The best approach to behold the Tolkienesque terrain of the Ha Giang highlands in north Vietnam is from the seat of a bike. I got here to that conclusion in early Could, when tour information Sung Mi Cay led our group skyward on rented Hondas towards his village—one in every of many within the north settled by the Hmong, one in every of Vietnam’s largest ethnic minorities. My daughters, Jenna and Michaela, and Jenna’s fiancé, Jack, had joined me and, as our bikes climbed a steep, switchback path that the federal government laid simply two years in the past, a settlement of principally wood-plank homes emerged from a stone forest of black limestone.
After the pandemic had separated our household for over two years, this was the women’ first go to again to Vietnam, the place my spouse and I’ve lived since 2018 and which, like different international locations within the area, resumed worldwide tourism this spring. With the closest airport in Hanoi, six hours south by automobile, Ha Giang has primarily been the protect of intrepid two-wheeled vacationers content material to remain in low-cost, rustic homestays and inns.