With its cascading rice paddles and misty peaks, Sapa, the main market town in northwestern Vietnam, is a sight of extraordinary beauty. The town also serves as a trailhead for hikers happy to test the area’s unpredictable weather during a walk in the mountains.
Water, water everywhere
A tangled network of tributaries and canals, the waters of the Mekong Delta crisscross the lowlands of southern Vietnam. For centuries, life here has followed the river – an all-in-one launderette, bathtub, highway, dishwasher, social club and workplace for the communities surrounded by its waters.
Floating markets are quiet each dawn at the riverbank town of Cai Rang. Then creaking barges from across the delta bash into each other every morning as they offload cargoes of watermelons, pineapples and turnips.
A small town with a big menu
Hoi An, a town halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is Vietnam’s culinary centre. Street food, like the cuisine served at the Thai Pien street market (pictured), is serious business – single dishes are prepared every day by the same cook, perfected and honed over the years.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s quintessential city – a millennium-old capital of crumbling pagodas and labyrinthine streets. In the Old Quarter (pictured), ancient temples sit beside karaoke joints, and the street market vendors sell all sorts of goods, from fresh fruit to old propaganda posters
More than 2,000 limestone islands rise from the Gulf of Tolkin forming Halong Bay, arguably the most staggering coastal scene in Asia.
Halong Bay’s limestone islands are towering monoliths lined up like dominoes, teetering at worrying angles