A woman takes a selfie inside a hot air balloon during a hot air balloon festival in Vietnam.
Rainbow-coloured hot air balloons ferried giddy visitors over Vietnam's ancient city of Hue on Sunday for a festival organisers hope will kickstart a passion for flying in the tourist hotspot.
Several balloons -- including one shaped as an octopus, another as a heart -- offered aerial views of the former capital's sprawling stone citadel, which was once the seat of Vietnam's emperors.
It is not a journey for the faint of heart.
"When the balloon started to go up, I was buzzing and I could see the full view of Hue.
Hue is one of Vietnam's most popular tourist destinations, attracting some 4.3 million visitors last year.
Most visitors travel by foot or cycle rickshaw to see the city's ancient pagodas, imperial tombs and citadel, which still bears damage from intense fighting during the Vietnam War.
Balloon enthusiasts are hoping to change that.
"I really hope hot air ballooning will be more popular and closer to Vietnamese people," said Vo Ngoc Ha, one of the organisers of the third annual festival.
At $280 for a 40-minute jaunt into the skies, hot air balloon rides remain out of reach for most.
Some visitors at Sunday's festival opted instead for a tethered ride for about $6, while others enjoyed the event from the ground, snapping selfies as the balloons soared over the city.
Dutch pilot Wout Bakker, who has come to the festival every year since it was first held in 2017, said he has seen a gradual uptick in interest in hot air ballooning which he hopes will grow further.
"Vietnam has good potential because more and more tourists are coming and also local people -- they have money to take flights, so it is building up," he said.
Nguyen Thai Binh swaps his flip flops for bulky boots ahead of snowboarding practice on the sand dunes of southern Vietnam — the unlikely training ground for the country's fledgling winter athletes with mountain-sized ambitions.
A pair of five-seater helicopters to offer passengers aerial views of the limestone towers, cruise ships and the odd houseboat dotting Ha Long's green waters for the maiden flights on Friday.
A five-star hotel in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi has opened with a twist that it hopes will attract guests with intimately expensive tastes: Gold-plated bathtubs, basins, and even toilets, all housed behind a massive golden exterior.
Cypriot free divers George Argyriou and Valeriu Nuta gave CPR to resuscitate a juvenile green turtle (Chelonia mydas) after they found it trapped in a net underwater at Limnara Beach, in the Cypriot port town of Ayia Napa.
MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to charities and racial equity causes, announced on Tuesday that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organisations.
Peruvians from the Huinchiri community in Cusco region are rebuilding a 500-year-old Incan hanging bridge, made using traditional weaving techniques to literally string a crossing together spanning the Apurimac river far below.