■ HAI PHONG, VIETNAM: My main motivation to explore Vietnam’s northern most regions, other than mountains with tiered rice fields, was to go shopping in a Hill Tribe market. Now these colorful hill tribe markets are harder to find than you’d think. Many are only once per week, often on Saturday, and are staged in far flung mountainous locations.
After a little research I did discover one that was open everyday and only a 90 minute drive from Lao Cai. Seeing as it only required a 60 minute detour from the direction I would otherwise have driven in, I decided to go for it.