained its infamy during the war in Vietnam when the South was under the American-backed dictatorship.

In recent years, the archipelago has grown in popularity as a tourist destination, leading officials to extend the local airport to meet rising demand. 

Dam Trau beach
Dam Trau beach // Photo on itourvn

There’s more, in April, Dam Trau on Con Dao Island was named among the 25 best beaches in the world by U.S. travel site Travel+Leisure.

Dam Trau Beach is four kilometers from Con Dao's downtown area in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, on the border of the Con Dao National Park and close to the Co Ong Airport. 

Phong Nha-Ke Bang

Phong Nha Ke Bang
Phong Nha Ke Bang // Photo by

Phong Nha-Ke Bang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was named one of TripAdvisor's top 25 national parks in the world in February.

The Park’s landscape is formed by limestone plateaux and tropical forests. It features great geological diversity and offers spectacular phenomena, including a large number of caves and underground rivers. 

The site harbours a high level of biodiversity and many endemic species. The extension ensures a more coherent ecosystem while providing additional protection to the catchment areas that are of vital importance for the integrity of limestone landscapes.

Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, along with 30 other caves are now open to visitors. The province is limiting tourism activities in the area to avoid commercial overexploitation. 

It’s listed as one of the 12 best places to visit on our site, find out more about Phong Nha-Ke Bang and the others here.

Nhat Tan village (Hanoi)

Cherry blossom trees in Nhat Tan village
Cherry blossom trees in Nhat Tan village // Photo on Vietnamtravel

In March, Hanoi was listed in 14 best Asian spots to watch spring flowers by Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

"The Nhat Tan Village in the northwest of Hanoi has a unique dark pink shade of cherry blossom trees curated by local gardeners," the SCMP said, introducing the once-famous flower village, which begins its busiest season in early January.

The village, Hanoi's peach tree center, is located in Tay Ho District's Nhat Tan Ward and has become a cultural and tourist attraction during Tet, the Lunar New Year holiday.

Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc from above // Photo on

In April, the Irish newspaper International Living chose Phu Quoc Islands as one of the world's 15 greatest places to retire this year, based on its variety of stunning beaches, low cost of living, and rich culture.

Early this year, “Pearl Island” became Vietnam’s first island city. After completing an international airport in 2012 and implementing a 30-day visa-free regime for travellers in 2014, the previously tranquil island soared to worldwide renown.

Hai Van mountain pass

The Hai Van pass
The Hai Van pass // Photo on Vietnam Travel Group

The Hai Van mountain pass in central Vietnam was named the world's fourth most beautiful drive by the American website Travel+Leisure in May.

The Hai Van Pass was rated fourth on Instagram, after the Great Ocean Road (Australia), Big Sur (California), and Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates), with over 55,000 photos tagged #HaiVanPass.

Hoi An Town

Hoi An ancient town // Photo by Tonkin on Shutterstock

In June, the historic Hoi An Town was named eighth in the Post Office's annual list of the world's ten cheapest tourist destinations

The ranking was based on the minimum required budget for eight staple items that holidaymakers are likely to buy – a cup of coffee, a pint of beer, a can/bottle of Coca-Cola, a bottle of water, sun cream, insect repellent, and a three-course dinner for two with a bottle of wine.

The average cost in Hoi An for these items was s £58.39 ($80.51) per day, the agency said.

Check out what do to in Hoi An here.

Cai Rang floating market

The Cai Rang floating market
The Cai Rang floating market during peak hour // Photo on Vietnam Discovery Channel

The Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho City, Mekong Delta, was named one of the world's 19 must-visit culinary centers by British travel publication Rough Guides in August.

Cai Rang is around a five-kilometer drive from Can Tho's central area and 30 minutes by boat from Ninh Kieu Wharf. Traders gather from very early in the morning to buy fresh veggies and fruit to resale elsewhere. The most congested hour is between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. when a large number of boats clog the waterway.

Cat Ba

Cat Ba islands
Aerial view of floating villages around Cat Ba islands // Photo by Jimmy Tran on Shutterstock

The UNESCO-recognized Cat Ba biosphere reserve in the northern port city of Hai Phong was listed on BuzzFeed's list of 11 must-visit national parks in September.

The Cat Ba National Park, established in 1986 and located 45 kilometers east of Hai Phong and just 25 kilometers from the world-famous Ha Long Bay, is home to a diversified flora and fauna that has earned it significant tourism appeal in recent years.

Cuc Phuong

Cuc Phuong park
Cuc Phuong park // Photo on Vinpearl official site

At the 2021 World Travel Awards, Cuc Phuong, a renowned trekking location near Hanoi, was awarded Asia's leading national park in October.

It won over opponents such as the Chitwan National Park in Nepal, Kinabalu and Taman Negara National Park in Malaysia, Komodo National Park in Indonesia, and Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka.

Ban Gioc

Ban Gioc Waterfall
Ban Gioc Waterfall scene captivating is its extraordinary flow of water running dazzlingly along stair-like moulds // Photo on southeastasiabackpacker

Ban Gioc in Cao Bang Province was included in Travel + Leisure's list of the world's 21 most magnificent waterfalls in November.

"In a stunning show of power and grandeur, water flows endlessly through pools, down tiers, and over cliffs in a unique horseshoe shape," it stated.

Mui Ne

Mui Ne Beach 

Mui Ne, a renowned resort town in Binh Thuan's south-central region, placed 9th on a list of the world's 100 finest beach locations in December, owing to its low hotel prices and sunny weather.

Bounce, a baggage storage firm located in London, developed the list by analyzing the world's 250 most popular beach locations from a range of travel sources.

Water temperature, weather, average hotel pricing, number of restaurants and pubs, and quantity of Instagram hashtags were all used to evaluate each location.


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