Three Hidden Gems in Vietnam Unveiled by Lonely Planet

In addition to the vibrant and sought-after tourist spots, Lonely Planet describes this enchanting Southeast Asian nation as having a plethora of enigmatic and off-the-beaten-path escapes.

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In a recent article titled “Discover where locals travel in Vietnam”, the renowned travel website Lonely Planet unveiled three “enigmatic” yet equally captivating destinations to explore in Vietnam.

A Haven for Coffee Lovers

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

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

“Being the largest coffee-producing region in the country, Buon Ma Thuot takes immense pride in its primary export and even celebrates an annual coffee festival in mid-March,” the travel website states.

The writer from Lonely Planet suggests travelers embark on a tour to witness the lush green coffee plantations, breathe in the fragrant aroma of freshly roasted beans, and learn how to make their own Vietnamese-style coffee.

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

To completely immerse themselves in the local culture, travelers are advised to pay a visit to Lak Lake, a tranquil oasis surrounded by charming villages inhabited by the M’Nong ethnic group. The warm-hearted locals may even invite you to partake in their cultural traditions, featuring folk songs and drumming parties.

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

Chau Doc – The Kingdom of Fish Sauce

In close proximity to the Cambodian border, Chau Doc is a Mekong Delta town that houses Cham and Khmer communities, presenting a diverse blend of architectural styles and cuisine. In addition to cruising along the Mekong Delta, visitors can make stops at sacred sites such as the Hang Pagoda and Ba Chu Tomb or immerse themselves in nature and wildlife at the Tra Su Bird Sanctuary.

In particular, Lonely Planet highly recommends a visit to the Chau Doc Floating Market. During the Lunar New Year season, the market bustles with activity as locals prepare for the festivities, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere.

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

Additionally, visitors have the opportunity to embark on unique culinary adventures by sampling a variety of dishes made with mam or salted fermented seafood.

Travelers should give the lau mam or fish sauce hot pot a try, as it offers a tantalizing combination of shrimp, fish, meat, and over 20 different types of vegetables and herbs.

Another must-visit location in the region is the floating Tra Su Cajuput Forest, which serves as a nature reserve and is regarded as one of Vietnam’s most beautiful sites.

The best time to explore this remarkable ecosystem is during and immediately after the monsoon season, which stretches from June to November. This is when the floating forest awakens and transforms into stunning shades of green.

Lang Co Beach – A Haven 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, this beach stands out among other bustling tourist spots in Vietnam as an undiscovered gem where travelers can encounter pristine fishing villages, national parks, white sandy 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 attraction is Bach Ma National Park, an absolute treasure trove of natural wonders boasting breathtaking views, nearly 300m (984ft) tall cascading waterfalls, and an astonishing array of flora and fauna.