Update: 11:24 | 01/06/2021
The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, home to resort town Sa Pa and Vietnam’s tallest mountain Fansipan, is one of five must-visit natural wonders in Southeast Asia, according to Forbes.
The list was compiled by the U.S. magazine based on its survey of 133 million tourists who visited the region in 2019 before the Covid-19 crisis broke out, resulting in border closures and travel restrictions.
Sa Pa Town is covered in thick cloud.
"For those wishing to immerse themselves in the stunning terraced hills that Vietnam is renowned for, few destinations can compare to Lao Cai Province, a hilly region in the northernmost of the country," Forbes wrote.
Lao Cai is famous for the popular highlands resort town Sa Pa that boasts a cool climate and green scenery, and is home to ethnic minority groups like the Hmong, Red Dao and Tay who started carving rice terraces into the mountains centuries ago and still use them today.
Rice terraces are at their beautiful best during harvest season from September to November each year, with parts of the town dyed golden yellow.
One of the famed tourist destinations in Lao Cai is Mount Fansipan at 3,145 meters (10,311 feet), nicknamed ‘the roof of Indochina’ and a Mecca for Vietnamese trekkers.
"For a truly memorable vacation, tourists can follow their visit with a trek across the Chinese border to Kunming, a verdant destination often called the "City of Eternal Spring," the magazine said.
Other natural wonders it recommended in Southeast Asia are Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines, Thailand's Red Lotus Lake, Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia and Indonesia's Komodo Archipelago.