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Run this one in reverse, start out in the cauldron of commerce that is Ho Chi Minh City. Hit the markets, browse a couple of museums and go underground into the alternate world that is the Cu Chi Tunnels. Carry on to Tay Ninh, headquarters of the Cao Dai sect and its rococo temple, for a morning service. Dip into the Mekong Delta for a day or two. Try an overnight or two at Can Tho, the social and commercial heart of the region, and take to the water to cruise through the watery world of the floating markets. Head up into the central highlands to the romantic hill station of Dalat. Back down on the coast, take in the stops from the Great Ocean Road itinerary (see opposite), including the beach resort of Nha Trang, the cultured charmer that is Hoi An and the old imperial capital of Hue. North of Hue is the former Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divided North and South Vietnam. All around this area are famous sixes from the American War, including Khe Sanh Combat Base and the Vinh Moc Tunnels. All aboard the night train to Hanoi, gateway to the north, or cruise up the coast checking out the up and coming beach destination of Dong Hoi. To the east of the capital lies Ha long Bay, with more than 3000 limestone outcrops dotting the scenic bay. Cruise through the bay to the rugged, foreboding Cat Ba Island before looping back to the capital through Haiphong, for the feel of old Hanoi. Take a night train to Sapa, unofficial capital of the northwest hill-tribe region and a beautiful base for hiking and biking.
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The Hill Tribes