Viewpoint of Sapa town. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos
Along the banks of the Red River lies Hanoi, a city locked in time yet simultaneously leaping forward. Hanoi’s atmospheric Old Quarter, beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake and classic colonial architecture will leave you enchanted. There are excellent museums and art galleries to tour and when you get hungry, you’ll find the northern streetfood is both abundant and delicious. Pull up a chair at one of many charming cafes to watch life unfurl and gain a sense of the city’s timeless rhythm.
Not far from Hanoi waits the fairy tale landscape of Ninh Binh, where sheer limestone cliffs rear straight up from paddy fields, and rowboats will bring you on a mesmerising journey through river caves. No visit to the north is complete without a cruise on Halong Bay to soak in the sight of thousands of islets and the bay’s deep emerald green waters.