From £302 pp
Cast your mind along a narrow, twisting mountain road that sweeps under endless, rippling mountain ranges. You’ll see quiet, otherworldly villages nestled in patchworks of rice paddies or perched precariously on terraces that cut steps to the heavens. You’ll see huge limestone karsts erupting from sapphire blue seas, towering over serenely floating communities.
If you’re ever looking to get to the back of beyond, there are few places like the northern reaches of Vietnam and its massive skies that offer the same sense of isolation. Exploring this region by moped, motorbike or car offers an unbelievable feeling of freedom, as you stumble across dramatic waterfalls, tranquil lakes surrounded by jungle, and undisturbed mountain communities.
Travellers are far more of a novelty in the uppermost reaches of the highlands compared to on the coast and down at the Mekong Delta, so you’re sure to be met by warm hospitality and a smile as wide as the lush green valley you’re travelling through.
And with the standard incredible quality of Vietnamese food (and some Chinese influences seeping over the border), there’s not a lot better than setting up in a hammock with a steaming bowl of Pho and a cold beer, as you watch the sun sink into a delicate indigo haze beyond the ever-reaching mountains.
November is clear, calm and beautiful. The ideal time for Ha Long Bay. If you want to avoid the crowds, May is a great time to visit, and you’re going to get more than your fill of vitamin D.
And if you want to see Bac Ha at it’s most manic, visit in late August or early September for harvest season, and prepare yourself for some seriously bustling crowds.