On friday august 12, the Red Dao village of Ta Phin, about 15 km north of Sapa; and also another Black H'mong near Tam Duong.
The village of Bing Lu.
Village de Bing Lu.
The Thac Bac waterfall, 13 km before arriving in Sapa, 1650 m altitude at the foot of Mount Fan Si Pan, the highest mountain of Vietnam. It is said to be one of the ten best walking, trekking places in the world, so says Lonely Planet. Located in the remote north-west mountains near the chinese border, also knoxn as the Tonkinese Alps! Sapa has in recent years become a real tourist hotspot! There are many minority ethnics living in and all around Sapa.
On saturday august 13, we left for Can Cau where a very colorful market is held each week where there are mostly H'mond villagers. On the way, some very very beautiful rice paddy fieds.Samedi 13 août 2011: départ pour Can Cau, rendez-vous hebdomadaire des peuples du Haut Tonkin, marché au bétail.
Rizières en terraces.
Arrival in Can Cau where the open-air market specializing in livestock is held each saturday from 6 A.M. to midday. As you can see it is very colourful and still seems authentic! There were western tourists with their triggering cameras, but I was able to ignore them!!! The advantage of traveling with a tiny camera is immense and so much more discreet! 8 different minorities are represented here, the Flower and Blue H'mong being the majority. Located 9 km south of the chinese border, Can Cau also attracts Chinese traders.
Arrivée à Can Cau.
Bac Ha, palais du roi des H'mongs. Les H'mongs de la région sont surtout Fleurs ou Bariolés.
Lao Cai, frontière chinoise et temple, avant le départ en train de nuit pour Hanoi.
Dimanche 14 août 2011: Hanoi. Mausolée de Ho Chi Minh, quartier de Ba Dinh, palais présidentiel, temple de la Littérature.
This is the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, and as you may have guessed I really like those minority dresses. What craftmanship, what variety... I cannot help think of the richness of the culture, each minority group having its own traditions and customs, and of course costumes. Sadly enough, in France, not so long ago, it was the same thing, but our modern civilzation has permanently put an end to that, everyone wearing mostly t-shirts and jeans, everyone looking the same. I wouldn't call that progress, but rather the empoverishment of the culture. Unfortuntely pretty soon it will probably be the same here in Vietnam, too. One day day my son (not the place we visited!), my son will tell his grandchildren: "times have changed. I remember the days, not so long ago, when minority hill tribes in Vietnam, wore their own personal and various ethnic costumes!" Oh well...
Musée d'ethnologie de Hanoi.
On monday august 15, we hit the road again for the Ha Long Bay which literally means the descending dragon bay, another UNESCO Heritage Site since 1994. The bay features a dense cluster of thousands of monolithic limestone isles, which come in all sizes and shapes, rising spectacularly from the sea.
Lundi 15 août 2011: La baie d'Halong sur une jonque traditionnelle.
La grotte des merveilles
From seeing all the pictures I took, you can easily imagine how impressive I thought this place was. Simply magnificent and breathtaking.