The labor day/liberation day long weekend is upon Vietnam, and for most in the country's major cities, the five-day work hiatus is a good excuse to get out of town. But where to go? The Word editorial team breaks down their favourite travel destinations in Vietnam and southeast Asia that are perfect for the April/May break.



Hang En, Vietnam

Chosen by: Managing Editor Nick Ross

Cave of 100,000 Swallows


Why?: Vietnam is blessed with natural beauty, but the trip to Hang En, the cave of 100,000 swallows was by far the most enervating and eye-opening journey I’ve made in my 14 years living in this country. Six hours trek there, a night on a beach in cave with swallows nested far above, and a morning clamber over rocks to one of the most amazing sights I’ve seen, not just in Vietnam but anywhere. Oh and don’t forget the trek back. My right knee went on the final ascent.


Where will you be going for the long holiday?: A place called home. I hate the long holidays in Vietnam. Traffic jams, crowded tourist destinations and anything but the peace and quiet I crave.




Nam Du Archipelago, Vietnam

Chosen by: Deputy Editor Ed Weinberg

Beyond Phu Quoc


Why?: I read enough about Vietnamese tourist sites to have an idea of a place even if I’ve never been there before. But when I was told about the 21 islands that make up the Nam Du archipelago, I didn’t know what to expect. What I found were awesome sunsets, humbling hospitality, plenty of canh cua and a feeling of insignificance, bobbing along on the surrounding seas.


Where will you be going for the long holiday?: I’ve been invited on a cycling trip down from Dalat. I’ve never been to Dalat and I don’t even own a bike. Sounds awesome, right?



Penang, Malaysia

Chosen by: Staff Editor Elisabeth Rosen

Penang Street Eats


Why?: For a few days of sunny weather and delicious meals, it's hard to find a better place than Penang. It's like Hoi An but with better food and less tacky souvenirs. Flights from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur are cheap and convenient and from there it's an easy hour's flight to this historic beach town slash culinary melting pot, where you can wander the quiet streets sampling flavorful hawker dishes like roti canai and nyonya laksa, as well as Chinese and Indian fare. My fave is char kway teow, rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp and bean sprouts in a dark, sweet sauce.


Where will you be going for the long holiday?: Singapore! Most people go for the clubs and casinos, but I'm going for the chili crab.



Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam

Chosen by: Online Content Editor Karen Hewell

The Province In-Between


Why?: This is a four feature long special on Ninh Thuan, and covers a pretty expansive area. To be fair, I only got to spend about three days galavanting around Ninh Thuan, but I honestly could have spent three weeks. The great thing about Ninh Thuan is the fact that it's still relatively untouched. Since it's not a tourist destination by any stretch of the imagination, those beautiful Cham temples that are always so crowded in places like Nha Trang are effectively deserted here. Plus, the people in Phan Rang are incredibly friendly, and the short trip to Vinh Hy Bay promises one of the most incredible natural sceneries you're going to find in Vietnam. The surrounding fishing villages are so peaceful and serene, it's almost unsettling. And honestly, no one is there! It's other worldly beautiful, and certainly somewhere you'll remember.


Where will you be going for the long holiday?: I'm heading to Cat Tien National Park for four days of mosquito bites, hiking boots and glorious, miraculous silence.



Kampot/Bokor Mountain, Cambodia

Chosen by: Staff Reporter/Photographer Francis Xavier

Beautiful Bays and Haunted Hotels


Why?: Since Kampot isn't a development destination, there are still a lot of historic buildings in the area. The whole place looks like something out of a horror movie, but in a good way. It's one of those wild places that you go where you're not even sure if the things you're seeing are real. And, it's completely different from what you'd see in most of Vietnam.


Where will you be going for the long holiday?: Haven't decided, it depends on money! But, I'm thinking the beach. Definitely a beach.



Staying in the city?

Check out these reads on places to explore your urban surroundings right outside your front door


Tourism for Locals in Saigon



The Artists' Village


Hanoi's Hidden Houses

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