Da Lat in a foggy morning
The highland towns are loved for their cool weather, green scenes and ethnic culture.
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Vietnam’s charming towns Da Lat and Sa Pa have entered a new list of the top 10 rising destinations in Asia by popular travel booking site TripAdvisor, which said the places should be best vacation choices for 2017.
The Travelers’ Choice awards for Destinations on the Rise, released on Wednesday, recognized 43 destinations around the world selected based on travelers’ review ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, and increase in booking interest.
Da Lat, situated 1,500 meters above sea level in the Central Highlands, came at number four in the top 10 list of rising destinations in Asia and Sa Pa in the northern highlands at number six.
Given various nicknames such as the city of eternal spring, the city of flowers and the city of love, Da Lat is recommended for providing a cool respite from Vietnam’s year-round hot weather. The former colonial resort town is full of beautiful French-era buildings and surrounded by pine trees, flowers and vegetables farms.
A vegetables farm in Da Lat
In January, the New York Times also recommended Da Lat among 52 places to go in 2016, describing it as “an agricultural El Dorado” with unique scenes of pine forests, locally grown avocados, and artichoke tea.Tourists are recommended to visit Linh Phuoc Pagoda, an intricate structure built in 1950 with ceilings, walls and installations made from millions of pieces of broken glass, terracotta and beer bottles, Truc Lam Zen Buddhist temple, and the roaring Elephant Falls, where they can take adventures with rafting, mountain biking and canyoning.
Rice terraces around Sa Pa
Favorite places among tourists are Muong Hoa Valley, which offers spectacular views of cascading rice terraces, peaks and forests, the Indochina’s peak Fansipan, and local terraced rice fields, which have been considered one of the most magnificent scenes on earth.
Around 2,000 kilometers to the north is Sa Pa, known for its trekking trails. The colorful town is recognized as a perfect oasis for travelers in strenuous mountain trek or rice paddy tour. Tourists can visit the Saturday night “love market,” the Gothic stone church at the town center which is the reminder of the French missionary influence, and many downtown Vietnamese and European restaurants.
Other favorite destinations in Asia are in Malaysia, which have three entries, Azerbaijan, India, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan. Visitors can also learn about interesting culture by traveling through hill tribe villages.
“These destinations are fast gaining interest and popularity amongst our community of travelers all over the world,” Janice Lee Fang, communications director for TripAdvisor, Asia Pacific, said as cited by the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
“We hope these winning lists will inspire those planning trips in 2017 to consider booking their holidays with some of these rising destinations, be it Baku, Da Lat or Kuching.”
Foreign tourists to Vietnam hit a record high of nine million in the first 11 months this year, up 25.4 percent from a year ago.