Around a kilometer and a half above sea level and nestled deep in mountainous North West Vietnam is Lào Cairo province. A dramatic change from the coastal scenery of Lan Ha, at first glance the valleys look like something plucked from the alps of Europe. As we spent time wandering through the rice paddies, chatting with the local Hmong women, we found a very uniquely beautiful landscape. While Sa Pa village has become a neon-lit tourist trap (almost inevitable), the villages scattered through the quiet valleys are like stepping back in time. We would have loved to have stayed longer and climbed Phan-Xi-Pāng, the largest mountain in Indochina and last major peak in the immense Himalayan chain. However, I was hit with a parasite that knocked me for six, so we headed back to Hanoi on the train. Shame to cut this portion of the trip short, but a real privilege to visit somewhere so beautiful.