Lai Chau

LAI CHAU:023 pop 19,600 elevation 600m This small town is nestled in a beautiful valley carved from spectacular mountains by the Da River, and, with Tam Duong, is one of the lunch and/or overnight stops for people traveling between Dien Bien Phu and Sapa. Beneath Lai Chau’s beauty lies a difficult existence for locals. Despite … Read more

Dien Bien Phu

DIEN BIEN PHU:023 pop 22,400 Dien Bien Phu, the capital of Dien Bien Phu District of Lai Chau Province, is in one of the most remote parts of Vietnam, The town is 43km from the Lao border in the flat, heart-shaped Muong Thanh Valley, which is about 20km long and 5km wide and surrounded by … Read more

Son La

SON LA:022 pop 61,600 Son La, capital of the province of the same name, makes a good overnight stop for travelers doing the run between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. While not one of Vietnam’s highlights, the scenery isn’t bad and there is certainly enough to see and do to keep you occupied for half … Read more

Mai Chau

MAI CHAU:018 pop 47,500 elevation 300m This is one of the closest places to Hanoi where you can visit a ‘real’ Nontagnard village. Mai chau is rural with no town centre as such – rather, it’s a collection of villages, farms and huts spread out through a large valley. It’s a beautiful area, and most … Read more

Song Da Rivervoir

Stretching west of Hoa Binh is the Song Da Reservoir (Ho Song Da), Vietnam’s largest. The flooding of the Da River has displaces a large number of farmers for about 200km up stream, and is part of a major hydroelectric scheme that generates power for northern Vietnam. In 1994, a 500kV power line was extended … Read more