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May 30, 2023 / 19:44

Vietnam’s Reunification Express named world’s most incredible rail journey: Lonely Planet

Being one of the best-loved railways in Southeast Asia, Vietnam's North-South Railway, with two ends at Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, attracts many travelers.

Lonely Planet, the world-renowned travel guide, named Vietnam National Railway the most incredible rail trip in the world.

The 1,730-kilometer journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City offers breathtaking views of the country's diverse landscapes, making it a must-see for foreigners coming to Vietnam, the magazine said.

"Some railways rattle through historic cities; others swoosh beside spectacular coastlines. A few have an epic history, and one or two are remarkable for the colorful characters onboard. The Reunification Express line, known as the North–South Railway, fulfills all these criteria," it stated.

The railway is one of Southeast Asia's best-loved railways and the world's most epic overnight train journeys. It's also one of Vietnam's tourism highlights that attracts many international visitors.

 Vietnam's North-South Railway ranks as the world's most incredible rail journey. Photo: Lonely Planet 

Regarding tourism, data from Agoda showed that Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia are the top choices for Indian tourists. There is a fusion to develop unique cultural tourism products for this market, as Vietnam is home to cultural works and the Champa and Sa Huynh cultures, which have been influenced and exchanged with the ancient Indian culture.

According to statistics, from January 2019 to mid-May this year, hotel and flight searches by Indian tourists to Vietnam have surged by 390%, followed by the figures to Singapore by 215% and Thailand by 147%.

"Vietnam is now one of the top five destinations for Indian tourists," said Omri Morgenshtern, CEO of booking platform Agoda, in a recent interview with CNBC Travel.

 Tourists visit Po Nagar Cham Tower in the coastal beach city of Nha Trang, the southern province of Khanh Hoa. Photo: Hoai Nam/ The Hanoi Times

Vietnam is estimated to have welcomed nearly 4.6 million foreign tourists in the first five months of 2023, exceeding 57% of its annual target of eight million international arrivals.

The latest report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism shows that the country is fully capable of meeting and exceeding its tourism targets with the current growth in tourist arrivals and promotional efforts.

The country's rich culture and history, diverse landscapes, and good infrastructure make it an ideal destination for foreign tourists, according to Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu.

The majority of arrivals to Vietnam remained Asians, with over 3.4 million. South Korea maintained the largest source of visitors to Vietnam, with over 247,500 arrivals, followed by China and Japan.

South Korean visitors to Nha Trang on the rise. Photo: Trung Nhan/The Hanoi Times

To boost the flow of visitors to Vietnam and aid the economy, Vietnamese lawmakers have proposed extending the validity of e-visas for foreign visitors from 30 days to 60-90 days. The current limit is shorter than those of other Southeast Asian nations. The amendment would also allow multiple entries instead of a single entry.

Ha Van Sieu also underlined: “With the government’s continued focus on tourism promotion and infrastructure development, the country is well-positioned to attract even more visitors in the years to come.”

In 2019, Vietnam welcomed 19 million foreign visitors, compared to Thailand's 25 million. Covid-19 hit Vietnam's tourism industry, with only 60% of the target of five million international visitors by 2022 met.