Sapa, Vietnam, a former French resort town 210 mi/330 km northwest of Hanoi, is tucked into the mountains near the borders with China and Laos.

The sight of Vietnam's tallest mountains pushing through the dawn mist is beautiful. It's a good place to encounter some of the many ethnic groups (known as hill tribes) that inhabit the country. The tribes go into Sapa for the weekend market—the textiles, embroidery and other needlecrafts are superb. Or you can use the town as a base for visiting their nearby villages. (Be aware that members of some tribes, including the Hmong, won't tolerate having their pictures taken.)

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