Northern Highlands

We spent Thursday night, April 5, in Sa Pa, established by the French in the 1920s as a get-away in highlands. The weather was beautiful when we pulled into town in the late afternoon after our visit to Na Luong village, but the fog quickly enveloped us, foreshadowing a cold front.

We had planned to visit a few more ethnic minority villages and do some hiking on Friday, but the front brought rain through the night and into the morning, so we decided to not make any long stops and headed on to Bac Ha, our next overnight destination.

It was breath-taking in more ways than one driving on wet mountain roads through northern Vietnam. We pulled off the road several times to enjoy the views of the hills, valleys and terraced rice fields.

It rained intermittently as we drove. There seemed to be power transmission lines and towers everywhere.

Rounding a curve, we discovered why: hydroelectric dams (notice the water buffalo in the road).

A little further along, we came upon the most beautiful terraced rice field of the day.

Our interLocutor went ahead and negotiated entry for us to walk down into the rice paddies for a look-see from the minority woman that was tending the field.

Here are a few photos as we descended:

Only Bill, Loc and I hiked down the muddy path to see the lower rice fields.

This is the photo I took, sitting on my rear end in the mud, just after I slipped. Good vantage point to show you how each terrace drains into the one below.

The photos don’t really show the steepness of these terraces, but if you look closely, you might be able to make out somebody at the bottom working in the last rice paddy.

As we approached Bac Ha, the rain dissipated, a good sign for tomorrow’s visit to Can Cau market.

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