Northwest Vietnam

Ideal duration: 4-5 days

Northwest Vietnam Tourism

Northwest Vietnam is a rich amalgam of serried mountain ranges, lush green valleys, embeded wealthy ethnic culture and beautiful yet untouristed landscapes. Inhabited mostly by ethnic minorities, this part of Vietnam is left relatively unexplored by the travelers. Paddy fields, large bamboo thickets, tea plantations attract the nature lovers like nothing else. Many shimmering brooks along the roads make this region one of the best road trip destinations. The sub-region also attributes to a rich and sad history of the war against the French in 1954. A well revered site commemorating the lives of ancestors of Vietnam attracts both local patriots and history buffs alike.

Northwest Vietnam Photos

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Lush green valleys, tea plantations and rivers along the roads give the sound idea of a perfect road trip. Also, it was a battle ground for 1954 battle and many Museums and cemeterys give a glimpse of the virtuous acts of Vietnamese soldiers.

What's Not So Great?

The region has been a major sufferer of the great war and the recent tiff with China and is therefore not updated with economic achievements of other parts of the country.

For Whom?

Nature lovers, culture enthusiasts and history buffs.

Details of Northwest Vietnam

Tram Ton Pass is the highest pass in Vietnam at 1900 meters!

When you travel between Sapa and Lai Chau, you cross the Tram Ton Pass on the northern side of Fansipan, which is just 15 kms from Sapa. The pass acts as the dividing line between the two weather fronts. Sapa is the coldest region in Vietnam and Lai Chau warmest. This results in some beautiful and breathtaking views from this pass.

Dien Bien Phu cannot be missed if you're intrigued enough by the great war of Vietnam

Being the battle ground and core witness of the Vietnam war, the city posseses many places which commemorate the lives of valiant heroes of the nation. Local people visit the city to pay their respects. Dien Bien Phu museum is a must visit which displays the rich history of the country.

CafŽ in the clouds could not be more literal

At Fansipan near Sapa and Lai Chau, lies the great cafŽ restaurant to enjoy the best view of the valley. CafŽ in the clouds is covered with mist all around and serves good food and drinks with wifi! Sit, chill and relax for a moment and enjoy with the clouds and nature.

Northwest loop and road trip always come together

To enjoy every bit of fantastic landcape that this region offers, be it bamboo thickets, tea plantations, lush green valleys or streaming brooks, the best way to do that is through a road trip. Rent a bike to Dien Bien Phu or Sapa and go on an unparalleled expedition in the rural parts of Vietnam. Interacting with ethnic minorities and enjoying Vietnamese food and culture, there's no end to the list.

About places in Northwest Vietnam

Dien Bien Phu is a small town nestled in the lap of Muong Thanh valley sorrounded by thick forests and beautiful hills which fills this simple town with scenic beauty. The valley is heart shaped and shelters a population of Thai, Hmong and Si La groups. After the fierce battle in 1954, the city has witnessed humongous change and many civic buildings and promenades have been constructed since then. Mai Chau Valley is a collection of many villages and farms spread in a wide region. Nearest trekking destination from Hanoi, stay with the ethnic groups in the villages to get a taste of their culture. Sapa is another mountainous town on China border with pleasent scenic beauty and rugged trekking trails.

Food in Northwest Vietnam

Rice is consumed in Northwestern Vietnam in many forms like noodles, pancakes, porridges, etc. Fish sauce, vegetables and herbs form the healthy cuisine of Vietnam. Spring Rolls and Bread Rolls are the Vietnamese dishes, popular around the world. Vegetarian food can be found (if not easily), especially eggs.

Culture, Religion & Language of Northwest Vietnam

Vietnamese is widely spoken in this area. Also, because of its close proimity to China, Chinese is quite prevalent. Tay and Khmer are common among the non Vietnamese folks. Surprisingly less number of people speak English. People aren't particularly religious in Northwest Vietnam. Mahayana Buddhism is quite prevelant though. Other key religions are Theravada, Taoism, Confucianism. Ao Dai is the dress worn mostly by women and also by men in this region. Women do not wear small skirts or shorts but it is not banned there. While visiting temples, full sleeved tops and pants should be worn as a basic ettiquette.

History of Northwest Vietnam

After the second world war, Japan had conquered Vietnam. French colonial rule had also existed in Vietnam since 19th century. To fight against Japan and French rule, Ho Chi Minh formed the Viet Minh. Japan withdrew its forces in 1945 and French emperor Bao Dai was in control of independent Vietnam. He formed South Vietnam state with Saigon as capital. Then in 1954, the decisive battle was fought and Viet Minh defeated the French administration. Dien Bien Phu in Northwest Vietnam was the major battle field for the great war of Vietnam against the French.