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Travel experts highlight their tips for where to head in Vietnam and nearby countries in the coming 12 months in 2014

(TRAVPR.COM) VIETNAM - January 17th, 2014 - BOBBY NGUYEN Director of Active Travel Asia ( http://www.activetravel.assia )

For the year 2014, I think the most attractive destination is still Halong Bay with its amazing limestone islands, rock formations and caves. Whittled away over centuries by wind and water, they’re breathtaking. For a longer tour (around 3 days 2 nights) on traditional wood junks and cruises, you can undertake more activities there like kayaking, rock climbing, or fishing.

The ancient town of Hoi An is the next most recommended place, especially on the 14th day of each lunar month. This is when the town trades its electric lights for traditional coloured lanterns. Getting an insight to the life of a farmer at Tra Que vegetable village also creates amazing moments, especially for a family.

Elsewhere in Asia, I suggest Siem Reap in Cambodia with the famous ruins of Angkor Wat. The ancient structures are contained within one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The complex and the 12th century Angkor Thom royal city are considered the main reasons to visit Siem Reap. You can spend time trekking and cycling to explore different Angkor Wat temples as well as kayaking along Tonle Sap lake.

Another interesting place in Asia is Luang Prabang in Laos. The former capital of Laos is highlighted with golden-roofed temples and colonial French architecture. Buddhist monasteries abound in Luang Prabang and early every morning monks proceed through the streets collecting alms. You can trek or cycle the outskirts of Luang Prabang to explore beautiful landscapes, local villages and waterfalls.

NGUYEN YEN Managing director of ANNAM TRAVEL

Beaches and big cities are getting too predictable, so for 2014 I tip the beautiful untouched Northern provinces. In the north east, you can discover Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan Province as well as the splendid Nguom Ngao cave, the Lenin stream or the Ban Gioc waterfall. More well known among tourists is the north west, with its glorious shades of yellow canola flowers and pink peach blossoms. Boating on the Son La hydroelectric lake, you may feel like you are floating on poetic Ha Long Bay.

Travelling to those provinces, you also have chance to experience the lives of ethnic people and try their speciality foods, such as the grilled fish of the Thai people. Tourists who wish to get a more local taste and interact more with local people can choose to join vibrant local fairs on a tour of Bac Ha, Can Cau and Ximacai. The fairs are held every Saturday, selling everything from food and household things to work outfits. Experiencing the life of local ethnic people, their daily routines and their cultural customs and habits is a very different and interesting option for every tourist.

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