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Vietnam: Beyond the Stereotype

Vietnam is awash with antiquated and orientalist fantasies. Travel media outlets manufacture nostalgia for a colonial heirloom with crowded street kitchens and conical hat-wearing hawkers. Foreign travel companies overrepresent Vietnam’s beaches as if the country exists to serve sun-starved Northeast Asians and Europeans. And although Vietnam has been at peace for over four decades, American films continue to portray a perilous place reeling from war.

Inflight Magazines

Aboard The Vietage

Perched by the bow-shaped bar, I nurse the last of my mocktail, a liquid rainbow of roselle, lemongrass, mint and passion fruit. The hushed lounge is an unapologetic manifestation of nostalgia for the early 20th century. Rattan blinds and creamy curtains ensconce secluded corners. Dried tropical flowers spring from earthenware vases. As if part of the furniture, two dapper Englishmen perch opposite – though they grumble over laptop screens, not newspapers.

Pretty in Pink

Playful bird-shaped lights that illuminate pastel pink walls, chubby baby blue poufs with rounded corners and 1000 spongy turquoise loungers. This isn’t a gigantic soft play for inexhaustible children, but a new hangout spot for film enthusiasts. Ho Chi Minh City’s Beta Cinema, built in 2021 in Go Vap District, may feel like a jovial outburst, but local firm Module K carefully designed each corner to echo the city’s architectural heritage, says Jade Nguyen, the firm’s founder and director.
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National and Regional Tourism Organizations (NTOs and RTOs) 

Travel Better: Responsible Travel in the Philippines

The travel industry has helped bring countless individuals out of poverty, but it’s also been an important force in preserving the country’s diverse and rich cultures. Tourism has provided valuable employment opportunities to people with disabilities and encouraged others to launch programs with lasting community impact. With sustainable tourism and environmental preservation being key focuses over the last decade, you’ll find that it’s possible to have even more fun in the Philippines than ever. Here’s a taste of the outstanding destinations and colorful characters you’ll encounter during your visit.

Making Sense of Vietnam's Ethnic Diversity

Vietnam is home to a vibrant collage of ethnic groups. There are 54 recognised ethnicities that filter into hundreds of subgroups. Wondering where to start? The best way to understand Vietnam’s ethnic makeup is through hands-on experiences. From mountain homestays to medicinal herbs, encounters with ethnic culture are a highlight of any trip to Vietnam. Here are five easy ways to get to know the Yao, Hmong, Tay, Bahnar, and Khmer ethnic groups. The Yao (often spelt Dao or Dzao) have been in Vie

The Traveler's Final Frontier

As the Philippines prepares for the return of international tourists, the Caraga Administrative Region emerges as a welcome respite, blending island retreats with intrepid adventuring. It’s easy to think that every corner of the world that can be explored, has already been explored. But the Caraga region – a treasure trove of uninhabited islands, beautiful rivers, and thundering waterfalls – proves that there are still some exclusive places to visit if you go off the beaten track. The gatewa

In Phong Nha, the Adventure of a Lifetime

What do drooping dragon claws and bulging broccoli sprigs have in common? You’ll find formations resembling both in the Tu Lan cave system, one of Vietnam’s most diverse subterranean kingdoms. Son Doong, crowned the biggest cave on the planet in 2009, continues to steal headlines. But that doesn’t mean it deserves all the attention. Phong Nha offers every caving experience imaginable. The Tu Lan cave system is woven together by a network of streams that carve up the countryside. This took place

Vietnam's Best Outdoor Activities

Take a walk on the wild side in Vietnam, a country overflowing with outdoor adventures. Go kitesurfing off the rugged coastline, scale mountains for spectacular views, or burrow inside the world’s largest caves -- so much awaits you in Vietnam’s wonderful outdoors. Here’s the “what, where, and how” on seven must-try experiences across the country. Did you know Vietnam is one of the world’s top caving destinations? Phong Nha is a rising adventure tourism destination and is home to the biggest ca

Fantastic Coffees and Where to Find Them

Vietnamese coffee is the rocket fuel that keeps the country buzzing. You’ll find cafes on every street in every city, from trendy cafes molded by the creative class, to retro institutions that have evolved over decades, to pavement cafes draped around and across the cities. In each one you’ll be enveloped by nattering locals nursing their favourite brew. Traditional Vietnamese coffee is made from Robusta beans, which have a strong, bitter taste. For decades, resourceful café owners have dreamt

The Best Sport and Adventure Holidays in Vietnam

Magnificent mountains. Cavernous caves. Bewitching bays. Vietnam’s mind-boggling geography lends itself to an extraordinary collection of sport and adventure holidays. Swim from island to island, hike a circuit of remote villages, camp within the largest caves on the planet, weave your way on a bike through highlands and coastline. Here are four adventurous holiday ideas for your next trip to Vietnam. It’s easy to think the highlands surrounding Sapa in Lao Cai were created for eye-popping hiki

Other Media

An Expert Guide to The Best Treks & Hikes in Vietnam

I’ve been living in Vietnam on and off for 15 years, and I’ve spent most of that time writing travel stories, authoring guidebooks and working as a fixer for other visitors. So vast are the outdoors here that it seems I’m always writing about adventure travel in some form or another. Vietnam’s dramatic landscapes make hiking a worthwhile activity on its own, but unlike mainstream trekking destinations, it’s rarely the sole focus. For me, motorbike touring, caving, abseiling and swimming have all

I Spent The Day Exploring Ho Chi Minh City's Former Mafia Hot Spot and Recommend Other Tourists Do The Same

Two decades back, one of Vietnam's notorious mafia bosses was executed by a firing squad. Truong Van Cam, more commonly known as Nam Cam, or Vietnam's "Godfather," oversaw a vast criminal network that controlled much of Ho Chi Minh City's District 4. It was the ideal place for him to base his criminal activities: It's centrally located, buffered by waterways, and chock-full of clandestine networks of alleyways.

Hanoi Hideaway

To Chim Xanh: Bluebird's Nest

Tổ Chim Xanh, Vietnamese for ‘Bluebird’s Nest,’ is every bit as cute as it sounds, with a cozy little library, a corner for live music performances, and a fantastic rooftop terrace. The city’s newest cutsie cafe is tucked down a characteristically faded Hanoian alleyway just a stone’s throw from the old citadel gate. Downstairs is industrial-chic meets Vietnamese fluff, with a raised platform to accommodate a snug reading corner and a little section for intimate evenings of live music. This is

Xoan: A Diamond in the Rough

A sparkling diamond within the urban rough, Xoan is an exceptional coffee house with a lovely leafy garden. A little out of the way, unless of course for some dreadful reason you need to venture into nearby Royal City, Cafe Xoan is testament to the fact that many of Hanoi’s greatest spots are found in the most unlikely places. Don’t be fooled by the Xoan on the main road – you need to go down the alley to the right to find this golden treasure. Enter through one of two holes in the wall to a se

Cang Tin 109: Escape the Old Quarter

Hop over the train tracks, skirt around the adjacent lake, and head down a rabbit warren of alleyways to find this hole-in-the-wall Hideaway. It was well-hidden, youth-run and resourcefully-decorated places like this that inspired Hanoi Hideaway in the first place. Căng Tin 109 (Canteen 109) is simple, scruffy, friendly and intimate, with loyal customers and hip serving staff. A fair distance from the Old Quarter means you’re a world away from the chaos: this quiet neighborhood affords a glimps

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