Mekong’s leading river cruise line Lotus Cruises has announced the launch of a new, boutique, 14-cabin ship called RV Mekong Muse.
Hoang Lien Son mountains among Nat Geo’s best destinations
Vietnam’s Hoang Lien Son mountain range has been selected on a list of the world’s 28 most exciting destinations in 2019 by the renowned National Geographic magazine, based on votes from its travel editors and explorers.
Hoang Lien Son is located in the northwest mountains around Sapa and remains rugged, rural, and a world away from hectic Hanoi, which is about 313 km to the southeast. Thanks to a cable car that opened in 2016, visitors can now more easily take in the view at the range’s peak, Mt. Fansipan, which stands 3,143 meters above sea level and is known as the “Roof of Indochina”.
National Geographic also recommended visitors take hikes in and around Hoang Lien Son National Park and the adjacent Muong Hoa Valley, then rest up at homestays among Hmong, Red Dao, Tay, Giay, and other ethnic minority groups. Sapa Sisters, a sustainable tourism venture owned by local Hmong women and which offers custom trekking adventures, and Topas Ecolodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World tucked into a hilltop in Hoang Lien Son National Park, are where guests can discover the culture, languages, and traditions of Sapa’s diverse ethnic minorities.
Other destinations on the list include Mexico City, the Peruvian Amazon, Fanjingshan (China), Dakar (Senegal), Dordogne (France), and the Canterbury Region (New Zealand).
An eastern extension of the Himalayas, Hoang Lien Son was created about a hundred million years ago and is among the grandest in Vietnam. The mighty range runs 180 km through the northwest of the country, through Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Yen Bai provinces, as well as Sapa, one of the country’s most well-known attractions. Lying in the mountain range is the 29.8-ha national park, which has primary forests and diverse flora and fauna. Hoang Lien Son offers visitors breathtaking views, treks through rugged rocky trails, and a glimpse into ethnic minority cultures.