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Cycling around Mai Chau

Meandering through rice terraces and timeless villages in the classically Asian style – by bike – is the perfect way to see this enthralling area of Vietnam

IN A NARROW LANE OUTSIDE of Mai Chau, I stop my bike to let trafic pass.

A water buffalo lumbers towards me, taking up the entire space of the lane. Its calf wanders behind, trailed by a wizened farmer. In these rural passages, this is as close to a truck, sidecar and driver as I will see.

I’m cycling through the valleys that run like a delta from the town of Mai Chau in northern Vietnam. Pyramids and domes of limestone rise out of the valleys, creating an inland version of Halong Bay. Everything between the mountains, however, is almost ruler-lat, with rice terraces underscoring the heavily forested peaks in an archetypal Asian rural scene. It’s a landscape so beautiful, and yet so kind on my legs, a cyclist might have created it.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - January 2019
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