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Northern Vietnam

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Northern Vietnam is a region that is steep in history and tradition. It is also one that is blessed with beautiful landscape. The region covers roughly one-third of Vietnam, centering around the capital, Hanoi.

On the western part of Northern Vietnam are cragging mountain peaks crowned by the Hoang Lien Mountains. The topography can still be described as unspoilt, or have at least returned to the natural state after the years of civil war. Visitors to this area will come across many ethnic minority hill tribes, among them the Tai, Hmong, Dao and Nung people. Each tribe is noted for their own traditional costume which are often very colorful.

Dinh Le Hoan Temple in Hoa LuDinh Le Hoan Temple in Hoa Lu (2 September 2006)

There are a number of mountain villages that you can visit such as Sapa, Bac Ha, Son La and Lai Chau. The journey to these places often afford pictures sceneries of the mist-clad mountains and terraced rice fields.

On the far west of Northern Vietnam is Dien Bien Phu Valley. This was where the Viet Minh scored a victory over the French in 1954. The victory remains a source of national pride.

The coastal part of Northern Vietnam covers the area around the Gulf of Tonkin. Perhaps most famous in this area are the karst outcrops in Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. Also located here is Cat Ba National Park, protecting the forests of Cat Ba Island. There are recreational opportunities here including canoeing, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Picturesque Halong BayPicturesque Halong Bay (31 August 2006)

A short distance from the karst landscape is the busy port city of Haiphong, a major harbor for the Red Delta region. To the south you find the expansive plains covered with paddy fields, home to the Viet or Kinh people.

Visitors looking for a glimpse of culture should pay a visit to the Perfume Pagoda, one of the biggest temple complexes in Vietnam. The sight of hundred and thousands of Buddhist pilgrims make good photography opportunity.

Northern Vietnam is a vacation in itself. One can easily spend a week or more here.

Places of Interest in Northern Vietnam

  1. Cuc Phuong National Park
    The first national park in Vietnam established in 1962.
  2. Halong Bay
    Picturesque bay with numerous karst outcrops.
  3. Hoa Lu
    Historic site that was the royal capital in AD 968 under Emperor Tien Hoang De.
  4. Ninh Binh
    Your base for exploring the Red River Delta region.
  5. Perfume Pagoda
    One of the biggest temple complexes in Vietnam.
  6. Sapa
    Highland town surrounding by tribal villages.
  7. Tam Coc
    Karst outcrops rising out of wetlands and paddy fields punctuated by limestone caverns.

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