Above: Main pool, Zannier Hotels Bai San Ho, Song Cau - FREDERIK WISSINK

Vietnam remains in the shadow of nearby Thailand, which receives more than double the number of international visitors. Since I love an underdog and dislike other tourists, it’s perhaps no surprise that I have a stronger affinity for Vietnam. Its capital, Hanoi, has preserved the rich character of its historic center, and the coastline has abundant scenic drama that can be enjoyed from world-class resorts. Delicious Vietnamese cuisine is less well known to Americans than Thai, yet it better suits palates unaccustomed to fiery spiciness. And then there are the people. More than one acquaintance asked me whether Vietnam was a welcoming destination for Americans, considering that the war is within living memory. In my interactions, the Vietnamese people could hardly be friendlier or more gracious. Traveling there is a great pleasure in all respects.

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