The peaks and valleys of Sapa. Photo © Petr and Bara Ruzicka, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop

Venture into Vietnam’s far north and you’ll discover another world altogether, awash with rich green rice paddies and wide, flowing rivers that wind around the region’s many oversized landscapes. Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop by motorcycle or bicycle is an independent adventure on which you’ll find few to no English speakers, no high-end hotels, and not a Western meal to speak of.

Cacti along the coastline of Shark Bay National Park on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Off the Water: Forests and Parks in the Virgin Islands

Away from the water, the Virgin Islands are a fascinating and richly diverse landscape: rocky bluffs and wide plains; mountain peaks and dry seaside forests; salt ponds and rainforest. Pack a pair of walking shoes, a water bottle, and a sense of adventure to get up close to the natural world away from the ocean.

Ancient pines gnarled by the wind dot the upper elevations. Photo © Jenna Blough.

Hiking Telescope Peak, Death Valley’s Highest Point

A true Death Valley classic, if you can only choose one hike in Death Valley, put Telescope Peak in the running. The sweeping 360° views make it worthwhile and give a sense of Death Valley’s vast scope, and if you’ve been exploring the canyons and valley floors, this is your chance to have a personal travel retrospective.

Vietnam offers beautiful landscapes, such as this view of Muong Hoa Valley. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Five Reasons You Should Visit Vietnam

Southeast Asia is one of the most dynamic regions in the world. Thanks to its plethora of different people, cultures and landscapes, the region tops the to-visit lists of many travelers these days. Here are five reasons why Vietnam should be your first stop.

A brick and concrete staircase zig-zags up a crevice in La Piedra Peñol in Colombia.

Climb Colombia’s La Piedra Peñol

La Piedra Peñol is a giant rock monolith that soars 200 meters into the sky from Colombia’s scenic and meandering Embalse Peñol-Guatape. Neighboring towns have bickered for decades over who gets to claim this sight as their own, and travelers who make the hard climb to the top are rewarded by incredible views.

The Manly ferry passes the Sydney Opera House on a bright, sunny day.

Sydney Day Trip Ideas: Manly and the Manly Ferry

The Manly Ferry is a perfect way to get out on the water, see the islands, appreciate the view across the opera house and the bridge from the water, take in the mind-blowingly beautiful real estate along the coast, and sit back and enjoy being out on the harbor for a fraction of the price of a harbor cruise. And as a bonus, you get to go to Manly.

A charcoal kiln used for making coal from juniper and pine in Death Valley, California.

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns and Hiking Wildrose Peak

Once used to make charcoal for the mining efforts in the area, the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns now stand as works of hand-engineered beauty. While you’re here, consider taking a hike to Wildrose Peak and be rewarded with incredible panoramic views from the windswept summit.