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Northern Vietnam

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Northern Vietnam gets fewer visitors than Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the coastal cities in the south, but it's full of culture. Historically, and to this day, it has been significantly poorer than the southern part of the country. Cultural and political differences remain strong - the language is pronounced differently in some ways, and there's definitely a more authoritarian feel in the cities.

The largest city in northern Vietnam is the capital of Hanoi, and it's the only attractive one. But there are numerous other sites, such as Ha Long Bay, the mountain resort of Sapa, and the historical battlefield of Dien Bien Phu.

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  • Most local markets in the north of Vietnam take place on a particular day each week. For example, Dong Van Market and Can Cau Markets take place on Saturday or Sunday. The markets open at 5AM and close at 3 to 4PM. Ethnic peoples, such as the Hmong, Dzao, Tay, Lo Lo and Tu Di, go to the market from the early morning on by foot, horse and motorbike. They travel in families and groups of young girls and boys in their most colorful clothes. Even if don't sell all of their products, they still meet their old friends and have a chance to drink, chat or share their life stories. Some other markets are exceptional: They are “backward markets”! They take place every 6 days, calculated by the Lunar Calendar.

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In the northern part of Vietnam the dangers are small. Just like every other country there are pickpockets and a few scammers, but this is your biggest worry from the locals.

If you visit the wild nature next to the Chinese border, not many animals are dangerous. But a few wild cats are seen now and then in the nature reserves, like the Asian Golden Cat.

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This region travel guide to Northern Vietnam is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!