Sapa

aerial view amitabha buddha statue fanispan sapa vietnam


Sapa is a small town located in the heart of northwestern Vietnam.  Located above a deep valley flanked by cascading rice terraces and surrounded by high mountains, Sapa is a sight to be seen.  Though heavy mists often roll through the mountains, the vibrant colors of its rice fields, temples, and people shine through in a vibrant display.  

Ba Be: A Mixed Story

boat ba be lake national park vietnam


              Continuing on tour of Northern Vietnam, we decided to head across to Ba Be.  The trip was long and had us on two different buses, a motorcycle with all of our bags, and a boat, but we finally made it.  Not knowing we exactly what we wanted to do in Ba Be, we settled down, got a beer and some great food, and looked at the brochure that our guest house had provided us with.  Ba Be National Park is supposed to be the ‘outdoors capital’ of Northern Vietnam, but we weren’t really feeling the whole hiking/biking thing after having hiked for two full days and a full day of traveling.  

Ba Be National Park


lake ba be national park vietnam


              If your looking for an outdoors adventure in Northern Vietnam then look no further than Ba Be National Park.  Ba Be boasts a pristine lake, beautiful rivers, scenic waterfalls, and prehistoric caves set amid towering forest shrouded mountains.  The national park offers rich biodiversity, unique landscapes, and at its heart, Ba Be Lake, which is the largest and highest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam.  The park can be explored on foot by trail, bicycle/motorcycle by road, or kayak/boat.  Offering great and welcoming homestays, Ba Be National Park is a great place to get way from the hustle of Vietnam. 

Ban Gioc, Vietnam

ban gioc waterfall aerial view dji drone vietnam


              Located in the northeastern province of Cao Bang, Ban Gioc is home to Vietnam’s best-known waterfall.  Surrounded by tree covered limestone mountains that stick out of the ground like spear tips, the Quay Son River ambles through green rice fields and bamboo groves till it pours in a torrent over the three tiers of the Ban Gioc Waterfall.  This off the beaten track location sees very few foreign tourists so its waterfall and cave are left mostly empty, and the area still has its countryside feel.  Due to this, this area is a great get away for those wanting to get away and experience the Vietnamese way of life first hand. 

Yen Tu: A Pilgrimage to Vietnamese Buddhism

dong pagoda mists yen tu vietnam


              Yen Tu has been referred to as the center of Vietnamese Buddhism and, like most of the sacred Buddhist temples, the magic of Yen Tu lies in the journey.  Consisting of a series of temples following the monk king’s pilgrimage to enlightenment, Yen Tu stretches 6000 meters (about 6 hours of walking) from the valley floor all the way up to the cloud-wrapped, mountain top Dong Pagoda, 1,068 m above sea level.

Ha Long Bay

halong bay vietnam


              Ha Long Bay is easily Vietnam’s top tourist destination and brings in thousands of tourists daily during the peak season.  There are many cruise companies that offer 2 day/1 night or 3 day/2 night cruises through the bay and this is by far the most popular way to tour this area.  Known for its beauty, Ha Long Bay is scattered with thousands of forest-topped, karst limestone islands that reach out of its blue waters into the heavens.  Its ethereal beauty is something you would only expect to see on a movie screen and it in fact has been featured in a small handful of movies; namely the recent King Kong: Skull Island.  It has also been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding geological and geomorphological value, as well as its aesthetic value.  

Cat Ba Island

cat ba island halong bay vietnam


              Cat Ba is a beautiful island set of the coast of Vietnam in the heart of Ha Long Bay.  Many tourists only get to see a small piece of this island when they come ashore as part of their Ha Long Bay cruise, but there is so much more to be had here.  For those independent travelers, Cat Ba is a great place to get away from the normal tourist grind and spend a day or two, or more, to enjoy the amazing views, history, and natural reserves Cat Ba Island has to offer.
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