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Impressive Northwest

Thursday, 10/10/2019, 14:57 GMT+7

In the final days of March, our group left Ho Chi Minh City to go on a trip to experience, feel and explore the people, the nature and the culture of the mountainous provinces in the majestic Northwest.

Sa Pa - City in the mist

We first visited Sa Pa with the wish to explore Fansipan - the Indochina roof. Around this time of the year in Sa Pa, visitors can feel an atmosphere “4 in 1”, i.e. four seasons in a day. During the morning, Sapa has the climate of spring. In the afternoon, it is hot like summer. It is still sunny in the evening but with a little coolness typical of autumn. And when the night falls, it feels like winter.

From Sa Pa Town, we headed towards Fansipan. Before ascending the mountain, our group experienced “Muong Hoa Train”, which runs around Sa Pa Town and takes its passengers to the Cable Car Station. From there, visitors can embark on their journey to conquer the peak with a height of 3,143 meters. This is a world-record cable car system (the world’s longest non-stop three-rope cable with the length of 6,292.5 meters). We did not choose to climb the mountain as everyone was not physically prepared for it. Thus, the three-rope cable system was our choice to conquer Fansipan. In addition, only when taking a cable car ride could we admire the majestic and charming scenery of Sa Pa mountains and forests from above, and “check in” with some lovely photos of our journey to scale the peak.

Source: Flickr.com
Source: Flickr.com
Source: Flickr.com

For the rest of the day in Sa Pa, our group went to other interesting places such as Ta Van Village and Cau May (a rattan bridge whose name literally means Cloud Bridge). In Ta Van, we had a chance to the unique beauty of the Black Hmong and the Red Dao people. At Cau May, like other visitors, we “checked in” with the famous bridge made of rattan across the Muong Hoa Stream. Here, we also enjoyed the local specialties: steamed sticky rice, black glutinous rice cake, grilled chicken, and charcoal barbecue, among others.


During the trip, as she felt really impressed with the traditional costumes of the Hmong people, Thi Hong, a member of our group exclaimed: “The costumes of the Hmong people are extremely beautiful and brilliant with patterns and motifs sewn or embroidered in a very elaborate and delicate fashion. Embroidered motifs of dogs, bears, mountain ebony and rhombus kept stuck in her mind. This is really one of the ideal destinations for anyone who wants to discover the novelty and originality of culture, life and ethnic people, here in “Sa Pa - City in the mist”.

A visit to historic Dien Bien

Leaving misty Sa Pa behind, we travelled to Lai Chau City, then took the legendary National Highway 6 to the most magnificent riverside town in the Northwest - Muong Lay, which is dubbed Venice of Northwestern Vietnam - and “check in” at Hang Tom - “Indochina’s No. 1 Bridge”.

During our stay in Dien Bien City, we visited some prominent historic sites, like Linh Quang Pagoda, Muong Thanh Airport, A1 Heritage Complex (A1 Hill Cemetery, Historical Museum, and A1 Hill), De Castries Tunnel, Muong Thanh Bridge, and the victory monument.

As the sun is going down, we experienced walking across the historic field of Muong Thanh. Here, the whole group were awakened by the sheer vitality overflowing in the legendary field, with the fresh and cool shades of green representing the belief and hope of Dien Bien people.

For the rest of the day in Dien Bien, we explored the bustling trading activities of local people at Dien Bien Market. As we walked together to the market, all specialties of the mountainous Northwest kept showing up in front of us, the “clueless” visitors from the southern region. We wasted no time buying any of these attractive specialties we could to bring back as gifts for our friends and relatives.

The specialties of the Northwest such as sweet forest bamboo shoot, bitter bamboo shoot, Ha Giang orange, vegetables, stream fish and freshwater shrimp are sold by local people at a quite low price. The vendors were quite friendly and did not get upset though we asked lots of things about the fruits and the vegetables out of curiosity. Even when we did not buy the items in the end, they were happy to spend times with us.

Source: Flickr.com
Hang-Tom-Bridge-1Source: Flickr.com

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