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Mar 10, 2022 / 12:31

Con Dao Island and Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park among the best lesser-known destinations in Asia

Tourist attractions with unspoiled and charming natural scenery are worth for travelers to skip the big cities for.

In Vietnam, Con Dao Islands and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park are two emerging tourist attractions that are luring tourists who love to explore nature.

Travelers do the trekking tour to explore Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Photo: VietTrekking

These two tourist destinations with almost untouched scenery have just been listed among “10 stunning destinations in Asia that few people know” by the Canadian travel site The Travel.

According to Cynthia Levy, the staff writer of The Travel, Asia has some of the best paradises that travelers who love exploring new sceneries around the world can visit such as gazing at the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. These are the sites that most people know about, but there is much more than what meets the eye.

“There are other startling world-class tourist destinations that only a few people know about, leave alone visiting,” she wrote. Among them, Vietnam’s Con Dao Archipelago ranked 6th and Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park ranked 8th among The Travel’s list.

Located in the central province of Quang Binh, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park was categorized by UNESCO to have one of the unique scenes in Asia. This region is home to jungle-clad mountains, prehistoric caves, winding rivers, and mountains formed over 40 million decades ago.

The highlight of the national park, doubtlessly, is the Son Doong Cave.

The marvelous Son Doong Cave. Photo: Oxalis Adventure

According to experts from Oxalis Adventure, the cave was found by a team of the British Cave Research Association led by Howard Limbert in 2009. The Expedition team then announced the world's largest natural cave with a volume of 38.5 million m3.

Its main huge passage is over 5km long with sections reaching up to 200m tall and 150m wide. “Son Doong is large enough to house an entire 40-story New York City block skyscraper,” they said.

Oxalis Adventure, the only tour operator to Son Doong, said that speleologists are still looking for the connection between Son Doong Cave and neighboring Thung Cave. If there is such connection, Son Doong will be the largest cave in the world by volume, as well as a cross-section.

Meanwhile, Con Dao (Con Islands) is the second lesser-known destination in Vietnam, according to The Travel. “Imagine coral reefs, emerald forests, and coral reefs all brought together into one phenomenal archipelago… that is Con Dao,” it noted.

Situated on the south coast of Vietnam, the island once housed a prison under the American and French regimes, but today it’s a peaceful beach paradise.

The Con Dao is an archipelago that was composed of magmatic rocks of different ages. The tourist attraction is located in Ba Ria–Vung Tau province, Southeast region of Vietnam. Photo: Cattour.vn

Just before the Covid-19 pandemic, Con Dao was named among nine dreamy spring secret islands to escape to in 2019 by Vogue fashion and lifestyle magazine. The island is famous for its golden sand, crystal-clear water, and lush green plant life, it said.

“Travelers can spend days snorkeling and diving in the crystal-clear waters or visit Bay Canh Island where turtles breed,” The Travel suggested.

“There are other endangered species in the marine park, such as the dugong, the green turtle, the hawk’s bill turtle, and dolphins,” it added.

Jackie, a traveler from the US highly recommends travelers visit Con Dao as soon as possible. “Con Dao’s tourism is still not heavily developed so there are fewer crowds and a lack of mega-resorts along the beachfront here,” she told The Hanoi Times.

Jackie also said that she loves how this beautiful island maintains its local lifestyle as many local restaurants close early by 8pm. “If you are the one who loves the vibrant nightlife, then you are out of luck as the island is almost empty at night,” she said.

Other lesser-known destinations in the list The Travel are Kuang Si Falls in Laos, Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia, Koh Rong Island in Cambodia, Koh Lipe Beach in Thailand, among others.