Hanoi, Phu Quoc among best travel destinations in Asia: CNN
In a list of 17 best places in Asia, CNN places Hanoi and Phu Quoc Island together in ninth place.
The US-based channel cites natural charm, rich history, and good cuisine as its reasons for choosing these two destinations in the north and south of Vietnam.
"As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a hub of history, culture and endless energy," the CNN report released early this week said.
"For first-time travelers, 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."
After Hanoi, CNN suggested travelers chase the sun to Phu Quoc.
The 28-island district is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia - not to mention the world's longest oversea cable car, the channel said.
"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."
One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi. Photo by Shutterstock/minhtrong
The capital city
2018 was a successful year for Hanoi’s tourism sector with a record high 5.74 million foreign visitors, up 16 percent from a year earlier.
Hanoi’s profile also received a boost after being chosen as the venue for the historic second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last February.
Hanoi’s cuisine has become internationally renowned as visitors write and blog about its street food in particular. Celebrity endorsements from the likes of former US President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, Australian PM Turnbull and the UK’s Prince William have further highlighted Hanoi's cuisine, particularly its street dining ambience.
Bun cha - grilled pork rice noodles and herbs, a dish savored by former US President Obama and the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain during Obama's visit in Vietnam in 2016. Photo by Shutterstock/bonchan.
The city was named among the top 15 destinations in the world by TripAdvisor members in March.
It is also on top of the list of most affordable destinations in the world, with backpackers needing just $18.29 a day in Hanoi, according to the 2019 Backpacker Index formulated by Price of Travel, the world’s largest database of travel costs.
Hanoi has also announced that it will spend $4 million on continuing its tourism promotion campaign on CNN over the next five years. The network will produce 30-second and 60-second commercials introducing Vietnam’s first Formula 1 race which will be held in April 2020 and the 31st edition of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2021.
Phu Quoc Island, once a rather sleepy, low-key destination, has become one of Asia’s most talked about destinations over the last couple of years, especially for luxury tourism.
The longest oversea cable car situated on the Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Pavel Szabo
In 2010 the island, Vietnam's largest island in the southern Kien Giang Province, received only 239,000 visitors. In 2015, three years after the Phu Quoc International Airport's opening, some 850,000 visitors visited the ‘Pearl Island,’ but the number has gone exponential in the last three years.
Nowadays, the island receives more visitors in one month than it did for whole of 2010. For example, last June and July saw 340,000 and over 407,000 visitors respectively.
Harbor bay, Phu Quoc Island. Photo by Shutterstock/nopealter