Sapa, the wonderful combination of harmonious weather, pristine nature and uniquely ethnic minority groups culture. This is definitely one of the most well-known tourist attractions in northern Vietnam. However, if you are looking for a change in northern Vietnam, there are still many other destinations for consideration for the same time and budget spent.
Now, Let’s consider 5 other destinations for your next trip to Vietnam:
Like Sapa, the most renowned attraction of Ha Giang is the many grandiose mountains. Although mountains here are not as high as Sapa’s mountains and seem not to be steep enough to challenge adventurous climbers, they stand out for extensive area of limestone with unique formation of peaky rocks. The most famous rocky area of Ha Giang is Dong Van Rock Plateau, which is recognized by UNESCO as one of 77 geological parks in the world. Lung Cu Hamlet lying inside Dong Van Rock Plateau is another indispensible destination as it marks the very northern tip of Vietnam by Lung Cu Flag Tower on Dragon Mountain. Not only that, Ha Giang is a venue of fanciful natural caves such as Phuong Thien Cave, Chui Cave, Fairy Cave and Swallow Cave. Ha Giang is also well-known for its magnificent forests in which there are more than 1,000 species of good woods, drug trees as well as animals like tigers, peacock or pangolin.
This mountainous province’s residents consist mainly of ethnic minorities with a major of Hmong, Tay, Dao and Nung ethnic groups. Each of the ethnic group has its unique custom in term of wedding, worship, festivals or funeral. A unique spot only be seen in Ha Giang is Khau Vai Love Market. The market-day is held monthly only on the 26th and 27th of a Lunar Year. Lunar New Year seem to be the best time to visit Ha Giang when ones can see a wide variety of traditional customs of ethnic minorities here.
2. Mai Chau – inhale the ethnic culture
Located in Hoa Binh Province, Mai Chau is in a valley about 139km from Hanoi. The town is situated between tall cliffs and is surrounded by bright-green paddies, making it a sight to behold; the beauty of the place is enough reason for many tourists to stay longer than expected. Stilt houses are a common sight in Mai Chau. In fact, these structures line both sides of the road, with palm leaf roofs, bamboo-slat floors and large, patterned windows. Visitors can stay the night in these houses, especially in Lac, which is the village of the White Thai minority group near the main road. Here, one can live like the locals but with modern facilities.
3. Moc Chau
A big plateau of Son La province, Moc Chau, which is famous for poetic natural charm, big cow flocks reared by huge and endless grass steppes, is a must visit destination in Vietnam.
4. Mu Cang Chai – unparalleled for photographs
Mu Cang Chai is a rural district of Yen Bai province, in the northeastern region of Vietnam, which is 300 kilometres from Hanoi. Over the past few years, Mu Cang Chai has become a popular destination for tourists, researchers and photographers.
Want to get Mu Cang Chai district, traveler will go through Khau Pha Pass that is one of the four imposing passes in the Northwest of Vietnam. Mu Cang Chai Hmong People, The rice terrace fields in La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and Ze Xu Phinh was recognized the national landscapes by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. There have been Yen Bai festival Mu Cang Chai rice terrace fields to attract more attention of domestic and international tourists about Mu Cang Chai where still a region of North-West Vietnam, it is very poor and primitive but very rich in natural beauty through imposing of rice terrace fields but it is strong potential of natural beauty of poor land.
5. Lai Chau – panoramic landscape and untouched local culture
Located in the northwest region, Lai Chau is 450km northwestern from Hanoi. To reach this province, you can choose Highway 12 (from Dien Bien Phu Loop) or Road 4D (from Sapa, catching local bus which is available daily in Sapa terminal). Lai Chau has several highland villages such as Sin Ho, Ta Phin, Dao San, most of which are at the altitude of more than 1500m. The high altitude makes the weather here much like Sapa, cool and foggy with the average temperature of nearly 20oC and two seasons: dry and rainy. The completely pure air is something that Sapa rea;;y has to envy.
Besides the high mountain ranges surrounding the province, Lai Chau is well-known for narrow valleys, waterfalls, and the three large rivers: Da, Nam Na, and Nam Mu; which create the stunningly picturesque sceneries. Visiting Lai Chau, tourists can not only go mountain trekking but also sail along Da River, discover primitive caves or bathe in natural hot springs.
Especially, Lai Chau is home to nearly 20 ethnic minority groups, including H’Mong, Thai, Dao, Ha Nhi, Mang and La Hu. Tourists will have an opportunity to witness the special multi-cultural society through the original local market taken place every Thursday and Sunday morning or minorities’ authentic festival such as Thai’s “Hoa Ban Festival” in the second lunar month or H’Mong’s “Gau Tao Festival” in spring.
Now, Let’s prepare a balo with a camera and enjoy a trip to Vietnam !