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The Roof of Vietnam: Mountains, valleys, hill tribes -- Sapa, Fansipan, Mu Cang Chai, Xin Man, Ta Xua

The Roof of Vietnam stretches from the peaks and vast valleys around Xin Man, south west to the sublime mountains and rice covered valleys of  Sapa, and then south past the legendary rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai to the rugged, tortured ranges of Ta Xua.

This  great sweep offers the most diverse mountain landscapes in Vietnam.  Here are the tallest mountains and deepest valleys in Indochina, with a grandeur and scale found nowhere else in Vietnam.

This is spectacular country, offering classic touring through
fabulous, varied and often remote mountain scenery.  For motorbike
riders, it is some of the best motorcycle touring in the country on
relatively good roads through amazing landscapes.

For photographers, there are the most perfect, photogenic mountains and rice terraces and the best. most colorful ethnic markets.  For hikers, there are perhaps the best day and multi-day trekking in Vietnam.

A mosaic of ethnic minority hill tribes live throughout the mountains,
concentrated in the valleys and lower slopes, including Hmong, Thai,
Dao, Tay, Nung and Giay.

Traditional ways of life and culture remain strong, with women wearing their vibrant ethnic costumes in their everyday work in the fields and different ethnic housing types scattered across the villages.

Nowhere else has this variety of spectacular scenery and peoples.

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Sapa & Xin Man

Explore spectacular mountain scenery, the best ethnic markets, fabulous touring roads, friendly hill tribes, remote villages and bustling Sapa

Sapa and Xin Man are a study in contrasts.

Sapa is a colonial hill town, built by the French to escape the lowland heat, set in a wonderful location above the magnificent Muong Hoa valley at the foot of the highest peaks.  It has now grown into a tourist destination with numerous cafes,  bars, shops & hotels — and a gondola to the top of Fansipan, the highest peak in South East Asia.

With a little local knowledge, you can base yourself in comfort just outside Sapa, enjoy what the town has to offer (including good coffee!) and experience the beautiful valleys, fabulous back roads, hill tribes, ethnic villages, truly excellent trekking and amazing scenery away from the crowds.  Sapa is still awesome.

And the view on a good day from the top of Fansipan is still fantastic, even if the gondola means it can be busy up there.

Xin Man is a remote frontier town, much less traveled, set at the junction of three vast and gorgeous valleys, and home to the best, most authentic ethnic market, full of people buying and selling and chatting among the colour of produce and animals and traditional costumes.  The nearby Bac Ha Market, on the road to Sapa, is also fabulous.

Touring the back roads is spectacular and the trekking is superb.  In places you look across deep canyons to the huge slopes that rise to the border with China, and the distant ranges beyond.  Incredible scenery.

Mu Cang Chai & Ta Xua

Discover the most beautiful rices terraces and wonderful trekking among spectacular, cloud wreathed valleys

The rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai are legendary.  On a smaller, more intimate scale than those of Sapa or Hoang Su Phi, they are famous for their extraordinary beauty.

Photographers all over the world come to catch the teraces in morning and afternoon light — spend some time in the twisting valleys that make up the Mu Cang Chai area and you’ll understand why.

The terraces are gorgeous and lush when deep green, breathtaking when the rice is golden before harvest, and spectacular like broken mirror shards reflecting the sky at new rice planting.  There is nothing like them anywhere.

Ta Xua is rugged, with twisted ridges rising from huge valleys — and renowned by ‘cloud hunters’.  A fluke of geography means that a sea of cloud often fills the valleys in the mornings.  Looking down on the sea, the effects are stunning as mountains, ridges and valleys are revealed and then hidden among the swirling clouds.

Ta Xua is also famous for the trekking along some of the narrow ridges that extend into the valleys.  Hiking here, with the great valleys falling away, you are suspended between earth and sky.  Magic.

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Helping you discover the best of North Vietnam

Experience different with Other Path Travel

 

Helping you discover the best of North Vietnam

There is travel that fits within the expected and then there are journeys that go beyond. At Other Path Travel, we specialize in small group tours that will take you to a Vietnam that most travelers never see, extraordinarily beautiful, amazingly diverse, off the beaten path.

From astounding natural beauty to scooter-packed streets in vibrant cities, we offer a range of experiences to suit your interests and travel style whether that’s exploring extraordinary scenery by private car or motorbike; cruising spectacular islands by boat …

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There is travel that fits within the expected and then there are journeys that go beyond. At Other Path Travel, we specialize in small group tours that will take you to a Vietnam that most travelers never see, extraordinarily beautiful, amazingly diverse, off the beaten path.

From astounding natural beauty to scooter-packed streets in vibrant cities, we offer a range of experiences to suit your interests and travel style whether that’s exploring extraordinary scenery by private car or motorbike;
cruising spectacular islands by boat hiking mountains & rice-terraced valleys; getting lost in amazing ethnic hill tribe markets; eating like a local in bustling Hanoi; discovering Vietnam’s rich culture and beautiful historical temples and palaces; getting creative with some of the best photography in Asia; or all of these and more.

Our focus is the northern half of Vietnam, one of the great treasures of Asia. It is a very special place.

In the far Northern Mountains of Ha Giang you will find some of the most dramatic tropical mountain landscapes anywhere, including the limestone peaks of Dong Van, the famous rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi, and the great valleys and wonderful market of remote Xin Man.

West of Ha Giang lies the Roof of Vietnam, with the country’s highest and grandest mountains towering above the hill town of Sapa and extending south past the legendary rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai.

South of Hanoi are the incredible hidden waterways and mountains of Ninh Binh and rainforests of Cuc Phuong and the gorgeous, tropical rice fields, valleys, hills and tea plantations of Mai Chau, Pu Luong and Moc Chau.

Along the coast are the wonders of Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay, where you can cruise, swim and kayak among beautiful islands, cliffs and golden beaches set in emerald seas. North east of Hanoi are beautiful, tranquil Ba Be Lake and spectacular Ban Gioc waterfall.

And at the heart of the North lies Hanoi, a fantastic, dynamic, multi-layered, ancient city of 8 million people and 5 million motorcycles, full of contrasts, contradictions and surprises.

We’ve combed all these regions to find the hidden gems, backroads and best experiences that will make your trip special. Vietnam is one of those places where having a guide really makes a difference, and is essential for tours by car. Our guides are seasoned experts and wanderers, there to make sure you get the most out of your time in this remarkable part of the world.

Look through our tours and see where we can take you.

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