Son La, Sapa and Bac Ha
Son La, is located to the northwestern region of Vietnam. Eighty percent of the province’s natural area is covered with mountains. The province is populated by various ethnic groups, including the Ma, H’mong, Dao, Muong, Kinh, Khmer, Tay, Thai, and more.
Son La has a temperate climate throughout the year. Tham Tet Tong is a complex of marvelous grottoes located only 1.5 km from Son La. Excursions to Tay Bac Mountains and bathing at Ban Mong Hot Springs are available. Visits to the ethnic minorities hamlets are also popular. The Son La Provincial Museum was originally a penitentiary built by the French in 1908. Son La Provincial Museum welcomes tens of thousands of visitors every year.
Was built by the french on 1922, is a hill station and a picturesque village that lies on the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, near the chinese border in North Vietnam.
Hill tribe people come to the saturday market with their most colourful costumes. The best time to visit is from January to June. Superb views on mountains and surrounding valleys together with the minority villages that live in these mountains makes Sapa the most recommended place of Vietnam. It offers treks to these villages and natural scenery. Consider going there by train during the week (starting Monday or so) as tours operate from Thursday to Sunday. 3 days
The Hmong, also known as Miao (Chinese: Miáo; Vietnamese: Me.o or Hmông; Thai: (mong) or (maew)), are an Asian ethnic group whose homeland is in the mountainous regions of southern China (especially Guizhou) that cross into northern Southeast Asia (northern Vietnam and Laos). The group is believed to have a history even longer than that of the Han Chinese. The term “Miao” is offensive to some Hmong people. Today, they form the fifth largest of the 56 nationalities officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China.
Is an alternative to Sapa, less turistic but more authentic at 700 meters above sea level and less cold than Sapa, deserves a visit by its Sunday market, the rich market for pigs, chickens and handicrafts. More than 10 different ethnic groups reside around.
All pictures by the author
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