Vietnam's old and new combo wows tourists

15th Oct 2013

The new and the old excitingly converge in Vietnam - a fast-emerging holiday destination of many contrasts.

The south-east Asian country's lure is confirmed in latest tourism numbers, which show people on city breaks to Hanoi are fuelling the boom.

The thriving metropolis, with its beguiling restaurants and architecture both modern and antiquated, enjoyed an 11.2% surge in leisure trips from January to September this year.

Visitors will find Hanoi can surprisingly provide the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life for lovers of walking holidays.

Beautiful Ba Vi National Park awaits holidaymakers just 48 kilometres (30 miles) west of the capital, captivating in different ways across all four seasons.

Little wonder, then, that Hanoi's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported that tourist arrivals in the first three-quarters hit 4,686,552, a mix of domestic and international trips, representing an 11.2% growth over the same period last year.

The city attracted 731,052 international tourist arrivals, rising 15% over the same timeframe last year, including 522,180 over-night tourist arrivals (up 15%). The number of domestic trips reached 3,955,500.

Quang Ninh remains, however, arguably Vietnam's most popular tourist destination, with thousands of local and foreign holidaymakers heading for Halong Bay (or Dragon Bay).

There are also special festivals and events such as Halong tourism in the Cherry Blossom Festival, Halong Gastronomy and Trade Fair, and Hai Phong Trade and Tourism Fair under the framework of the National Tourism Year in the Red River Delta and Hai Phong.

These all helped Quang Ninh province's leisure trips to hit 6 million, a year-on-year rise of 10%.

This included more than 1.8 million foreign tourists, up 20%, with over 2.9 million tourists staying overnight, up 24%.

In the central region, Quang Nam province attracted 2.6 million leisure trips, a rise of 19.32% over the same timespan last year.

Asian holidays don't come much more exquisite than those to Hoi An, also found in Quang Nam province.

This very well preserved trading port dating back to the 15th century attracted 1.3 million trips, a rise of 22.9% over the same period in 2012.

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