Ha Giang is Vietnam's most beautiful province. It is one of the most fascinating places in Asia if not the world
A look towards the market of Lung Phin, situated at this unususal location between the mountains
The market takes places once every six days and attracts minority people from nearby villages
I wonder if this dog is for sale...
Girls of the Red Dzao minority group checking the quality of the fabric
The minority women of Northern Vietnam are expert in weaving beautiful clothes. Indeed the different customs worn by the various minorities play a part in defining their national identities
White Hmong girls in the foreground, with Red Dzao girls in the background
Black Hmong girls
Fabric is without question one of the main commodities for sale in the market
An old Black Hmong woman selling incense
I'm not sure to which minority group this women belong. Does anyone know?
A White Hmong woman and a Black Hmong women standing side by side
A young Red Dzao girl posing to the camera!
With the area being so poor, the cheap sugar cane is a popular sweet
Shopping for fruits
Another look at the mountains surrounding the market
Hmong men drinking home made whiskey out of small bowls. No wonder so many of them end up lying passed out drank on the roadside at the end of the day...
The market was totally untouristy. I wandered there from 8 AM till 12 noontime when it finished. During the 4 hours I spent there I haven't seen a sinlge tourist besides myself!
Leaving the market and going back to the village
The mountains provide a spectacular background
No luck in selling the cow. Maybe next time!
This has to be one of the funniest photos I've ever taken!
More looks at the strange landscape around the market
playing this flute-like strange musical instrument
The Red Dzao always visit the market in large groups
They are the only group to transport their merchandize on the backs of horses
Another view of the market's unusual location
A shoesmith at the market. Fixing a shoe costs about 0.20 US$ - still a large sum to most people in the region
Smoking tobacco using a traditional pipe
giong back home after a long day...
waiting for transportation back to the village
Very few buses serve the people who visit the market. The vast majority choose to walk
Travelling by bus from the market to the town of Meo Vac
First look at Meo Vac
Despite being a very small town, it is still the largest settlement in the area
Leaving Meo Vac behind and taking the road to Dong Van. Travelling the 22 kilometres that seperate the 2 towns on the back of a motorcycle was the absolute highlight of my 2 months visit to Vietnam
This young Vietnamese girl gave me a ride on the back of her bike
The photos can't really show how beautiful the road is
The terrain of Ha Giang province is so rugged that crops have to be raised literally between the rocks. Because of the terrain animals couldn't be used for plowing the land - all the work has to be done by hand! Life in the province is indeed rough...
It's hard to imagine what attracted people to settle in such an unhospitable area
Carving the road out of the side of cliff must have been an impressive engineering feat
A "palace" built by the French for the Hmong king, who helped them quell a local rebellion in the early 1900's. It is unusual in the fact that it is modelled according to traditional Chinese architecture. It is situated in the village of Xa Phin, just pass the town of Dong Van
Another look at my loyal driver...
Fantastic views around Xa Phin