From the ocean I headed inland to Vietnam's mountains, the Tonkinese Alps, of which the tallest at 3143m (10,300 ft. for the metric impaired), Fansipan, is pictured above.
Amongst the hills and mountains live numerous ethnic minorities, many of which congregate daily in a little hilltop town called Bac Ha for market. Here are some of the local women relaxing in their very colorful dress.
After sharing a smoke, these men insisted I take a photo of them at work.
Haircuts are all part of the daily market.
In order to get around this beautiful area and to the village markets, I rented one of their little motorbikes (when in Rome…) and was treated to some wonderful experiences, including the most delicious dog meat I've ever eaten. (I guarantee you also would have thought so.) Above is yours truly with his trusty turquoise steed.
After exploring the mountainous northwest, I headed south along the coast, visiting cities like Hue, pictured above. Yes, those are house boats on a canal to the right. (If you're interested in the Vietnam War, there is a wonderful book called The Cat From Hue that I recommend.)
After Hue, I visited Hoi An, which is home to many colonial style buildings, a relaxed atmosphere, and this temple decked out for Tet Festival.
For those of you who read my last culture corner about my visit to my father's old army base, Chu Lai, pictured above is a portion of its remains, not to mention a handsome young lad who asked me to take his photo.
And this is the wonderfully secluded beach I found there – secluded from tourists, that is. Behind me are some village huts and children playing, idyllic down to the warm water and ripples in the sand. Sorry, I don't have any photos of the beautiful young girl who was offered to me here, her beachside cafe, nor her bastard of a father. Photos just triggers, that is an experience I keep in my memory. If you want something like this, go make your own adventure.