Head-spinning contradictions and character

Cindy Fan

Elephants in Asia, Ethically

Humane experiences with Asia’s sacred animal

Elephant riding in Asia may seem commonplace and normal, no different to horseback or camel rides. Too few realize that with elephants — an undomesticated animal and endangered species — it’s much more complicated. That's why we created this guide.

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Any preconceived notion of Vietnam will quickly disintegrate upon arrival. The most enthralling country in southeast Asia is dynamic, diverse and full of head-spinning contradictions.

Long, narrow and boasting 3,444km of coastline, Vietnam’s character varies from one province to the next. The north has limestone mountains, hill tribes, world famous Halong Bay and the vibrant capital city of Hanoi. In the centre, the largest cave in the world, waterfalls and the charming UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An. The south has languid beaches, tropical islands, the fertile Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest metropolis.

Venture outside of the cities and it doesn’t take long to find yourself immersed in a traditional rural world of agriculture and fishing. Imperial dynasty, French colonial and war-time vestiges remain — and some citizens continue to suffer from the legacy of Agent Orange and unexploded ordinances. But Vietnam isn’t focused on its turbulent past; nearly 100 million citizens are busy hustling for a brighter future. The result is a fascinating mix of old and modernity.

Just when you think you have the country figured out, it’ll surprise like a cinematic plot twist. Unabating, unforgettable — that’s Vietnam.

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Classic Vietnam

Hanoi | Halong Bay | Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Par| Hue | Hoi An | Nha Trang | Dalat | Ho Chi Minh City | Mekong Delta
Approx. 14 days
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Saigon and the Mekong Delta

Ho Chi Minh City | Vinh Long | Chau Doc | Can Tho | Cai Be | Con Dao
Approx. 10 days
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The natural beauty of northern Vietnam

Hanoi | Sapa | Nam Cang | Bac Ha | Pan Hou | Ha Giang | Meo Vac | Ba Be | Halong Bay
Approx. 10 days
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Vietnam’s Central Highlands

Hoi An | Kon Tum | Buon Ma Thuot | Dalat | Ho Chi Minh City
Approx. 10 days
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