Pu Luong Nature Reserve: a remote oasis amid Vietnam’s rice terraces

Pu Luong is a refreshingly secluded option for exploring Vietnam’s beautiful countryside

If you’re looking to get away from tourists and crowds in Vietnam, Pu Luong nature reserve is a perfect, low-key escape. With its lush green rice terraces and untouched natural setting, you’ll feel like you’re the only visitor around for miles. Pu Luong is more remote and much less well-known than the more famous Sapa, and therefore can make a great alternative to that tourist-heavy area. That does mean, however, that it’s a little harder to get to, and food/accommodations are more rustic. We viewed this as a plus, though, and would recommend this little enclave of Northern Vietnam to anyone looking for some quiet relaxation.

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A peaceful week in Ba Be National Park

Home of Vietnam’s largest lake and blissfully remote from any major cities, it was a wonderful break from our weeks of chaotic travel.

After taking motorcycles across much of Vietnam’s northern border, Daniela and I were a bit desperate for quiet. We kept repeating the mantra: once we get to Ba Be, we can pause. On this trip we have struggled to turn our brains off. We still keep up with domestic news and politics. We respond to emails. We still do many of the things that at times overwhelmed our lives in the States. But for this week, at least, we saw a glimpse of life (mostly) away from the grid in one of the most remote places in Vietnam.

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The Ha Giang Loop: The most stunning motorbike ride in Vietnam

“It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

Ha Giang, the northernmost province of Vietnam, is known for some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Southeast Asia. The “final frontier” of Vietnam is famous among travelers for its Ha Giang Loop, a several-hundred kilometer collection of winding, mountainous roads best explored by motorbike. The roads, carved high into the mountains with switchback curves and sheer drops, are both exceedingly dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful. When we heard about it, we knew we’d have to see it for ourselves.

We decided to do an extended trip that would include Ha Giang Province as well as Cao Bang, where Vietnam’s most famous waterfall is located. Here’s how we explored this area.

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