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Northern Vietnam

Overview

Vistas. This is Vietnam’s big-sky country; a place of rippling mountains, cascading rice terraces and the winnowed-out karst topography for which the region is famed.

Halong Bay’s seascape of limestone towers is the view everyone’s here to see, but the karst connection continues inland, to Ba Be’s sprawling lakes and the knobbly topped peaks of Ha Giang, until it segues into the evergreen hills of the northwest highlands.

Not to be outdone by the scenery, northern Vietnam’s cultural kaleidoscope is just as diverse. In this heartland of hill-tribe culture, villages snuggle between paddy-field patchworks outside of Sapa and the scarlet headdresses of the Dzao and the Black Hmong’s indigo fabrics add dizzying colour to chaotic highland markets.

The twisting ribbon-roads winding north from Hanoi reveal a rural world far removed from Vietnam’s horns-a-honking big-city streets. If you’re up for some road-tripping, this is the place to do it.

HANOI

The unique and captivating character of Hanoi is one that could not be fabricated or recreated. Instead, it arises from a distinct combination of turbulence, resilience, tradition and the innovation of the 21st century. It would be wrong to see modern day Hanoi as simply the result of its past. This city is constantly evolving to suit the dynamic people that live there.

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HALONG BAY

Halong Bay is a one of a kind tourist spot in Vietnam. Because of its natural beauty, it is one of the most frequently visited places in the entire country. The transparent blue waters and limestone peaks create a sight that embodies the essence of Vietnam. Translated into English, Halong Bay means “Descending Dragon Bay,” a name that originated from the tale of a dragon family who safeguarded the area from outside invaders.

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SAPA

Sapa is an extraordinary landscape that makes you appreciate the awesomeness of nature. The bright, green mountains soar into the skies before falling over the opposite side. The rice paddy balconies form into mesmerizing shapes directly into the valleys. If nothing else, the tranquility and peace of mind you endure while breathing in the clean mountain air makes the trip worthwhile.

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HA GIANG

Ha Giang is situated on Vietnam’s furthest northern domain. It has a vast variety of cultures and a one-of-a-kind geographical makeup. This distant-yet-gorgeous place is one of the few remaining spots in Vietnam that warrants a visa from visitors in order to travel there, but don’t be concerned – it’s fairly inexpensive and simple to buy one.

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CAO BANG

Cao Bang is North Vietnam’s lightly inhabited frontier region. This highland stretch is situated on the Northeast outskirts of China, with several ethnic minority communities residing here. While the Ban Gioc waterfalls are a prominent attraction, this area tends to be neglected by visitors. As such, its culture and grace remain intact. You’ll see rugged mountains covered in dense greenery on this landscape, in addition to curving roads and rice paddies.

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BA BE LAKE

Ba Be National Park quietly resides in Bac Kan, a province in the northeast area of Vietnam. It is a paradise of amazing sights and mesmerizing biodiversity, as well as being abundant in culture. As you travel through National Park, you will have the opportunity to interact with locals and learn about their culture and history. There are several individual areas of National Park that have their own respective legends and history, with stories of all sorts past down from one generation to another.

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CAT BA ISLAND

Cat Ba Island emerges from the sea like a monster from a movie. Its rugged and weather-beaten surface is now blanketed by green vegetation. Settled on the outskirts of Halong Bay, the island is surrounded by dense forest jungles, stable karst peaks, and calm, transparent waters. It’s the biggest island in the archipelago.

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NINH BINH

There are so many aspects of Vietnam encapsulated in Ninh Binh – it’s like the essence of the whole country is contained in this one area. Being Ninh Binh’s capital province, this small city in Northern Vietnam has breathtaking karst peaks that that rise out of from land. The peaks are encompassed by curved, glassy rivers and flat, flowing rice paddies. Though it is small, the scenery is vast.

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MAI CHAU

The bucolic Mai Chau valley is a mere 150km away from Hanoi, though the town feels like it’s in a world of its own. Rice paddies and fields are spread throughout the vista, while the mountains fall behind the horizon sluggishly. The sounds of nature – specifically, the chirping birds, buffalo mumbles, chicken squawks, and kids having fun in the fields will be music to your ears.

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