The World’s Biggest Cave: Finally, after years of speculation, the Vietnamese government has granted (strictly regulated) access to Hang Son Doong, the world’s biggest cave. Sign up for the trip of a lifetime.
Imperial Citadel, Hanoi: The nexus of Vietnamese military power for more than 1000 years, Hanoi’s World Heritage-listed Imperial Citadel has recently been opened for public viewing. It’s a right royal history lesson.
Phong Nha Fun: Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park continues to open up. Superb new hiking and caving excursion are now possible deep inside Paradise Cave to remote Hang En, and the Tu Lan river-cave system.
Zone 9, Hanoi: Filling a former pharmaceutical factory with bars, galleries and art spaces, Hanoi’s Zone 9 precinct is the city’s hippest and most vibrant new destination.
Hill Station Signature Restaurant: In chic surroundings in Sapa, learn how to cook H’mong cuisine at the Hill Station Signature Restaurant. Wash it all down with a tasting set of delicious ruou (traditional rice wine).
Independent Tours in Ho Chi Minh City: A bevy of entertaining and inspiring tours is now up for grabs, taking visitors on a wild carousel ride of street food, night sights, bars and more.
A Tribal Base: High in the hills above Hoi An, this specular, unexpectedly comfortable new guesthouse is located in Bho Hoong, a traditional Co Tu minority village.
An Bang Beach: This beach goes from strength to strength with hip new accommodation choices, like the delightful An Bang Seaside Village, and chic new restaurants, like the effortlessly relaxed, ocean-facing Le Banyan Bar.
Cham Homestays: Such is its fame these days that the main Cham island settlement of Bai Huong remains totally tranquil, and has a great new home-stay program.
Cat Ba Island Hotels: New hotels are opening up on private islands in the Cat Ba area, including Cat Ong Beach Cottages, which has its own private beach and chic bungalows.
Phu Thuan Beach: A short cruise from the cultural capital of Hue, lovely Phu Thuan Beach offers a perfect vision of the tropics, with ocean-washed clean sands, a shack-bar and beautifully crafted, great-value accommodation.
For more recommendations and reviews, see lonelyplanet.com/vietnam.