Waking Up in Sa Pa, Part II

Waking Up in Sa Pa, Part II

A trek through the mountains leads to learning about local life.

By the time my husband, Alejandro, and I woke up from our early morning nap — after taking the overnight train from Hanoi to Sa Pa — it was late afternoon and we didn’t have enough time to experience any of the local tours that would take us through the valley.

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Waking Up in Sa Pa, Part I

Waking Up in Sa Pa, Part I

An overnight train’s last stop is the first look at Lào Cai Province’s glorious mountain range.

I woke up to the sound of knocking. Fumbling for my glasses, I struggle to sit-up in the already too low bed. It is still dark, but a small woman has slid open the train’s cabin door and seems to be asking a question.

My mind is lingering in the space between dreams and reality and I am not fully grasping the situation. It dawns on me slowly. We must be almost there. The woman is looking around the cabin expectantly, repeating question. What was it?

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Get Lost in Hanoi

Get Lost in Hanoi

Not all who wander are lost; but losing your way in this city may just be one of the best experiences.

Music pounded through the streets, shaking the restaurants stockpiled in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It was dark when my fiancé and I arrived to the city, and the night was already alive. Revellers drank in nearby bars, spilling out onto the streets and restaurant employees smiled with beguiling faces while enthusiastically waving menus in our direction.

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Faces of Hội An

Faces of Hội An

Portraits of people bringing light and life to Hội An.

Hội An’s golden buildings make a glowing backdrop framing the people who bring life to the historic city. In the meandering Old Town, shopkeepers sweep doorframes and the smells of cooking — braised pork, fresh chili, basil, star anise and lime — permeate through the air. Silk lanterns of sky-blue, fuchsia and lavender span archways and sway in the gentle breeze as tourists laugh and chat in open-air cafes.

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Built on the Business of Boats

Built on the Business of Boats

Hội An’s economic climb and fall as an affluent sea port froze its architecture in time.

It’s easy to imagine Hội An as it would have been in the 16th century. As a bustling stop along the Silk Road — known then as Hai Pho, or, “seaside town” — the city’s winding streets bedecked with colourful lanterns would have been filled with travellers from across the seven seas.

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