PLACE: Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province
LOCATION: North Vietnam
NOTORIOUS: Rice Terraces
NEAREST AIRPORT: take the train from NoiBai International Airport (NIA)
COORDINATES: 21° 49′ 58.8″ N, 104° 10′ 1.2″ E
CURRENCY: Vietnamese Dong
I’m a sucker for rice terraces. You may already know that considering this post. What’s interesting about this rural area is that you need to book in advance because the hotels and guest houses are often fully booked! This is popular local tourist destination in Vietnam due to its peaceful landscape and friendly inhabitants, the H’mong.
Apparently the mosquitoes are vicious so come prepared. Also, you need to try the Tu Le sticky rice and you need to swim in the hot Tu Le stream. The best time to visit and see all of the amazing colours is mid-September through to the end of October. If you want to see it when it’s lush and green, head on over from May to July. If you need a good resource for hotels and motorbike tours, this one seems legit. This trip seems like an absolute must for SE Asian backpackers or motor bikers!
PLACE: Lake Baikal
LOCATION: Siberia, Russia
NOTORIOUS: Biggest and Deepest Fresh Water Lake on Earth
NEAREST AIRPORT: IKT, Irkutsk via Moscow or St Petersberg
COORDINATES: 53.5000° N, 108.2000° E
CURRENCY: Russian Ruble
Not only is it the biggest and deepest fresh water lake, this is believed to be one of the oldest on Earth. First records of its description occur in 110BC literary works from ancient China and they refer to it as the ‘Northern Sea.’ Baikal water is drinkable – ya, I want to sip some of that – and contains about 15% of the world’s fresh water. Obviously in the winter there are some epic ice formations which is ideally when I’d like to go (when I get a chance to take the Trans-Siberian Railway).
Geological activity is showing the lake’s floor is dropping a little each year. It already plunges about 1 kilometre deep. When the water isn’t frozen it is so clear you can see an object about 40 meters deep (unreal!). The thick ice begins to populate in December and by January the entire surface is frozen over and stays this way until April/May. The surface is so solid it is temporarily used as a highway (so Russia lol). The Russian people call this the “Pearl of Siberia” and I understand why.
Source: Lewis Nelson
Have you braved the cold and seen it? I’m curious about which town to stay in… Irkutsk or Listvyanka. Tell meeeeee…